Cypriana: Old World


Edited by Alexander Cummins, Jesse Hathaway Diaz, and Jennifer Zahrt.

Saint Cyprian of Antioch and (to a far lesser extent) Saint Justina of Antioch have recently been the focus of a resurgence of interest in the English-speaking world. It has been remarked that they stand at a crossroads of the so-called Old and New Worlds, forming an intermediary nexus of Christian thaumaturgy and older pagan mysteries. The former, an infernal sorcerer-saint and patron of occultists whose influence stretches across the globe from Iberian necromancy manuals to Brazilian macumba, and from Scandinavian Black Books to Mexican curanderismo; the latter, a celestial patroness of exorcism and elevation, redeemer of the wayward, and protector of the innocent.

This collection explores aspects of the historicity of Cyprianic history, folklore, and magic while charting new expressions of veneration and patronage within various spiritual traditions and sorcerous practices across the world, tracing the globe-spanning influence of Cyprian and Justina in texts, dedications, oral traditions, medicines, and poisons. In particular, we have sought to honour extant Cyprianic traditions outside the English-speaking world and well beyond the cavalcading circular conversation of internet talking-shops.

Cypriana: Old World brings together diverse and divergent essays on specifically-situated Cyprianic traditions and practices across time, place, and culture. Moreover, it brings to light new English translations of mythic accounts of the sorcerer-saint and his chaste saviouress, which may be worked by practitioners for their prayers, incantations, charms, and historiola. In short, we seek to model how to turn information into workable material; and to show more than simply tell of methods, mindsets and materia for developing relationships with these saints. In dedicated service to this ideal, we present two hands, combining historical roots and experiential blossoming branches of spiritual veneration and sorcerous utility to be honoured and explored. We have gathered genuine, responsible emic perspectives on various forms of religious and sorcerous work with Cyprian and Justina, with a dual focus on the values of historically and mythically situated traditional practices and spirit-led experimentation and innovation.

Most crucially this collection is under no circumstances a territorial bid to claim these saints as ‘ours’ by establishing any kind of ‘One True Cypriana’ or to attempt to discredit any particular traditions, innovations or interpretations. It is a collection of opinions, sources, practices, methodologies, rites, and histories made all the richer and deeper by their multiplicity and polyvalency. May they spark as many epiphanies, miracles, and temptations as there are bones in the earth and stars in the heavens.

Cypriana: Old World is the first volume in the Folk Necromancy in Transmission series, conceived by Alexander Cummins and Jesse Hathaway Diaz, available through Revelore Press.