Queen of the Seven Crossroads

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Queen of the Seven Crossroads by Humberto Maggi, is a work of sorcerous devotion dedicated to this Queen of Quimbanda, a Brazilian magico-religious system that emerged in the first half of the 20th century. The aim of this treatise is to provide a conceptual background for a better comprehension of the identity and role of the Queen of the Seven Crossroads, enabling the devotee to develop a consistent practice of work and communion with this elevated spirit.

Humberto Maggi weaves together history and myth, taking the reader on a journey from ancient Greece and Rome, to early modern Europe through the Inquisition, to Africa, and finally to Brazil showcasing the power of oral tradition. This is an in-depth survey of the historical developments that influenced the creation of the concept of the Queen of the Seven Crossroads, comprising about 80% of the text. Maggi traces the roots of this complex spirit, introducing readers to the cycle of magic into myth into magic through the lore of Greek witches like Medea and Circe and how one sees echoes of this mythical theme in the lore of Maria de Padilla, and how the Latin myth of the witch reflected in the likes of Erichto and Sagana evolves into the Witch of Evora. We learn how these European concepts; are imported into Brazil through the prosecuted witches of Portugual, and how these beliefs came to meet African concepts about the orisha Exu, over time evolving into what we now call Quimbanda, a witch’s cauldron that gave birth to the spirit known as the Queen of the 7 Crossroads. This is a well researched text, with ample footnotes and plenty of source material listed for the devotee to further their own research. Indeed the sections on the Witches of Evora and Martha Who Is In Hell alone sent me on my own quest, something that delayed this review as the working method Maggi describes of the Witches of Evora proved to be ripe for experimentation.

The remainder of the text is small grimoire for developing a relationship and working with the Queen of the 7 Crossroads. It is short and concise, exploring her iconography, the meanings behind certain offerings, works of sorcery, ponto cantos (sung points) in Portuguese and English, and several ponto riscados (scratched points) including the author’s personal ponto riscado and his methods of working with her.

This book will interest not only students of Quimbanda, but also traditional witchcraft. The historical sections alone gave me so much to think about and to explore. This begs the question of how applicable the sorcerous work is for those who are not students of Quimbanda, which is an initiatory system. I myself am not initiated into Quimbanda, I have received my consulta and know my personal Exu and Pomba Gira, but this certainly does not qualify me as any sort of an expert on such matters. You will certainly hear conflicting things online, so my recommendation is that if this work does interest you and truly speak to you… seek it out.

You can purchase Queen of the Seven Crossroads, as a hardcover, paperback, or eBook; here.

If you are interested in learning more about Quimbanda, I would suggest checking out An Introduction to Brazilian Quimbanda taught by Jesse Hathaway Diaz, Tata Apokan of Wolf & Goat; and Introduction to Kimbanda: Perspectives in South America offered by Emmanuel Leidi of Sorcerous Tarot,

Review: the Black School of Saint Cyprian

Jason Miller’s  Black School of Saint Cyprian is a course of  Cyprianic sorcery informed by historical grimoire practices, the arts of the clerical underground, Old and New world folk magic, and the many years of practical sorcery which Jason has practiced and taught hundreds of people.  

The course consists of 10 lessons of audio instructions and ritual texts, with biweekly recorded question and answer modules, as well as a special community for asking questions and discussing the material with other students, which I found to make the course accessible and engaging. I particularly valued the community as it offered an affirming and approachable space, with previous and current students offering practical support and insight, and led to a number of new friendships.

The Black School of Saint Cyprian will appeal to anyone interested  in building a foundation for practical grimoire magic as well as those with interests in traditional forms of witchcraft, particularly the LuxUmbrian tradition of witchcraft practiced by the Church of Light & Shadow, as the Black School of Cyprian was one of the contributing factors in the creation of the ELU. While working with Saint Cyprian requires a degree of comfort working within a Christian cosmology, the Black School doesn’t require one to adopt a Christian worldview, I found it challenges that worldview in creative ways that appealed to my Luciferian sympathies and makes the course approachable by both  non-Christian and pagan practitioners. This course teaches the student how to operate in the liminal areas between Heaven and Hell, Angelic and the Demonic, Living and the Dead, the Pagan and Christian, and has enabled me to reconcile Christian and grimoric magic with my animist and gnostic leanings. 

Although the grimoires themselves  have survived, the absence of a living tradition has been a roadblock for myself to interface with them in a real and meaningful manner  – the Black School of Saint Cyprian establishes a new, living, and vibrant tradition without being prescriptive. It offers a regular practice that forms a solid foundation for engaging with the spirits of the grimoires.  This foundation provides the Authority, Ability, and Access that are necessary for Spirit work. I found the Black School to offer an engaged curriculum which has put me in direct contact with spirits; it has established my spiritual authority, which Jason defines as power by which you call-up, commune with, and if necessary command, the spirits, it has increased my ability to sense and communicate with the spirits, and offers a variety of ways to enter into pacts and relations with the spirits. The Black School teaches you how to evoke and exorcise spirits through constraint, and how to invite and entice spirits through equitable exchange, and the Why and When to use either method.

It’s admittedly difficult to talk about the work proper, as you swear an oath of secrecy about its practices when you join.  However Jason Miller in a recent Monday Magic newsletter, discussed how the work relates to the Three A’s of Authority, Ability, and Access, which I feel provides safe talking points to discuss how the Black School of Cyprian has affected my own work. 

Lesson 1: The Cave, Cross, and Skull: This lesson introduces Jason’s approach to Cyprianic magic and establishes the philosophical background of the course. It  teaches exercises which establish your position in a chain of command that grants spiritual authority, and another for awakening your ability to see and sense the spirits. I did the practices in the first three lessons every day for seven months, and during that time my magical practice has undergone a complete overhaul, I feel more engaged with both my goetic spirit work and my folk Catholicsm. 

The mediation taught in this lesson also changed and deepened my experience of the Mass. I would arrive early and do the meditation for 20-30 minutes before Mass began, which is something I highly recommend doing if you take this course.  

Lesson 2: The Three Nails and the Three Oils: Here you learn to express and enforce the authority you have gained in the first lesson. The practices taught here sync nicely with my folk magic practices, and has become one of my go to techniques. 

Lesson 3: The Father of the First Flame: After a fairly Christian-based start, things move in a Luciferian direction to the  left side of the work. This practice establishes a different side of authority, as well as the ability to make ourselves more visible to the spirits. Again this practice has become a staple in my own work, this practice coupled with the meditation in the first enables the witch to stand at the crossroads betwixt heaven and hell. 

Lesson 4: The Book and the Bindings: In this lesson you  prepare the central tool of the work: The Black Book of Cyprian, which functions as the altar upon which authority and access are co-joined. I can’t say much about this lesson without giving things away so moving on…

Lesson 5: The Baptism of Demons: After spending two months establishing our authority, and building our ability,this lesson opens access to the spirits. The first mode of access is a way of working with demons that establishes a relationship on an equitable and beneficial footing, while still under the auspices of divine authority. I really enjoyed this lesson as it opens up the ability to work with these spirits in a much more folk magic oriented context. 

Lesson 6: The Ostensorium, Exorcism, and Evocation: The second mode of access is more forceful and relies upon adjuring by oath. Pretty straight forward, this lesson is based in traditional grimoric techniques with a Cyprianic twist. 

Lesson 7: The Spells, Seals, and Seeing: This lesson provides the third mode of access, which  is infinitely variable and easier than the other two, but could not be accomplished without all the work previously. Nuff said really.

Lesson 8: Saint Justina and the Cauldron of Miracles: This lesson teaches the methods of unwinding magic and the mysteries of Justina who grants yet another form of authority and action. Cyprian isn’t Cyprian without Justina, and this lesson helped me incorporate her as a powerful ally for cleansing, uncrossing, curse breaking and more. 

Lesson 9. Cyprianic Necromancy: This lesson takes our Authority, Ability, and Access gained with demons and applies it  to dealing with the dead, establishing two modes of access. If necromancy is something that tickles your fancy, and you’ve been curious how to begin, then this is the lesson for you. I have only worked with the first exercise, but it fits perfectly with my already established cemetery work. 

Lesson 10: The Goat, The Serpent, and The Great Angel: There is a lot to this lesson, and might be my second favorite after the Furnace of the First Flame. This lesson applies all that we have learned to the realm of the Angelic, to establish yet another important line of Sorcerous Authority, Ability, and Access.

It also gives a ritual to enter “The Black School Proper” which is a catalyst for your continuing education with the spirits themselves. I did this on Walspurnacht this year, along with another special rite I can’t mention, and well… this rite does what it says it does. It was after this that my practices began to gel together and exist in a coherent cosmology, and roads began to open to certain folk traditions I’ve been interested in but had been unable to gain access to people who actually practiced them. This lesson provides a satisfying conclusion to the previous work, tying the previous lessons together, while also being the beginning to a new level of work.  

The Test

If the Black School of Cyprian interests you but you are unsure if this is the work for you, perhaps give this small ritual a try. It is based around a prayer by Jason Miller which was the spark that lit the flame of the Black School, and contains its whole program in its lines. 

You can do this once, or perhaps as a novena; beginning on a Saturday, the day of the week associated with Cyprian, alternatively on a Thursday, a day associated with the Witch’s Sabbath, necromancy and making pacts with the Devil. You will just need a glass of water, and perhaps a journal to record any dreams or signs that emerge. 

Open with the Sign of the Cross, an Our Father, 3 Hail Mary, a Glory Be, and an Act of Faith, Hope and Charity. Then, praying over the glass of water, say:

Holy Saint Cyprian, Martyr and Mage
Patron of magic committed to page
Thy book is thy altar, blood ink is spread
Granting power over living and dead
Calling down angels granting them form
Raising up demons in baptism reborn
Winged Serpent of East, Southern black Iynx
Great Bear of the North, Western black Sphynx
Four kings conjured and mark compass around
Where spirits come gather on consecrated ground
In the Ostensorium, the spirits you show
Grant power to bind, to converse, and to know
Martyr of Antioch, Master of the Black School
Three Nails, Three Oils, and Three worlds you rule
Sorcerer Saint betwixt Heaven and Hell
Pray for us now, And at the hour of our spell
Amen

Take a drink of the water with the intention that it will help you remember your dreams when you awake, place it upon a bedside table or beneath your bed, and go to sleep. In the morning, first thing upon arising, take another drink of the water. This serves as a link from waking to dreaming, and dreaming to waking, which aids in dream recall, Take note of any dreams and signs that emerge in your waking life.

★ You can learn more about the Black School and sign up for both it and Jason Miller’s Monday Magic newsletter strategicsorcery.net,

★ Learn more about the Luxumbrian tradition of witchcraft and the Church of Light and Shadow at luxumbra.org/

Rev. Yuri M recently started a YouTube channel, you can find a video of this review here.

Review: Balkan Folk Magic: Zmaj by Katarina Pejovic

My interest in the traditional witchcraft and folklore of the Balkans began a few years ago, when I was blessed to stumble upon Balkan Traditional Witchcraft by Radomir Ristic. In the book, Radomir describes what is very much a living tradition, one that had evolved and adapted over time yet nevertheless maintained very ancient roots. While I cannot claim to practice the traditional witchcraft of the Balkans, the concepts and lore I discovered from reading what little is available (mainly the works of Radomir Ristic, and Thracian Magic by Georgi Mishev) has inspired my own practice greatly, particularly the concept that another person doesn’t make you a witch, rather the spirits themselves do. One such being found within Balkan folklore is the zmaj, a kind of dragon spirit entirely unlike the beasts slain by St. George and St Michael. Very little is said of the zmaj in the works of Radomir Ristic, the newest release in the Guides to the Underworld series from Hadean Press aims to address that.

The zmaj are dragons descended from the stars in the form of meteors and lightning bolts, transforming the animals, spirits, and landscapes they embrace. The zmaj is not only a powerful protector of the people but a mythic ancestor. They are known for their legendary lust, they marry young virgins, teach them witchcraft, and sire offspring known as the zmajevit: humans with zmaj souls. Syncretized with the Nephilim and protected by the Prophet Elijah, many of Serbia’s most distinguished tsars, princes, and knights are counted among their ranks, with songs of their zmaj heritage still sung to this day. Author Katarina Pejovic brings this lore to English speaking audiences for the first time. While short, she weaves together a fascinating overview of the folklore, granting a rare insight into a culture where witchcraft and belief in the spirits never died.

It is said much of the genesis of the Dragon Book of Essex was inspired by Andrew Chumbley’s friendship and magical work with Radomir Ristic, that the work is to an extent built upon zmaj lore. While I cannot confirm this, I can say that this booklet will give lore to consider. There are no workings, no rituals, and no spells in this work. A relationship with the zmaj is a highly personal one as the lore shows.

Of course, we are outsiders to this culture, we cannot simply barge in and demand access to their magic. However there is much lore to consider involving the zmaj and certain saints. The Balkan peninsula is a heavily Orthodox Christian region, here Christanity sits side by side with a belief in spirits and witchcraft. Perhaps through certain Saints, one may gain a glimpse of these magnificent spirits. To that end, Katarina has graciously shared a traditional Balklan prayer and spell to St. Marina.

A Prayer to St Marina

Oh, holy great martyr Marina, you were a living fire of faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, and because of this faith you joyfully and fearlessly died and stood up to receive the wreath of martyrdom from the Lord Himself. With your holy actions, you have shown for all time that the greatest enemy of our salvation can be overcome – the body and the devil. Therefore, the Lord has rewarded you with a great power to help us in our many troubles, especially in the battle against the evil demonic forces. For this reason, we who are full of sin and helpless approach you, Holy Marina, and we ask your gracious help. Help us to overcome our body, which inflicts us in countless ways and which, at every turn, is making us to err and sin. Through our prayers, the Lord makes us stand up from the muddy clay in which we roam and purify ourselves from all physical impurities through deep and sincere repentance, so that we can walk enflamed along the path of salvation.
But we even beg you to help us in this difficult and bloody, invisible struggle, which we fight against the demons of evil and who deceive us and lead us into sin, even though we are often not aware of it. Therefore, with all the holy prayers from the heavenly heights, drive away all the demons who engulf the pitfalls around us and take us out of the path towards salvation. With their malice and cunning they sowed in us the pride, selfishness, hatred, envy, evil, power, pity, and all other passions that have come to us in our midst.
Therefore, with your fiery prayer, Martyr Marina, chase out all those passions that have stumbled upon us and help us rise against them reborn through the Church of Christ, through repentance, through virtuous and pious life. Help the unbreakable fire of the love of God to burst into you, with which you so burned so intensely, to tremble over every part of your mind and to encircle your soul with constant prayer and divine ecstasy. Then the demons will flee from us with fear and will not be able to do much harm to us. May your holy prayers so revive until the end of earthly life stretching to the Upper World.
And once as souls we move through the realm of spirits, let us pass through the evil Satanic armies and enter into the light of the Empire of Heaven, where all the armies of the angels and all the saints, among whom you illuminate with your flame, the holy Marina, The Holy Trinity, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, now and forever in the ages of the ages. Amen.

A Spell

One balkan spell involves drawing a black dragon (not a zmaj but the usual european dragon with the lizard body and wings) and writing on it all the things you wish banished that are constricting you, usually in the belly. Then you pray the above prayer and as you pray the portion about her inflamed with fire while she was inside the dragon, you anoint yourself and the image with the sign of the cross in holy oil and burn the paper.

Prayer translated and spell provided by Katarina Pejovic
Purchase Balkan Folk Magic: Zmaj here.