What is Hemlock?
Scientific and medicinal info
First and foremost, hemlock is poisonous and should not be taken internally. If you are foraging for herbs it the wild, take care not to confuse hemlock with Queen Anne's Lace (a close relative and similar looking plant). The hemlock used in spellwork is a small biennial herb, not to be confused with the coniferous Hemlock tree. The plant is usually described as having a 'mousy' smell when you bruise the leaves.
Also Known As ....
Latin: Conium maculatum
Common names: Poison hemlock, poison parsley, herb bennet, corobane, kex
Using hemlock in rituals
Though hemlock is frequently associated with magickal workings, most of this comes from myths and wives' tales about the herb. Because of its poisonous properties, it was considered an evil plant and associated with witches and the Devil. Today, hemlock is used in spellwork involving chastity or the reduction of sexual desires, as well as general purification. Because of its toxicity, hemlock is not often carried in your every day herbal shop. If you do not want to use hemlock because you cannot find any or simply because it's a bit hazardous to work with, you can substitute tobacco. One of the better known references to hemlock in history is that it was used to execute the philosopher Socrates in 399 BCE. It was sometimes planted at the front and back of a house, to keep any poison from entering. There have also been claims that flying ointments contained small amounts of hemlock because of the psychotropic properties. As stated earlier, hemlock is quite poisonous and even though Medeival physicians used it for many medical purposes, it should not be experimented with in such a manner.
Associated Deities: Hecate
Its a very pretty "lacy" plant. "The Hemlock Society" is a modern day group dedicated to legalizing suicide and euthenasia...catchy name but NOT the way I'd want to go. Death by Hemlock creeps up from the lower body, paralyzing you until you suffocate. The name Hemlock is derived from the Anglo-Saxon words "Hem" (meaning border or shore) and "Le????c" (meaning leek or plant). Another authority derives the British name "Hemlock" from the Anglo-Saxon word "Healm" (meaning straw), from which the word 'Haulm' is derived. A very deadly plant indeed.
a close up of the bloom
Hemlock is a powerful herb of consecration, immortality, and a funeral herb. Lore holds that Solomon used Hemlock when consecrating his ritual knife. It is considered sacred to Hecate. Hemlock should be used carefully. It offers a very powerful type of Magick, one which is capable of moving the energy out beyond the abyss. In days of old Hemlock was used in "flying ointments". For those venturing into the astral plane, Hemlock is an invaluable herb to use for protection and grounding.