Wednesday, October 1, 2014

OCTOBER 1: ANTINOUS ARRIVES IN MEMPHIS
AND IS RECEIVED IN THE HOUSE OF PTAH

By Hephaistion Aleksandras



ANTINOUS had thus far beheld the wonders of various sanctuaries and monuments ... colossal statues hewn from blood-red stone that were the equal of any in Roma, the sprawling urban centers choked with imports from every corner of the earth, a harvest of gold and goldsmiths, whose crafts became the ornaments of the affluent from Roma to far more distant, barbaric lands- yet he had seen nothing that made him gasp in astonishment as did "the noblest of cities", Memphis, and its very ancient grandeur.

Hadrian's ship had landed at the water steps of the great southern portal of one of the several imposing palaces that fronted the Nile, scintillating in the fierce heat of the sun that seemed to shatter over everything and everyone in this most hallowed of cities. As their craft had entered the famous port of Memphis, his local guides had enticed Antinous with stories of the renowned shipyards of the God Ptah, the workshops of the goldsmith's guilds whose handicrafts were well known in Roma, and the elephantine, fortress-like walls of the Temple of Ptah. Here were obelisks piercing the liquid azure of the afternoon sky, with their pyramidions sheathed in glowing electrum. Beyond them rose mountainous pylons, gates and royal statues that seemed to dwarf all else for miles around. It was all very enthralling. And yet Antinous had come to receive the counsel of the High Priest of Ptah, the God for whom all of these marvels had been consecrated.

What perfection was to be seen in the craft of man's hand...enormous and yet sensual alabaster colossi, sphinxes, divine images, and every other splendid and costly thing the mind could fathom. 

Yet it was the ancient Mysteries of Memphis that had caused mighty Hadrian to make inquiries on behalf of Antinous, whose thirst for high learning knew no bounds.

A retinue stood waiting for Antinous beneath the blessed shelter of the palace portico. Antinous approached, bowing his head, not knowing which of these distinguished foreigners was the High Priest of the God Ptah. A tall, shaven headed and linen draped man came forward, and raised his hands in the gesture of reverence.

"Welcome and blessing to you, Antinous, heart-friend of our Lord Hadrianus Caesar, who is the Lord of Crowns and ruler of the Two Lands! I am Neferkaptah, and I am the Chief of Priests of the God Ptah in the Soul-Mansion of Ptah. Is the noblest city in Egypt fulfilling your expectations and satisfying your heart?"

Antinous relaxed and smiled, noticing the kindness and curiosity evident in the faces of the other priests. "Satisfy?...why no, much more than satisfy! I am stunned by all I have seen of this city of marvels. Our guides today pointed out the endless outdoor market as we approached, which I am told is the largest in Egypt...perhaps in the whole world! There are the giant sphinxes that look like marble, but I am told they are alabaster...and the high walls of the city itself, which our guide told us are the oldest and tallest in the entire land. Alexandria is a wonder of the mind, it is true, butthis, Memphis, is a wonder of the eyes!"

The High Priest smiled knowingly, waving Antinous to follow him beneath the bulk of the portico and through an imposing gate in the high wall. Everywhere he looked were to be seen sculpted and painted reliefs of the highest quality, delicately carved statues of glittering stone, columns and tiles that shined a glossy sky blue. Everything around him seemed to focus one's attention upon the crafts of the hands...that of stone masons, goldsmiths, jewelers. Antinous was taken aback almost to the point of speechlessness, however, he was here to receive the initiations of Ptah, and to take back with him a portion of their wisdom.

"I have seen at a distance the Pyramid that our guides told us was built by Imhotep-"

"Oh, but of course, you want to hear about Imhotep!"

Antinous blushed, but Neferkaptah smiled enthusiastically. "The Holy Pyramid was constructed by an army of the finest craftsmen in Egypt in the service of King Netjerykhet, but it was Imhotep the Son of Ptah who imagined how it could be accomplished, and it was his genius that made what you have seen possible.

"Homage to You Imhotep, Son of Ptah, the Good Physician, the Kindhearted God!

"Imhotep was born to a woman named Khreduankh, whose beauty caught the eye of the God Ptah Himself, and it was from His seed that Imhotep came forth, having even at his birth the powers of a Seer together with all the knowledge of a priest of Ra. He knew the stars in their courses, and the measurements of creation, and he had the knowledge and blessedness to heal the sick and cure the diseases of the flesh. Did they point out to you the temple where the God Imhotep, as the Son of Ptah, reveals cures to the sick as they dream? Well, then perhaps you know already the fame of Imhotep throughout the known world, for not only do the people of this city and Egypt come to be healed in His shrine, but also people from across the Great Green Sea...."

"I know that the Hellenes associate Imhotep with Asklepius", Antinous said, "and that they believe He cures barrenness and impotence, and even fatal conditions. Aren't there miracles attributed to Imhotep during His life?"

Neferkaptah nodded. "And you saw it!...the Holy Pyramid, from which King Netjerykhet was sent aloft to the Imperishable Stars, to be the divine leader and guide of Egypt for all eternity. My son, Imhotep was an innovator, not merely an architect who followed in the footsteps of others. Memphis, Alexandria and Egypt entire is filled with scholars and architects...so many trained monkeys who mimic what they read and see in the genius of others. What Imhotep did was excell beyond the great works of his predecessors, taking the original design for the tombs of hallowed persons, and shaping it into something truly sublime. His is a miracle of the mind, the imagination, which is one of the greatest testaments to his divinity.

"Your own Hadrianus Caesar is said to be such an architect and visionary...one who takes what he has inherited and pushes it beyond what others thought possible. To exceed the limitations imposed by the lower mind, the mundane intellect...that is the course of one who has received the direct blessing of the Gods. It is that way in your Roma, and so it is that way here in my Egypt, which is the House of the God Ptah, Architect of the World!"

Antinous recalled some of the things his tutors had told him about the origins of Egypt and the Great God Ptah. "Speaking of the House of Ptah, is it not true that the Hellenes gave Egypt its name, or rather, that the name Egypt is taken from the language of the Hellenes, when they beheld the wonders of the Temple of Ptah at Memphis and recognized its universal importance?"

"That is so, my son. The Hellenes knew that the most ancient city of Memphis ... which was hailed as Men-Nefer by the Ancients ... was the first capital of the Egyptian state, and that it was here, in our very own Temple of Ptah, where every king that has sat upon the throne of Egypt has received the Double Crown. 

Aleksandras, whom they call Great, the Son of Zeus-Ammon, was crowned as Pharaoh of Egypt in the Temple of Ptah, as was your beloved Hadrianus Caesar, Lord of the Two Lands. 

For Ptah is the King-Maker, the Establisher of Laws, who founded the first temple in the first city of Egypt, and that city, this city, was known as Ibebu-hedj, the 'White Walls', where at its heart rose Hawt-ka-Ptah, 'The Soul-Mansion of Ptah'.

"The Hellenes pronounced the name of Ptah's holiest temple Aigyptos, and it was from their speech that the name of our Egypt came forth. And Ptah is the King of the Gods in His temple here, because it is recognized in Memphis that Ptah is the Genius from Whom speech, intellect and thought came into being. Without Him, the Hellenes, Romans, the Egyptians, and indeed the peoples of all the world would not have intellect or speech or even existence itself, for Ptah is the Great God Who gave birth to the Cosmos and all the things dwelling in it!"

Antinous and his hosts had finally arrived at the Great Temple of Ptah, which was just south of the primary enclosure of the ancient capital of Egypt. Its great white walls (from which the oldest district of 'White Walls' received its name) were crenellated like some military fortress, and Antinous recognized that its massive corners gave way to high watch towers that were likewise crenellated. Tall flagstaffs sheathed in gold stood proudly before soaring pylons into which were carved, in exquisite relief, images of the God Ptah receiving abundant offerings. The heady fragrance of myrrh incense rose in a palpable cloud above the entourage, and then the sound of chanting, which echoed off lofty stone ceilings.

"Hail to Ptah Who is South of His Wall, who created in the beginning in His loneliness, when there was no one beside Him. Who came into existence by Himself and fashioned in the beginning, in that neither father nor mother had made His body. The truly lone one. He who made the gods and who created, but who indeed was not created".

Antinous braved a remark as they approached the entrance proper, the hallowed Soul-Mansion of the God Ptah. "The Hellenes know Ptah as Hephaestus, I have been told by my tutors, while my people know Him as Vulcan, and we see Him as the Wielder of the blacksmith's hammer and fire. We know Vulcan as the creator of the blacksmith's arts".

"It is certainly true that the God Ptah is the divine patron of all handicrafts", Neferkaptah answered, "...which include the arts of the forgers, goldsmiths, metal-smiths and jewelers. All of these are the products of the heart and tongue of Ptah, Who spoke them into existence, but so too are all the labors of the hands...stone masonry, sculpting, painting, architecture, mining and ship building."

The Priest added, "You have seen the famous ship yards of Memphis, which equal any in the known world, including Alexandria. Here too are the ateliers of the Temple, whose divine images in gold, precious stones and electrum are found in every temple in Egypt, and in the Royal Court," he said.

"It is known that the Servants of Ptah, that is to say His craftsmen, are among the finest in the world. They certainly have no equal in all of Egypt; for the God Ptah is not solely the patron of artisanship or craftsmanship, but rather the Progenitor of the finest quality work of which men are capable. It is excellence itself...this quality of having perfected a thing to the point where it cannot be improved upon...that is the hallmark of the God Ptah throughout creation. The very activity or attitude of striving for excellence in one's work is the very nature of the God Ptah, Who has selected the perfect forms of all creatures and plants, given them birth through the speech of His tongue, and bestowed upon them the breath of life".

Just then the entourage entered the sanctified outer courtyard of the Temple of Ptah, where grandiose and more humble stone images of the God Ptah stood in the presence of flaming braziers and tables choked with delicious offerings. Priests and acolytes moved to and fro with diligence, trimming wicks and lighting lamps, and dropping pellets of myrrh over the hot coals of the braziers. A presence of devotion and solitude pervaded the atmosphere, which spoke to the heart of Antinous of the first-fruits of the human heart.

"Is love part of the creation offered by the Great Ptah to His servants upon the earth?", Antinous queried, his heart fluttering with admiration for the beauty and harmony of the images surrounding him.

Neferkaptah placed a warm hand on Antinous' bare shoulder. "In our ancient teaching ... which comes from the time when the Holy Pyramid was envisioned by Imhotep ... it is said that the God Ptah thought the names of every thing to be created within His heart, which was then repeated by His tongue, and that it was through this divine miracle that all created things came into being.

"The heart and the tongue are the two instruments by which Ptah the very Great God brought out His vision for the created world, thus making it a reality. It is the heart that is the mind of all creatures in the world, for the heart speaks and the limbs obey. And when the tongue repeats what the heart has engendered, then life proceeds...activity shapes progress, and events unfold. This is the handiwork of Ptah, Who gave form to the heart that it might direct the limbs and the passions.

"But know too that Ptah is called the King of the Gods not merely because of His creative power, which makes kings in the world of men, but because He created the Gods. It was the desire, the passion...the love of Ptah that made the Souls of all the Gods, and determined that they should come to rest in their statues of stone and wood and metal, and it was Ptah Who ordained the cults of all the Gods, Their temples and worship, so that the Gods could receive the first-fruits of the earth from humankind. But also, it was through the love of Ptah that the Gods should receive the offerings of humankind, and intervene on their behalf, for men and women, together with all the creeping creatures of the earth, are the handiwork of Ptah's heart and tongue. We, Antinous...you and I and revered Hadrianus Caesar, are the thoughts of Ptah's passion, and the desires of His heart, and the fruit of His tongue...and so it shall always be!"


Antinous was filled with awe and humility in the presence of such a teaching, which inspired within his own heart the desire to receive the Mysteries of Ptah more fully and deeply. And so Antinous followed Neferkaptah into the dim inner court of the Temple of Ptah, and there received an answer from the very Great God Ptah.

IN MENNEFER, ANTINOUS LEARNS MYSTERIES
OF PTAH, SEKHMET AND NEFERTUM




AT the beginning of October 130 AD, Hadrian and Antinous arrived in splendor at Memphis (Mennefer) the ancient capital of Egypt for many centuries, long before Alexandria was founded. 

The Memphite cosmology holds that the god Ptah is the creator of the universe, that out of fire he creates Atum and the Ennead of nearby Heliopolis. 

Ptah creates the Atum from his burning heart and speech, and then the Atum creates the world with his hands and semen. 

In later days in Egypt, Ptah becomes a ruler of the underworld, or more specifically, of what lies beyond this world ... he is the root of the root. 

He is accompanied two deities. First is his consort Sekhmet "the Mighty One" who represents war, destruction and yet also cathartic healing and invincible protection.

Ptah is also accompanied by their son Nefertum, whose name means "beautiful accomplisher of Atum" and who represents rebirth, preservation and regenerative healing. 

Nefertum is depicted as a beautiful young man with a lotus blossom emerging from his head and striving sunward.

Antinous was also told of IMHOTEP, the only other non-royal mortal ever to be deified by the Egyptians. 

He was an architect, physician, artist and scientist who lived 3,000 years before Antinous was born.

Imhotep had stood out from all others for his knowledge and wisdom ... and he had became a god, always depicted as a scholar sitting with books on his lap and sometimes as the Egyptian Aesculapius, god of medicine. 

The deification of Imhotep set a precedent in Egypt for the deification of non-royal mortals ... which is why Egyptians would be the first to accept Antinous as a new god.

Antinous was exposed to these mysteries which brought him deeper into the unfolding of the nature of the universe and the identity of the first principle of creation ... of how one mortal man can change the course of the world. 

He was initiated into the double nature of creation, through Sekhmet and Nefertum. He gained insights into the divine nature of mortal humans through Imhotep.

Pictured at top is the Memphite triad with a very white-skinned king who resembles Antinous.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

'TOTALITER ALITER'

THE TALE OF THE TWO PRIESTS OF ANTINOUS

(From THE MEMOIRS OF AN ANCIENT PRIEST OF ANTINOUS by Ernest Gill)


TWO PRIESTS  of Antinous at the Temple of the Blessed Boy in Rome had devoted their lives to the Good God and were getting on in years.

As young men they had become priests together.

Their love for each other was symbolized and enhanced by their love for Antinous. Together, they had lived out their lives at the great Temple of Rome under the most exalted Priest Nikias.

Nikias of Rome was the author of a famous inscription in Greek which addresses Antinous as NEOS HERMES the "New Hermes" who conveys the deceased through the portals of death into transcendent light. A great Antinoo-Hermeticist, Nikias had taught them much about the triumph of Antinous over death.

And now, as toothless old men, they were approaching the final stage of their earthly priesthood. Both men were frail and ill. They knew death was imminent.

But they were unafraid, for they were confident that they would be re-united in death through the grace and love of the Most Great and Good God whom they had served so faithfully all their lives.

But how exactly would that re-union occur? The ancient texts spoke of the Barque of Millions of Years sailing across the heavens towards the Star of Antinous. But that was the Egyptian imagery, and these priests were both Romans and had only ever served in the Antinous Temple of Rome.

The Rome Temple would of course place their death masks in niches in a special area of the temple dedicated to former priests.

Incense and prayers would be offered to them. Would their shades inhabit those niches?

Would Antinous welcome them in Hades, despite the fact that Antinous the Boy God had come from Bithynia in Asia Minor?

Would their souls be reincarnated as some Eastern mystics believed? Would they hover between heaven and Earth or perhaps be consigned to spending part of the year in the underworld and part of it as lemurs roaming the Earth?

They weren't afraid. But they were exceedingly curious to find out. Confidentially, they believed amongst themselves that they would sail with Antinous aboard the Boat of Millions of Years —  a perpetual journey which would never end. But they weren't sure ....

They had spent years perfecting their meditation skills and, without false modesty, they could claim to be masters at the art of trance vision travel. They both knew that the Egyptian hieroglyphs had told the truth in promising that Antinous speaks through dreams and visions. They also knew how to send psychic messages to each other, and had done so on many occasions.

So they made a deal. He who was the first to die would appear to the other in a dream and reveal what the afterlife was like.

As accomplished as they were, they nonetheless knew that such astral communication must be as succinct and simple as possible.

So they agreed that, if the afterlife was as they had envisioned it, the deceased would appear to his friend and utter the word TALITER meaning "exactly so" as they had expected it to be.

And if it was not as they had imagined, the deceased would say ALITER meaning "different" from what they had expected.

The fateful day came not long afterward, and the surviving priest lit incense and recited prayers before the niche mask of his beloved friend and fellow priest.

That night, almost immediately after his head touched his pillow, his deceased friend appeared to him. He was no longer old and sick and frail. He was as young and handsome as the day they had entered the temple. And he was smiling and clearly very excited and seemed to have forgotten the agreed-upon words.

"Taliter or aliter, which is it?" the sleeping priest asked his departed friend.

The friend smiled bigger than ever and said: TOTALITER ALITER — "totally different" — and still beaming with joy, he turned and vanished into golden light.

Monday, September 29, 2014

ANTINOUS SAILS THE SOLAR BOAT BY NIGHT
THANKS TO THE MYSTERIES OF HELIOPOLIS



AFTER leaving Alexandria, the first important stop for Antinous on the Nile journey in September 130 AD was at Heliopolis, the ancient center of the worship of Re, the sun god.

The Heliopolitan cosmology states that the universe is created when the Atum (first principle) masturbates and creates himself as the sun god Re, the visible manifestation of the Atum, and then rises up from the primordial waters in the form of a mound.

Re then gives birth to the Enneads, the Nine beings who create the cosmos: Shu (air) and Tefnut (fire), Geb (Earth), Nut (Sky), Osiris and Isis, Seth and Nepthys who together are the principles of life. 

The creator, Re-Harakhte, travels across the sky on his Boat of Millions of Years every day, and then as it submerges beneath the horizon, Re-Harakhte battles against death and evil, and is greeted triumphantly each morning by the priests of Heliopolis. 

Antinous was admitted into these mysteries, and gained a place by the side of Re-Harakhte on his sacred boat, according to the hieroglyphs on the Obelisk of Antinous.

The glyphs state that Antinous can "assume any form his heart desires, because the semen of the First God TRULY is in his body."

When Hadrian and Antinous visited Heliopolis, they were no doubt shown the sacred shrine of the Bennu bird, who was said to have burst forth in a shower of radiant light from the heart of the First God.

This is the same First God who ejaculated into his own mouth to utter the words of creation at the moment of Sep Tepy, the Creation Moment. Other versions say he ejaculated in great arcs which created all the other deities and the entire universe.

Then on October 11th, a few days after visiting the Sacred Shrine of the Phoenix in Heliopolis (and acquiring that virulent bit of spellwork), Hadrian and Antinous visited Oxyrhynchus and heard of the fabled phallus of Osiris.

And a couple of weeks later, Hadrian cradled the limp body of Antinous on the shores of the Nile. The body was limp like a marionette whose strings had been cut.

Hadrian "wept like a woman" and refused to accept oblivion for his Beloved Boy. Instead, he proclaimed Antinous a god and set about making sure that the Religion of Antinous took root and blossomed.

The Obelisk of Antinous speaks of Antinous being full of the "Semen of the First God" which is the creative force of the universe. 

That means Antinous can assume "any form his heart desires" since he (like Osiris) is one with the First God — and one with the Bennu Bird.


Antinous IS the Phoenix.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

WHO IS BURIED AT AMPHIPOLIS?
TAKE YOUR PICK FROM THIS LIST



ANY day now archaeologists may uncover the "big secret" of AMPHIPOLIS in Macedonia, Greece, and finally be able to say what or who Casta hill ... or whether the tomb is empty. 

Amid rampant speculation, here are some of the candidates:

Alexander the Great
The Greek prime minister is said he is almost certain it must be the LOST TOMB OF ALEXANDER. Alexander sailed from Amphipolis to Asia. However, it is almost certain that his tomb is located in Alexandria, since people such as Julius Caesar, Hadrian and Antinous are supposed to have visited his burial site there. Some, however, insist that his bones were moved to Amphipolis by his mother Olympias, while others argue that this "tomb" is only a cenotaph "waiting" to receive him, or a second monument in his honor.

Hephaestion
General of Alexander’s army and Alexander's male lover. Professor Theodoros Mavrogiannis believes that the Casta hill tomb belongs to Hephaestion and claims that the tomb was built in 325 BC by order of Alexander himself.

Olympias
MOTHER OF ALEXANDER, wife of Philip II, king of Macedon, and daughter of King Neoptolemus of Epirus. Cassander had her murdered by stoning in 316 BC.

Androsthenes, Laomedon and Nearchus
Alexander the Great’s three admirals are closely connected to Amphipolis. Androsthenes and Laomedon were born there while Nearchus was either born or exiled in Amphipolis.

Cassander
Son of Antipater, did not follow Alexander’s army in Asia. He stayed with his father in Macedonia and used to fight with Polyperchon but eventually allied with him, when he killed Alexander’s son, Heracles. In 311 BC, he killed Alexander’s second son and successor, Alexander IV, along with his mother Roxana. He died of edema in 279 BC.

Polyperchon
He served under Philip and Alexander. He returned to Greece from Asia in 324 BC -after the death of Alexander- and was appointed regent of Macedon by Antipater in place of the latter’s son, Cassander.

Philip II of Macedon
Some do not believe that the tomb of king Philip was located in Vergina. Meanwhile, others claim that ancient Greeks might have built a second monument in Amphipolis to commemorate the king.

Heracles
Son of Alexander who was murdered with his mother, Barsine.

Alexander IV
The twelve-year-old son of Alexander and Roxana who was murdered along with his mother by Cassander. If his grave is located in Vergina, then it is possible that someone buried him and disposed of his mother’s corpse.

Roxana
The WIFE OF ALEXANDER became the mother of his son in 323 BC after Alexander had died. Roxana fled to Epirus in order to be saved by his descendants, and later went to Amphipolis, where she was murdered by Cassander in 310 BC.

Antigonus Monophthalmus
General of Alexander’s army, was proclaimed king in 306 BC and demanded that Cassander gives him Macedon. He died eighty-one years old and was buried with royal honors.


Philip Arrhidaeus
Son of king Philip. After Alexander’s death, he was proclaimed king by the Macedonian army as Philip III of Macedon. He was killed by soldiers who defected against Olympias. His bones were transported by Cassander to Aegae.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

ANTINOUS HEARS YOUR PRAYERS
AND ANSWERS THEM THROUGH DREAMS


THE Egyptian hieroglyphs on the Obelisk of Antinous in Rome say that Antinous hears the prayers of all who call out to him and that he answers them through dreams. How does it work? Check out this message we have just received from an Antinous adherent in Brazil:

I would like to share this experience. Yesterday, I had to take two very important tests, in English and French, for my doctorate selection. I'm Brazilian, and even though I have studied English for many years, it's not my first language. And I'm definitely not very good with French. 

So, last Monday, I danced under the full moon and asked Antinous the Gay God for focus and a relaxed mind during the tests. 

When I went to bed, I dreamt of a fairy glade inside an ancient circle of stones under the full moon, where several fey people were enjoying themselves: dryads, leprechauns, sirens, satyrs and others. 

Antinous was there, seated on a throne, crowned as Dionysus, drinking wine and smiling at me, as I was seated on a bench nearby eating some grapes. 

At the center of the glade, two shirtless, very muscular, red-haired leprechaun-like young men were drinking bright-colored, foamy ale while dancing-wrestling to the merry sound of faery fiddlers. 

The two fairy boys looked exactly the same, except for their tights, one leaf-green and the other dark red. 

Antinous looked at me and I not so much heard as I actually sensed in my head a thought, this powerful feeling, a message that was something like this: 
"You don't need to worry about what you already know, for it is in your memories. You don't need to worry about what you do not know, for it is there just waiting to be discovered, as long as you keep your eyes and ears open. Drink, dance and rest. You shall do well!" 
After that, the two red hairs took me to dance and drink with them. I really had a very good time there. I felt like I was 20 again (I'm 46). 

When I took the two tests yesterday, I was amazed! You see, the board might have chosen any academic text among dozens of authors and hundreds of books, but they chose two authors that I knew and, among their many works, two texts that I had already read and written about. 

One of them is a particularly difficult French author that many students avoid reading if they can afford to, but I had a full course on his works and ideas during my M.A.

I couldn't help but smile and say a silent prayer to Antinous, for I felt deeply blessed. And the sexy red-haired leprechauns were a nice touch ;)

Friday, September 26, 2014

TOM OF FINLAND POSTAGE STAMPS
ARE BEST-SELLING EVER

A range of Tom of Finland postage stamps have become the biggest-selling commemorative stamps ever launched in Finland.

The stamps were issued just last week to commemorate the “proud homoeroticism” of the influential gay artist, who is a Saint of Antinous and who inspired the look of Freddie Mercury and the Village People.

The artist, whose real name is Touko Laaksonen, remains an influential figure in gay art.

We honor him as a SAINT OF ANTINOUS whose gift of erotic artistry and wry humor influenced the Stonewall generation. 

Tom of Finland's style is so identifiable, so iconic, that it is immediately recognizable ... He is so closely identified with his iconic art that few people ever suspect that his name is not actually Tom, though he is indeed a Finn.

In issuing the stamps, the Finnish postal authority said: “His emphatically masculine homoerotic drawings have attained iconic status in their genre and had an influence on, for instance, pop culture and fashion. In his works, Tom of Finland utilized the self-irony and humor typical of subcultures.

"The drawings on the stamp sheet represent strong and confident male figures typical of their designer," the postal authority said.

After the stamps went on sale on Monday, the service reported that it had received pre-orders from 178 countries, and that the range of stamps were the best selling in Finland’s postal service’s history.

The most orders came from Sweden, the US, the UK and France.

"We haven’t seen this kind of interest before and we probably won't again soon," said Finnish postal official Markku Penttinen.

"Our starting point was to get Touko Laaksonen's artwork in our stamps. We know that he was very well-known globally. Of course the subject matter is also topical and much discussed. This equation has worked better than we anticipated," he continued.