A number of you have noticed that in doing magic I give passages from the Psalms in the Bible to say, well one of my readers posted this question to me.
“Hi Ms. Q
Speaking about using the Bible. Can you do a post or an article about the Bible? Since some of the post you posted have Psalms which is in the Bible.
Thank you. Danny”
Well Danny I am going to do my best to answer your question, but please remember that my answer is based on my experiences and how I was taught and it is about how the Bible is important in Folk Magic.
Sara August wrote this a few years ago :
“The beauty of folk magic is that it is practical magic. Don’t have an obscure magical herb for a spell? No worries, find something already in your pantry or yard instead. Don’t have a special anointing oil for your candle spell? No worries, use olive oil. Lacking a specific incense for a ritual? You guessed it… there’s something in your kitchen cupboard to burn in its place…..”
I would take it a step further, you don’t have a Grimoire? a book of shadows? A book with workable chants to increase the power of your spell work? No worries, just grab the Bible either the Rheims-Douay or old style 1611 King James, you will find incantations and phases that are inspired and truly focus on what you want, and if you say it forcefully enough in cadence (like as if you were speaking Klingon) you will feel a trembling throughout your entire body, because there is something in the cadence of the Psalms especially, that seem to elevate a person.
The only other thing that comes close is singing Chant, Gothic church chant without vibrato as one voice trying to meld your voice as one single tone or whole, becoming an instrument and in doing that your body vibrates and you feel lifted. I’ve done that and felt an energy that went from the bottoms of my feet through the top of my head. These men and women of the Bible were divinely inspired in their prayers. Their statements and pronouncements still hold true today in the 21st century.
The Bible is one if not Thee the most powerful and magical works around. I’ve had fundamentalist Christians try and tell me that using magic is wrong but they have no idea what a powerful Grimoire they have in their hands, but I fear that many mis-use it. The magic is simple to do and it’s like breathing fresh air especially to those who feel overwhelmed by the complex rituals of high Ceremonial magic and Wicca. And we should take into account not everyone that does magic wants to work with Pagan deities.
Granny and her ladies were pretty basic in many ways, they could care less so long as the job got done. And they were pretty formidable in their own way.
I mean if you wanted a “Road Opener” or a “Block Buster” deity to call in who but Jesus could do that, he who had the stone rolled away from his tomb, well I’d say that was and is a “block buster”.
I remember one Sunday morning after church (we are Catholic) a newly ordained priest gave the sermon and he seemed quiet inspired, afterwards, as we were leaving the young priest was out front shaking folks hands and well-wishing, he heard about Granny, and a few of her ladies were with her, she said that his sermon was very good, they talked for a minute and then he made an odd remark about Mary’s place in the Catholic church, I’m not sure what it was he said but my Grandmother, old and bent over, suddenly straighten her spine, she looked 30 years younger and looked that young priest right in the eye and said “If Mary had said ‘No’ you would not have a job!” I swear it seemed like fire shot out of Granny’s eyes when she said that.
Then we walked away to the car, some 10 years later that young priest showed up at Granny’s house, the starch had been taken out of him, I let him in and he went directly to the Kitchen where my Granny was sitting and got down on his knees and begged her forgiveness. He had been sent to one of the poorest parishes in New Mexico and there he saw faith and he saw folk magic and he finally understood.
Now some folks call Folk Magic as Granny Magic, Hoodoo and in some cases Voodoo (which is not correct). So where did the use of the Bible come into play in Folk Magic especially in the U.S. well a good part of it we can thank the Germans, it was brought over to the Pennsylvania area by German Christians who believed that humans were co-creator of the world along with god. Later on it got combined with Native American elements and herb lore and also it combined with African Folklore from the slaves that combined Catholic saints and their attributes with their own gods.
So it was an amalgam of different types of worship, Catholic predominate New Orleans and Louisiana in the early years when it was controlled by the Spanish and then the French brought a lot of knowledge in magical workings along with the slaves and their blending of their magical works.
But the passages of the Bible as preached by traveling preachers and missionaries had powerful images for folks, combine the chanting of the verses from the bible along with the use of candles to help focus and certain scents to help channel the energies developed into a formula and those that were observant realized that certain combinations of colors, chants (psalms), incense, and oils even crystals would create a resonance and harness the natural energy within a person to be properly directed. But they also knew it took internal strength to make it succeed.
As I said Hoodoo, folk magic, uses the scripture like the psalms as a form of incantation much like those in Ceremonial Magic and Wicca write their own incantations, but the men and women of the Bible really knew how to put the “punch” on things.
For example if I was working on a hoodoo or Folk Magic spell for justice, I’d be looking at passages in the psalms to get to “the meat of the situation” so if I were to do it then the lines from Psalms 129 and 130 would work even as a curse if I really wanted to “kick butt” . Here’s a bit from Psalm 129:
“Many a time have they afflicted me from my youth, yet they have not prevailed against me.
Let them all be confounded and turned back…
Let them be as the grass upon the rooftops, which withereth before it groweth up.”
Can you imagine if this was used as a curse? With a lot of power behind it?
You have to remember the Bible is not all forgiveness and love, even Jesus had a temper when he chased the money changers out of the temple. And in other passages it gets stronger.
So why do Bible passages work?
Here are some social reasons why the words from the Bible have power :
A lot of it has to do with the social power that our society has conferred upon biblical language, especially in its older forms – the language from the recent modern versions of the Bible are watered down without the punch that one needs.
Those of us with Christian backgrounds, the Bible is seen as an ‘anchor’ – a strong association that we have developed with something sacred. I remember hearing the passages said in church in ritual and its words are literally associated with sacred power.
One thing that cannot be denied is that there’s also the symbolic value of the psalms and other passages whose themes are about the concept that one is working on, for example justice. Say the verses enough times, and they become kind of a mantra – an overall concept, not individual words.
And finally the most obvious of course, is that hoodoo practitioners say that the biblical words themselves have a sacred power inherent in them. That cannot be denied.
Take for example “The Lord’s Prayer” especially put to music and one’s soul is transformed, and who does not cry when their hear the words “Ave Maria” in song and feel the ache within one’s being. There is POWER there. And it works.
When someone does the sign of the cross they are not only invoking the Father, Son and Holy Spirit they are also saying “Defend me from evils present, past, and to come, inward and outward”.
Midnight Hoodoo I think expresses it best in this quote:
“Make no mistake, there are many people out there who want to remove the Bible from conjure work, due to their own belief systems or the fact that they have none. The same people usually want to remove any reference to God, the angels and the saints too.
If you take these elements out of conjure, you are left with a neo-pagan magical system that has no resemblance to genuine hoodoo. God, the Bible, the angels and the saints are all an integral and vital element of conjure. Put simply, you can’t claim to be a conjure worker if your work excludes them. You could, at a stretch, claim to be working magic, but definitely not conjure.
As far as the Holy Bible is concerned, there were, and still are, many workers who use it as the only conjure book they need. For example, Wikipedia, in its Hoodoo entry, states:
“In hoodoo, “All hold that the Bible is the great conjure book in the world.” It has many functions for the practitioner, not the least of which is a source of spells. This is particularly evident given the importance of the book Secrets of the Psalms in hoodoo culture. This book provides instruction for using psalms for things such as safe travel, headache, and marital relations. The Bible, however, is not just a source of spells but is itself a conjuring talisman. It can be taken “to the crossroads,” carried for protection, or even left open at specific pages while facing specific directions.”
I work extensively with the Psalms, and I use “Secrets of the Psalms” as my reference, together with the Holy Bible. There are many other good books available on working conjure with the Psalms…… I have found the Psalms to be very effective as a magical tool, and when coupled with candle burning their effectiveness is further increased.
For example, a simple ritual for protection involves burning a white candle while reciting Psalm 23 (‘The Lord is my Shepherd’) three times in your own name or in someone else’s.
Additionally, there is very little monetary cost associated with Psalm work, which given the state of the world economy, is an important consideration. All you need is a Bible, a white candle and some blessed olive oil.”
And Midnight Hoodoo is correct in their assessment.
We have to remember since the late 18th through the 19th and early 20th century there has been a Christian influence in hoodoo thought. This is particularly evident in the idea of the relation to God's providence and his role in retributive justice. For example, though there are strong ideas of good versus evil, for example cursing someone to cause their death might not be considered a malignant act.
As one old time practitioner explained it to Henry Hyatt as follows:
"[In] Hoodooism, anythin' da' chew do is de plan of God undastan', God have somepin to do wit evah' thin' you do if it's good or bad, He's got somepin to do wit it ... jis what's fo' you, you'll git it."
(cleared up vernacular) "([In] Hoodooism, anything that you do is the plan of God, understand? God has something to do with everything that you do whether it's good or bad, he's got something to do with it... You'll get what's coming to you)"
Not only is God's providence a factor in hoodoo practice, but hoodoo thought understands God as the archetypal hoodoo doctor. Zora Hurston stated, "The way we tell it, hoodoo started way back there before everything. Six days of magic spells and mighty words and the world with its elements above and below was made." And from this perspective, biblical figures are often recast as hoodoo doctors and the Bible becomes a source of conjugational spells and is, itself, used as a protective talisman.
With that understanding so O.K. now you are thinking of buying a Bible the question is then which one do you want to get? There really are only two, but for many people the old translation of the Douay-Rheims Version (Catholic) is considered to be far more accurate by 83% , but some folks from a Protestant background would prefer the King James Version which has less books of the bible, but if you decide to get the King James, then get the one that was directly translated in 1611 and not the more recent watered down versions, either KJV or DRV you want it with the power of the original wording.
I have both but I do prefer the Douay-Rheims as it is more accurate, but read both and see which wording seems to work the best for you.
I hope Danny that answers your question.