Published by Theomagica
From the publisher:
The literary tradition of books attributed to Cyprian of Antioch can be traced back to the following legend: Upon his conversion to Christianity all his magical manuscripts were burned on a pyre. All but one. A single book managed to escape the flames. And rather than falling into ashes, it fell into further living hands. Hands that secretly opened it, carefully studied it and silently copied it. And so began the tradition of Cyprian grimoires.
Much has been published in recent years on the genre of Cyprian grimoires and the many recipes of folk- or high-magic they preserve until today. Our actual knowledge of the person Cyprian of Antioch, however, has remained incredibly brittle. More importantly to the practicing magician of today even – our knowledge about the actual living spirit that Cyprian of Antioch is today has remained equally elusive.
The book ‘Cyprian of Antioch: A Mage of Many Faces’ is the result of more than two years of academic research and first hand magical work with the spirit of St.Cyprian. It’s deliberate intent was not to add to the existing canon of Cyprianic grimoires – in the sense of sharing additional ritual recipes or magical instructions. Instead each chapter of this book was written as a literary journey into the presence and spirit of Cyprian himself. While we explore a large range of new material, we not only learn about the traces he has left in our Western tradition of magic, but we get to know the spirit that he is himself. Writing this book was the attempt to create an actual encounter for the reader – with a spirit which has continuously influenced our magical lore in the West for almost a full millennia and a half.
Where else could this journey better begin than in the underground crypt that has guarded over our magical Saint’s burial ground for centuries (Chapter1)? From there we travel into an ancient scroll that guards the oldest prayer attributed to Cyprian – which holds no lesser goal than to exorcise an entire lineage (Chapter2). We will explore a forgotten German fairy tale that knows of a magical mirror crafted by our spirit ancestor, that can both heal or steal the soul of people (Chapter3). We will glance ourselves into such a magical mirror – and explore Cyprian’s practical role in Divination by means of two actual, contrasting examples applied by our ancestors (Chapter4). And we journey out to the feet of the famous Mount Brocken, where we visit an ancient cloister where Cyprian first mingled his blood with the devil (Chapter5). Finally, we return to the Southern shores of the Mediterranean and discover the great secret that our magical Hero held on to so well – and without which the serpent cannot bite its tail (Chapter6).
— And after all these journeys, we might see the paradox: that while setting out on this expedition with the firm intent not to write about any of the Cyprianic grimoires, we did create exactly that. A book that leads us into the inner circle of this living spirit. Not through ritual grammar, but through the grammar of stories and encounters.
It is in this spirit that I hope to present a truly magical book. A book that comes alive with each reader’s journey, a book that holds the key to a direct encounter with our magical Saint.
In an even more literal sense this book is also talismanic: the amazing artist Stuart Littlejohn created a dedicated icon of Cyprian of Antioch for this book. It was used for the cover image and a full page, colored reproduction can be found in the book – ready to be cut out and put on your altar if you wish to. This icon of Cyprian of Antioch is not only special due to Mr.Littlejohn’s expertly skill and craft, but also because many of the existing images falsly attributed to Cyprian of Antioch actually depict the bishop of Cathargo of the same name and time. If we follow the oldest known depictions of Cyprian of Antioch we see him as a man with a short beard and dark hair. — So in addition to the journeys waiting for you on these pages, you will also find a ritual icon that takes us back to the earliest sources of Cyprian of Antioch.
I want to express my sincere gratitude to the following people and fellow travellers without whom this book would not have been possible: Josephine McCarthy for her willingness to publish this book and the excellent perspective and advise she offered at many milestones of this journey. Michael Sheppard for his amazing skill, patience, pace and committment in copy editing this book (from someone whose first language is not English). Stuart Littlejohn for his astonishing vision and craft in giving this book more than a face – but a ritual inter-face. And Jake Stratton-Kent for reading an early draft version of the book and encouraging me to go further with it. — Finally, thank you a lot to all the wonderful authors and publishers on Cyprian of Antioch who have come before me, and on whose broad shoulders this book stands.