I’ve been working with St. Cyprian of Antioch for almost 20 years now, but until recently, there has been very little information – or material from any of the many grimoires attributed to him – available in English. The past few years have seen an explosion of interest and information across numerous “occult subcultures” and some really smart people translating, publishing, and talking about this infamous saint. It’s honestly a really exciting time to be a devotee of St. Cyprian — the sorcerer saint, patron of the lovelorn, friend of the traveler, and refuge of the accursed.
Said to have been consecrated to the devil by his parents when he was 7 years old [*], Cyprian grew up studying and practicing the black arts, eventually setting up shop in Antioch as a sorcerer-for-hire. He tried every trick in the book to get the young Christian virgin Justina to give up her chaste ways, but no matter what demon or what magic he threw at her, she defeated it all by making the sign of the cross. Cyprian knew what the smart affiliation was at that point, as the legend goes, and he was baptized, renouncing his pagan sorcery.
But other legends have circulated alongside those in the hagiographies – that his grimoires survived and have been in circulation ever since, that he ultimately renounced his renunciation of sorcery, that he never truly gave up sorcery at all. At any rate, this paradoxical figure has been popular globally, and most especially in the Spanish-speaking world, for hundreds of years, invoked by sorcerers for occult mastery and power, by tradesmen for help finding treasure, by lovers to secure the love of their targets, by diviners for psychic vision and necromancy, and by anyone trying to be free of mal ojo, crossed conditions, negativity, and bad luck.
Petition St. Cyprian for matters related to the black arts (including necromancy & ancestor work), uncrossing, protection, psychic vision and divination, and yes, as all the old grimoires mention, love as well.
He’s also called on to protect against thunder and lightning storms and to help prisoners, travelers, women in childbirth, and those suffering slander and false witness.
Honestly, I don’t feel like he’s a saint everybody can or should work with. I have found that he expects a certain level of commitment to the magical path (well beyond the “casual but curious newcomer” level), as well as a decent range of experience with the magical arts (well beyond the “I got into this to cast a few love spells” level). I don’t feel like he’d smite you if he thought you were flaky or lacked discipline, but I do feel like he’d just wander off and leave you to it and stop answering when you call. Where some saints show up and it’s like an old friend and you chatter at them while you’re cooking dinner or whatever, that’s not St. Cyprian in my experience. He’s more like a (potentially intimidating) teacher or tutor who shows up expecting that you’ve done the prep work and will be pretty irritated if you haven’t. I mean, he’s not Snape, but he’s not here to make friends and shoot the shit. He expects you to work and study.
And while I often say that most saints don’t give a leaping crap whether or not you’re an observant Christian, I think St. Cyprian cares more than most, which might seem counterintuitive given his association with the black arts and sorcery. But he wasn’t pretending to convert to Christianity as a cover for continued paganism – it wasn’t a front or act. He’s both/and, not either/or. So I don’t recommend you just ditch all the traditional accoutrements and prayers right out of the gate and assume he’s just fine with it if you’re actively resistant to or even disgusted by the framework and trappings of Catholicism. Maybe y’all can work something out down the road if you form a solid relationship, but I’d observe the major proprieties when setting out, if I were you.
He’ll certainly work with people who aren’t Christian, but imo, you need to *understand* what the deal is with Christianity and appreciate how there can be such a thing as Christian sorcery in order to click with St. Cyprian. He’s going to point to a massive source of power for you to explore, and if you turn your nose up at it because you’re having some reactive emotional thing about the church, or you truly believe that Christ is the epitome of weakness or something, I really don’t know that that’s gonna work out for y’all. He’s probably not going to be impressed with what I imagine he might call your spiritual maturity.
The Chaplet of St. Cyprian
There’s been a lot of attention and innovation in the realm of Cyprianic prayer to accompany the increase in interest and upswing in research we’ve seen surrounding St. Cyprian over the last few years. So you’ll find several versions of Cyprianic rosaries and chaplets out there, with varying relationships to Roman Catholic tradition. I’m not here to tell you how to pray, but here are some potentially helpful resources if you’re looking for some ideas.
St. Cyprian “Niner” Chaplet (Novena)
As you might expect, a niner chaplet has nine beads arranged in three sets of three. They usually involve an opening prayer, then the Our Father, Hail Mary, and Glory Be x 3, and then a concluding prayer.
These are sometimes called novena chaplets, and if you use them to do a standard novena, you might use the prayer associated with the given day of the novena. Or you might choose some other prayer associated with St. Cyprian that you’re fond of.
Here’s one way to pray a chaplet like this: on the medal, ask for St. Cyprian’s intercession for your particular need. On each set of beads, say an Our Father, a Hail Mary, and a Glory Be. Finally, on the crucifix (if there is one), say the Apostle’s Creed.
The Resources section below links to these prayers if you’re not familiar with them.
St. Cyprian Single Decade “Tenner” Rosary/Chaplet (Decima)
Decade or decima chaplets like this one usually involve an introductory prayer or meditation, then an Our Father on the larger (pater) bead, then ten Hail Marys, then a Glory Be.
Here’s one way to pray a chaplet like the one pictured. At the cross, make and pray the sign of the cross (“In the name of the Father…”). At the larger first bead, say an Our Father.
Say a Hail Mary on each of the next ten beads. Then say a Glory Be. This is kind of the basic “formula” for a decade of the Marian rosary.
If you’re going to repeat this in order to pray a full five-decade rosary, then you can next say the Fatima prayer (“O my Jesus, forgive us our sins…”), or you can substitute or add a prayer to St. Cyprian (see next section). If you’re just going to pray the one decade, you can conclude with the Salve Regina (“Hail holy queen, mother of mercy…”) or, if you prefer, a Cyprianic prayer.
And as St. Cyprian is, after all, the patron saint of necromancers, I often bring in elements of devotional and penitential practice such as prayers for the departed, the souls in purgatory, or the blessed dead.
So you might consider incorporating elements of something like the Chaplet of the Dead into your work with Cyprianic prayer beads. Among other prayers, it uses the De Profundis (Psalm 130) and the prayer, “Lord, grant them eternal rest, and let perpetual light shine upon them. May they rest in peace.”
(Lots more prayers for the souls in purgatory linked to in the resources below — see the Purgatorian Society material.)
A Three-Decade St. Cyprian Chaplet (sort of)
Ok, it’s not exactly three decades – it’s three sets of nine beads each, similar to the Angelic Trisagion chaplet. And if you’d like an already-developed system and set of prayers to go along with a chaplet like this, you can find one over at The Digital Ambler’s “The Chaplet of St. Cyprian of Antioch.”
Each ennead is dedicated to a stage of Cyprian’s life (initiate, magus, saint), and he’s included brief descriptive passages that are somewhat akin to the meditations on the various mysteries you might perform when saying a traditional Marian rosary. It’s pretty neat work.
This is the style I generally use, and I like his take on the introductory beads, too. (For whatever it’s worth, as clergy, I pray the Confiteor in the introduction, but as a layperson I would probably stick with an Act of Contrition or Act of Hope. Your mileage may, of course, vary.)
If you’re looking for Cyprianic prayers, meditations, or other elements to include in your recitation of this or another style of chaplet for St. Cyprian, you’ll find some great ideas there. And I’ve added a few more below.
Other Cyprianic Prayers
A Cyprianic Citation of the Angels
I invoke, require, and entreat you, o Almaziel, Ariel, Anathamia, Ezebul, Abiul, Ezea, Ahesin and Calizabin, the most holy angels of God; through all the dominions, thrones, powers and principalities of the angels, together with the assembly of the blessed; through the ineffable delight of that angel announcing to the shepherds the incarnation or rather the nativity of the savior, which they themselves felt; through the 24 elders who sing incessantly in the presence of God, “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord our God;” through the uncreated angel of the covenant, Jesus; and through the cherubim and seraphin and all the archangels; through the infinite omnipotence of God in the sensible world, creating all things with one word; that you might help me in this arduous work as you helped Lot and Abraham when they were entertaining you as a guest, and no less than Jacob, Moses, Joshua, Sampson, and many others.
Deign to approach me in the same manner as your heavenly and most desirable society, and to inform me of the necessary things to do for this purpose, in the name of the threefold Jehovah whose praises you sing without ceasing to honor the Omnipotent, who is your Lord as he is mine.– from Verus Jesuitarum Libellus (The True Petition of the Jesuits), a 19th-century book of prayers and conjurations (claiming to be from the early 1500s); translation (and any errors) mine. So this translation is my intellectual property, just like every post on this blog, and it is licensed CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 (Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike). I’m seriously sick of having my shit stolen. CC means you can copy it, but you have to follow the licensing rules. Read them.
Miraculous Prayer to St. Cyprian to Tame and Bind
To be prayed with great faith for three days, then disseminated in three places to thank the saint for his work on your behalf.
By the powers of St. Cyprian and the three souls that he watches over, N. will come after me, N. He will come crawling and in love, full of love and desire to return. He will apologize for lying and seek me in courtship, to be married as quickly as possible.
St. Cyprian, I will have that power so that he will forget any woman who may be in his mind and be with me again, declaring for all to see.
Saint Cyprian, alienate N. from any woman so that he looks for me at all times today and always, wishing to be by my side, so that he has the certainty that I am the perfect woman for him, so that he can’t live without me, so that N. will always have my image in his mind at all times.
No matter where I am or with whom, he will look for me because I occupy his thoughts. And when he goes to bed, he dreams of me, and when he wakes up, he thinks of me and wants me. When eating, he thinks of me. When walking, he thinks about me. In all the moments of his life, he thinks of me.
He wants to see me, feel me, smell me, to come to me with love. He wants to hug me, kiss me, take care of me, protect me, love me 24 hours of all his days, thus making him love me more and feel pleasure just by hearing my voice.
Saint Cyprian, cause N. to feel for me, N., a wish out of the ordinary, as he never felt for another person and never will, so that he finds pleasure only with me, that he feels desire only for me, and that his body belongs only to me, that he only has peace if it’s okay with me.
I thank you, Saint Cyprian, for working in my favor, and I will divulge your name in payment for your taming of N., that you bring him in love, affectionate, defeated, dedicated and faithful, full of desire in my arms.– Intranquility-style prayer copied from a printed, mass-produced Mexican oracion, translated and lightly edited by Karma Zain. This oracion wasn’t in great shape; between its poor physical condition and some sketchy grammar, I did not try to translate word for word and I edited more freely than usual for clarity. My translation licensed CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 (Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike).
A Sorcerer’s Prayer to St. Cyprian by Jason Miller
A 16th Century Catalan Prayer of St. Cyprian at Big Lucky Hoodoo
Book of St. Cyprian by Polyphanes (of The Digital Ambler)
Catholic Prayers at JesuitResource.org
The Chaplet of Saint Cyprian at The Order of Saint Cyprian of Antioch
Honoring St. Cyprian by Chiron Armand of Impact Shamanism
Manual of the Purgatorian Society. 1907 ed. Google Play link.
Novena of St. Cyprian and St. Justina at The Digital Ambler
St. Cyprian info at Lucky Mojo
St. Cyprian: Saint of Necromancers by ConjureMan Ali (*ridiculously* affordable)
St. Cyprian for Love Work at Seraphin Station
[*] This is the version from The Golden Legend (Aurea Legenda), compiled by Jacobus de Voragine, Archbishop of Genoa, 1275. Englished by William Caxton, First Edition 1483, Edited by F.S. Ellis, Temple Classics, 1900 (Reprinted 1922, 1931). Part of the Internet Medieval Sourcebook.
-last update 10/7/21