It would be fair to say that Cyprian was never born to be ordinary. Born a pagan child in Carthage, he was initiated into the mysterious worship of Mithras at the age of seven. He went on to be taught the ways of communing with daemons. By the age of ten, he was immersed in learning communicating with animals and trees, and then moved to Argos in the service of Juno. He then uprooted again and moved to Icara, where he switched allegiance to Diana.
You would think that this nomadic journey and Lifestyle would have been enough to then settle for a while, but he continued his travels to Sparta, where he undertook studies to learn how to communicate with the dead. After a brief time of respite, he then continued on to Memphis in Egypt, where he dug deeper into the ways of possession, and some say that it was at this point that he gained his knowledge of how to induce natural disasters.
By the grand old age of thirty, he was residing in what would now be known as Southern Iraq, and was dedicating himself to the teachings of the Chaldeans. It is said that this was the point at which he met the Devil, who entrusted him with his own personal contingent of daemons, and promised Cyprian that he would invest him with further powers after his death.
Move forward again, and we find Cyprian in Antioch. A young man named Aglaidas sought his help to win the love of a young maiden by the name of Justina, or Ioustina. Despite trying his damnedest (no pun intended), and sending his daemons to break her will, Cyprian failed in his work, supposedly because her God was more powerful. After several attempts, Cyprian’s powers were extinguished, and on seeing this, the Devil himself tried to intervene, but after Justina made the sign of the cross, the Devil failed too.
Relinquished of his powers, Cyprian renounced his Pagan ways, and pleaded unsuccessfully with Justina for her mercy. However, he was shown greater understanding by the Christian God, and eventually rose through the Church to become the Bishop of Antioch. The people weren’t convinced though, and turned Cyprian over to the Roman Governor of the region, who judged him for irreverence to their gods and turning people away from them. Cyprian and Justina were both subjected to terrible tortures, culminating in them being thrown into a boiling cauldron. No harm came to either of them, and so they were sent to Nicomedia, where they were both beheaded because of the fears of the people that they were both imbued with sorcery.
During his “confession” prior to his death, Cyprian reportedly admitted many heinous crimes, although quite how accurate or true these confessions were is open to debate. However, in the 19th century, a book appeared called “The Great Book of Saint Cyprian”, allegedly written by Cyprian, which detailed spells and incantations, and states that if it is read in its entirety, it will summon the Devil. The book later found its way to Brazil, where it was put into the melting pot along with other schools of belief including the religions of Umbanda and Candomble.
Many people today assume that the image of Cyprian is one which often appears of him garbed in a white robe and a purple cape, carrying a golden crozier and a bible. But this portrayal is actually of Saint Cyprian of Carthage, with whom Cyprian of Antioch is sometimes confused. It is not known whether any actual images of Cyprian of Antioch exist, or indeed whether HE existed … It’s something that you may well be interested in researching further and deciding for yourself.
Whatever the truth, Saint Cyprian of Antioch went on to become the Patron Saint of Necromancers.
Today, 26th September, is his feast day, and Doktor Snake and I shall be venturing out to one of our magickal places, which is in a totally deserted hamlet deep in the Norfolk countryside. After a sacred feast, we will be making the most of the late September sunshine, laying out an altar and charging items to squeeze every last magickal drop of power into items which we will be taking with us.
So wish us well in the weather continuing to cast its blessings on us, or we may well have to summon up a bubble of protection to keep ourselves dry …