Penn Library's Ms. Codex 1668 - Cabale misterieuse des 150 pseaumes du Roy David (Video Orientation)



Download video (30.9 MB)


Media is loading

Date of this Version



Video Orientation to the University of Pennsylvania Library's Ms. Codex 1668, instructions on the magical use of the psalms divided into one section for each psalm. The text begins with an introduction explaining that the magic of the psalms may only be used by those with faith, humility, and devotion and that the practitioner will therefore live happily, but that they may never be used for vengeance, avarice, passion, or curiosity (f. 1r-2v). Each section includes the first line of the psalm, its uses by King David and according to various saints and figures such as Cassiodorus who claimed that psalms could be used for victory over one's enemies in war provided that the war was a just one (f. 40r), and applications for practical magic such as calming a crying baby (f. 10r), escaping the hands of privateers or assassins (f. 11v), ensuring that a husband avoids temptation and loves his wife (f. 40r), stopping a nosebleed (f. 44r), and demonic possessions (f. 60r). Practical instructions include recitations of the psalms and writing of magical characters on surfaces such as thresholds, kid skin parchment using pigeon's blood (f. 76v), or individuals using olive oil. The end of each section includes a pen and ink drawing of the magical character to be used for that particular psalm's practical instructions.

Written in France[?] in the second half of the 18th century.

Part of the Charles Rainsford Collection of Alchemical and Occult Manuscripts (University of Pennsylvania)

Digital copies and a full record are available through Franklin:


Bible, Psalms, Cabala -- Early works to 1800, Cabala, Magic -- Early works to 1800, Magic, Occultism -- Early works to 1800, Occultism, Codices, Drawings (visual works) Manuals (instructional materials) Manuscripts French, Manuscripts European

Streaming Media

Penn Library's Ms. Codex 1668 - Cabale misterieuse des 150 pseaumes du Roy David (Video Orientation)