During my recent radio interview with Karagan on Treasure Spirits, a very relevant theological point came up, which is known to students of the grimoires, but may not be so widely publicised in the general occult community.
The point was about the fallen angel Lucifer. The perspective sometimes found in the grimoires is that Lucifer is too mighty to be conjured to manifestation unless he wishes to be, and that his role is that allotted to him by God.
From this viewpoint Lucifer then becomes seen not even as a “necessary evil”, but rather an ordained test and challenge. Lucifer is not in this context the devil, he is one of the great powers performing the work of God.
Thus in The Book of Treasure Spirits, the Invocation of Lucifer Beelzebub and Sathan begins:
“O all you Spirits of great power Lucifer Beelzebub Sathan unto whom by orders & offices, as messengers of wrath, & ministers of divine justice, the execution of God’s judgements are committed …”
I am currently enjoying reading Chris Bilardi’s excellent The Red Church, and was not surprised to see that Psalms are used as part of the art of the Pennsylvania German Braucherei (commonly called Pow Wow). Having recently worked with Paul Harry Barron on The Book of Gold, I could not but help be struck by how common the magical use of the Psalms actually is.
Not only were the Psalms commonly used in grimoires like The Key of Solomon and the Goetia, but also in Jewish folk magic, Judaism, Christianity (from its early origins onwards), Hellenic magic, the magic of Cunning-folk, Hoodoo. This makes the Psalms a magical nexus which crosses between religions and magical systems in a way rarely seen.
The diversity of uses of the Psalms is also staggering, from divination to healing, protection to death spells, winning honours to conjuring spirits, the list of uses is extensive. Commonly the uses are simple and do not require complex ingredients or preparation (with the exception of some of the grimoire uses).
Not only do the Psalms cross systems, but they also retain their inherent efficacy in different languages. Having used and/or seen them used in Latin, Hebrew, Greek and English, each language has its own cadence, power and beauty in the words, demonstrating the inherent magic of the words (I am sure the same is also true of other languages like French, the original language of Le Livre d’Or – The Book of Gold).
So next time you think of magical practices, spare a thought for the Psalms, and remember that all religions have magic in them, whether it is called that or not, and whether it is discrete and hidden or public and clearly visible!
Sometimes when you are reading through material something grabs your attention and makes you think. For me, a good example of this occurred when I was putting together the material for A Collection of Magical Secrets. The piece was a charm to make a thief give back a stolen item. The instigators of this are ants, as a named wax figure of the suspect (you need to have some idea of who committed the theft) is placed in an anthill. Here the principles of sympathetic magic come into action, as the suspect is troubled by the feeling of ants crawling over their skin until they return the stolen item. As with many such charms from the eighteenth century, it does require a blessed item (wax), suggesting that the person using the charm needed to speak nicely to their local priest! Here is the charm from A Collection of Magical Secrets:
In Order To Make A Thief
Give Back The Stolen Item
You need to take some blessed wax and with it, fashion a figurine or a statue of the person suspected of the theft. And write the name of this person on its forehead and then place this figurine into an anthill, while saying these words:
“In the name of Jesus Christ, thou art just, Oh Lord and thy judgment is just. Bestow thy virtue on this my ritual and be blessed, praised and glorified throughout all the Ages. So Mote It Be.”
As soon as you have done this, it is assured, that the thief will never have any rest nor repose and will be forced to return the item he has taken without fail.