Dear Fellow Ciprianistas, and those called to such office,
On this Feast of Saint Lucy, Herald of Sight and Promise, we are writing to invite you, once again, or for the first time, to take up the plume and join us in creating the next volume of Cypriana. Our first volume, Cypriana: Old World, was well received and we believe a beautiful foundation upon which to further explore this Saint and his surrounding cultus and expressions. This time, focusing on those permutations both inherited and innovated in the New World.
Why the so-called ‘New World’?
The Americas, and by extension, those provinces once and still under European colonial rule in East Asia, Australia and Oceania are a necessary exploration in our saintly Pilgrimage. Because of the spread of Catholicism – and to a lesser extent Orthodox Christianity – through colonisation in relatively recent history, these particular areas often have unique expressions of Saint cultus: both through syncretisation and hybridisation with pre-colonial spiritual modalities, as well the superficial syncretism of using Saints as ‘masque’ to continue the worship of other spirits and deities. Additionally, for myriad reasons, the cultic worship of Saints in the New World tends to preserve traditions from Old Europe that fell out of common practice post-Enlightenment. It is these unique voices and expressions of Cyprian and Justina, and their story and cult, that we wish to focus on for the next volume. Often under-represented in the English-speaking explorations of these saints, and often bound to practices steeped in oaths and oral tradition frequently misrepresented when taken out of religio-cultural context, there is a necessary sensitivity that must be cultivated and nurtured.
What is Cypriana?
Recently Saint Cyprian of Antioch and (to a far lesser extent) Saint Justina of Padua have 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 English necromancy manuals to Icelandic Black Books; the latter, a celestial patroness of exorcism and elevation, redeemer of the wayward, and protector of the innocent.
This series will explore the historicity of these saints while charting new cultic expressions of their veneration and deployment within various spiritual and sorcerous traditions and practices across the world, tracing the globe-spanning influence of Cyprian and Justina in texts, dedications, oral traditions, medicines and poisons. This anthology will bring together diverse and divergent reports, essays, and accounts of specifically situated Cyprianic traditions and practices across time, place, and culture. Both historical roots and experiential blossoming branches of their spiritual veneration and sorcerous utility will be honoured and explored.
How do you contribute?
We are looking for pieces that explore our Saints as thoroughly as resource and material allow. Many such possibilities exist: translations of source texts, interviews with devotees and practitioners, essays and articles investigating related permutations drawing from personal experience, comparative literary sources or field data. In short – we want your writing! Eventual pieces ideally range from 5k to 8k words, although we are open to the possibility of shorter or longer pieces. Of essence is quality, not quantity.
If this call to arms and papers stirs something within you, some spark or suspicion, please send us an abstract (c. 100-400 words) briefly outlining your proposal by Epiphany on January 6, 2017 (to justina@ rubedo.press [remove the space when you send]). Once your proposal has been reviewed and accepted, please submit your finished article by the Ides of March 15. Please also do reach out to us with any questions, ideas, or percolations that arise. Not only do we love colluding with our co-conspirators, we intend to be somewhat ‘hands-on’ editors, and are excited to collaborate with our contributors – potentially putting you in touch with each other for access to further information and perspectives. We expect to release this second volume upon the Feast of the Saints Cyprian and Justina in 2017.
Who are we?
The editors of this project are Dr Jennifer Zahrt, Jesse Hathaway Diaz and Dr Alexander Cummins. Jennifer, proprietress of Rubedo Press, is a seasoned editor, cultural historian, and global expert on the history, epistemology, and philosophy of astrological practice; Jesse, an initiated Olosha and Tatá Quimbanda, is a polyglot folklorist focusing on Saint Lore and Catholic permutations of witchcraft and magic; Al is an historian of magic, with particular research interest in grimoires, demonology, necromancy and love magic.
Rubedo Press, established in 2014, dedicates itself to publishing works that display a particular devotion to wisdom, intensity, and beauty – works that demonstrate rigour, without succumbing to academic rigour mortis. Our anthology fits perfectly inside their purview.
While the predominance of this resurgence has been focused upon our titular Heiromartyr, there is a broad world of praxis extant, revived, and inspired yet to discuss. This particular volume has, as Cummins has said, ‘cohered around Cyprianic history and the magic of the Old World of Europe.’ And from here, we may take the roots of this Flaming Tree and follow them to their branching expressions in the New World and examine the fruits of our good Saints’ expressions in various streams of American magic. A child of the Iberian inheritances of Latin America, the cults of the Saints Cyprian and Justina take strong root in the soils of these continents. While the English speaking occult world explores this revived devotion to and working with the Saint, there is a world of extant devotion and practice within the Portuguese and Spanish speaking world that challenges us to learn, discuss and grow with it, for the roots of the Tree are vast, its branches multifold, its fruit plentiful, and–our Book is never finished.
(from Cypriana: Old World, ‘An Afterword’ by Jesse Hathaway Diaz)
For the Light once celebrated on this day, the miracle of sight and Sight, in the name of the good Saint Lucy, whose Feast today sees this invitation in your hands: we wish you continued expansion and abundance in this season of growing Light in Darkness. For those in the Southern Hemisphere, may the Eyeless Virgin guard your endeavors well into the dwindling gloaming of the year. Sancta Lucia, ora pro nobis…
We thank you most humbly and hope you will answer the call to collective offering to the Good Saints. May the Sorcerous Heiromartyr and the Lily-Dagger inspire us all to new inkshed, for our Book is never finished…
Yours in inkshed and inspiration,
Jenn, Al, & Jesse