Palm - The Trees

The Magic of Trees: A Guide to Their Sacred Wisdom & Metaphysical Properties - Tess Whitehurst 2017

The Trees


The palm’s diverse and geographically widespread family has a history that is inextricably intertwined with virtually every aspect of human civilization. Mentioned frequently in the Bible and in Christian iconography, the palm (family Arecaceae) generously provided our tropical and desert dwelling ancestors with food, shelter, paper for sacred texts, and a wide variety of medicines and tools.

As opposed to most trees, which are dicots (plants which branch and spread), palms are monocots (plants with a straighter and more singular growth pattern). This means that they are in a lot of ways more similar to a blade of grass or a stalk of corn than, say, an oak or an elm.

Magical Uses

Cleansing, Transforming, and Transitioning

It’s no coincidence that the most archetypal symbol of fiery transformation, the phoenix, is aligned with the palm. Like a scorching desert and the unrelenting sun, palms are not sentimental or sympathetic, although they will be there for you when you want to clear away old stagnant emotions, purge what you no longer need, and purify your inner landscape, and generally move out of one phase and into another. This quality can be helpful for times when you’re ready to really let go of the old and make room for the new.

Palm Sunday in the Christian tradition also demonstrates this magical quality of the palm, as it marks the moment when Christ chose to return victoriously to Jerusalem, symbolically overriding the pattern of oppression and setting in motion the events that led to his transformational resurrection. Additionally, in traditional stories about St. Christopher, the saint’s staff flowered like a palm tree after he carried the baby Jesus across the river, serving as another rite of passage and transition symbol. Even the way that palms are included in Catholic images of martyred saints hints at this most intense (to put it mildly) transformational quality of the tree.

As a more modern example, many people move to palm-punctuated Los Angeles when they want to reset their inner compass, let go of limiting beliefs (particularly related to their past and family patterns), and invent a brand-new life for themselves. Many people even change their names and then undergo a rigorous regimen of yoga and energy healing in order to propel themselves into a whole new place. While the city’s natural ability to help with this process may lend to the energetically unstable feeling that causes outsiders to label its residents as “flaky” or “shallow,” it can in some cases be quite useful: for example, when one would like to cleanse away old expectations, propel oneself out of a rut, and expand one’s consciousness beyond the confines of what one has been taught.

But you need not move to Los Angeles to receive these benefits: try working with palm tree energy to cleanse stuck energy, reinvent yourself, and step more fully into your power. (Perhaps not coincidentally, palms and angels—as in the City of Angels—go way back. Historically, the cherubs of Solomon’s temple almost always appeared with palm trees.)

Indeed, palms can be an excellent addition to rituals designed for personal cleansing of old patterns or to mark rites of passage into beautiful new phases of life. For this purpose, you might try simply sweeping your aura with a palm frond, decorating your altar with palm leaves, or preparing a feast featuring dates, coconuts, or hearts of palm.

Divine Masculine

The palm tree is not just masculine: it is sacred masculine energy in tree form. With their bladelike growth pattern (i.e., their classification as a monocot), heat (they generally prefer bright sun and tropical locales), and activity (palms are hardworking trees!)—not to mention the undeniably testicular appearance of coconuts and dates while they are still hanging in the tree—Taoist cosmology would definitely classify them as falling under the category of yang.

Consequently—as the sole biblical prophetess Deborah may have known when she chose to speak her prophecies near a palm tree—the palm might be a good ally to work with when you’d like to embody or relate more positively to the masculine side of things (i.e., directness, projection, action, aggression, and single-minded focus). While masculinity often gets a bad rap in metaphysical spiritual circles, the truth is that when it is ideally balanced with femininity (i.e., nurturance, beauty, stillness, receptivity, and peace), it is quite useful and positive.

To activate, balance, or harmonize with masculine energy, try spending time in quiet contemplation with a palm tree, bringing one or more palms into your yard, placing palm fronds on your altar, incorporating palm leaves into your rituals, or blessing and then consuming food from palm trees (such as coconuts, dates, or hearts of palm).


While this might not be the most appropriate period in history to promote fertility in the usual literal sense (our beloved Mother Earth is grievously overextended as it is), fertility can be a desirable magical intention when it comes to things like our career, vegetable garden, and creative projects. Consider incorporating especially fertile palm ingredients (i.e., dates, coconuts—see “Divine Masculine” section) into rituals designed for this purpose.


Have you ever really considered the coconut palm? It not only provides food (coconut meat and oil are each healthy diet additions, hearts of coconut palm are a gourmet salad ingredient, and coconut milk is a delicious and hearty dairy substitute), it also provides superior hydration to the body and skin (baby coconut water is one of the best hydration drinks, and coconut oil is an amazing moisturizer). As if all that weren’t enough, coconut oil is antibacterial and can be used as a mouthwash to pull toxins from the mouth and body. Clearly, when it comes to nourishment and vitality—inside and out—the coconut palm is a one-stop shop! One need look no further than a single tree for evidence that we have coevolved with these botanical neighbors in a most miraculously supportive way.

As such, rituals aimed at increasing personal nourishment—or fostering a sense that one is totally supported by the earth and universe—can be enhanced by coconut palm ingredients, such as any of those listed above. For example, try simply charging a baby coconut full of coconut water (or even a glass of coconut water from a can) with the intention of nourishment. Visualize and affirm that you are completely supported by the universe in every way, and that everything you need is instantly available to you, then reverently drink.

What’s more, dates are a densely caloric—and deliciously candylike—nutrition source. Branches of the date palm are incorporated in the Jewish festival of Sukkot, which is, in one sense, a harvest festival and a time of gathering food.

Peace and Relaxation

In our modern times palms are often associated with idyllic settings of luxurious relaxation. The gentle sway of a palm-lined hula skirt certainly evokes a hypnotically soothing sort of stress relief. Interestingly, they also feature into the Islamic vision of paradise. Because they symbolized victory in the ancient world, they came to be associated with the end of conflict, also known as peace.

When relaxing under palm trees or enjoying a mesmerizing hula performance is not an option, the luxurious satisfaction of consuming sweets or sweet drinks made with dates or coconut ingredients can also have quite a peaceful and relaxing effect, as can pampering yourself with a body lotion made with coconut oil.


While vacations may be the most obvious modern association with palms, victory was perhaps the quality most obviously associated with these trees—particularly palm fronds—in Roman and biblical times. If you’re involved in a legal battle in which you are morally in the right, you might gather a small piece of a palm frond and empower it in bright sunlight for one minute. Then, with a black pen, draw a V for victory on it. Hold it in both hands and visualize that you have already won. Really conjure up images and feelings associated with the precise form of victory you desire, and know in your heart that in the realm beyond time it is already so. Carry the charm with you to court or to the place where your case will be decided.

Magical Correspondences


Element: Fire

Gender: Masculine

Planet: Pluto