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.

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