On the Magical Use of the Psalms


Like many modern occultists, I’m not the biggest fan of the exoteric doctrines of the Judeo-Christian religions. Despite this, I do recognise that all three of its branches have a certain depth and profundity in them and can happily take whatever of their aspects have value to me without any cognitive dissonance or strain. Christianity can be of use for its understanding of the solar myth as a means of enlightenment, its concept of the Logos as an intercessory force between man and his innate divinity (rather like the Thelemic concept of the HGA) and the mysticism of saints such as Francis, John of the Cross and Theresa of Avila. Islam, meanwhile, has the ecstatic gnosis of the Sufis and their poetic understanding of the Transcendent Divine to its credit, while Judaism is favoured by the commentaries of the Talmud and Midrash, the Kaballah and its Merkabah mysticism.

Of their most imminent forms of magical expression however are the syncretism seen in the cults of various saints throughout Europe and the new world and the use of the Psalms as seen in the works of Albertus Magnus, the Enchiridon of Pope Leo III, the Ars Notoria and the syncretic folk traditions of Powwow and Hoodoo and their incorporation of the Sixth and Seventh Books of Moses. The Book of Abramelin, possibly Pseudo-Judaic in origin, features the use of Psalms too, and with that book featuring prominently in my current work, my interest in the Psalms as magical keys has been renewed.

The Abramelin recommends the daily recitation of the seven penitential psalms in order to strengthen the effect of magical work in general, which are:

• Psalm 6 – Domine, ne in furore tuo arguas me. (Pro octava). (O Lord, rebuke me not in thy indignation).
• Psalm 31 (32) – Beati quorum remissae sunt iniquitates. (Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven.)
• Psalm 37 (38) – Domine ne in furore tuo arguas me. (in rememorationem de sabbato). (O Lord, rebuke me not in thy indignation. (For a remembrance of the Sabbath.))
• Psalm 50 (51) – Miserere mei, Deus, secundum magnam misericordiam tuam. (Have mercy on me, O God, according to thy great mercy.)
• Psalm 101 (102) – Domine, exaudi orationem meam, et clamor meus ad te veniat. (O Lord, hear my prayer, and let my cry come unto thee.)
• Psalm 129 (130) – De profundis clamavi ad te, Domine. (Out of the depths I have cried to thee, O Lord.)
• Psalm 142 (143) – Domine, exaudi orationem meam: auribus percipe obsecrationem meam in veritate tua. (Hear, O Lord, my prayer: give ear to my supplication in thy truth.)

* Parentheses denote Hebrew numbering.

Comparing these to their position in Hoodoo (highlighted in bold), as recounted in Godfrey Selig’s, Secrets of the Psalms, A Fragment of the Practical Kabala, reveals little overlap between the penitential Psalms and their usefulness in folk magic, suggesting that the Abramelin’s use of the Psalms was devotional in nature or for general spiritual defence rather from the magical purposes later attributed to them.

Psalms and their Magical Purposes

1 – Dangerous confinement, Premature birth
2 – Storms at sea. Life threatened by water
3 – Severe headache or backache
4 – Good luck
5 – Fortune in business
6 – All eye diseases
7 – Defence against your enemies
8 – Love and goodwill of others in business
9 – Restoration of male child’s health
10 – Protection against unclean spirits
11 – Safe from persecution, fear
12 – Safe from persecution
13 – Protection from unnatural death or suffering punishments for twenty-four hours
14 – Favour with all men, freedom from slander
15 – Against presence of an evil spirit, insanity, melancholy
16 – Sorrows to joy, enemies to friends, to discover the name of a thief
17 – Secure from evil for twenty-four hours.
18 – Against theft
19 – Assist in dangerous delivery
20 – Free from danger and suffering
21 – Storm at sea
22 – Against misfortune
23 – Receive instruction in dreams
24 – Danger and flood
25 – Danger and flood
26 – Danger from land or water, severe imprisonment
27 – To be kindly received in a strange city
28 – Reconciliation with an enemy
29 – Cast out an evil spirit
30 – Freedom from evil
31 – Escaping slander
32 – Receive grace, love, mercy
33 – Protect children from death
34 – To receive friends favourably
35 – Lawsuit in which you are opposed by unrighteous people
36 – Against evil and slanderous libel
37 – Against loss of reason by drink
38 – Against Slander
39 – Against Slander
40 – Free from evil spirits
41 – Against enemies that cause loss
43 – Against enemies that cause loss
44 – Safety from enemies
45 – To make peace between man and wife
46 – To make peace between man and wife
47 – To be beloved, respected, by fellow men
48 – Stop enemies from harming you
49 – Against severe or incurable fever
50 – Against severe or incurable fever
51 – If burdened with heavy sin
52 – Against slander
53 – To still open or secret enemies
56 – To free oneself from passion
57 – For fortune in undertakings
58 – From the attacks of vicious dogs
59 – To prevent sinful passions which can overcome
60 – Safety for soldiers
61 – Blessings before occupying a new dwelling
62 – Pardon of sins
63 – Against unfair business partners
64 – To complete voyage in good health. Against the perils of water.
65 – Fortune in all undertakings
66 – Driving out an evil spirit
67 – Against fevers/evil spirits
69 – Against slavery to sinful passions
71 – Liberation from prison
72 – Favour and escape from poverty
73 – Not to be induced to deny faith
74 – Defeat persecutions by embittered enemies
75 – To effect forgiveness of sins
76 – Protection against fire and water
77 – Against want or danger
78 – For respect
79 – Fatal to enemies
80 – To save friends from errors
82 – Assist to attract business
83 – Abide safely in war, avoid captivity
84 – Against bad odour
85 – Reconcile an old friend
89 – Recovery of patient
90 – Against deception, evil spirits or ghosts, or being cheated
91 – Against incurable disease or evil spirit
92 – To attain high honours
96 – Bringing contentment and happiness to your family
98 – Establish peace and unity between families
99 – To become pious
100 – To overcome all enemies
101 – To secure from persecution against evil spirits or persons
102 – That barren women may find favour
104 – Thwart the influence of the devil
105 – Cures a three-day fever
107 – Cures a one day-fever
108 – Secure great success in business.
109 – Against a mighty enemy
110 – Compel enemies and oppressors to beg
112 – To increase in might and power
114 – Success in business
115 – To dispute with infidels
116 – Safe from violent or unexpected death
117 – If you failed to perform an act of charity that was promised
118 – To silence heretics
119 – See below

Aleph – Over one whose limbs shake-To keep promises
Beth – Good memory and extended intelligence
Gimel – To restore the eye
Daleth – Eye problems Lawsuit
He – Refrain from sin
Vau – Rule over servants
Zain – Against melancholy, spleen disorders, to withdraw from evil undertakings
Cheth – Relieve upper body pains
Teth – Kidney and liver complaints Pain in hips
Jod – Grace and favour from God
Caph – Swelling or pain in nose
Lamed – For favour from a judge
Mem – Pain or paralysis in limbs, right arm or hand
Nun – For travel
Samech – For favour from a superior
Ain – Pain in right arm
Pe – Pain or boil in left side of the nose
Tsaddi – Against making erroneous decisions
Koph – Pain or injury to left leg
Resh – Boil or pain in right ear
Shin – Severe or burning headache
Tau – Boil in left ear

120 – Find favour from a judge
121 – Travel alone by night
122 – To address superiors
123 – Retrieve a slave
124 – Journey by water
125 – Travel in enemy country
126 – So infant will live
127 – Prevent evil to a newborn
128 – For fortunate pregnancy
129 – To live piously and virtuously
130 – Escape a besieged city
131 – Protection against the sin of pride
132 – Punctuality
133 – Love and friendship of your friends
134 – Increase of intelligence
135 – Repenting from sin
136 – Penitent confessions
137 – Against hate envy and malice
138 – Produce love and friendship
139 – Increase and preserve love among married people
140 – To remove a growing hatred between man and wife
141 – To remove heartfelt fears
142 – Pain in thighs, legs, hips.
143 – Pain in arms
144 – To cure a broken arm
145 – Against fear of ghosts and evil spirits
146 – Restoration from wounds
147 – Wounds bites and stings of scorpions and salamanders
148 – Protection against fire
150 – Thanksgiving for escaping danger

Noticeable in these attributions are the similarity of some magical effects to those of the spirits of Grimoires such as the Lemegeton. Also significant is the protection they offer from ill-fortune, mental affliction and evil spirits, which may be seen as useful prophylactics against some of the potential negative effects of spirit work—as well as works other magicians may be attempting to use against oneself—which every magician should be aware of.

In summary, their greatest usefulness appears to lie in their ability to purify the negative balances in one’s environment, ease suffering and promote balance and harmony making them as vital to the concept of ‘banishing’ as rituals such as the LBRP and Star Ruby.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s