April 3rd is the last day of the Cyprian calendar. For centuries, the night before Paphia’s birthday was called Nought. It didn’t correspond to what western culture celebrates as a New Year’s Eve – the end of one year transitioning into the beginning of another. It was supposed to symbolically remind the initiate that before She came into the world, there was nothing. Specifically, there was no Lust, and therefore, virtually no reason to exist. Lust, and all its complexities and complications, brought mutuality into the world. Meaning. Danger. Passion. So before Paphians could enter a new year with a celebration of Paphia’s first steps on dry land on the sandy shores of Paphos, they had to spend time in ritual boredom and mundanity. Think of it as the opposite of Mardi Gras being the night before Lent begins.
[Hang on for a seeming non sequitur!] In the 1880’s Austrian commercial artist Franz von Bayros founded a libertine club which he called The Gentleman Lechers. Though their name suggested a male only membership The Gentleman Lechers did not discriminate based on gender. The only requirement to join was a zealous adherence to the joys of licking. See, the English phrase “to lick” translates to French as “à lécher”.
According to The Lover’s Tongue: A Merry Romp Through the Language of Love and Sex by Mark Morton:
The Marquis von Bayros was quite fond of all manner of cunnilingus and felatio. The acts appear in a number of his works, like the famously controversial Tales at a Dressing Table, for which he is best known in erotic art collecting circles. His “Gentlemen” would gather for regular salons, called Fête Léchage, to discuss the licking arts and share bawdy stories, paintings and illustrations. On certain fortunate occasions, demonstrations would be traded among willing participants (I would imagine all “Gentlemen” were willing). One of their favorite “high holidays” was a reenactment of a popular Roman phallic worship ritual called Fortuna Virilis. The Gentlemen referred to it as the Feast of St. Foutin, or the Feast of St. Fuck.
[Now back to your regularly scheduled program] Though modern Cyprianism recognizes the significance of Nought and its remembrance, we would be remiss to not grant St. von Bayros his feast day. And as the feast days of other Cyprian Saints fall on the day they died (passed beyond the Diamond Gate), we must ascribe April 3rd this honor.
Franz von Bayros brought to the Decadent movement some of its most exquisite artistic renderings. The erotic boldness of his work, along with his masterful technique and his penchant for ritualizing the spiritual nature of S-xuality make him an important figure in our history.
Celebrate April 3rd by enjoying your tongue. Find words that feel good on it and say them (I like “sardanapalian”, “luxurious” and, well, “lechery” – especially the French pronunciation so that the soft “shh” puffs a gentle bit of air). Eat foods that require sumptuous tongue work. And best of all, if you have the opportunity to apply your tongue to a lover…do so. Make the Marquis proud. We’ll see you on the 4th for the most important day of the Cyprian calendar.
Also interesting to note that April 3rd is the last day of the season of Grace and Gluttony. To end Gluttony with a licking holiday just seems appropriate, no?
Also, feel free to purchase this artifact for me (from the Vienna Bronze Gallery) to show your appreciation for the naughty bits of distraction I provide you on a semi-regular basis. 😉