Cyprianism is a system for the practice of the worship of Beauty.
Cyprianism is the modern revival of an ancient Athenian mystery school called Paphianism, which was founded by Aspasia during the Periclean age in Greece. Her Beautiful creation was a cult of Aphrodite that drew upon symbols, allegory and ritual in order to resonate with The Current – the underlying Poetic architecture the universe – in order to serve, defend and create Beauty. The system was primarily practiced by artists and sacred courtesan-priestesses living in the Kerameikos neighborhood of Athens at that time, but has been embodied in the life and work of several like-minded groups in the centuries since.
Our modern rekindling is built on their work and incorporates new discoveries, fresh spiritual understanding, updated science, the revisiting and questioning of conventional thought, comparative esotericism, the study of the art, recent sexual and gender insights, and a rejection of patriarchal corruption.
Cyprianism acknowledges The Erotic Force and Its necessity in the transformative and creative processes. The practice is meant to create Beautiful Masterworks out of the lives of those who follow it.
The Three Lives:
The Reactive Life: In our natural state, we all live a life of either reaction or inaction. This is the Reactive Life. Certainly, there is a constant barrage of stimuli that require us to decide between the two. In and of themselves, they are not good or bad, positive or negative. They simply are the nature of things.
However, this state is exhausting and rarely satisfying. It does not have the ability to create, or add anything to us. In truth, left unchecked it subtracts from us until there is nothing left of our possible vitality.
Life, and the relationships we maintain, requires reaction. Even if that reaction is inaction. But for those that desire to create, the first step is to move from the Reactive Life to the Creative Life.
The Creative Life: Here is where the work, and also the transcendence, begins. This life requires vision and passion. It is experienced when one moves as much of their energy into creation as possible, with the goal of being a virtuoso of one’s moments. When a reaction is required, a creative action is given. This adds to us, and also to the world around us. The energy of creation is the energy of life.
The Beautiful Life: Cyprianism is an even deeper exploration of the possibilities of the Creative Life. Using the practice as a blueprint for personal growth and transformation, one can experience a life exponentially more Beautiful than many can imagine. It is difficult, as is the creation of any masterpiece. The nature of the world will often be in conflict with the pursuit of the Beautiful Life, but the rewards are extraordinary.
In summary, the Reactive Life takes away from us. The Creative Life adds to us, and to the world. The Beautiful Life creates Poetry.
The cult of Aphrodite upon which modern Cyprianism is based dates back to a guild of artists and sacred courtesan-priestesses called the Knights of Paphos. They took their name from the Cypriot* city and swore oaths to its physical and spiritual defense. According to legend, the goddess Aphrodite took her first steps on the shores of Paphos and the Knights drew inspiration from Her veneration. They formed a secretive society of men and women dedicated to the service, creation and defense of Beauty and perfected a system of practice that informs our modern Cyprianism.
Their beliefs incorporated the Egyptian Isis worship that was popular in Greece at the time. They also revered the works of the poetess Sappho, but placed a higher significance on an unnamed Shulamite woman whom they believed was the favorite courtesan-priestess of King Solomon, and author of his song. She is credited, along with several hundred of his other wives and concubines, as having turned him toward the worship of Ishtar, or Aphrodite. Or, more accurately, Paphia.
Aspasia, the powerful Athenian hetaera who was also a teacher of Socrates, gave the counsel of Her leadership to the Knights. She convinced her lover, Pericles, to pay large sums from the civic coffers to “keep” this cult, understanding that this cultivation was vital to the strength of Greece itself, especially in poetic, artistic and architectural terms.
Phidias Showing the Frieze of the Parthenon to Pericles and Aspasia, Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema, 1868
It is a fact that the secretive teachings that were passed to initiates over the next twenty-five centuries are responsible for some of the most enduring masterworks of art. However, tracing the history of Cyprianism is not an easy task.
For most of its existence, the practice has eschewed proselytism, and the preponderance of its followers have been artists and courtesans who wish to protect trade secrets.
Art, music, writings and historical accounts exist, but many are kept in vestiges and whispers which are intentionally difficult to document. For some, an obscurity of historical evidence presents a problem of belief. However, whether the stories are real or legendary does nothing to diminish the meaningful concepts they depict. Though much of the material concerning people and places is ancient and inferential, the volume of clues is significant and the sources are substantial.
Beauty is veiled, but wishes to unfold Herself as one Seeks Her.
Modern Cyprianism embraces this ancient system by deifying Beauty in the image of Paphiaas the resonant spiritual representation of Beauty and sacred S~xuality.
The practice can be used to enhance one’s artistic expression, in effect taking a good artist and making them better by adding a fundamental underpinning of Beautiful spirituality. It’s main purpose, however, is to provide a framework for an integrated ideology with the potential to create a masterpiece of one’s entire life.
*The ancient Knights of Paphos referred to their system as Paphianism, as they venerated Beauty in the form of Aphrodite whom they called Paphia. Cyprianism is the modern, consanguine offspring of Paphianism and the terms may be used interchangeably. We have renamed the practice to reclaim the word Cyprian, which was formerly meant from Cyprus. Over time, the word because synonymous with prostitute because of the sacred courtesan-priestesses that worshipped Aphrodite on the island. For this reason, citizens of Cyprus have adopted the term Cypriot to set them apart from a history many find unsavory. While we respect their position, we wish to remove the stain that our modern world places on S~xual expression.