New Altar, New Work, Same Space (also hi, Saint Cyprian!)

Alas, I recently had to dismantle my beloved MaGOS altar, though not because it failed its purpose.  Rather, it’s been a fantastic bit of magical machinery, and it taught me no small amount about orgone and magical energies generally, as well as applying modern magical methods to traditional systems.  No, I had to dismantle it because I needed the space.  I swear, I’m going to be ecstatic when I move into a new place where I can get a whole room all to myself for use as a temple and have all my magical shit lining the walls without having to worry about things like beds or desks or porn.

Why did I need the space?  Because I needed to set up a new altar for a new spirit.  Of course, I don’t erect altars for every spirit I work with; my two big altars, my devotional altar where I make the majority of my prayers and my magical altar or Table of Manifestation where I do some of my  Work, suffice for most of my purposes.  The other altars around my room are for big-name deities, like Hermes and Dionysus, or for my ancestors. The other spirits I work with I make occasional offerings to at my devotional altar or dedicate a bit of jewelry to them and wear it in their honor every now and then.  No, altars for me are where I do major spiritual work at, and if I have to set up an altar for something, it’s going to be for a long-term good purpose.

So, who’s this new altar going to?  Someone with whom I should’ve probably called on long before now: Saint Cyprian of Antioch, the patron saint of magicians and necromancers.  He’s been undergoing a resurgence and reemergence as of late, which is no bad thing, and I’ll leave you to do the clicky-clicky on the linky-linkies and read up more about him if you’re unfamiliar.  Of course, he’s not officially recognized by the Roman Catholic Church anymore, but that hasn’t really stopped him from playing a significant role in the lives of those who call upon him.

Why this good Saint?  I’m working with angels and calling on the name of Christ, as well as getting involved with paranormal investigation and spiritual counseling, plus getting plenty of further integration and connection with various Central American African diasporic religions.  The fact that this saint is a Christian magician, the archetype of many such magicians, plus a Faustian figure (if not the archetypal one), gives Saint Cyprian a special resonance with the work I already do.  I mean, I’m no Christian in name, but I’m certainly not opposed to chilling with Christ or calling on his name, especially since my work is leading me in a direction that is parallel or even meeting up with him.  Beyond that, though, Cyprian is especially good at working magic with spirits, especially those of the underworld in their many and sundry varieties, and working with the dead is becoming more of a focus in my work than I had anticipated, either with my own or with that of the areas I visit.  Demons, too, which is still going to be a project of mine when I get the time for it, are something Cyprian works nicely with, and having this extra help for me is no bad thing.  Perhaps most importantly, however, Saint Cyprian is mostly known in Central/South American, Hispanic, and ATR circles nowadays, and has major associations with a number of their gods (e.g. Babalu Aye of the Santeros, in addition to Saint Lazarus).  It’s not that I want to work with these deities, necessarily, but it will help bridge a gap between what I do and what some of my associates do, especially in the necromantic department.

It’s weird, but I get nothing but good omens for working with him.  Besides, having someone on my side lower than the angels is a good thing, especially when I get around to doing work that’s lower than what I normally do, anyway.  Once I get a few more supplies (prayer cards for an amparo, saint medallion, yet another incense burner, etc.) and make a few initial charms and things, I’ll start working with Saint Cyprian of Antioch in the coming weeks.  Deo volente, I’ll be able to get into another side of the magic I already do.

If you already work with Saint Cyprian of Antioch, what have some of your experiences been like?  Do you have any advice for others who want to learn more about working with this saint?

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About polyphanes
I'm a software developer and Hermetic occultist living near Washington, DC, USA. I claim that I'm youthful, dashing, daring, and other things. I make things and chant stuff, and periodically write about them.

10 Responses to New Altar, New Work, Same Space (also hi, Saint Cyprian!)

  1. Michael Sebastian Lùx says:

    Depending on how traditional you want to work, I’d suggest getting Hadean Press’ Saint Cyprian: Saint of Necromancers for some ideas of ways to work with him. When I started out, I took a little bit more of the austere Catholic approach that I grew up with, but learned that there are some degrees of deviation. While, according to Conjureman Ali, one is supposed to hang an upside down aloe vera plant by his shrine and switch sides depending on what kind of work you’re doing, I’ve found a simple planted aloe plant works just as well. Also, if interested, you can e-mail me for some cool spells that the good saint kindly gave me.

    • polyphanes says:

      Yup, I have the anthology of the Saints books from Hadean Press, and am using that as my primary source text (plus a Spanish copy of the 1510 El Libro de San Cipriano y Santa Justina). The aloe plant sounds similar to practices of Santissima Muerte.

      • Michael Sebastian Lùx says:

        Yes, it’s also found there too. Largely because in Latin American countries the two frequently go hand in hand. Also, my Saint Cyprian liked standing on top of a loaded (with things) goat skull. The eyes are sealed with obsidian disks that are useful in divination.

  2. Do saints have spirits under their command?

    • polyphanes says:

      It’s unclear; the saints are basically Christian heroes and heroines in the old sense, normal mankinds who were made great by their divine acts and worthy of our veneration. Some saints aren’t really human (cf. Santissima Muerte and the archangelic saints), so they’re neither here nor there. The other saints…eh, I’m going to guess and say that they don’t have spirits under their command, but by their divine powers they may be able to control or work with spirits more ably than mere humans. This is just my guess, though.

  3. Ah, I see. I was wondering, cause ya know how certain demons and entities have like “30,000 legions underneath their command”. Those beings must be of a different nature altogether. This is all fascinating stuff btw! I am very glad to have found your blog =D
    Also wondering if Saints can manifest in two places than once, or are they bound by time and space in the astral realms. If two people are making offerings to one saint at the same time, then what happens?

    • polyphanes says:

      Right, saints are a much different type of spirit. They’re not rulers or leaders of anything, unlike the demon princes or kings or dukes. Rather, the saints are part of the Kingdom of God, just like we are, but they’re higher up due to their higher holiness. I might still be wrong, but I would be surprised if I learned that saints had armies of their own when there’s the Heavenly Host backing them all up.

      As a rule, spirits aren’t bound by time and space like how physical bodies are; that seems to be a function of the material world we live in. Since we’re used to only being in one place at one time (and our minds can’t easily handle anything different from that), we adopt that perspective in the astral. People who are adept at it, or spirits that have been spirits for a long time after being human or animal, can probably adapt to being in multiple places at multiple times. “Place” is a much more fluid concept in the spiritual realms than it is in the material realms. That’s how multiple churches across the world can perform Mass or pray to the same god at the same time in different places and each person has their prayers heard. It’s not the same as our physical world by any means, and any perceived similarity is a convenience for our sanity’s sake.

  4. Hey dude, that’s pretty interesting. That makes total sense, and would explain this whole church praying, be everywhere at once deal. Ya know, cause I’m thinking, so many people pray to Jesus, and I’m thinking he must be able to be everywhere at once. That’s pretty nutty.
    I’m going to assume that angels and heavenly entities command legions like their infernal counterparts. Is that the case?

    What exactly is Mass? Is it just some elaborate prayer ritual?

    And who exactly are these Catholic churches praying to?

    • polyphanes says:

      I wouldn’t say that that’s the case with angels. Michael is the Prince of the Heavenly Host, sure, so if anyone “commands” the angels, it’d be him and (above him) God. But while there’s a hierarchy implied in how angels are described, it’s probably better to think of them as a “hive mind” type of deal. Like, you might consider the individual angels as cells and the different choirs of angels as organs. All the angels, and by extension all the choirs of angels, act in unison to achieve the work of God; we might kinda say that God is the “body” that is formed from the “cells” of angels, but (as is often the case) God is still far more and far more infinite than just that. In that view, you’re confusing how the demons work with how the angels work. It’s a different ball game.

      Mass: read up first. It’s basically the Christian ritual, celebrating and partaking in the sacrifice of Christ so that we can gain the glory of the Divine in our lives and in the hereafter. It’s far more than “some elaborate prayer ritual”.

      Catholic churches, as any Christian church, pray to God. It really doesn’t get any more complicated than that. They do things a little differently than other sects of Christianity, but that’s still the underlying principle around which everything else revolves.

      It seems to me like you’re focusing too much on frameworks and theory which “works nice” or “looks nice”. I’d suggest easing up on that, because these are extraordinarily arbitrary and fragile things, especially when you’re beginning the study of this stuff. Getting lost in these really makes a lot of experiential and personal knowledge harder to obtain. If you want answers about the angels, I suggest conjuring a few and starting conversations with them.

      As for Christianity, I should make it known that I’m no Christian myself. I do intend to be baptised at some point and become fully initiated into Christianity, but I’m still on the outskirts of it still learning about it. You’d do better to ask your friends who are actually Christian, do research on your own, or (even better) talk to a priest.

  5. You sir, are an inspiration and a scholar! I will get to it, and let you know how it goes =D

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