I've been doing the Novena of St. Cyprian for ten years now. He's apparently gained some serious cred recently - especially with the sorceress crowd. I keep finding blog posts about him and folks doing his novena. Thought I'd share my own experience with you all for the nine days of his work.
A bit of History:
There are two St. Cyprians out there. The first (and slightly better documented) was Cyprian of Carthage. He is endorsed as the true Cyprian by the Catholic church. Born in Carthage in north Africa in the early 3rd century, he worked throughout North Africa for most of his adult life and was martyred in his own villa in 258 AD. Beheaded, actually, with his own sword. In true Catholic idiocy, his body was buried, disinterred, reburied and moved - twice. Supposedly, it now rests in both France and Rome. His bones are also distributed across four cities and several churches. The poor man is in worse shape than Osiris - no wonder he continually resurrects - he just wants to be whole again.
The second (and more interesting one) is Cyprian of Antioch. He was a bishop, but also a renowned Pagan conjurer, sorcerer and magician who dealt in shadows and dark magics. He seriously lusted after St. Justina, and sent demons to bring her to him. When she dispelled his demons by the sign of the cross, he converted on the spot to Christianity. However, he retained his magical prowess and continued to use a powerful book of spells he had written. Hey, once a sorcerer, always a sorcerer. He and Justina (who was now his bestie) were beheaded together, after a few rounds of torture. This Cyprian is considered to be the patron saint of witches, conjurers, root doctors, magicians, sorcerers, occultists, demonologers, necromancers, spiritualists, and spiritual workers, both good and evil. Needless to say, he's a busy guy.
His biggest devotional gang is on the Iberian Peninsula. Here is a link to a wonderful site with lots of prayers in both English and Latin: Prayers to St. Cyprian. Although they tend to be skewed toward his Jesuit manifestation, they work, trust me on that one.
There are many books attributed to St Cyprian. The most well known is the El Libero Infernal. St Cyprian's books have the reputation for having been quoted in the trials of the Spanish Inquisition, though none have survived in trial papers - at least none that have been found. Demonology would gain quite the foothold in Spain. The French priest and writer Helinand of Froidmont observed that "one could seek liberal arts in Paris, the Law in Bologna, medicine in Salerno and demons in Toledo." Cyprian's books played well with the underworld and its denizens.
For a well written examination of Cyprian's magical books, check out Dan Harm's blog on the many books attributed to this great wonder worker - Cyprian's Magical Discourse
The Novena - Nine Days of Magic and Recourse
A novena is simply a set of prayers offered (or spoken) for a specific number of days. You can dress it up from there. Don't have a lot of time or space? Then just say the prayers at the same time each day and head off to your life. Have the time to devote to a larger working? Then spend it at your altar with proper accoutrement for the saint.
Cyprian's Feast Days begin on September 19th and finish on the 26th. That's because the 19th is the date observed by the magical world as the Feast of Cyprian of Antioch, while the Catholic's observe the 26th for Cyprian of Carthage. Smart mages do well to work a novena for the entire 9 days as a complete Feast of Cyprian, just to hedge their own bets in the underworld.
I dress our personal altar in gold and purple, the colors shown in the above chromo of Cyprian. I strew 9 gold dollars on the cloth as an offering, and light purple candles in his honor. I place my own magical books on the altar beginning with my father-in-law's Masonic bible, my liturgy of Vodou and my Egyptian Book of the Dead. I light frankincense and myrrh incense and then say the following prayer to Cyprian:
Glorious Martyr,Saint Cyprian of Antioch,
who by Divine Grace converted to the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ,
you who possessed the highest secrets of Magic,
build now a refuge for me against my enemies and their evil deeds.
For the merit that you obtained before God, Creator of heaven and earth,
cancel out all evil spirits, products of hate,
the spells that hardened hearts have cast or will come to cast
against my person and against my home.
With the permission of the All Powerful God,
answer my prayer and come to my assistance,
through the blood of our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.
Light the candles, then offer 3 Our Fathers, 2 Hail Marys, and 1 Credo
Remember, Cyprian was a Christian sorcerer, so use Christian prayer to work with that particular stream. I am also a Vodouisant, and we use Catholic prayers for everything, both magical and mundane. It fits very nicely into my world purview.
Do this for nine straight days. Cyprian was said to straddle two worlds - the red realm (this one) and the black one (the underworld). See if doing this ignites your magic with a power and grace you've not felt before. I believe for me, it does. Let me know how you go. I'll keep you posted.