Wednesday, August 21, 2019

THE SACRED LION HUNT



ON the 21st of August, with the Sun in the final degrees of Leo the Lion, we commemorate the Sacred Lion Hunt ... when Hadrian and Antinous slew a man-eating lion in Egypt in August 130 AD.

Priests of Antinous celebrate the event in with ritual ceremonies at the Hollywood Temple of Antinous which also see worshipers participating live online from Mexico, Brazil and Germany.

During the special ceremonies they also honor the Sacred Rosy Lotus of Antinous ... the pink waterlily said to have sprung forth spontaneously from the lion's blood as it splattered the banks of the Nile.

Flamen Antonius Subia relates in vivid detail the events of the Sacred Lion Hunt: The place is Egypt, somewhere in the rocky wilderness between the scattered oases southeast of Alexandria. 

The time is August of the Year 130 AD. The Sun is poised to enter the Sign of Leo. The Constellation of Aquila the Eagle is at its zenith in the nighttime sky ... just as it is now.

It is the constellation of the Emperor. And the Emperor and his Beloved are touring Egypt when they hear grisly accounts of a man-eating lion marauding the countryside on the edge of the cultivated land. The "Marousian Lion" it was called.

They lead a hunting expedition out into the wilderness. The whole expedition is rife with symbolism from the start since the Sun is in Leo in the daytime skies and the Eagle is soaring in the nighttime skies and the Ancients believed killing lions was tantamount to defeating death itself. Lion hunting was the sport of kings.

When at last the Imperial party flushes out the man-eater, the huntsmen and archers stand back and leave Hadrian to close in on the beast with his steed. Hadrian has just got off an arrow which wounds the animal when, all of a sudden, out of nowhere, young Antinous rides ahead, his reins in his left hand, an adamantine-tipped lance in his upraised right hand.

As the Imperial retinue looks on in horror, the snarling lion charges toward the boy, causing his panicked horse to whinny and wheel about in terror. But Antinous maintains his balance and, instantly judging distance and angle, sends his lance sailing towards the lion as it quickly closed the gap between them. 

The lance slams into its rear flank, inflicting a serious but not fatal wound. Enraged even more, the lion uses its fangs to pull out the lance and charges anew against the Boy who is fumbling with his quiver to ready a shot with his bow. But an arrow is already in the air from behind Antinous, and it whizzes past his ear and hit its mark in the throat of the lion.

It has been fired by Hadrian, who is approaching at full gallop and who, even while the first arrow was still in the air, had already readied a second arrow, which this time penetrates both lungs.

The lion spins about and collapses writhing in the dust, rage in its eyes, blood and saliva guttering from its fanged mouth, gasping for breath as it struggles to get to its feet — because Antinous has dismounted and is sprinting toward it with a drawn dagger.

Hadrian draws his steed to a halt and dismounts with an agility and  lightness befitting a man half his age, fueled by adrenaline and alarm for his Beloved Boy, who faces imminent peril from the mortally wounded lion, still capable of severing an artery with one swipe of its mighty paw.

Hadrian draws his hunting axe from his belt and holds it high as he  lunges onto the lion's back and dispatches the beast with one powerful blow which splits its skull in two with a frightening crack and a spurt of bright red blood which bathes both the older man, now panting and perspiring heavily, and the younger man who still shows no visible expression of concern, just a wild-eyed look of excitement in his eyes, as if he never realized the danger he had been in — as if he thinks he is immortal.

A cheer goes up from the coterie of onlookers when they realize the lion is dead, killed seemingly by a single blow from the Emperor's hand. Courtiers whose eyes are unskilled in the ways of hunting will later claim Hadrian had struck the lion dead with a club.

As soldiers and nervous bodyguards rush forward to make sure everything is all right, the emperor, his adrenalin-strength ebbing as quickly as it came, shakily wraps a blood-spattered arm around Antinous and plants his gilded, spike-soled sandal on the dead animal's neck and nods to Antinous to do the same.

There they stand, bathed in blood and bathed in the adulation of the Imperial coterie, each with one foot on the vanquished man-eater as the animal's blood spreads out and covers the surrounding rocks and sand and a few scrubby wildflowers growing from a crevice in a rock.

Even the flowers are splattered with blood. And these red blossoms  will be plucked by members of the entourage to take back as souvenirs to show to envious courtiers who had not been invited along.

THE SACRED LION HUNT was immortalized in poetry and in stone, with Hadrian adding medallions to the Arch of Constantine showing him and Antinous with feet on the lion's neck and also making sacrifice to the great lion-killer Hercules.


Soon legend would have it that scarlet-red lotus blossoms had sprung forth from the pool of the lion's blood, the lion which had been brought down by Antinous and which had been dealt its death blow by Hadrian — the SACRED RED LOTUS.

Under the Sign of Leo. And under the Constellation of the Eagle. 

Within a few short weeks, Antinous himself would be dead. The Sacred Lion Hunt is the last recorded event in His short life.

And some time afterward, grieving Hadrian would look up into the  nighttime skies with tear-filled eyes and his court astronomers would point out a New Star which had appeared in the southern part of the Constellation of Aquila the Eagle.

The New Star would be interpreted as a celestial sign that Antinous had been raised to the firmament, that the Constellation of the Imperial Eagle had been joined by the CONSTELLATION OF ANTINOUS. It was a sign that Antinous was now a God.

If you go outside tonight and peer out into the darkness with all its deep and hidden dangers, remember Antinous and how he peered out into the barren wilderness with all its deep and hidden dangers. 

He charged forth, his bridle-reins in his left hand and an adamantine-tipped lance in his right, and he faced death unafraid.

For Antinous knew he was immortal.

The Constellation of Antinous, still under the wing of the Imperial Eagle, will be right directly over your head tonight ... shining proof that Antinous is a God and that he is indeed immortal.


Don't look out into the darkness around you and be afraid. Instead, look up and remember the Beloved Boy, who was a fearless hunter, who stalked death itself, and who emerged victorious over it.

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

THE SACRED BAND OF THEBES
THE ARMY OF LOVERS


AUG. 20 the Religion of Antinous commemorates the Sacred Band of Thebes, the Army of Gay Lovers whose courage and valour have echoed down through the ages as an inspiration that Gay Love is a magical means of Conquering Fear and  Doubt.

The Sacred Band of Thebes, also called The Theban Band, was a battalion composed entirely of homosexual friends and lovers. This military unit, consisting of 150 male couples, was based on the belief that men fighting alongside their lovers would die rather than shame one another.

According to Aristotle, the Army of Lovers were sworn into military service at the Tomb of Iolaus, one of the many male lovers of Hercules. Iolaus had helped the god in the Twelve Herculean Tasks. 

He often acted as Hercules' charioteer and companion, and the closeness of their relationship was such that he was known as Heracles' symbomos (altar-sharer), since the two could be honored at one and the same altar — a very rare occurrence in ancient Greece, where each divinity would have his or her own altar.

Iolaus was called the eromenos (beloved boy) of Hercules, and was thus a Sacred Hero of same-sex love in Thebes. Hercules, Iolaus and Eros were often depicted together.

That is probably why the army of gay lovers was called the Sacred Band, since they took their oath of allegiance at the Sacred Tomb of Iolaus, which was at the same time a shared sacred altar to Hercules. In effect, the warriors were swearing that they would fight alongside their comrades the same way Iolaus and Hercules fought together — armed with the arrows of Eros.


You can see the parallels to Hadrian and his beloved boy Antinous, and later this week the parallels become even clearer when we commemorate the SACRED LION HUNT.

After that hunt in the Libyan desert in the summer of the year 130 AD, Hadrian and Antinous made sacrifice to thGreat Lion Slayer Hercules — thus cementing the identification between Hadrian/Hercules and Antinous/Iolaus — and their affiliation with the Sacred Band of Thebes.

The great Theban gener
al and tactician Epaminondas is generally credited with establishing The Sacred Band, although some sources claim it was his "beloved friend" Pelopidas who was responsible for recruiting them. No matter — they both fought side-by-side at the head of The Sacred Band.

This corps d'elite first took to the battlefield against Sparta, which had dominated Greece since the fall of Athens in 404 BC. The Spartans were confident of victory, as they had never suffered a defeat on the battlefield — never ever.

Deploying the Sacred Band on his front left wing, "Epaminondas made his left wing fifty deep and flung it forward in the attack." 

The "extra weight" of this wing and the "fanatical bravery of the Sacred Band" broke the Sparta right wing, which contained their best warriors. In the ensuing hand-to-hand combat, the Spartan king was killed and their right gave way.

Witnessing this, the rest of the Spartan forces, who had not yet been engaged, fell back in disarray, running for their lives. Thus, Sparta suffered their first recorded defeat in more than 400 years — at the hands of an Army of Gay Lovers.

But the end came in 338 BC at the battle of Chaeronea when King Phillip II of Macedonia and his son Alexander (later called Alexander the Great) defeated the combined forces of Athens and Thebes-Boetia. Alexander confronted The Sacred Band of Thebes, the elite corps of 300 homosexual lovers who were by that time the most respected soldiers in the world.

But alas! They were no match for the Macedonians under Phillip and Alexander. It was a rout. The Athenian and Theban armies gave way and began retreating from the advancing Macedonians. Only The Sacred Band stood their ground — and died. Only a few were subdued and captured. Of those who died, it was found that not one had been wounded in the back — a sign that they had not turned away from the fight.

Alexander was so moved by their nobility and courage that he asked his father to bury them with honour and raise a monument in the form of a Sacred Lion over their mass grave. In 1881, the shattered fragments of this Lion Tomb were discovered, surrounded by the bones of 254 pairs of men with their weapons, arranged in a phalanx of seven rows, the battle formation of the Sacred Band.

In 1902 the fragments of the Sacred Lion were reconstructed and placed again over the tomb of The Sacred Band (depicted left) by the secret homosexual society known as the Order of Chaeronea, founded by gay-rights pioneer George Cecil Ives.

It reminds us once again of the Sacred Lion Hunt which we celebrate later this week.

So, what has all of this got to do with us in our daily lives? We're not soldiers. We're not brave and courageous. Like Dorothy Gale, we're meek and mild. Timid. We know that if we were on a battlefield, we would turn and run. We would hide and "play dead" and hope nobody found us.

We assume that the Army of Gay Lovers were all fearless. We think they were unafraid. We don't think of them as being scaredy-cats like us. We think they didn't mind the prospect of agonizing death. We think they were somehow above such mortal fears and doubts.

That's nonsense, of course. They were scared out of their wits. We can scarcely imagine how afraid they were. As they stood there alone against the mightiest army in the Ancient World, their emotions shifted beyond the mere terror of possibly being killed, to the actual horror of inescapable agony and death. It is one thing to be terrified — we all know the fears generated by terrorists who fly airliners into buildings. 

But the emotions experienced by those trapped in the planes or inside the burning buildings go far beyond mere terror to the actual horror of inescapable agony and death. That is the Mystery of Terror as opposed to the Mystery of Horror. We tend to forget the distinction!

The Army of Gay Lovers were not without fear. On the contrary, they were staring into the horror of impending pain and death. But they did not allow their fear to overwhelm them. 

Instead, they turned their fear "inside-out" and used it as a magical shield. The barbs of fear were no longer poking inward to themselves, but instead were pointing outward towards their foes.

And that is the Mystery Teaching of the Army of Gay Lovers. It was no doubt part of the initiation which the recruits underwent at the Tomb of Iolaus. They were schooled in magico-religious methods for handling fear. It's about learning to harness Mars energy. Mars is all about the double-edge sword of fear/bravery and how you can learn to wield that Sword of Mars.

It's not about being fearless. It's about being able to transform your fear into a mighty force which wins the battle of life. Mars Warrior Energy is not about death. It is about LIFE. It is about harnessing fear and doubt and turning them into useful energies in your daily life.

Life — from the time you are born until the time you die — life is just one constant battle. And if you give in, then you are lost. And if you give in to the fear and doubt that constantly confront you each and ever day, then you are lost. It's about using selfless love and transcendant awareness to transform fear and doubt into constructive energies which empower you to stand up and wade into the fray of daily life.


The Band of Thebes were initiated into Mystery Teachings which showed them how to transform fear and doubt into a magical force which made them invincible — capable of asserting their will and making their dreams become reality. 

And the catalyst was male-male love and devotion.

This is one of the deepest and most profound Mystery Teachings of the Religion of Antinous

We are talking about the Mysteries of Antinous-Mars. This is why Flamen Antinoalis Antonius Subia has painted Antinous in the guise of the War God (above). 

Antinous is not just about gay male beauty. He is about gay male warrior energy.

Mars is a very important constituent aspect of Antinous. In Fixed Star Astrology, the STAR OF ANTINOUS is characterized by a mixture of Jupiter/Mars energy along with Venus energy — unique among Fixed Stars. To overlook Mars is to overlook a major component of what Antinous is all about.

Mars and his Alchemical Intelligence Graphiel and Daimon Barzabel (Deimos and Phobos) is much misunderstood by philosophers and occultists. 

The fiery Graphiel/Barzabel energies of the red planet ("terror" Deimos and "horror" Phobos) are often seen as frightful and horrific and destructive and warlike with no other qualities. This is a shallow analysis and one that should be discarded. Understanding your Martial nature — the Antinous-Mars warrior inside you — is essential to your survival and growth as a gay man. Terror and horror accompany us all our lives.

We are all afraid every day. We are all riddled with doubts every day. Look around you — most people are consumed with fear and doubt. Fear fuels their lives! But each of us can learn to turn our fears and doubts "inside-out" so that their barbs no longer point inward towards us, but instead so that these barbs of fear and doubt form a protective shield around us. 

It girds us with a constructive energy which helps us to advance through the Herculean travails which we face in our daily lives. Instead of being "fearfully" timid, we become "fearsomely" determined not to let life get us down.

Tomorrow, this transformational ability to turn fear "inside-out" will help us to understand how Antinous was able to charge the man-eater during the SACRED LION HUNT.

He must have been terrified. He was young and inexperienced and alone on his steed and armed only with an adamantine-tipped lance.

But through his loving bond with Hadrian/Hercules, Antinous/Iolaus was also magically armed with the "fearsomely strong" energies of the Sacred Band of Thebes. 


Flamen Antinoalis Antonius affirms: "We consecrate and honor their memory and call upon their strength and courage in our own hearts, that we may become the New Sacred Band."

Monday, August 19, 2019

BEN PASTOR'S 'HORSEMAN'S SONG'
RIVETING GARCÍA LORCA MURDER MYSTERY


WE all know that Spanish poet (and saint of Antinous) Federico García Lorca was murdered by Fascists on August 19th, 1936 ... or do we?

In a brilliant new thriller by author BEN PASTOR he was murdered twice ... once in 1936 and again in 1937 ... and it is up to a persistently thorough German Wehrmacht sleuth to find out what really happened ... and why.

Antinomaniacs are familiar with Ben Pastor for her richly researched historical novel THE WATER THIEF is about the search for the Lost Tomb of Antinous by Roman sleuth Aelius Spartianus. 

In that book, Spartianus not only discovers the whereabouts of the Beauteous Boy's tomb, but also uncovers a nefarious plot to bring down the Roman Empire.

Ben Pastor has written a series of Spartianus mysteries set in the days of the Roman Empire.

But the award-winning Italian-American historian and mystery writer is also the author of a series of novels about a World War II German military detective named Martin Bora who dodges mortar shells and Nazi intrigue to get to the bottom of baffling murders at the risk of life and limb. 

The new novel is entitled THE HORSEMAN'S SONG, a reference to García Lorca's celebrated poem Canción del Jinete (The Horseman's Song) about a young rider galloping through darkness on a journey that ends in death.

Pastor skillfully works this symbolism into this tale of a young Scottish-German officer walking a tightrope of death between Spanish Fascists and Red Republicans ... all grimly intent on annihilating each other ... as German military intelligence spies lurk in the shadows. 

And along the way he must side-step booby-traps placed by envious officers, enamored gay comrades, jealous rebels ... and the love spells of an Aragon bruja witch.

As always with every book by Pastor, the historical research is immaculate and the writing is tight and fast-paced. You can't skip over a single sentence lest you miss a vital clue or insight into the solving of the riddle.

For those of you who have read her earlier Martin Bora novels, all set during World War II, this book is something of a prequel, introducing us to a Martin in his late 20s ... younger and more naive ... a young man galloping on his own journey through dark shadows of death.

It's a book everyone who is interested in Federico García Lorca must read.

FEDERICO GARCÍA LORCA
SAINT OF ANTINOUS


ON AUGUST 19th, the Religion of Antinous honors St. Federico García Lorca, who was openly gay and who is one of the greatest poets of the Spanish language. 
He was executed by the Fascists on this day, August 19th, during the Spanish Civil War in 1936.

García Lorca's central themes are love, pride, passion and violent death, which also marked his own life.


The Spanish Civil was just getting underway in August 1936 and García Lorca was seen by the right-wing forces as an enemy. The author hid from the soldiers but he was eventually found.

An eyewitness has told that he was taken out of a Civil Government building by guards and Falangists belonging to the "Black Squad". García Lorca was shot in Granada without trial. The circumstances of his death are still shrouded in mystery. He was buried in a grave that he had been forced top dig for himself. 

According to some sources, he had to be finished off by a coup de grâce. One of his assassins later boasted, that he shot "two bullets into his arse for being a queer".

It was the end of a brilliant career as a poet and dramatist who was also remembered as a painter, pianist and composer.

In the 1920s he was close friends with Luis Buñuel and Salvador Dalí, among many others who later became influential artists in Spain. Despite the accolades from artists and critics, he suffered from bouts of depression brought on largely by his inner conflict about his homosexuality.

He was tortured by the demands of being a celebrity in a homophobic society and the yearnings of his gay soul.

During his lifetime only a handful of close friends were allowed to read the collection of gay poems which would be published many years later as his Sonnets of Dark Love. Here is one of them, entitled Love Sleeps in the Poet's Heart:


You'll never understand my love for you,
because you dream inside me, fast asleep.
I hide you, persecuted though you weep,
from the penetrating steel voice of truth.
Normalcy stirs both flesh and blinding star,
and pierces even my despairing heart.
Confusing reasoning has eaten out
the wings on which your spirit fiercely soared:
onlookers who gather on the garden lawn
await your body and my bitter grief,
their jumping horses made of light, green manes.
But go on sleeping now, my life, my dear.
Hear my smashed blood rebuke their violins!
See how they still must spy on us, so near!


With the Catalan painter Salvador Dalí and the film director Louis Buñuel he worked in different productions.

Dalí and Lorca had met in 1923. From the beginning, Lorca was fascinated by the young Catalan's personality and looks. Also Dalí had admitted that Lorca impressed him deeply.

When Buñuel and Dalí made their famous surrealist short film Un Chien Andalou (1928), García Lorca was offended: he thought that the film was about him.

Lorca's friendship with Dalí inspired a poem, a defense of modern art and at the same time an expression of homosexual love. Dalí dedicated his painting of Saint Sebastian to his friend, who often compared himself to the tortured homoerotic martyr.

"Let us agree," Lorca wrote to Dalí, "that one of man's most beautiful postures is that of St. Sebastian."

"In my 'Saint Sebastian' I remember you," Salvador Dalí replied, ". . . and sometimes I think he IS you. Let's see whether Saint Sebastian turns out to be you."

García Lorca was capable only of a "tragic, passionate relationship," Dalí once wrote — a friendship pierced by the arrows of Saint Sebastian.


The Religion of Antinous honors this great artist who lived and loved tragically and passionately and who died tragically for being gay.

Sunday, August 18, 2019

DID ANTINOUS SEE CLEOPATRA'S TOMB
ON HIS LION-HUNTING EXPEDITION?



THE Lost Tomb of Antinous and the Lost Tomb of Alexander the Great capture the imaginations of archaeologists everywhere ... but imagine stumbling onto the Lost Tomb of Cleopatra?

One long-held theory is that her tomb could be hidden in a labyrinth beneath a Roman era fort in the desert west of Alexandria called Taposiris Magna.

Experts from Egypt and the Dominican Republic have discovered the temple's original gate on its western side. In pharaonic Egypt the temple was named Per-Usir, meaning "A place of Osiris."

Legend has it that when the god Seth killed Osiris he cut him into fourteen pieces and threw them all over Egypt. This is one of 14 temples said to contain one piece of the god's body.

The team also found limestone foundation stones, which would once have lined the entrance to the temple. 

One of these bears traces indicating that the entrance was lined with a series of Sphinx statues.

The team, led by Dr. Kathleen Martinez, began excavations in Taposiris Magna ten years ago in an attempt to locate the tomb of the well-known lovers, Queen Cleopatra VII and Mark Antony.

There is some evidence that suggests that Egypt's last Queen might not be buried inside the tomb built beside her royal palace, which is now under the eastern harbour of Alexandria.

The archaeologists have been exploring the underground labyrinth, turning up a bronze statue of the goddess Aphrodite, the alabaster head of a Cleopatra statue, a mask believed to belong to Marcus Antonius and a headless statue from the Ptolemaic era.

The location is of great interest to those of us who love Antinous because it is very likely that Hadrian and Antinous visited this temple site in August of the year 130 AD ... the final summer of the brief life of Antinous.

As we know, the imperial entourage was visiting Alexandria in the summer of the year 130, and we know that Hadrian and Antinous hunted and killed a man-eating lion which had been terrorizing the countryside. 

It was described as a "Libyan" lion, "Libya" being the term used in those days for everything west of Alexandria.

So it is highly possible (even likely) that the imperial hunting party passed by the temple at Taposiris Magna, which is less than 45 kms (30 miles) west of Alexandria. 

In the year 130 it was a vast complex of temples that included a Roman fortress. The name Taposiris comes from the legend that one of the relics of Osiris was enshrined there.

This is a very noteworthy site because it is the location of the only wholly Greek style temple (with columns) ever known to have been built in Egypt. 

And it is also a temple which was converted into a military fortress by the Romans.

In addition, it is the location of a unique stone tower overlooking the sea which is believed to have been a miniature replica of the Great Lighthouse at nearby Alexandria.

Only shattered walls and foundations are left to indicate the size of Taposiris Magna.

It is entirely conceivable that Cleopatra and Marcus Antonius, cornered by Octavian's advancing forces, might have sought refuge at this fortified temple complex with its tower suitable for use as an observation post.

It is also entirely possible that Cleopatra and Marc Antony were buried here.

Saturday, August 17, 2019

NO WELL-GROOMED ROMAN MALE
WAS WITHOUT AN ANTINOUS BALSAMARIUM



"CLEANLINESS is next to Godliness" ... was Ovid's advice to young men setting out on amorous conquests in his poem Ars Amatoria.

A clean body and a well-groomed appearance was not only indispensable in the art of love, but was also considered a fundamental feature of Roman self-esteem, frequently contrasted with the uncleanliness and unkempt appearance of Barbarians living outside the borders of the Empire.

August 17th is Men's Grooming Day and the ancient Romans apparently considered Antinous to be their role model because a BALSAMARIUM (bath unguent jar) in the form of the head of Antinous was hugely popular.

Any well-groomed Roman male owned an array of bathing implements, combs, strigilae, lamps, water-resistant flip-flops and other articles ... including a balsamarium to hold his bath oils or skin lotions.

Antinous balsamaria were exceedingly popular in Rome. Suitable for holding bath oils or moisturizers, an Antinous balsamarium suggested that its owner would emerge from the baths looking like a God. 

And we thought modern advertising came up with that gimmick!

Friday, August 16, 2019

ANTINOUS THE MOVIE STAR
UPSTAGES EVERYBODY IN 'CLEOPATRA'



ANTINOUS defies time and space ... appearing in Cecil B. DeMille's 1934 film CLEOPATRA, which starred Claudette Colbert.

The epic movie premiered on 16 August 1934 ... with Hollywood hyping the anniversary of the death of Cleopatra VII queen of Egypt on 12 August 30 BC.

In the movie, the Antinous Capitoline statue gazes into the atrium pool beside Calpurnia (played by Gertrude Michael) in Julius Caesar's Villa in Rome.

In another scene, Caesar (played by William Warren) has Antinous on his mind ... or at least on his head ... or perhaps springing forth as Athena sprang forth from the brow of Zeus. 

Handsome Henry Wilcoxon is Mark Antony (left) and C. Aubrey Smith is bearded Enobarbus. 

The Antinous Capitoline statue upstages all the actor in this wonderful peplum ... despite the fact that Caesar lived in the 1st Century BC and Antinous lived in the 2nd Century AD.