Glossary of Cyprian Terms, Speculative and Operative

22 – An important (sacred) number in Cyprianism. July 22 is the Feast of Miriam, “Our Queen”. Cyprian Holiday “Scandals” is on November 22. In the Kabbalistic Tree of Life there are 22 pathways, representing the Shekhinah, the Presence, Miriam, Paphia, the Current.

33 – Thirty-three is an important (sacred) number in Cyprianism as it is in most mystery schools. It represents Poetry, as the Poetic Muses made up one third of the muse pantheon. In many schools of creative thought, 32 is everything “seen”, or 100%. Thirty-three, then, is the Poetry of what is created. It also represents the secret, hidden properties of that which we Seek.

51°25’ – The measurement between the points of a compasses which will craft a seven-pointed star or divide a circle by 7. In Albrecht Dürer’s Melencolia, the compasses are set to 51°25’. The same is true of Lupe Vasconcelos’ Phoenician Whispers in The Seed.

Abandon (The Overarching Principle) – The seventh culminating Principle of Cyprianism.

Acedia – The fourth Passion, or Vice: Sloth.

Adventures of King Pausole, The – A book by Pierre Louÿs set in Trypheme.

Afterglow – The seventh station in the “Arc of the Erotic Force”. Afterglow is the state of languor that occurs after the Erotic experience.

Age of Atheism, The – A period of time roughly from the 1880’s to the present. Cyprians believe this era has been dominated by deconstruction, abstraction and ugliness in Art.

Age’s Embodiment, The – One person who is chosen by the Current as Its physical expression during a given period of time. Typically, the Grande Madame. See Cyprian, The

Alla’s Eighty-Eighty – A Cyprian affair conceived by silent film star Alla Nazimova and named for her address on Sunset Boulevard. It is usually conducted in the afternoon at a private residence and is attended only by ladies.

Alla Nazimova in Oscar Wilde's Salome

Alla Nazimova in Oscar Wilde’s Salome

Aletheia – (Greek ἀλήθεια) Disclosed, unclosed, unconcealed. In Cyprianism, it further implies sincerity through vulnerability. Also, the First Key of Cyprianism.

Amulet – A courtesan with mastery over the seven Virtues.

Michelle L'amour with a Cyprian goblet modeled on Her own breast.

Michelle L’amour with a Cyprian goblet modeled on Her own breast.

An Affair of Breasts and Wine/Vinalia Rustica/Goblets – August 19 is a celebration of wine and the grape harvest held in honor of Venus. When celebrated as “An Affair of Breasts and Wine”, the ceremony works its way through an allegory of all three keys of Cyprianism. According to Cult of Aphrodite by Laurelei Black, “The Vinalia Rustica is a Roman celebration that honors Venus’ oldest temple.” It is a Bilitisian Affair that dates back to Periclean Athens. The sacred Courtesans of Aphrodite would don only a Paphian (Cyprian) shift – a fabric wrapped tightly around their legs to remind them of Aphrodite’s mermaid form before Lust entered the world – and drink a fair amount of wine. The event would begin solemnly until the Grande Madame signaled the turn to debauchery by a secret ceremony involving a golden key called Aletheia.

Androgyny – A state of spiritual and/or artistic harmony between the Feminine Virtues of a Courtesan and the Masculine Vices of an Artist.

d’Anjou, René – This Count of Provence was the titular King of Jerusalem from 1438 to 1480 C.E. In his possession was a red cup that he believed was used at the biblical “wedding at Cana” which Cyprian tradition informs us was the wedding of Jesus and Miriam. Upon it was the inscription “He who drinks well/Will see God./He who quaffs at a single draught/Will see God and the Magdalen”. René d’Anjou was also instrumental in influencing Cosimo de Medici to embark on the adventures that would lead to his discovery of the Corpus Hermeticum and therefore the Magdalanté and the Renaissance.

Anno Venus – A term used with the date of the current year indicating how many years have passed since the birth of Paphia from the sea at Paphos, Cyprus. Typically abbreviated to A.V. it may be used before or after the year.   From the Latin for “year” and “beauty”, it is sometimes referred to as the Cytheric Year. According to a 1905 bookplate for Erotic Songs and Poems published by the “Society of Austrian Bibliophiles”, a Cyprian group during the late 19th Century, it is figured by adding 3186 to the current year of the Common Era, as it is believed the year of Paphia’s birth to correspond with 3186 B.C.E.

Anthis’ Dance – When Salomé danced the Dance of Seven Veils, she was actually performing a ritual that dated further back into history when a Courtesan named Anthis devised a performance to accompany the initiation rite into early Cyprianism.

An Apple & Poniard cocktail from Club Lucky in Chicago

An Apple & Poniard cocktail from Club Lucky in Chicago

Apheidia – (Greek ἀφειδία) Unsparing generosity or unsparing treatment. In Speculative Cyprianism it has further meanings, implications and practices that are kept by initiates.

Aphrodite, Ancient Manners – A book by Pierre Louÿs that tells the tale of Chrysis and Demetrios.

Apple and Poniard

Apple and Poniard

Apple – A symbol of Cyprianism because it was the prize given to Aphrodite by Paris at his judgment. Also, a woman’s clitoris. When paired with a poniard, it represents the Third, or Hidden, Key.

Arcadia – (Greek Ἀρκαδία) A mythical place envisioned as a harmony with nature. Cyprians understand this as the Garden of Paradise (Eden, PRDS, Hebrew פָּרְדֵּס), the first garden. In ancient lore, Arcadia is frequently denoted by a fountain; the representation of the Source, the Current.

Arc of the Erotic Force – There is an arc to every Erotic experience. Cyprianism divides it into seven stations: Flirtation, Suggestion, Arousal, Seduction, Rapture, Satiety and Afterglow.

Areté – (Greek ἀρετή) Achieving the full measure of the Virtues of a Courtesan and a mastery of the Vices of an Artist. Also, the Second Key of Cyprianism.

Aretic Androgyne, The – Originally applied to Greek Courtesan Phryne, it now refers to the Age’s Embodiment or Grande Madame.

Aretic (or Epiphanic) Path – The Aretic Path is the journey to create a masterwork of one’s life through the Practice of Cyprianism. It is made up of alternating (and often overlapping) periods of Awareness and Seeking. Awareness usually begins with an epiphany, realization or connection. Seeking should ideally end with the same. For this reason, the Aretic Path is also called the Epiphanic Path or the Path of Connections. The terms are interchangeable. Also, The Beautiful Life.

Aristippus – The creator of the Cyrenaic Philosophy, a codified version of Paphianism.The Cyrenaics were ultra-hedonistic and taught that Pleasure was the only intrinsic good. His daughter, the caretaker of his school of thought, was Areté.

Arithmetic – One of the Liberal Arts and Sciences. According to General Ahiman Rezon, Daniel Sickels, 1868, Arithmetic “is the Art of numbering, or that part of the mathematics which considers the properties of numbers in general.”

Arousal – The third station in the “Arc of the Erotic Force”. Arousal is the state of heightened expectation that occurs during the Erotic experience. It is the moment when the Poetic nature of Eroticism begins to emerge.

Art, Conversations with Paul Gsell – A sacred text of Cyprianism published in 1911. It consists of interviews with Auguste Rodin.

The rough and the hewn ashlar

The rough and the hewn ashlar

Ashlar – A stone used in masonry. Typically, an ashlar is described in one of two ways: rough or smooth. In Cyprianism, as in many ancient cultures, the rough ashlar just taken from the quarry, represents the wild, S-xual Feminine. It is symbolic of the Virtues of a Courtesan. The smooth ashlar, as hewn and squared by the masterful stone mason, represents the circumscribed Masculine; The Passions of an Artist under the care of a Watchful Eye. One of the primitive images of Eros was the unwrought stone, or rough ashlar.

Aspasia – (Greek Ἀσπασία) The hetaera of Pericles responsible for incubating the Knights and Sisters of Paphos. Cyprian tradition holds Her to be the author of the Aspasian Letters.

Hector Leroux Pericles and Aspasia

Aspasian Letters – Aphorisms and exhortations believed to be pieces of correspondence sent by Aspasia, Pericles’ Courtesan lover, to the Knights and Sisters of Paphos as guidance for their cult/guild.

Astarte – Astarte was a deity of the ancient Levant, an area of the eastern Mediterranean that figures heavily in the history of Cyprianism. Astarte is the Greek version of the Babylonian Goddess Ishtar.

Astronomy – One of the Liberal Arts and Sciences. According to General Ahiman Rezon, Daniel Sickels, 1868, Astronomy is “that sublime science which inspires the contemplative mind to soar aloft, and read the wisdom, strength and beauty of the great Creator in the heavens.”

“Au Courant” – Aware. A term used to describe someone who is resonating with the Current. See “In the Swim”.

Aurelia Aemelia – Sir James George Frazer published his seminal work The Golden Bough: A Study in Magic and Religion in 1890. In it, he tells of a woman from Tralles in Lydia, Aurelia Amelia, who was a sacred courtesan. Frazer discusses her in a section where he speaks of the fact that sacred harlotry was not looked upon with any “stain attached” in some ancient civilizations.

Avaritia – The fifth Passion, or Vice: Greed.

Awareness – A state that alternates with Seeking on the Aretic Path. Awareness occurs upon a new revelation or understanding of something and generally leads to further Seeking.

Bacchanal, The – Celebrated in early March, the Bacchanal is a ritualistic party where, among other things, participants eat only using their hands. It is also called the Masque of Pasiphaë.

Bailly, Edmond (Père) – Cyprian mystic and operator of Librairie de l’art indépendant in Paris. The bookstore, and Bailly, were famous for hosting salons with Paphian themes featuring guests like Pierre Louÿs, Claude Debussy and Stéphane Mallarmé.

Bastet – An ancient Egyptian Goddess whose name, according to Stephen Quirke’s Ancient Egyptian Religion, may mean “She of the ointment jar.” She was depicted during the Second Dynasty (about 2890 B.C.E.) as a lioness or a woman with the head of a lion. She was a Goddess of protection and as her name became synonymous with the lavish jars in which Egyptians store their perfume, she became known as the Perfumed Protector. In this way, she also relates to the Sumerian and Egyptian stories that we find are similar to Elpida’s Jar (or Pandora’s Box). As the Ptolemy’s Hellenized their Egyptian kingdom, Bastet became related to their moon Goddess Artemis.

An initiate washing the Grande Madame's feet with wine and salt from Paphos

An initiate washing the Grande Madame’s feet with wine and salt from Paphos

Bath of Venus, The – The Bath of Venus is a ritual performed traditionally on April 4th, considered Venus’ birthday. For centuries, the Knights of Paphos have honored this ritual as their most sacred. During this pageant, the Age’s Embodiment (the Grande Madame) is connected with Her history via a reenactment of Venus’ first steps on the shores of Paphos. It was at this moment, through the Diamond Gate of Venus’ parted legs, Charm and Lust were born allowing the Privileged access to the Beautiful Life. This rite commemorates that event with the washing of the Grande Madame’s feet in wine from Paphos and a ritual called the Bath of Venus.

Beautiful Life, The (La Belle Vie) – The chosen, embraced and pursued Life of a Cyprian. A life lived in service, defense and creation of Beauty by following the Philosophy and Practice of ancient Cyprianism.

Beauty – The second Virtue of a Courtesan. The Embodiment of the Current, which all Cyprians are sworn to serve, defend and create.

Belle Époque, La – “The Beautiful Era” from French. A roughly forty year period in France and Belgium beginning in 1871. It was characterized by the peace, prosperity and optimism that preceded the first World War. During this time, Cyprianism flourished within Artistic circles in Europe. See also Gilded Age.

Bernard of Clairvaux – St. Bernard was a French abbot and builder of a faith based on worship of the Virgin Mary whom he called “the Queen of Heaven” (using the same term applied in the Old Testament for Astarte, the Phoenician Paphia worshipped by the builders of King Solomon’s Temple and his most prized concubines). Notably, Bernard of Clairvaux, in 1128 C.E., was an author and consultant for the Knights Templar.

A game of chess played upon the back of a lover during a Bilitisian Affair called A Night of Ancient and Deathless Rapture.

A game of chess played upon the back of a lover during a Bilitisian Affair called A Night of Ancient and Deathless Rapture.

Bilitisian Affairs – Rituals, games and other events found in Pierre Louÿs’ Les Chansons de Bilitis and practiced by Cyprians.

Borghese Vase – A great relic of ancient Cyprianism discovered in 1566 in the Gardens of Sallust (an ancient Paphian pleasure garden) that dates back to the first century B.C.E. The monumental krater was used in Paphian rituals by being filled with wine into which revelers would then be dipped head first. The bas-relief sculpted into its bell depicts a Paphian orgiastic ritual. The Borghese Vase now resides at the Louvre.

The Borghese Vase

Brilliance – The fourth Virtue of a Courtesan. Also, the third caryatid in Aphrodite’s Symbolic Temple of Beauty.

Butterfly – A Courtesan in the early Twentieth Century Chicago bordello, The Everleigh Club.

Butterfly Night – A semi-annual evening at the Everleigh Club when Minna Everleigh was known to release live butterflies into the house as a gift to her girls, whom she referred to as butterflies.

Cadence, The – The Law of Rhythm states that there is a pulse to all things. That pulse, when it relates directly to the Current, is called the Cadence.

Challenge Coin – A small coin or medallion carried by the members of an organization which bears their emblem, insignia or other markings which are special to them. Traditionally, when one is challenged, the coin is produced to prove membership. According to Cyprian tradition, this dates back to the time when certain of the Knights Templar were initiated into Paphianism at Cyprus under the leadership of Thibaud Gaudin. They began to carry the valuable hundred drachma coins which were given to them at the time of their initiation. As some of their numbers became involved in piracy, other groups of pirates began to adopt the practice, using specific coins obtained during specific adventures to prove their loyalty and membership among their brothers and sisters.

Charles, Philippe (Duc d’Orleans)

Charles, Philippe (Duc d’Orleans)

Charles, Philippe (Duc d’Orleans) – The Regent of France from 1715 to 1723. The United States city of New Orleans, Louisiana is named for him.

Charm – The seventh Virtue of a Courtesan. It is the enfoldment of all of the other Virtues.

Cheek – The third Virtue of a Courtesan.

Chiton – (Greek χιτών) A sheer gown worn by Courtesans as ceremonial dress that, when taken off, becomes a bedsheet for lovemaking.

How to wear a chiton

How to wear a chiton

Chiton and Drachma – A symbolic representation of the Feminine Virtues of a Courtesan. The Chiton was a type of gown worn by Periclean Age Courtesans. It was easily removed to be used as a bedsheet. She was often paid in Drachmae or other gifts. The Chiton is a symbol of intentional vulnerability of Beauty and the coin is a symbol of the value placed on the Feminine. Since the Virtues are to be achieved, the coin also represents the capability of achievement. Often in this symbolic coupling an apple (often made of gold) is substituted for the coin. This shows a God-like value of the Feminine, as Aphrodite was given a golden apple by Paris because of her Beauty. See also: The Garter and Franc.

Chrysis and Demetrios – (Greek Χρυσίς and Δημήτριος) A foundational myth of Cyprianism wherein famed sculptor Demetrios falls into unrequited love with the courtesan Chrysis. To prove his love she makes him commit three crimes, during which he ceases to love her. But seeing his completion of the crimes convinces Chrysis of Demetrios’ love and she finally returns it. Spurning her, he asks her to prove her love to him by wearing the spoils of all three crimes into the town square. She is convicted of the transgressions and put to death.

Compersion – Finding joy in exploring the joy of another, ideally without – or with only minimal – jealousy.

Conduit – A channel used to convey. Sacred Courtesans were conduits of Aphrodite. The Erotic Force is the conduit for the Current.

Cora’s Pearl/The Feast of Soft Cakes July 8th is the feast day of French courtesan and Cyprian Saint Cora Pearl, who passed beyond the Diamond Gate on this day in 1886. Her most sacred work of Cyprianism, Grand Horizontal, The Erotic Memoirs of a Passionate Lady, is central to the ceremonies of this day. A popular anecdote from that book details a dinner party where the hostess had herself decorated as a sumptuous dessert, which was then devoured by her guests.

Cteis – (Greek κτείς) Literally, the vulva; Diamond Gate. Also a concave pedestal of circular shape used in the Mysteries. It symbolizes the Moon and the power of the Current.

Current, The – The single most important concept in Cyprian Philosophy. The Current is the underlying energy and Poetic architecture of the universe.

Cypria – Aspasia, Courtesan lover to Pericles and patron saint of Cyprianism, developed the idea that initiates to the Philosophy lived in a nation of their own that was not defined by any borders. Modern initiates call it Cypria. Pierre Louÿs used it as inspiration for the Kingdom of Trypheme in his Adventures of King Pausole.

Cyprian – One who follows the Philosophy of Cyprianism into the Practice, making it a whole life experience: The Beautiful Life. A Speculative Cyprian.

Cyprian, The (Grande Madame) – The term The Cyprian (or Grande Madame) refers to either the Goddess of Beauty, Aphrodite or Her “Living Cast”, the Age’s Embodiment. In each age, the Virtues, Vices and other elements of Cyprianism has enfolded upon the Current in such spectacular proportions and manifested themselves in one person. She is the Age’s Embodiment of Beauty, Aphrodite Herself, the world’s great Lover.

Cyprianism – 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 lodges of artists and sacred courtesans 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 – the goal of which is Areté – creates.

Cyprianist – One who follows the Philosophy of Cyprianism in order to enhance their creative process. An Operative Cyprian.

Cyprians’ Ball – An annual ball thrown by famed Regency era Courtesan Harriette Wilson. It was attended by Artists and fellow Courtesans.

Cyprian Shift – A special chiton worn below the waist that is wrapped tightly about the legs and secured in a way to remind the wearer of Aphrodite’s mermaid form before the time when Lust entered the world.

Two examples of a Cyprian Shift, photo by Albert Johnston

Two examples of a Cyprian Shift, photo by Albert Johnston

Example of a modern Cyprian shift. Photo by Don Spiro (NYC)

Example of a modern Cyprian shift. Photo by Don Spiro (NYC)

Cyprian Star

Cyprian Star

Cyprian Star, The – A symbol of Cyprianism made up of fourteen triangles with seven of them pointing inward to form an imperfect heptagon and seven of them pointing outward to form the points of the star itself. The inward pointing triangles represent the Vices of an Artist and the fact that we must continually look into ourselves with a Watchful Eye. The outward pointing triangles represent the Virtues of a Courtesan and the notion of striving to achieve their fullness. The two sets of triangles are arranged within an invisible circle representing the Aretic Path and/or the Cyprian Zodiac.

d’Aragona, Tullia – A famed courtesan, poet, teacher and intellectual during the Italian Renaissance.

Tullia d'Aragona, portrayed as Salome L'Erodiade by Moretto da Brescia

Tullia d’Aragona, portrayed as Salome L’Erodiade by Moretto da Brescia

Claude Debussy

Claude Debussy

Debussy, Claude – Achille-Claude Debussy was a French composer during the late Nineteenth and early Twentieth Centuries and is a Saint of Cyprianism. In addition to being the head of the Priory of Sion, he was a Grand Artist of the Society of Sophisticates – a group styled on the Knights and Sisters of Paphos consisting primarily of French artists like Pierre Louÿs and courtesans like La Belle Otero and Cora Pearl. Debussy was a mystic who reveled in sacred geometry, which he called “the current”, and used it to create some of his most famous works including Clair de lune and Caprice (When I fuck, pale fever). He considered his music to be primarily geometric and called it a “feast for the ears”. Debussy endeavored to soak his listeners in sumptuousness unlike anything they had heard before. He composed a famous work based on The Songs of Bilitis which exists to this day. However, an earlier work was penned by him and produced by the Society of Sophisticates, for which the score is believed to no longer exist. Tradition informs us that the production contained several secret Cyprian rituals and was so wanton and libertine that it would have ruined the careers of all involved if it were made public. At the end of the piece, each naked “actor” approached the orchestra one by one and took the sheet music of one of the musicians and threw it into a fire, thus erasing the proof the event had ever happened.

Demimonde – Literally “half world”, from French. It was a term used to describe Artists, Courtesans, flaneurs and other social outsiders during the Belle Epoque. In Cyprianism it describes the “in between”, Poetry, the Current and those who are initiated into It.

Devéria’s Chase – Achille Jacques-Jean-Marie Devéria was a 19th Century Artist and Practitioner of Cyprianism. Many of his erotic works depict Cyprian rituals, including The Chase, where a blindfolded man with an erection chases Courtesans around a bordello. This game has been played for centuries in several different iterations.


Devéria’s “The Chased”

Dialogue on the Infinity of Love – A sacred text of Cyprianism written by Renaissance Courtesan Tullia d’Aragona.

This photo by Richard Avedon is a tribute to the Cyprian "praying hands" of the Diamond Gate

This photo by Richard Avedon is a tribute to the Cyprian “praying hands” of the Diamond Gate

Cyprian Prayer, hands in the "Diamond Gate"

Cyprian Prayer, hands in the “Diamond Gate”

Diamond Gate, The – The term “the Diamond Gate” refers to several things. Most specifically it is “Aphrodite’s Cunt”, but also refers to the mystical entrance of Heaven, the pearled gate. Cyprians are taught to pursue the Diamond Gate on their Aretic Path of Seeking and Awareness. Initiates walk through a symbolic gate of diamond when they enter the garden. During prayer, the hands are symbolically placed into the shape of a Diamond Gate.

Divining Board In an ancient legend that centers on Miriam of Magdala, She has a tattoo on Her torso and chest consisting of many mystical symbols and tells the future of Her initiates by letting them ejaculate upon them and “reading” them in a ceremony of divination. Based upon that legend, Paphians since have drawn designs on divining boards typically made of wood for similar purposes. Dice can also be used.

Seven Sided Divining Board by Tony Peterson

Seven Sided Divining Board by Tony Peterson

Elpida’s Jar – (Greek Ελπίδα) A foundational myth of Cyprianism wherein Elpida has a dream that she is carrying a jar of unknown contents along a path. She is met by three strangers who guess that its contents mirror their own needs. When she opens it, she decants horrible things and has to heal each of the strangers by her own means. Also known as Pandora’s Box.

Embrace, The – The moment when a Seeker decides to “be” as well as “become”. This is the moment of commitment to the Practice.

l’Enclos, Ninon de – A French courtesan in the 18th century. She was an author, freethinker, patron of the arts and Grande Madame of Cyprianism.


Endodimension, The – The dimension “within” the three experienced dimensions. See the Current.

Enfoldment – An overlap, or fold of one or more tendrils of the Current, wherein Its elements build energies into one another. Folds make the Current “visible”.

Enfleurage – A simple ritual involving the bringing of the female sex to moisture and daubing the wetness under the chin and on the wrists, using the natural perfumes to heighten attraction.

Epiphany – A moment of revelation experienced during a time of Seeking that leads to Awareness.

Cezanne's Eternal Feminine

Cezanne’s Eternal Feminine

Eternal Feminine – A painting by Paul Cézanne of a nude being admired by a strange collection of devotees. The work is currently in the collection of the Getty Museum. The name was given to it years after Cézanne’s death. Much scholarship has been spent in the search to decipher its enigmatic meaning. Owing to the identification of several of the devotees, including a Paphian priest and Eugène Delacroix, Cyprians believe it depicts one of their rituals, though it is not certain that Cézanne himself was ever fully initiated.

Eve’s Tempting – A foundational myth of Cyprianism wherein Eve takes an apple from the Tree of Knowledge and eats it, discovering the Beautiful Life. Also known as The Origin of Shame.

Everleigh Club, The – An opulent Chicago brothel that operated from 1900 to 1911 and run by Minna and Ada Everleigh.

Chicago’s Everleigh Club

Everleigh Sisters, The – Minna and Ada Everleigh ran the Everleigh Club in Chicago from 1900 to 1911. As supporters of Art and Artists and purveyors of elegant S-xuality, they practiced principles that can be seen as Cyprian.

The Farewell/Anagogia – The Anagogia is a festival of “farewell”, when Aphrodite is said to have left Mount Eryx and returned nine days later. According to Harper’s Dictionary of Classical Literature and Antiquities (1965), this festival brought Greek, Roman, Phoenician and Egyptian ideals of Paphia together in one place.

Feast, The – See Beautiful Life

Feast of Brilliance/Feast of St. La Belle Otero – April 12 is the feast day of dancer, actress, courtesan and Cyprian Saint Carolina “La Belle” Otero, who passed beyond the Diamond Gate on this day in 1965.

Feast of St. Ada – January 5 is the feast day of American bordello keeper and Cyprian Saint Ada Everleigh, who passed beyond the Diamond Gate on this day in 1960.

Wienman’s Fountain of the Setting Sun

Feast of St. Audrey/Feast of the Setting Sun – February 20 is the feast day of model, actress and Cyprian Saint Audrey Munson, who passed beyond the Diamond Gate on this day in 1996. It is also called the Feast of the Setting Sun after a sculpture by Adolph Alexander Weinman called The Fountain of the Setting Sun for which St. Audrey was the model. The sculpture was an allegory for the coming “age of moonlight”.

Feast of St. Bernard – August 20 is the feast day of Bernard of Clairvaux, consultant to the Knights Templar, who wrote the mystic rules of the order during the Council of Troyes in 1128.

Feast of St. Claude/Feast of Moonlight – March 25 is the feast day of composer and Cyprian Saint Achille-Claude Debussy, who passed beyond the Diamond Gate on this day in 1918. It is also called the Feast of Moonlight, after one of his most famous pieces, Clair de Lune.

A ring designed by Betony Vernon

A ring designed by Betony Vernon

Feast of St. Foutin/Fortuna Virilis – June 2nd is the feast day for St. Foutin, a syncretic blending of ancient Priapus worship and the feast of Catholic martyr St. Pothinus, whose name roughly resembles the Old French verb foutre, meaning “fuck”. On this feast day, the Masculine is revered, often by pouring wine over the head of the penis and collecting the “holy vinegar” to use in toasting. Felatio and other forms of phallic worship, including “Fortuna Virilis” (Virilis’ Fortunate Steam) can also celebrate this feast day. Sacred areas for feasting are often set apart by placing a sign above the entrance that reads “hic habitat felicitas” or “happiness dwells here”.

Feast of St. Minna – September 16 is the feast day of American bordello keeper and Cyprian Saint Minna Everleigh, who passed beyond the Diamond Gate on this day in 1948.

“Lost in Melancholy” by Lupe Vasconcelos, depicting Miriam’s unique divination practice

Feast of St. Miriam – July 22 is the feast day of Paphian Grande Madame and Cyprian Saint Miriam of Magdala. This feast day is also celebrated, albeit in substantially different ways, by the Catholic and Anglican Christian churches.

Feast of St. Ninon – October 17 is the feast day for French author, salonnière, courtesan and Cyprian Saint Ninon de l’Enclos, who passed beyond the Diamond Gate on this day in 1705.

Feast of St. Pauline – January 26 is the feast day of operatic soprano, biographer and Cyprian Saint Wilhelmine Schröder-Devrient, who passed beyond the Diamond Gate on this day in 1860. It is called the Feast of St. Pauline because of the title of her erotic memoirs, Pauline the Prima Donna, a sacred text of Cyprianism.

Feast of Thibaud Gaudin – April 16 is the feast day of Grand Master of the Knight’s Templar and Cyprian Saint Thibaud Gaudin, who passed beyond the Diamond Gate on this day in 1292.

Fête Léchage – 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 Lechers” 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

Fig – Since ancient times, a term used to connote the vulva. It was also the original fruit of the Tree of Life in early Hebraic legend. See Pouty Fig.

First Key of Cyprianism, TheVulnerability. It unlocks the potential of the Philosophy and Practice.

Iris, Messenger of the Gods

Iris, Messenger of the Gods by Auguste Rodin

First Cyprian Commandment, The – “Model well an arm, a torso, or a thigh!” This quote is taken from Chapter IX of Art, Conversations with Paul Gsell and is attributed to Auguste Rodin.

Fleur de lis – A decorative, heraldic, stylized lily. Most famously, the French have used it in their heraldry for centuries. Theories on the age and first use in France vary greatly and its specific origins are unknown. Today, many believe the three “segments” of the design refer to “Life, Light and Perfection”. Cyprian tradition informs us that the design was first used in Athens in the fifth century B.C.E. by the Knights and Sisters of Paphos as the mark of their guild (see The Seal). This version would be a symbolic emblem of Paphia’s cunt and a reference to the phrase “For She is our Life. She is our Light. And She alone is our Perfection. Her cunt is a lily among flowers.” (fleur de lis literally means “lily flower”) This ancient symbol was also said to be used by the followers of Miriam of Magdala who is believed to have fled to France after the death of Her husband, Jesus of Nazareth. In fleur de lis fig.1 one can notice the three “segments” bound together in a fairly obvious vulvar design. Fleur de lis fig.2 compares a lily with a fleur de lis ornamental design, making the vulva comparison more obvious and playing into the Cyprian thread of the Sisters as “flowers”.

fleur de lis fig. 1

fleur de lis fig.

fleur de lis fig.2

fleur de lis fig.2

Flirtation – The first station in the “Arc of the Erotic Force”. Flirtation is an Awareness.

Flower – A Courtesan.

Fold – A situation that occurs when energies attributed to various elements of Cyprianism either cross and mingle with others or fold upon themselves, creating Poetry from the reaction.

Franco, Veronica – A famed Venetian poet and courtesan during the 16th century. She was Grande Madame of Magdalanté.

Veronica Franco

Veronica Franco

Gaiety – The fifth Virtue of a Courtesan.

Garden – A group of Cyprians, an organized group of initiates.

Garter and Franc – The Garter and Franc are symbols of the Feminine, the Virtues of a Courtesan. They are the working tools of a Courtesan and represent, among other things, humankind’s unique ability to poeticize sexuality. The garter represents permission and reliance. The franc represents worth and worship. They are two sides of the transaction of intimate relationships between humans.

Gaudin, Thibaud – Thibaud Gaudin was the second to last Grand Master of the Poor Fellow Soldiers of Christ and of the Temple of Solomon. After the Fall of Acre, Gaudin fled to Sidon where he was elected to that position. As they were surrounded at the Castle of the Sea, Gaudin escaped to Cyprus with a number of his fleet. It was in Cyprus that Gaudin was initiated into Paphianism. Legends hold that he took with him the most important artifacts of the Templar treasure, though that treasure may have been more spiritual than physical.

Geometry – One of the Liberal Arts and Sciences. According to General Ahiman Rezon, Daniel Sickels, 1868, Geometry is the most noble science and deals with “the powers and properties of magnitudes in general, where length, breadth, and thickness are considered.”

Gilded Age – A time period in the U.S. that stretches from roughly 1870 to 1915. It was characterized by the peace, prosperity and optimism that preceded the first World War.

Glycera – “The Sweet One”. Glycera was a 4th century B.C.E. Courtesan who became the lover of Harpalus, boyhood friend of Alexander the Great. After escaping India with Harpalus and Alexander, She settled in Athens where She was raised to Grande Madame alongside Her lover, Great Poet Menander.

Gospel of Mary Magdalene – A sacred text of early Cyprianism written by Miriam of the Exalted Tower, wife of Jesus of Nazareth.

Grace – The sixth Virtue of a Courtesan.

Grammar – One of the Liberal Arts and Sciences. According to General Ahiman Rezon, Daniel Sickels, 1868, Grammar “Is the key by which alone the door can be opened to the understanding of speech.”

Grande Madame – The world’s great Lover, also the head of a Cyprian garden. See also Age’s Embodiment and The Cyprian.

Grande Madame’s Day – April 15 is a recent addition to the Cyprian Calendar and is celebrated as tribute to the current Grande Madame. It also honors Cyprian Saints Tullia d’Aragona and Veronica Franco, as the exact dates when they passed beyond the Diamond Gate are not known.

Grazing – Also called Cyprian Touch, this is a touching technique that sooths and heightens Awareness of the elements of the Philosophy.

Great Poet – As Grande Madame is the Lover of the age, the Poet is its Teacher. He represents and honors the original Great Poet, King Solomon. Also called The Maître Grand.


The Cyprian Embrace

Greeting/Embrace, The – The Cyprian Greeting is used when two initiates meet. They embrace, placing their right hands on the right shoulder blade of the other, their left hands on the small of the other’s back. In this position, words that signify their initiation are whispered quietly. The significance of this embrace is bringing each other into an “inner circle” constructed from the posture of Paphia as Venus Magistra.

Gula – The sixth Passion, or Vice: Gluttony.

Heirs to the Invisible – See Shells.

Hellfire Club – Formally known as the Order of the Friars of St. Francis of Wycombe, the Hellfire Club was an exclusive private organization in 18th century England for “high society rakes” in which they could participate in rituals based on early Cyprianism.

Hetaera – (Greek ἑταῖραι) A mistress, or courtesan. Especially of ancient Greece.

Honey, The – Heaven. Also, the place where all spirit mingles. Used to describe the elements of Cyprianism as they flow from the Diamond Gate. Also may refer to S-xual perfume.

Hunger – The sixth Principle of Cyprianism.

Hysteria Club – A group of 19th Century Artists and Courtesans who met for group masturbation sessions believed to level their heads and encourage creativity. It was started by and presided over by Cora Pearl and Her Paphian mystic physician.

Surviving fragments of Raimondi's second edition of I Modi in the British Museum

Surviving fragments of Raimondi’s second edition of I Modi in the British Museum

I Modi – A famous erotic publication of the Renaissance, I Modi (The Ways) was a series of sixteen engravings of sexual positions by Marc Antonio Raimondi based on paintings by Giulio Romano that decorated the interior walls of a Temple to Venus in Mantua. Romano’s paintings were said to symbolically impart much of the secret mysteries practiced within the walls of the temple. Raimondi published his version as an overtly erotic book, this being a playful blind cloaking his true intentions of hiding the Philosophy in plain sight. Using his seat as Pope, Clement VII – a Medici who privately practiced Paphianism and encouraged the Magdalanté – had the books destroyed and Raimondi imprisoned. Publicly the charge was indecency, but privately Clement VII made Raimondi aware that his real crime was attempting to impart the mysteries to the unprivileged. Romano was not prosecuted, as his paintings were of a sacred and non-public nature. In 1527 it was again published, this time with the addition of sixteen sonnets by then Great Poet of the Knights of Paphos at Mantua, Pietro Aretino. Again, the copies were collected and destroyed. The only remaining copy of the original Raimondi/Aretino version is believed to be in the Vatican’s secret pornographic archives.

Imperia (La Divina) – (1481-1512 C.E.) “The Queen”, a Roman and the first famous courtesan of Europe. The term “courtesan” is said to have been created for her as she represented a class of educated women at court who could not be marriageable. Together with her lover, architect and painter Raphael (for whom she modeled for his Galatea), she formed a Paphian cult of courtesans and artists that later became known as the Magdalanté.

Initiation – Speculative Cyprianism has three initiations. The first is the embrace, the moment you decide to become Cyprian. This is called the Initiation of the Artist and involves an understanding of the First Key. Its symbol is the open book. The second is the Initiation of the Courtesan and involves the Second Key. It is symbolized by the chiton and drachma and the palette and chisel. The third is the Initiation into the Mysteries, involving the Hidden Key. This initiation is represented by the symbol of the apple and poniard.

“In the Saccade” – A term used to describe someone who is resonating with the Current.

“In the Swim” – A term used to describe someone who is resonating with the Current.

Invidia – The second Passion, or Vice: Envy.

7oclock-invertInverted Watch/Clock – A symbol of Cyprianism from the 19th century and beyond. The clock is always set to seven and turned upside down. Courtesans of the time were not required to dress in certain clothing by priests or the government so their costumes (if worn at all) varied widely. However, it was most common for a professional woman to wear her garter at all times, even while with a patron. These were typically affixed with a small coin purse for the collection of their due and often a small clockwork watch worn upside down so that it would be in the exact right position to be viewed accurately when the wearer’s legs were thrown over her lover’s shoulders (or in any other position de l’amour).

Ira – The third Passion, or Vice: Anger.

Isis – The Egyptian mother-Goddess, patroness of the Mysteries. She is both White and Black Queen as a symbol of Mutuality. Isis and Paphia are considered one by Cyprianism. According to Le Serpent rouge by Pierre Feugère, Isis survived under Christianity as Miriam of Magdala, making Her consanguine in the Poetic bloodline of Naamah. From Feugère’s writings: “From she whom I desire to liberate, there wafts towards me the fragrance of the perfume which impregnates the Sepulchre. Formerly, some named her: ISIS … To others she is MAGDALENE, of the celebrated vase filled with healing balm. The initiated know her true name.” The initiation into Isis’ cult involved a seven-stage process.

Isodikeia – The Feast of Equality (ἴσος/isos) and Justice (δίκη/dike) was declared a Cyprian holiday on June 26, 2015 in celebration of the landmark Supreme Court of the United States decision made this day concerning the nationwide legalization of same-sex marriage.

Jouissance – French word loosely translated into English as “enjoyment”. However, jouissance has no actual relation in the English language as “enjoyment” quite misses the mark. Jouissance is the special mix of feelings that come in the pursuit of Lust and the joy of Its fulfillment in orgasm. During S-x jouissance is the state that opens the mind to Pure Thought and the spirit to resonance with the Current.



Kerameikos – (Greek Κεραμεικός) A neighborhood in Periclean Athens inhabited primarily by Artists and Courtesans. The Knights and Sisters of Paphos organized there. The English word “ceramics” comes from this word.

King Solomon – (Hebrew שְׁלֹמֹה) Revered by the Knights and Sisters of Paphos as the Great Poet. Legend states that when Solomon’s wives turned his head from strict adherence to the God of Israel, they were indeed turning him to Paphianism.

Giovanni Battista Venanzi of King Solomon being led astray into idolatry in his old age by his wives, 1668.

Giovanni Battista Venanzi of King Solomon being led astray into idolatry in his old age by his wives, 1668.

Knights and Sisters of Paphos – The group of Artists and Courtesans who resided in the neighborhood of Kerameikos in Athens and organized to form a cult/guild to Beauty. Their stated purpose was to serve, defend and create Beauty. Often shortened simply to the Knights of Paphos.

Knights of Joy – A parading Mardi Gras Krewe from New Orleans during the mid-Nineteenth Century. It was made up entirely of prostitutes, sexual entertainers, pimps and the politicians to whom they paid protection along with artists. They began to “roll” (the term used to describe parading) around 1859, led by Grande Madame Emma Pickett after she won a hard fought, year long court battle on the unconstitutionality of the new “lewd women” laws of the city. The parades of the Knights of Joy were as lavish as the “proper” krewes, but were known for their over-the-top licentiousness and debauchery. Float riders would even throw doubloons to people in the streets which could be turned in at local brothels for entertainment.

Knights Templar – Originally called the Poor Fellow-Soldiers of Christ and of the Temple of Solomon, this religious military order is rumored to have made a great mystical discovery that led to their fame and eventually their downfall. Cyprians believe this order found the truth of Jesus and Miriam which would have put them at odds with the Catholic Church.

Knowledge – The third Principle of Cyprianism.

Laïs of Corinth – Consort of Aristippus, this famed hetaera was Grande Madame of the Knights and Sisters of Paphos around 425 B.C.E.

Lanthélme’s Ransom – The evening of July 24/25 is the feast day of French actress, courtesan and Cyprian Saint Ginette Lanthélme, who passed beyond the Diamond Gate on this day in 1911. This night pays tribute to a “ransom” required by Lanthélme from Misia Edwards, the wife of one of Lanthélme lovers, in order to call off their relationship. The “ransom” consisted of a pearl necklace, one million francs, and sexual relations with Misia. The necklace was given, the money promised and the last request ignored. When Misia returned home, she found a package containing the necklace and a note that read, “I have decided to forget the money and the necklace. I am holding you only to the third condition.”

L’art cyprianiste – Cyprianist art.

Les Chansons de Bilitis – In 1894, Pierre Louÿs published one of the most sacred texts of Cyprianism – The Songs of Bilitis, purporting it to be poetry written by a female lover of Sappho. Though that fact was proven to be a hoax, the book does expose several key rituals and concepts of Cyprianism, a Philosophy Louÿs and his close friends Claude Debussy and Louis Icart resurrected. Besides the false convention of being an ancient text, it contains other “blinds” that keep its true meanings veiled, except to the initiated.

Georges Barbier - Songs of Bilitis

Georges Barbier – Songs of Bilitis

Liberty of Privilege – The fourth Principle of Cyprianism.

Logic – One of the Liberal Arts and Sciences. According to General Ahiman Rezon, Daniel Sickels, 1868, Logic is ”that science which directs us how to form clear and distinct ideas of things.”

Longest Night – Winter Solstice, often December 21, is the second highest holiday of Cyprianism, after Paphia’s birthday. It is the moon’s longest night and is celebrated with pleasure from dusk to dawn.

The bas-reliefs of the Ludovisi Throne, photo by Marie Lan-Nguyen

The bas-reliefs of the Ludovisi Throne, photo by Marie Lan-Nguyen

Ludovisi Throne – One of the great relics of Cyprianism, the Ludovisi Throne is a sculpted throne of marble discovered in 1887 and dating to the fifth century B.C.E. The bas-relief on the right depicts a woman wearing a sacred chiton, making her offering to Paphia. It symbolizes protection. The bas-relief on the left depicts a nude woman playing a flute, symbolizing vulnerability. The sculpted back depicts the Grande Madame being pulled from Her chiton during a Cyprian ritual to symbolize the generosity of the Queen. It was found in the Gardens of Sallust, a ceremonial pleasure garden of a Paphian sect. Also discovered there is another relic, the Borghese Vase, often misinterpreted as depicting a Dionysian Bacchanal. In fact, the relief explicitly spells out a Paphian ritual. The Ludovisi Throne now resides at the Museo Nazionale Romano of Palazzo Altemps, Rome.

Lux – Latin for “light” and the root of “Luxuria”.

Luxuria – The seventh and culminating Passion, or Vice: Lust.

Madame Du Barry's Jewels (in reproduction)

Madame Du Barry’s Jewels (in reproduction)

Madame du Barry’s Jewels – Central to the Affair of the Diamond Necklace – a late 18th Century scandal involving Louis XV, his Maîtresse-en-titre Jeanne Bécu, comtesse du Barry, and Marie Antoinette –  was a luxurious diamond necklace estimated at a value of 2,000,000 livres (approximately $15m USD in 2016) created by Boehmer and Bassenge of Paris. Since the 19th Century it has been rumored to be the inspiration for a design used by Cyprian Grande Madame’s for Their ritual regalia. In this application it is worn around Her waist and hangs in an apron-like mannger across the front of the thighs.

Magdalanté – A group modelled on the Knights and Sisters of Paphos in Italy during the Renaissance. It was named for Mary Magdalene in the period before the legend says that seven spirits were cast out of Her.

Maître Grand, The – See Great Poet.

An initiate prepared for participation in the Masque of Pasiphaë

An initiate prepared for participation in the Masque of Pasiphae

Masque of Pasiphaë, The – March 3 is the celebration of this Greek ritual which involves the eating of meat with the bare hands, and much drunken dancing.

Master – One of the Poets chosen by an Operative Cyprian to emulate and from whom to learn.

Masters Day/Feast of St. Rodin – November 17 is the feast day of sculptor and Cyprian Saint Auguste Rodin, who passed beyond the Diamond Gate on this day in 1917. It is also referred to as “Masters Day” in honor of Rodin’s position as Maître Grand of Cyprianism during his lifetime. On this day, Cyprians pay special tribute to their chosen masters and teachers.

Mathematics/Geometry – A conceptual symbol of the Current. We tend to understand geometry in two or three dimensions instead of fractalized continuums in multiple dimensions working at different speeds. Mathematics, and the Current, is that resonant language that lies underneath it all. Mathematics is creation. Numbers are the abstract objects of spirituality. Numbers are not physical or mental. They allow creation of things that don’t exist and underlie everything. The Current cannot be calculated because It is number.

Melancholy – An emotional and/or spiritual condition of reaching for creation. It is often characterized by otherwise unexplainable pathos but is not an altogether unpleasant experience. There is, in fact, a certain type of joy that accompanies Cyprian melancholy.

Messalina working in a brothel. Etching by Agostino Carracci, late 16th century

Messalina working in a brothel. Etching by Agostino Carracci, late 16th century

Messalina, Valeria – Third wife of Roman Emperor Claudius. For approximately a decade, from 37-48 C.E., She was reputed to be the Grande Madame of a Roman resurrection of the “Ancient Mystic Knights and Sisters of Paphos”. Her second cousin, Emperor Caligula, was in power when She took the reigns of the cult. She introduced the Knights’ philosophies into his rule, but he was unable to maintain the important Watchful Eye and She denounced him as a shell. When Claudius became Emperor after Caligula’s assassination, he urged Messalina to keep Her proclivities a court secret, but was later convinced by his advisors to offer Her up for execution in order to quiet the anti-Caligula populace.

Messalina by Henrique Bernardelli

Messalina by Henrique Bernardelli

Miriam of Magdala (Miriam of the Exalted Tower) – (Greek Μαρία ) Mary Magdalene. A sacred Courtesan from the Middle East during the first century. Author of the Gospel of Mary Magdalene. According to medieval legends, She was the wife of Jesus of Nazareth and is said to have brought a “vase filled with healing balm” to France. Louis IX of France, St. Louis, regarded Miriam as the source of the French royal line. She was a Paphian Grande Madame and brought a type of divination into the Practice.

Mirrors – The second Principle of Cyprianism.

Most Precious Secret, The – A secret only revealed to initiates.

Moon – A sacred symbol of Cyprianism. The moon represents the Beauty of the night as Artists and Courtesans are mainly creatures of the night. It also represents light in darkness, as does the candle. As a reflection of the sun’s light (knowledge) it also represents Aphrodite’s mirror and thus the Principle of Mirrors. As the sun represents unseeable knowledge (we cannot look directly at it), the moon represents Beauty (we can contemplate it directly). The sun guides our toil and work, the moon guides our rest, decadence and art.

Music – One of the Liberal Arts and Sciences. According to General Ahiman Rezon, Daniel Sickels, 1868, Music “is that elevated science which affects the passions by sound.”

Mysteries, The – Can refer to the canon of Cyprian initiation rites and rituals. Also can specifically refer to Cyprianism’s third initiation.

Naamah – (Hebrew נעמה) King Solomon’s favorite courtesan. The Grande Madame of his Northern Garden Temple which featured more than 900 such concubines. Naamah is most noted for Her convincing of Solomon to worship Paphia in earnest (I Kings Chapter 11). Another legend (Genesis 4:22) tells of a Naamah even more ancient who was one of four children, three sons and a daughter, of Lamech. Lamech’s wife Adah had two sons, the originators of Geometry and Music. Zillah, his other wife, had Naamah and her brother Tubal-cain. These two invented Weaving and Smithing, respectively. As the authors of the Four Crafts, they represent the ancestry of ancient Paphianism. They wrote the secrets of their sciences and hid them in pillars of marble and brass so that they would survive fire and flood. Hermes Trismegistus, author of the Corpus Hermiticum, is said to have found the secrets of one of the pillars, that of Tubal-cain, and communicated them to mankind. Cyprian tradition holds that the other, that of Naamah, was found at Athens by the Knights and Sisters of Paphos.

A Night of Ancient and Deathless Rapture – The name given to a celebration occurring in November each year where Artists and models gather to drink, dance and otherwise misbehave. It was popularized in Chicago by the Tavern Club.

Photo from Night of Ancient and Deathless Rapture c. 1960 and invitation from same party at the Tavern Club

Photo from Night of Ancient and Deathless Rapture c. 1960 and invitation from same party at the Tavern Club

Mural from the wall of the Tavern Club depicting Paphian (Cyprian) themes

Mural from the wall of the Tavern Club depicting Paphian (Cyprian) themes

Nought/Feast of Lechery/St Von Bayros – April 3 combines two traditional Cyprian holidays of “Nought” and the feast day of artist and Cyprian Saint Franz von Bayros, who passed beyond the Diamond Gate on this day in 1924. Nought is similar to New Year’s Eve in that it occurs the night before the Cyprian New Year of April 4.

Nouveau Fin – The “new end”. The name of the current era which will last until the current Grande Madame’s passing.

Operative Cyprianism – The physical and creative “side” of Cyprianism. Operative Cyprianism works the elements of the Philosophy physically to create a Masterwork of art, therefore an Operative Cyprian is most often an artist, or one who creates.

Order of the Garter and Franc – A late 19th Century club that grew out of the salons of famed Courtesan Cora Pearl and counted Pierre Louÿs, Claude Debussy, Auguste Rodin, Stéphane Mallarmé and Louis Icart as initiates. La Belle Otero was thought to be the Grande Madame of the Order during her reign as France’s most highly prized Courtesan.

Order of Péladan – A short-lived offshoot of the Order of the Garter and Franc based on a declaration by French novelist Joséphin Péladan who once wrote to Claude Debussy that an artist should be “a knight in armor, eagerly engaged in the symbolic quest for the Holy Grail.”

Photograph of Péladan (right) and the Romanian writer Alexandru Bogdan-Piteşti, during a visit to Bucharest

Photograph of Péladan (right) and the Romanian writer Alexandru Bogdan-Piteşti, during a visit to Bucharest

An 1894 Folies Bergère poster featuring La Belle Otero.

An 1894 Folies Bergère poster featuring La Belle Otero.

Otero, Carolina “La Belle” – A Spanish-born courtesan, dancer and actress famous during the Belle Epoque in France. She claimed to be a Grande Madame of Cyprianism, however no record is known. Otero was the most famous courtesan of her time and her apartments can still be visited as the Museum of Art Nouveau in Paris, located above Maxim’s, a nightclub she helped make famous.

BRUSH&CHISELPalette/Brush and Chisel – The Palette (or Paintbrush) and Chisel are symbols of the Masculine, the Vices of an Artist. They are the working tools of an Artist and represent humankind’s unique ability to create masterpieces. The palette represents creation; the outward motion of Art. A painter “puts” Art on a canvas after mixing his or her colors on a palette. The chisel represents perfection; the inward motion of Art. A sculptor “removes” inartistic elements from a stone in order to leave a masterpiece.

Paphia – A name for Aphrodite that predates the Periclean-Age.

Paphianism – An early form of Cyprian Philosophy and Practice, which was codified by the Knights and Sisters of Paphos.

Paphos – A city in Cyprus upon whose shores legend states that Aphrodite took her first steps upon the land.

Postcard advertising Wagner's Parsifal in 1900 featuring Kundry, artist unknown

Postcard advertising Wagner’s Parsifal in 1900 featuring Kundry, artist unknown

Parsifal – An opera by Richard Wagner based on a Thirteenth Century epic poem (Percival) about an Arthurian Knight and the Holy Grail. Parsifal is a beautiful allegory concealing Cyprian truths behind many blinds. The name is a variant of Fal Parsi, said to be an ancient Persian phrase for “pure fool”. Most notable is the character of Kundry (playing on the Middle Low German word kunte or cunt. In the opera she is also called “sorceress” and “hell’s rose” (epithets for Miriam of Magdala) as well as Herodias (either the mother of Salomé or Salomé herself). Cyprians understand the relationship between the “flower maidens”, the “Holy Grail”, Miriam of Magdala, Paphia and the Knights Templar (the obvious analog for the “Grail Knights”)

Cora Pearl

Cora Pearl

Pearl, Cora – A French courtesan and author of Grande Horizontal, Her memoirs. Grande Madame of Cyprianism.

Perfume – The natural oils and lubricants that issue during S-xual Arousal. It is also the symbol for the physical manifestation of Heaven.

Pericles – (Greek Περικλῆς) Greek statesman, orator and war general of Athens during the 5th century B.C.E. He and his hetaera, Aspasia, founded, supported and funded the Knights and Sisters of Paphos, the cult of Beauty largely responsible for what we remember as classic Greece during the Periclean Age. This sect formed the basic tenets from which our Philosophy and Practice issue.

Petition, The – A ceremony during which initiates ask the Grande Madame to be generous in endowing them with elements of Cyprianism.

Petra tou Romiou – A sea stack rock formation near Paphos, Cyprus. Also called the Rock of Aphrodite, this appropriately Beautiful location is where Aphrodite was born of the waves and first set foot on dry land. Today it is a place of pilgrimage for Cyprianism.

Petra tou Romiou

Petra tou Romiou

Phi – (Greek uppercase Φ) The twenty-first letter of the Greek alphabet. Among other things, it represents the Golden Ratio and the Greek sculptor, architect and painter Phidias (attributed to Michael Barr who wished to honor Phidias). It also figures heavily in calculating Kepler’s Triangle, what he called the “Precious Jewel”. Phi is important in figuring relationships in the Fibonacci sequence. Interestingly, the number of petals on a flower consistently corresponds to a number in the Fibonacci sequence. Another of the symbolic applications of Phi in Cyprianism is to represent “The Sevens”, specifically the Laws, Virtues and Passions (three times Sevens being twenty-one). Phi is also a symbol for the Artist and the Passions.

Phidias – (Greek Φειδίας; c. 480 – 430 B.C.E.) A sculptor, architect and painter from ancient Greece, most famous for Zeus at Olympia which was one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.

Phidias Showing the Frieze of the Parthenon to his Friends Pericles and Aspasia (1868) by Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema

Phidias Showing the Frieze of the Parthenon to his Friends Pericles and Aspasia (1868) by Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema

Phryne/Mnēsarétē – (Greek Μνησαρέτη) A Courtesan of 4th century B.C.E. Greece. She was the Age’s Embodiment for Her time and was put on trial for heresy because of it. She was also the model for many of the famous Aphrodite statues we know today. Her true name, Mnēsarétē, means “commemorating the Virtues”.

Detail - Phryne before the Areopagus by Jean-Léon Gérôme, c. 1861

Detail – Phryne before the Areopagus by Jean-Léon Gérôme, c. 1861

Piranesi Temple – Giovanni Battista Piranesi was an 18th century Italian artist who sketched and made engravings of artifacts and architecture of antiquity, including much of the discoveries of Pompeii. He made many such drawings – some say an obsessive amount – of the Temple to Isis there. The temple is now understood to be a part of the Paphian resort at Pompeii and as such, some modern Cyprians choose to set their work in a garden which is laid out according to the floorplan of this temple.

Piranesi’s Temple of Isis

Piranesi’s Temple of Isis

Piranesi’s Floorplan of the Temple of Isis used by some Cyprian gardens to lay out their symbolic temple

Piranesi’s Floorplan of the Temple of Isis used by some Cyprian gardens to lay out their symbolic temple

Pleasure – The first Principle and chief pursuit of Cyprianism.

Pleasure, The – See Grande Madame.

Pleasuria – A day or evening dedicated to intentionally planning, preparing and evoking the Erotic Force. Usually celebrated on the 4th of a month. (For a post about “sexual ceremony” CLICK HERE)

Poetry – Poetry is conjured in true acts of creation. It is the “something more than one cannot truly know” (Auguste Rodin) achieved when elements come together to create something which is mystically greater than the sum of the intrinsic value of its parts. It creates what was not previously there and, much like symbols, teaches directly to one’s spirituality. An entire third of the Muses are dedicated to Poetry.

Poets, The – All Artists, Courtesans, philosophers and other “patron saints” that have contributed to the Legacy of Cyprianism.

Pompeii – A Paphian resort town in Rome destroyed and buried by the eruption of Vesuvius in 79 C.E.

dagger-clipart-DaggerPoniard – A small, lightweight thrusting knife used by nobles and knights during the Renaissance.

Pouty Fig (Myth) – In the Cyprian foundational myth, a “pouty fig” is pollinated by a fig wasp, an insect known to have a coevolutionary relationship with figs for at least 80 million years. The rapture when the fig is impregnated with Lustfulness causes her to fall into the Mediterranean Sea, near what is now Petra tou Romiou, where she is plucked from the depths by Venus in mermaid form. As Venus eats the morsel, She gains legs and becomes fascinated with what is between them: Her own fig. It was at this time that Lust was born into the world.

Two versions of the Pouty Fig symbol

Two versions of the Pouty Fig symbol

Pouty Fig (Symbol) – A symbolic representation of Lust, the Diamond Gate, etc. For at least 4,000 years cultures have used their word for “fig” to double as a word for “vulva”. From the ancient Phoenicians pagh to Aristophanes’ σῦκον, these words were interchangeable. Even today when you visit Italy you want to make sure you are intentional when you pronounce “fico” or “fica” depending on whether you are asking for the actual fruit or the nether fruit. It is easy to understand this relationship when you look at the dehiscence of a cleft fig. In a Cyprian sense, it represents the vulva of Venus. In a symbolic sense it is the same for the Grande Madame. Philosophically, it represents the interface between the physical world we know and the Current – the Erotic Force. In this way it is the same as The Diamond Gate.

Praxiteles – Praxiteles was a sculptor in Greece during the time of Phryne, with whom he was also a lover. Praxiteles used Phryne as his muse for the immortal representation of Aphrodite.

A copy of Praxiteles' Aphrodite of Knidos. Phryne is said to be the model of the original.

A copy of Praxiteles’ Aphrodite of Knidos. Phryne is said to be the model of the original.

A Cyprian Prayer Chair

A Cyprian Prayer Chair

Prayer Chair – A Cyprian prayer chair is used for devotion in prayer to Beauty, or in S-xual supplication. The initiate kneels on the base of the chair and his/her lover places their feet on the arms, allowing the initiate to gaze at and/or partake in the joys of the lover’s vulnerability.

PRDS, Pardes (and Paradise) – The Hebrew word pardes (פָּרְדֵּס) means “orchard” and is related to the English word “paradise”. It appears three times in the Tanakh, once having the meaning “garden” (Solomon’s Song) and twice meaning “park” (Ecclesiastes and Nehemiah). It is from Naamah’s use of it in Solomon’s Song that Cyprians adopted it. In Cyprianism, pardes may refer to the original garden (Eden) or a modern organized garden of initiates. Additionally, pardes is related to the term PRDS used to denote a style of scriptural exegesis used by kabbalists. It is an acronym made up of the initials Peshat, Remez, Derash and Sod which represent four progressive approaches of interpreting a sacred text. Peshat is the simple, direct meaning. Remez is the symbolic meaning which lies just beyond the literal. Derash requires the initiatic Seeking of further meaning and Sod is the secret, mystical meaning – the esoteric revealed slowly through spiritual epiphany. It is generally understood that an extended meaning should never contradict the basic meaning. However, as we are exposed to deeper interpretations, basic meanings may appear differently, as though in a different light. This was a chief catalyst for the transcendence of Catholic Christianity by the Templar Knights as they were taught kabbalah, among other epiphanies. Cyprians apply this system to the study of Art, the exploration of S-xuality and the revelation of Cyprian writings. In fact, the intention and design of the Poetry within this book is for just such a purpose.

Privilege of Liberty – The fifth Principle of Cyprianism.

Privileged, The – Initiates of the Beautiful Life

Psyche’s Scrolls – A Bilitisian Affair wherein Courtesans wear their rings in a certain manner to signify their availability.

Puissance – Power. In Cyprian terms this specifically relates to the power that comes from vulnerability.

Pulse, The – See the Cadence.

Pure Thought – A fleeting moment achieved by Rapture (orgasm) where your mind is pure of intellectual arguments and moral tangles.

Pythagoras – A mathematician and mystic from the Greek island of Samos born around 575 B.C.E. During his travels to Egypt, India and Britain he developed a cult built around mathematics. Sacred symbols shared by Cyprians and Pythagoreans are the Tetraktys and the 47th Problem of Euclid.

Rapture – The fifth station in the “Arc of the Erotic Force”. Literally, orgasm, the culminating moment of the Erotic experience.

Resolution/Hysteria Club/Epitymbria – October 25 serves several celebratory purposes. It is the traditional day when St. Cora Pearl would convene Her “Hysteria Club”, during which members would take part in decadent group masturbation. It is also the day in 1911 when Chicago’s infamous and opulent brothel, the Everleigh Club, was shuttered for good. Modern Cyprianism combines both in a larger celebration called “The Resolution”. If the dark moon of October falls close to this date, the celebration of Epitymbria is also combined in the festivities. There is no certain date for the traditional Epitymbria, but modern Aphrodite scholars, like Laurelei Black, have chosen the dark moon of October to explore darker elements of Paphia Melaina’s (the Dark One) nature. This holiday is also referred to as “The Madness”. The term is also used to denote a revelation found during Pure Thought.

Rhetoric – One of the Liberal Arts and Sciences. According to General Ahiman Rezon, Daniel Sickels, 1868, Rhetoric is “the art of speaking eloquently”.

Rite of Wine/Vinalia Prima – Like Vinalia Rustica, Vinalia Prima (the “first Vinalia”) on April 23 is a celebration of wine. The wines of this celebrations are “first fruits”, wines used in sacrificial offerings.

S-x, S-xual, S-xuality – The ineffable experience of sex. Used to denote elevated, spiritual Erotic experiences.

Saints, The – See the Poets.

St. Pierre’s Day of Songs – June 6th is the celebration of the life of symbolist poet and Cyprian Saint Pierre Louÿs, who passed beyond the Diamond Gate on this day in 1925. His most sacred work of Cyprianism, Les Chansons de Bilitis, is central to the ceremonies of this day.

Satiety – The sixth station in the “Arc of the Erotic Force”. Satiety is the spiritual and physical moment of satisfaction after Rapture in the Erotic experience.

Scandals – November 22 is a day set aside for amusing one’s self and those in their garden with scandalous stories. It is celebrated on this day in honor of the Everleigh Club’s most scandalous myth, that of the death of Marshall Field Jr. on this date in 1905.

Schröder-Devrient, Wilhelmine

Schröder-Devrient, Wilhelmine

Schröder-Devrient, Wilhelmine – An operatic soprano from Germany, most famous for creating the role of Venus for Wagner’s opera, Tannhäuser. She is also the author of two erotic memoirs, the second of which is arguably Germany’s most famous work of erotic literature. It has been reprinted many times and has been translated into English as Pauline the Prima Donna, a sacred text of Cyprianism.

Seal, The – The symbol used by the Knights and Sisters of Paphos as an emblem of their guild. It represents the Life, Light and Perfection found in the worship of Aphrodite and the protection and creation of Beauty.

Second Key of Cyprianism, The – Mastery – Areté. It pursues the potential of the Philosophy and Practice.

Seduction – The fourth station in the “Arc of the Erotic Force”. Seduction is the moment that two or more experiencing Arousal begin to interact on intentional levels in the Erotic experience.

Seeker’s Promise, The – An oath and obligation recited during the first initiation, that of the Artist.

Seeking – A state on the Aretic Path between Epiphanies. In this state one maintains an attitude of exploration, hoping to come to a revelation, or epiphany.

Seeds – Aphorisms from the Philosophy and Practice of Cyprianism. Each seed contains several layered meanings that are explored by the initiate. There are more than four hundred Seeds, including the Aspasian Letters and wisdom gleaned from the Poets.

Seshat – The ancient Egyptian Goddess worshipped by Artists and Courtesans. She is often depicted wearing leopard skin with a seven pointed emblem above Her head. The feline skin represents Knowledge as she was the overseer of wisdom, knowledge, architecture, astronomy, astrology and mathematics. Spell 10 of the Coffin Texts says “Seshat opens the door of heaven to you”, a reference to the Diamond Gate, the entrance of Heaven.

Seven – An important number in the Philosophy and Practice. Seven represents the Current.

Sevens, The – The collective term for the Virtues, Vices, Principles and Laws.

Shattering, The – Orgasm. See Rapture


“The Shekinah Glory Enters the Tabernacle”; illustration from The Bible and Its Story Taught by One Thousand Picture Lessons; Charles F. Horne and Julius A. Bewer (Ed.), 1908

Shekhinah – (Hebrew: שכינה‎) A feminine name for God in Judaism. It means “the dwelling” or “the Presence”. It is a symbol of the Courtesan and the Virtues thereof. See also the Current.

Shell – A person or object that outwardly appears to show the signs of a Beautiful Life, but lacks the true Poetry of Cyprianism. These people and things happen to stumble upon results that mimic Beauty and the Beautiful Life, but do not have the foundational resonance with the Current required for true creation. Not to be confused with a person or thing with a natural propensity to resonate with the Current, even without Awareness. Also, a person who uses the Philosophy and Practice for nefarious outcomes.

Shulamite, The – The poetess in the Song of Solomon whose name is not widely known. Cyprians understand Her to be Naamah.

Gustave Moreau, Song of Songs: The Shulammite Maiden

Gustave Moreau, Song of Songs: The Shulammite Maiden

Sidon – Sidon, along with Tyre and Byblos, was a major center for the worship of Astarte and early Paphianism. The Phoenicians that participated in the building of King Solomon’s temple were from Sidon and Tyre. Sidon, with its Astartic cults, figure into later tales of the Poor Fellow Soldiers of Christ and of the Temple of Solomon – known popularly as the Knights Templar – and their relation to later piracy.

Sisters, The – See the Everleigh Sisters.

Society for Austrian Bibliophiles – A Cyprian garden based in Austria during the late 19th Century CE. Most notably, they privately published several books of Cyprian literature including Fleurette’s Purple Snails, illustrated by Franz von Bayros.

Society of Sophisticates, The – An offshoot of the Order of the Garter and Franc led by Pierre Louÿs whose charter was to commission and execute Art based on Cyprian Philosophy.

Solomonic Line – A philosophical and/or spiritual “bloodline” that begins in the sun and goes to the moon, that is the spiritual lineage of Naamah, King Solomon’s favorite courtesan. This line is more Poetic than actual.

Speculative Cyprianism – The philosophical and mystic “side” of Cyprianism. Speculative Cyprianism works the elements mentally and spiritually to create a Beautiful Life. Speculative Cyprianism is concerned with putting the Philosophy into Practice as a whole life experience – to create a Beautiful Life. It takes what some have described as a religious approach in doing so. It is not necessary to follow this path to be a Cyprianist artist.

(To Have) Stone in One’s Beard – Used to denote an artist who is actually working to create art, especially a masterpiece. It originates from an early 20th century film of Auguste Rodin who, while chiseling a sculpture, had accumulated many small pieces of stone in his prodigious beard. It can also be used to describe a state after the sexual experience where one’s face is damp or slick with the bodily fluids exchanged during the act.

Suggestion – The second station in the “Arc of the Erotic Force”. Suggestion is the moment in the Erotic experience when a simple Flirtation evolves into possibility.

Superbia – The first and foundational Passion, or Vice: Pride.

Sweet Fire – A sacred text of Cyprianism written by Renaissance Courtesan Tullia d’Aragona.

Cyprian goblet and decanter

Cyprian goblet and decanter

Symbols – A thing representative of something else. Cyprianism uses symbols to teach lessons about the elements of the Philosophy and Practice. Because their Cyprian meanings are revealed through initiation and Seeking they can only be listed here. Some important Cyprian symbols are: The Cyprian Star, the moon, the palette and chisel, the chiton and drachma, the garter and inverted watch, the garter and franc, the inverted watch/clock, the tetraktys, the pouty fig, the clamshell, the clamshell and pearl, the noble alchemical metals, fire, the heart, the mirror, the dagger, the sun, the swing, the ballerina, the diamond, the knight, the mermaid, the bee, the beehive, the pirate ship, the 47th problem of Euclid, the seahorse, the pearl, the wine stained rug/flag, the compass and crown (or compass and moon), the ladder, the winding staircase, the man/lion conquering the snake, the Watchful Eye, the key, the candle, the chamberstick, the twin pillars topped by grapes, the hourglass, the broken nude, phi, Kepler’s Triangle, the Golden Rectangle, the labyrinth, the decanter, the goblet and the combination of salt, wine and oil.

A necklace designed by Betony Vernon, featuring the Cyprian symbol of an hourglass

A necklace designed by Betony Vernon, featuring the Cyprian symbol of an hourglass

Tethered – The state of elements of the Philosophy and Practice when they rely on, or are highly resonant with, each other.

The Tetraktys

Tetraktys – (Greek τετρακτύς) A triangular figure with ten points arranged in four rows of one, two, three and four. This mystical symbol encodes the Three Keys of Cyprianism as the harmonizing factor (and protector) of the Sevens.

Temple of Beauty – A symbolic temple which helps to inform one’s service, defense and creation of Beauty. Its crepidoma (foundational structure and steps) are Reliance, Trust and Faith. The four caryatids that support its roof are Elegance, Decadence, Brilliance and Silence. The entablature (superstructure) is Beauty.

Theater of Sevens – The evening of September 7 is set aside for theatrical productions meant to allegorically explore the Sevens. In the Roman calendar, September was the seventh of ten months. Though the September of our Gregorian calendar does not directly correspond to the Roman September, modern Cyprianism still honors it as the seventh month, thus the seventh day of the seventh month is the proper time to celebrate the Theater of Sevens.

Third (Hidden or Obscured) Key of Cyprianism, The – The Third Key, often called the Hidden (or Obscured) Key is only known by initiates. It requires the initiatic experience of Cyprianism to experience and understand it.

Timing – The first and foundational Virtue of a Courtesan.

The Capitoline Venus (Capitoline Museums).

The Capitoline Venus (Capitoline Museums).

Venus Magistra – A popular representation of Aphrodite in art is the “Venus Pudica”. In these versions, Venus is posed with Her right hand over Her left breast and Her left hand over Her cunt. The word “pudica” is related to that of the Latin “pudendus”, the meaning of which is female genitalia or shame, or both simultaneously. This pose is often called the “Modest Venus” because She is covering Herself and for this reason, the etymology of the word “shame” begins with “awareness of female genitalia”, moves to “covering” and eventually means “feeling of guilt or disgrace”. This meaning is of modern orientation and has no relation to our use of it. In addition, the interpretation of Venus in the Pudica pose as being modest is incorrect. The proper name for this pose is Venus Magistra, or Venus the Teacher. In this position, She is being somewhat less than modest, in fact drawing your attention to the parts where Her hands are. This is how Venus teaches us, the path of protection comes from Her heart and breast, the path of vulnerability comes from Her cunt.

Virilis’ Fortunate Steam (Feast of St. Foutin) – A ritual in Ancient Greece when the Sisters of Paphos (Courtesans) would surprise the Knights of Paphos (Artists) during their steam with oral pleasure.

Vulnerability – See The First Key of Cyprianism.

Wanassa – A name found in ancient inscriptions at the Temple at Palea Paphos. It is commonly translated as “The Lady”, but a better interpretation is “The Present” or “The Current”.

Wasp – Since ancient times, a term used to connote the penis.

eyeWatchful Eye, The – The introspection that serves to circumscribe our behavior. Also, our reliance on others within our garden to perform the same. To be sure, this is one of the most important concepts of the Philosophy as it has the ability to provide the line of demarcation between Privileged and shell, freedom and damage. The foundational myth of Chrysis and Demetrios tells the tale of a life without the Watchful Eye. The concept is so important that this piece contributes to roughly ten percent of the entire Seed. Without the Watchful Eye, the Beautiful Life cannot be.

Portrait of Watelet, Jean-Baptiste Greuze, c. 1765

Portrait of Watelet, Jean-Baptiste Greuze, c. 1765

Watelet, Claude-Henri – Watelet was the social consort of Marie Thérèse Rodet Geoffrin, salonnesse of Enlightenment Paris. As rich patrons of the arts, and respected socialites, they began a circle of French Paphianism that may have included the likes of Jean-Baptiste Greuze. Greuze’s painting of Watelet shows him contemplating a statue of Paphia, calipers in hand, set at 51°25’, the proper angle to divide a circle into seven equal segments. In 1774 he published Essai sur les jardins, an essay on gardens in which many sections read as thinly veiled descriptions of Cyprian themes and the Beautiful Life.

Wilson, Harriette – A famed Regency era courtesan in England made famous for Her annual Cyprian’s Ball. She is known as the most famous British Grande Madame of Cyprianism.

Wonder – A mystical spiritual state induced by Poetry, Seeking and/or Awareness. The proper state for a Cyprian.

Words, The – Two words are of utmost importance to initiates. The first is given to him/her upon initiation. The other is the “word by which one is called” and is found by an initiate upon the Aretic Path.

Zodiac – A Cyprian calendar system that encourages intentional study and experience of the elements of Cyprianism.

1 Response to Glossary

  1. Pingback: Happy Feast of St. Pauline | Cyprianism

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