It’s nice to remind ourselves of the spell that rendered Eric amnesiac. Of course, it is known now that this spell is actually a banishment (dismissal) from Verus Jesuitarum Libellus, a grimoire known as The True Petition of the Jesuits.
This is what various sources say about Libellum, Usiel and St. Cyprian.
The Verus Jesuitarum Libellus, or “True Magical Work of the Jesuits, containing most powerful conjurations for all evil spirits of whatever state, condition and office they are and a most powerful and approved conjuration of the Spirit Uriel; to which is added Cyprian’s Invocation of Angels and his Conjuration of the Spirits guarding Hidden Treasures, together with a form for their dismissal,”—purports to have been published at Paris in Latin and in the year 1508. It was reprinted by Scheible at Stuttgart in 1845. It will be almost needless to say that in the first decade of the sixteenth century there were no Jesuits; with Pope Paul III confirming the order through the bull Regimini militantis ecclesiae (“To the Government of the Church Militant”), on 27 September 1540. The Conjurations are excessively curious. The first is addressed to a spirit whose name is not indicated, but he is, supposed to have been obedient to Abraham and Isaac, and is directed to bring the magician, out of the depths of the sea, so many millions of the Spanish gold; otherwise, says the Conjuration, ‘I will condemn thy body and thy soul’. In the second formula, the spirit is cited by the knowledge and exorcising power of Agrippa, which again puts a definite limit to the antiquity of the collection.
Usiel replaces Uriel in the reprint English translation of Verus Jesuitarum Libellus. [Rf. Waite, The Book of Ceremonial Magic, p. 110.] The Key to Faust’s Threefold Harrowing of Hell (otherwise known as a Key to the Black Raven) contains a general conjuration to Usiel and a list of his adjutant princes. [Rf. Butler, Ritual Magic, p. 190.] In the Kabala generally, as in Targum Onkeles and Jonathan, Usiel is an angel that fell, and is therefore evil; he was among those who wedded human wives and begat giants. Of the 10 unholy sefiroth, Usiel is listed 5th. In The Book of the Angel Raziel, Usiel (Uzziel) is among the 7 angels before the throne of God and among 9 set over the 4 winds. [Rf. Bischoff, Die Elemente der Kabbalah.]
The citation of angels from Cyprian is another interesting part of the text. Who is Cyprian? The outline of the legend or allegory, which is found with diffuse descriptions and dialogues in the “Symeon Metaphrastes" and was made the subject of a poem by Empress Aelia Eudocia, goes thus: “Cyprian was a pagan magician of Antioch who had dealing with demons. By their aid he sought to bring St. Justina, a Christian virgin, to ruin; but she foiled the threefold attacks of the devils by the sign of the cross. Brought to despair, Cyprian made the sign of the cross himself and in this way was freed from the toils of Satan. He was received into the Church, was made pre-eminent by miraculous gifts and became in succession deacon, priest and, finally, bishop, while Justina became the head of a convent. During the Diocletian persecution, both were seized and taken to Damascus, where they were shockingly tortured. As their faith never wavered, they were brought before Diocletian at Nicomedia, where at his command they were beheaded on the bank of the river Gallus. After the bodies of the saints had lain unburied for six days, they were taken by Christian sailors to Rome, where they were interred on the estate of a noble lady named Rufina and later were entombed in Constantine’s basilica. The story, however, must have arisen as early as the 4th century, as it is mentioned both by St. Gregory Nazianzen and Prudentius; both, nevertheless, have confounded Cyprian with St. Cyprian of Carthage, a mistake often repeated. The attempt has been made to find in Cyprian a mystical prototype of the Faustian legend. The Spanish author, Pedro Calderón de la Barca, took the story as the basis of a drama: El mágico prodigioso. There is even a book, a grimoire, The Great Book of Saint Cyprian, full of prayers and spells, which is widely sold in the Portuguese- and Spanish-speaking world. Several editions of the work appear. All contain instructions to priests on how to cure disease; evil spells and exorcisms; a list of 174 treasures of Galicia; the Prayer of the Guardian Angel; 50 mysteries of witchcraft from the time of the Moors (including medicine); treasure of magic (for example, way to capture a little devil making a pact with Satan; black magic to destroy a marriage; a skull lit up with candles of grease to do evil to a person); an explanation of hidden powers of hatred and love; the hidden powers of magnetism; prayers of popular religiosity and the prayer of the Black Goat; and so on. Similarly, Cyprianus is a popular name for a grimoire in Scandinavian folklore. Even though it is difficult to trace the date of the Great Book of St Cyprian, some authors state that that the Book of St. Cyprian tradition had a long history in Spain and Portugal. There were very few books of St. Cyprian quoted in the Spanish Inquisition Tribunals processes. One of the earliest references probably found is from 1610, about a process against Juan de Toledo who had the Book of St. Cyprian for finding treasures (it appears in the book “Procesos en la Inquisición de Toledo (1575-1610)” (ed. Julio Sierra, Trotta, 2005)), also in the papers known as the Manuscript de Halle, information facilitated recently by M. Rey Bueno and Carlos Gilly.
In another source, ‘Records of the Spanish Inquisition' we can see that one Juan Duran, a blacksmith was accused “that he uttered the words specified, in the town of Valles at the inn of La Cerdaña, and that the book referred to was the one found upon him, with the invocation of St Cyprian and which was now exhibited…To the fifth article, he answered that he had used the invocation of St Cyprian on several occasions in cures, without knowing that it was forbidden, but did it from pure ignorance. He denied that he had any league with the devil.” The year was 1633. His sentence was following: “Having examined the proceedings of the cause against Juan Duran, blacksmith, native of Manresa, and now in the secret prison of this Holy Office; ordered, unanimously, that the said person attend at an Auto de Fe, if any one should shortly happen, and if not, that he proceed to some church designated by this Tribunal, in the manner of a penitent, and with the insignia of a necromancer, that his sentence be there read to him, and a mass be said; that he make an abjuration de levi and be banished from the city of Manresa, and town of Valles, the places where he transgressed, for four leagues roundabout, during the space of four years; and that if he infringe this order, he suffer double the above penalty.”
The Great Book of St Cyprian is widely venerated in the new world traditions and folk magic; one will find a complex and thoroughly occult folk saint. ‘The book has fearful reputation and at the same time sees widespread use in Brazil’s traditions of Umbanda and Quimbanda as well as in other folk catholic contexts. Here we have saint with one foot in Goetia land and the other in Heaven. In a tantalising way this figure is a saintly nexus of heaven and hell; a crossroads, if you will. As such we find he is petitioned by spiritual workers, umbandistas, quimbandistas and other magicians when dealing with difficult, dangerous or unruly spirits. He helps one get control of the situation and acts as a kind of saintly intermediary to these more dangerous forces. He is turned to, for instance, by devotees of Santa Muerte when she gets out of control, in order to pacify what can be a rather dangerous spirit.’
Picture on top: Sts. Cyprian and Justina, with scenes from their lives.