Cyprianism is in a season of Grace (February 11 – April 3), whose symbol is the ballerina. There are many reasons why this symbol was chosen. Consider this bit from the annotation of The Seed:
What makes a thing extraordinary? The ritual of Beauty that we call Grace. It is practiced and intentional but appears effortless. It is the simplicity on the other side of complexity, the appearance of ease in the face of labor.
Grace’s predecessors are first vulnerability then practice, skill and mastery. Only when those have been thoroughly explored is Grace possible. Consider the art of ballet, once a vulgar pursuit and populated by women who sold their sexuality. Years of murderous practice goes into the elegance that is put on the ballet stage. When a ballerina performs a promenade, the effect is airy and effortless, but the sheer power that underpins it is incredibly intense and athletic.
Yes, Grace is that place where the end result is an elegance that appears effortless, but only because of the training, the pain, the power, the muscle memory, etc that goes into the artistry put on the stage.
But today is also the Feast of Moonlight (The Feast of St. Claude), so named for Cyprian Saint Claude Debussy and his most memorable work, Clair de lune. On this day in 1918, as his Paris was being bombed during the German Spring Offensive of WWI, St. Claude passed beyond the Diamond Gate. On March 25, we celebrate his life, his work and his contribution to modern Cyprianism – which is not small.
As a confident of Edmond (Père) Bailly (Cyprian mystic and operator of Librairie de l’art indépendant), St. Claude met a handful of people, with whom he would collaborate, leaving an enormous stamp upon our Philosophy. Among them was Pierre Louÿs, author of The Songs of Bilitis, arguably the most important work of Cyprianism in the last 200 years. St. Claude set several of the poems in Bilitis to music, even forming the Order of the Garter and Franc (which counted famed Courtesan Cora Pearl, Pierre Louÿs, Auguste Rodin, Stéphane Mallarmé and Louis Icart as initiates.) in order to produce a scandalous performance of them.
Today, we miss St. Claude dearly. But his immortality resonates in every note he left us.
I will celebrate today by watching my wife, Michelle perform one of the most Graceful dances I have ever seen: a tribute to Sally Rand set to Debussy’s Clair de lune. This version is from 2007. Prepare to cry.
Want more Debussy ballet? Try this one. In 1912, Nijinsky performed a scandalous dance to Debussy’s Prélude à l’après-midi d’un faune, which was composed as a musical version of Stéphane Mallarmé’s symbolist poem of the same name. In the piece, which is only shown in surviving fragments here, the faun fawns over a nymph, who spurns his affection. He steals her veil and uses it to masturbate.
I hope you take the time today to listen to some Debussy and remember his remarkable contribution to music and the Philosophy and Practice of Cyprianism.
Further reading: peruse this chapter from The Book of Courtesans: a Catalog of Their Virtues by Susan Griffin. Better yet, but the book HERE.
Also, this fantastically written novel based on Debussy’s life – Clair de lune by Pierre La Mure