Psalms: Talking Back to the Divine

I thought it would be nice to write about something that wasn’t astrology for once. I keep telling people I’m not an astrologer… So let’s talk about Psalms. Most of the Abrahamic sacred texts are variants and interpretations of the Divine talking to humans. The Psalms are humans talking back to the Divine. They contain Kabbalistic keys, which is interesting, and they have been adapted for use in a lot of folk magic. I even talk about a couple of them in my Psychic Protection class.

The Book of Psalms as it currently exists was canonized about 2000 years ago. As with most canonizations of texts, there were politics involved, and possibly some creative editing. In order to end up with exactly 150 Psalms, they combined a couple of the psalms, and didn’t number one at all, and, of course, left out several thousand. The number 150, by the way, in Abrahamic texts, is frequently thought to signify a spiritual journey.

As originally written, the Psalms were meant to be sung (and generally accompanied by a lyre), and had poetic structure. Most of the current “approved” translations are not mu cup of tea, but there’s a lovely re-translation or re-interpretation by Stephen Mitchell, called simply “A Book Of Psalms“. He only included about 80 or so of the 150, but they’re just exquisite.

How wonderful it is to live
  in harmony with all people;
like stepping out of the bath,
  your whole body fresh and vibrant;
like the morning dew, glistening
  on the tiniest blade of grass.
It is God’s infinite blessing,
  a taste of eternal life.
Psalm 133

So when I am using Psalms as a tool for reaching out, gathering energy, or otherwise talking to the Divine, I prefer to use the versions of those Psalms where the poetry really flows for me. Why squawk to the Divine when you can sing? Occasionally there is a point to use the King James translation – if I’m interested in tapping into the energy inherent in the specific word combinations used by millions of people over time. My own practice, though, is usually of a more personal nature.

Some decent references on which Psalms work for which purposes:
Pennsylvania Dutch Folk Magic
Conjure/Hoodoo – The Top 5 Most Powerful Psalms
A more complete list from Conjure & The Root
Using the Psalms as prayers
A good Conjure treatise on using the Psalms

My own recommendation would be to find a translation that works for you, and to read through them, making notes about how each one feels to you. What is the energetic flavor of a Psalm? What is it about? Does it feel like it contains the power or ask that you might be seeking? Create your own reference list. It doesn’t hurt to go through the references above, I’ve listed them for a reason. I do feel that magic and spirituality are more powerful when they feel personal, though, so do some of your own research as well.

God acts within every moment
  and creates the world with each breath.
He speaks from the center of the universe,
  in the silence beyond all thought.
Mightier than the crash of a thunderstorm,
  mightier than the roar of the sea,
is God’s voice silently speaking
  in the depths of the listening heart.
Psalm 93

May you be the light of the world!

Posted in Hoodoo, Kabbalah, magic, Mysticism, Practice, Ritual, Sacred Texts, Tools

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