Cyprianism is an artistic Philosophy and Practice that acknowledges the Erotic Force and Its necessity in the creative process.
It is the modern version of an ancient mystery Philosophy and its related Practice meant to create Beautiful Masterworks out of the lives of those who follow it. It is taught through ritual and allegory and remembered in symbols. It has emerged several times throughout known history, most often within organized groups of artists and sacred courtesans (called “gardens”) and dates at least as far back as Periclean Greece with the Knights of Paphos.
Most of life subtracts from us. It can easily be exhausting as we react to all it throws at us. Cyprianism shows us we can have better. It is meant as a blueprint for personal growth by revealing how these ancient truths lead to actual creation – what we call Poetry – where the results consist of more than the sum of their parts. Reactive life takes away. The Beautiful Life* creates.
(*whose goal is Areté)
Cyprianism is a Philosophy and Practice that embraces the Erotic Force and Its necessity in the creative process. Its lessons are imparted through symbols, allegories, art and ritual. And it reveals itself through time.
Cyprianism embraces the act of creating a Beautiful Life through the support, defense and creation of Beauty. To that end, we historically use a main allegory for Beauty which is centered upon Paphia (Aphrodite – the resonant spiritual representation of Beauty and S-xuality). Cyprianism is a modern version of an ancient mystery Philosophy and its Practice that dates back to a guild of artists and sacred courtesans in Periclean-Age Athens called the Knights and Sisters of Paphos. The Knights and Sisters were a secretive society, a cult of Aphrodite, who were dedicated to the service, creation and defense of Beauty. They named themselves after the legendary city where Aphrodite first walked on land – Paphos, Cyprus – and swore oaths to its physical and spiritual defense.
Their beliefs stretched back into Egypt and even to the legends surrounding the later years in the reign of King Solomon, when his wives and concubines had brought him into the worship of Ishtar, a philosophical predecessor to Aphrodite. They looked back to groups similar to their own – artisans and sacred prostitutes – and perfected a system of belief that informs our modern Cyprianism.
Pericles and his hetaera Aspasia paid large sums from the civic coffers to “keep” this cult, understanding that their cultivation was vital to the strength of Greece itself, especially in poetic, artistic and architectural terms. In fact, the secretive teachings they passed to initiates over the next two thousand years are responsible for some of the most lasting masterworks of art in history.
Phidias Showing the Frieze of the Parthenon to Pericles and Aspasia, Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema, 1868
The purpose of Cyprianism is to offer a system to pursue a Beautiful Life and/or the creation of an artistic masterwork. It values sincerity, vulnerability, Eroticism, mastery, and intimate reliance on other Cyprians. It can been used to increase and strengthen the creative expression, to take a good artist and make them better. It can also be used as an integrated ideology to structure one’s entire life upon.
Tracing the history of Cyprianism is not an easy task. Art, writings and historical accounts do exist but many are kept in whispers which are difficult to document. For centuries the Philosophy has eschewed proselytism. Remember also that the preponderance of followers has been artists and courtesans who wished to protect trade secrets. For some, an obscurity of historical evidence presents a problem of belief. But whether or not the stories are legendary or real does nothing to diminish the truths 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. The journey is made more effective by their following. Like Beauty Itself, the truths in the arc of Cyprianism’s history unfold as one Seeks them.
Today Cyprianism is a system that uses mystery, symbols and ritual to explore those truths. It has even been called a kind of religion that worships a complex understanding of Beauty. It can be used to pursue the Poetry of a “Beautiful Life” and can also be applied by artists to their particular discipline. It is an incredibly creative and regenerative Philosophy that admits the Eroticism necessary to create great art. An artist following its tenets will no doubt find that their artistic output improves in interesting and often intangible ways.
Note: The ancient followers of this system referred to it as Paphianism, as they also referred to Aphrodite as Paphia, deriving from the city of Paphos, Cyprus. Cyprianism is the modern, consanguine offspring of Paphianism and the terms may be used interchangeably. The reason I chose the term Cyprianism is to reclaim the word Cyprian, which was formerly used to mean “from Cyprus”. Because of the sacred courtesanry of ancient Greece, the word came to be synonymous with “prostitute” over the last 300 or so years. For this reason, citizens of Cyprus adopted the name “Cypriot” to set them apart from a history many wish to deny.
What is The Seed?
The Seed is a collection of poetry intended to express the Philosophy of Cyprianism. It is, as the name suggests, a seed. A seed that should grow into a tree, the tree into a forest, the forest shaped into a garden, the garden giving forth more seeds.
The Seed primarily includes two types of content: that which is the product of exhaustive research and that which has been conceived and designed from that place where that research met with the author’s Practice.
With this book, the author urges you to join the path, though you’ll take your own steps. The path leads up to and into Aphrodite’s Temple of Beauty and beyond, and The Seed is your invitation.