Monday, October 20, 2014


HERE is one of the most mysterious ... and missing ... statues of Antinous, showing him as Antinous Sauroktonos, the Lizard-Slayer.

The statue once stood in Dresden's Japanische Palais. But it was lost in the firestorms which swept Dresden during Allied bombing in the final days of World War II.

There is a famous statue of by Praxiteles of Apollo Sauroktonos, showing the God of Light with a stone poised over a lizard on a tree stump. 

The Praxiteles statue was oft copied by the Romans and also by artists up to the present day.

But this statue depicts Antinous as Apollo.

There is an ambivalence which has always intrigued historians. 

Is Antinous/Apollo about to kill the lizard? Or is he consciously sparing the life of the lizard?

Forget Nietzsche and other modern "experts" who philosophize about the "light" and "dark" side of human libidos and psyches.

The answer lies ... as always ... in Greek and Roman Symbological Imagery. 

(Image: Versions of Praxiteles' Apollo-Sauroktonos)

In Greek and Roman myths, the lizard symbolizes a sneaky spy who is eavesdropping on us. 

It is keeping tabs on our every move … It is a boyish tattle-tale who says, "Nyah, nyah ... I saw what you did and I'm gonna tell on you!"

The lizard is Ascalaphus, who is mentioned variously in Ovid's Metamorphoses and also by Pseudo-Apollodorus and other writers.

There are a couple of versions of the tale of Ascalaphus being metamorphosed into a skulking lizard and/or an owl (the better to spy on you at night).

In one version, Demeter persuades Pluto to permit her daughter Proserpine (Persephone) to return to the land of the living on condition that she imbibe neither food nor drink in the Elysian Fields.

But the mischievous little Hades boy "daimon" (Greek for "spirit") Ascalaphus observers her secretly biting into a pomegranate to eat its seeds and drink its juice.

Ascalaphus goes running off to tell Jupiter what he had seen ... whereupon Proserpine is condemned to remain with Pluto forever.

Proserpine/Persephone curses Ascalaphus by hurling a few drops of pomegranate juice at him which results in red speckles on his skin -- and he is transformed into a slinking newt ("askalaxos") with red-speckled scales for skin. 

Or else he becomes a speckled owl ("Bubos askalaphos").

In yet another version, Demeter herself takes vengeance by transforming Ascalaphus into a lizard and crushing him with a huge stone at the bottom of Pluto's realm.

Then, in turn, Hercules comes along and lifts the stone ... freeing Ascalaphus. Thus, Hercules is sometimes called the "Lizard Liberator" for that reason. 

But Ascalaphus's new-found freedom was short-lived because Demeter transformed him into a spotted horned owl ... as Ovid writes: "... a loathsome bird, ill omen for mankind, a skulking screech-owl, sorrow's harbinger. That tell-tale tongue of his no doubt deserved the punishment."

Thus, throughout the ages, Ascalaphus has become a synonym for someone who is punished cruelly for telling the truth. Back in the days when cultivated people studied the Classics, the imagery of a boy with a stone poised over a lizard was very clear. 

Tennessee Williams used that Classical imagery throughout his play "Night of the Iguana"which uses a Mexican lizard tied to a tree as a metaphor for the lies and mendacity and religious hypocrisy which have restricted unpleasant truths from being set free.

Antonius Subia says: 
This story of the tatter-tale daemon boy-lizard is endearing … and I have a fondness for sneaky little spies who reveal the truth...and I admire him for not letting Proserpina get away with fooling the Lord of the Underworld … he made quite sure that she stayed in the underworld like everybody else.  
This Ascalaphus is obviously a Gay lizard-boy, not in the least charmed by Prosephone's supposed beauty … when he saw that she had broken the rules, he wasted no time reporting it to Jupiter.  Perhaps Demeter/Sabina held a grudge against the little Gay Lizard...but I'm sure Jupiter/Hadrian appreciated the loyalty of the little traitor-informant. Antinous had no secrets to hide … and even if he did … I'm sure that he could count on the loyalty of the little gay lizard … if anything … the lizard kept Antinous informed of what Hadrian was up to behind closed doors … always a dangerous game … but for the sake of truth … this little gay lizard isn't afraid to die!

Why is Apollo so often depicted as the Lizard-Slayer? There's a theory that Apollo Sauroktonos is a spoof of Apollo's first deed as a young boy-god.

(Image: Apollo Vanquishing Python by symbolist painter Gustave Moreau)

Apollo's first achievement was to rid Pytho (Delphi) of the serpent (or dragon) Python. 

This monstrous beast protected the sanctuary of Pytho from its lair beside the Castalian Spring. 

There it stood guard while the "Sibyl" gave out her prophecies as she inhaled the trance inducing vapors from an open chasm. 

Apollo killed Python with his bow and arrows (Homer wrote "he killed the fearsome dragon Python, piercing it with his darts"), and then Apollo took charge of Delphi, turning it into his own special Oracle.

So ... is Antinous about to slay the lizard like Apollo slaying Python?

Or is Antinous actually lifting the stone away from the lizard, like Hercules liberating Ascalaphus in the River of Styx? 

Either way, of course, Antinous is engaging very powerful, dark energies. 

The Python is the guardian of Divine Secrets ... and Apollo mastered and become lord of Divine Secrets by overpowering Python. And Ascalaphus is the herald of dark secrets and unpleasant truths which must be told ... even at the risk of severe penalty.

Either way, these images have nothing to do with 20th Century sensitivities about animal cruelty.

These are very powerful images of Divine Secrets.

Sunday, October 19, 2014


ON October 19th we honor Saint Divine (October 19, 1945 — March 7, 1988), born Harris Glenn Milstead. 

Divine was an openly gay American actor, singer and drag queen.

Described by People magazine as the "Drag Queen of the Century," Divine often performed female roles in both cinema and theater and also appeared in women's wear in musical performances. 

Even so, he considered himself to be a character actor and performed male roles in a number of his later films.

He was most often associated with independent filmmaker John Waters and starred in ten of Waters's films, usually in a leading role.

Concurrent with his acting career, he also had a successful career as  a disco singer during the 1980s, at one point being described as "the  most successful and in-demand disco performer in the world."

Divine, the seventh-of-a-ton transvestite star of Mr. Waters's early movies, helped set a new standard for drag that endured long after Divine's death of heart failure in 1988, Mr. Waters said.

"When we started in those days, drag queens were square," Mr. Waters explained. "They hated Divine: they wanted to be Bess Myerson. And Divine would show up in a see-through miniskirt with a chainsaw instead of a pocketbook."

The Divine look, which stylist Van Smith first created in 1972 for Pink Flamingos, had three components. First was the hair, shaved back to the crown to allow more room for eye makeup. Second was the makeup, acres of eye shadow topped by McDonald's-arch eyebrows; lashes so long they preceded the wearer; and a huge scarlet mouth. Third were the clothes: shimmering, skintight numbers that gave Divine a larger-than-life female sensuality.

The net effect, as Mr. Smith ordained it, was a cross between Jayne Mansfield and Clarabell the Clown.

"If you look at anything that Divine wore, you sure couldn't find that off the rack," Mr. Waters said.

All of Divine's costumes were constructed by a Baltimore woman who made outfits for strippers. Subtle they were not. There was the red fishtail dress from Pink Flamingos, in which Divine looks equal parts mermaid, Valkyrie and firetruck. And there was the sheer wedding gown she wears in Female Trouble (1974), underwear not included.

Divine once famously said that if anybody was shocked by a 300-pound drag queen in a slinky cocktail dress "then maybe they need to be shocked." He himself would describe his stage performances as "just good, dirty fun, and if you find it offensive, honey, don't join in."

As a part of his performance, he would constantly swear at the audience, often using his signature line of "fuck you very much", and at times would get audience members to come onstage, where he would fondle their buttocks, groins and breasts.

He became increasingly known for outlandish stunts onstage, each time trying to outdo what he had done before. At one performance, held in the Hippodrome in London, that coincided with American Independence Day, Divine rose up from the floor on a hydraulic lift, draped in the American flag, and declared that "I'm here representing Freedom, Liberty, Family Values and the fucking American Way of Life." 

When he performed at London Gay Pride parade, he sang on the roof of a hired pleasure boat that floated down the Thames passed Jubilee Gardens, whilst at a performance he gave at the Hippodrome in the last year of his life, he appeared onstage riding an infant elephant, known as Bully the Elephant, who had been hired for the occasion.

Divine and his stage act proved particularly popular amongst gay audiences, and he appeared at some of the world's biggest gay clubs, such as Heaven in London. According to Divine's manager, Bernard Jay, this was "not because Divine happened to be a gay person himself... but because it was the gay community that openly and proudly identified with the determination of the female character Divine."

He was also described as "one of the few truly radical and essential artists of the century ... who was an audacious symbol of man's quest for liberty and freedom." 

On the evening of March 7, 1988, a week after his starring role in Hairspray was released, Divine was staying at the Regency Hotel in Los Angeles. The next day, he auditioned for a part in the Fox network's television series Married ... with Children. After dining with friends and returning to the hotel, he died in his sleep of an enlarged heart at age 42.

Saturday, October 18, 2014


ON October 18th  we honor a gay man who is adored as a saint by millions of people in Mexico.

El Niño Fidencio, Saint of Antinous, was a Mexican "curandero" (male witch healer or shaman) in the 1920s and '30s who is regarded as a saint by his modern-day followers (although he is not recognized by the Catholic Church) and who depicted himself in drag as the Virgin Mary.

His millions of believers point to the fact that he has been credited with innumerable healings and other miracles. He is credited with saving countless lives and with curing incrable ailments.

His millions of believers also point to the numerological phenomenon that he was born on October 18, 1898, and he died on October 19, 1938.

The story of El Niño Fidencio also has many parallels to the story of the Magnificent Religion of Antinous.

Like ANTINOUS THE GAY GOD after deification on the banks of the Nile, El Niño Fidencio was a winsome young man beloved by all who worked miracles along the banks of a great river (Rio Grande) flowing through the barren wasteland of a desert between two lands, the US and Mexico.

The Nile divided the Land of the Living from the Land of the Dead,  the Rio Grande divides (or joins) two culturally merging societies.

The Ancients believed Antinous worked miracles in the lives of his faithful followers. Antinous healed the sick, he granted people love and prosperity, he shielded them from peril.

Historian Royston Lambert's book Beloved and God: The Story of Hadrian and Antinous devotes a full chapter to the Religion of Antinous and mentions the miracles he was able to bring forth.

The oracle priests of Antinous could intercede with the God, or followers could appeal directly to Antinous:

"There is evidence of oracles at Tarsos and perhaps at Rome itself," Lambert writes. "No doubt it was through these pronouncements and visitations that he wrought miracles and healing for which he evidently became famous in the east."
In many areas, people named their children Antinous in the fervent belief that he would watch over and protect their offspring all their lives.

There is the well-documented case of a man named Serapamon who lived in Antinoopolis in the 3rd Century and who called on the priests of Antinous for a love spell to attract a certain woman named Ptolemais. Clearly, his followers truly believed he could work miracles for those who believed in him.

Lambert points out: "The frequent use of his medals as talismans or amulets demonstrates demonstrates a widespread faith in his powers in Greece, Asia Minor and Egypt."

Lambert makes it clear that, for early followers of Antinous, there was no doubt in their hearts or minds that he could work miracles — and did so on an everyday basis.

"Indeed," Lambert goes on to state, "the popular vigour and genuine conviction of the 'belief' in Antinous were widespread and persistent enough to provoke the scorn of some sophisticated pagans and the anxious and unremitting indignation of most Christian apologists for two and a half centuries to come."

We should remember the heart-felt faith of the early followers of Antinous, who knew Him to be their salvation. We should remember their undying faith when we honor El Niño Fidencio in the face of the "anxious and unremitting indignation" of Catholic clerics to this day.

Friday, October 17, 2014


EXPERTS working at the mysterious large tomb at AMPHIPOLIS in Macedonia, Greece, have uncovered the rest of the mosaic flooring of the second chamber ... revealing the Abduction of Proserpine/Persephone by Pluto. 

The symbolism of the beautiful MOSAIC, which was discovered in the second chamber of the tomb and is the site of the CARYATIDS discovery, vastly increases the chances that this tomb houses a member of the Macedonian royal family.

In a news conference following the recent discovery of a stunning mosaic, Lena Mendoni, general secretary of the Greek Ministry of Culture,said that the scene of the abduction of Persephone gives archaeologists great certainty that the occupant of the mysterious tomb is a member of the Macedonian royal family.

"We have also found the scene of the abduction of Persephone in the mural of the so-called tomb of Persephone at the royal cemetery at Vergina, Greece. We have a second display of Pluto and Persephone, in a sacred marriage scene at the backrest of the marble throne found at the tomb of Eurydice, mother of Philip, in Aeges," she said.

"The scenes are linked with the cults of the underworld, the Orphic cult-descent into Hades and the Dionysian rites. The leader of the Macedons was always the archpriest of these cults," Mendoni added.

"Therefore, the mosaic scene in Amphipolis has a symbolic importance, which may indicate that there is a relationship of the 'tenant' of the tomb with the Macedonian royal family. The political symbolism is very strong at all times," she added.

Until now, archaeologists had only uncovered a portion of the mosaic showing Mercury-Hermes and a chariot driven by a bearded deity ... now identified as Pluto-Hades. 

The colorful floor was laid with white, black, grey, blue, red and yellow pebbles and depicts a chariot in motion. 

Mercury-Hermes, the messenger of the gods and guide to the Underworld, is pictured in front of the chariot driven by Pluto-Hades with his abducted bride-to-be in tow.

She is depicted with flowing auburn hair and wearing a white chiton trimmed in red ribbons. The ancient artists even gave her a jeweled ring for her left hand.

Her facial expression is strikingly detailed, her eyes displaying a plaintive look of woe. 

The mosaic showcases the artists' abilities to portray the figures, horses and colors in exquisite detail.

The stunning artwork spans the entire floor of the second chamber. It measures 4.5 meters in width and 3 meters in length. 

The central scene is surrounded by a decorative frame, 0.60 meters in width, featuring a double meander, squares and a wave-curl design.

According to archaeologists, the central a section of the mosaic floor was destroyed in antiquity. The Amphipolis team was able to recover many of the loose pieces of the mosaic during the excavation process, however, and plans on being able to eventually piece the mosaic back together.

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.

Other candidates for the tomb incluse the MOTHER OF ALEXANDER or possibly Roxana the WIFE OF ALEXANDER or even his male lover Hephaestion.

Thursday, October 16, 2014


ON October 16th, the Religion of Antinous honors SAINT OSCAR WILDE who was born on this day in 1854. He died in ignominy and poverty on November 30th, 1900.

Ostensibly, Saint Oscar Wilde was an Irish playwright, poet and author of numerous short stories and one novel.

Known for his biting wit, he became the most successful playwright of the late Victorian era in London, and the greatest "celebrity" of his day.

His plays are still widely performed, especially The Importance of Being Earnest.

As the result of a widely covered series of trials, Wilde experienced  a dramatic downfall and was imprisoned for two years' hard labour after being convicted of homosexual relationships, described as "gross indecency" with other men.

After Wilde was released from prison he set sail for Dieppe by the night ferry and he never returned to Ireland or Britain.

That is the truth, pure and simple, of his life. But as Saint Oscar himself once famously said: "The pure and simple truth is rarely pure and never simple."

For that reason (and for many others) we remember him not only because he was notorious (something for which he might claim to be quite proud) but because he remembered Antinous.

He kept the name of Antinous alive through his poetry: 

"—A moment more, the trees had stooped to kiss
Pale Daphne just awakening from the swoon
Of tremulous laurels, lonely Salmacis
Had bared his barren beauty to the moon,
And through the vale with sad voluptuous smile
ANTINOUS had wandered, the red lotus of the Nile.

"Down leaning from his black and clustering hair
To shade those slumberous eyelids — caverned bliss,
Or else on yonder grassy slope with bare
High-tuniced limbs unravished Artemis
Had bade her hounds give tongue, and roused the deer
From his green ambuscade with shrill hallo and pricking spear.

"—Lift up your large black satin eyes which are like cushions where one sinks!
Fawn at my feet fantastic Sphinx! and sing me all your memories!

Sing to me of that odorous green eve when couching by the marge
You heard from Adrian's gilded barge the laughter of 
And lapped the stream and fed your drouth and watched with hot and hungry stare
The ivory body of that rare young slave with his pomegranate mouth!


Here are some quotations from Oscar Wilde:
We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.

Ordinary riches can be stolen, real riches cannot.
In your soul are infinitely precious things that cannot be taken from you.

I have the simplest tastes. I am always satisfied with the best.

Man can believe the impossible, but can never believe the improbable

The critic has to educate the public; the artist has to educate the critic.

Whenever a man does a thoroughly stupid thing, it is always from the noblest motives.

It is absurd to divide people into good and bad. People are either charming or tedious.

I am so clever that sometimes I don't understand a single word of what I am saying.

I love talking about nothing. It is the only thing I know anything about.

Always forgive your enemies — nothing annoys them so much.

A true friend stabs you in the front.

I don't want to earn my living — I want to live.

Every saint has a past and every sinner has a future.

Nothing that is worth knowing can be taught.

The only thing worse than being talked about is NOT being talked about.

A gentleman is one who never hurts anyone's feelings unintentionally.

What is a cynic? A man who knows the price of everything and the value of nothing.

To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all.

Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014


A lead curse tablet, dating back around 1,700 years and likely written by a magician, has been discovered in a collapsed Roman villa in Jerusalem by a team of German archaeologists.

The villa was in use between the late 3rd Century AD and the year 363, when it was destroyed in a series of earthquakes on May 18 or 19 of that year.

The text is written in Greek and, in it a woman named Kyrilla invokes the names of six gods to cast a curse on a man named Iennys, apparently over a legal case.

"I strike and strike down and nail down the tongue, the eyes, the wrath, the ire, the anger, the procrastination, the opposition of Iennys," part of the curse reads in translation.

Kyrilla asks the gods to ensure that "he in no way oppose, so that he say or perform nothing adverse to Kyrilla … but rather that Iennys, whom the womb bore, be subject to her…"

To obtain her goal Kyrilla combined elements from several religions, Robert Walter Daniel, of the Institut für Altertumskunde at the University of Cologne, told LiveScience in an email. 

Of six gods invoked, four of them are Greek (Hermes, Persephone, Pluto and Hecate), one is Babylonian (Ereschigal) and one, Abrasax, is Gnostic.

A professional magician likely created the curse for Kyrilla, who may have literally used a hammer and nails to perform a magical rite that enhanced the effectiveness of the curse, Daniel said.

"The hammering and nailing is a form of gaining control over the person(s) targeted in magical texts," he wrote in the email.

Kyrilla and her curse-recipient, both probably members of the Roman middle or upper class, were likely in some legal dispute, as the curse tablet bears similarities to others found in Cyprus that are known to have been used in legal cases. Additionally the word "opposition" in this text hints at a legal matter.

The discovery was detailed recently in the German journal Zeitschrift für Papyrologie und Epigraphik.

One of the most dramatic reenactments of how Ancient Romans created and used lead curses is depicted in the BBC/HBO series "Rome" when Servilia of the Junii curses Julius Caesar (images on this page) ... and we all know what happened to him on the Ides of March.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014


IN mid-October we commemorate the Imperial entourage's arrival in the fabled Egyptian city of Oxyrhynchus the city named for the fish which swallowed the Phallus of Osiris.

Forgotten by everyone except Egyptologists today, Oxyrhynchus was the third-largest city in Egypt (after Alexandria and Mennefer-Memphis) when Hadrian and Antinous visited it in October of the year 130 AD — only a matter of days before Antinous drowned a few kilometers upstream from this city.

For more than 1,000 years, the inhabitants of Oxyrhynchus dumped garbage at a series of sites out in the desert sands beyond the town limits. The fact that the town was built on a canal rather than on the Nile itself was important, because this meant that the area did not flood every year with the rising of the river, as did the districts along the riverbank.

When the canals dried up, the water table fell and never rose again. The area west of the Nile has virtually no rain, so the garbage dumps of Oxyrhynchus were gradually covered with sand and were forgotten for another 1,000 years — it is that phenomenon which meant that priceless documents came down to us virtually intact.

It is of course an irony of history that the documents which came down to us were the "cast offs" and "rejects" from the libraries in Oxyrhynchus — they were the documents which were thrown out to make room for more important documents — which presumably were put to the torch by Moslems in later centuries.

Antonius Subia writes:
Antinous entered the city of Oxyrhynchus, a Greek city founded by the Ptolemies, that has since become famous for the thousands of papyrus fragments unearthed in its buried libraries.

The people of Oxyrhynchus were highly literate and therefore made a welcome stop for the Greek-loving Emperor Hadrian. The visit of Antinous to this city is important because several fragments mention his name, and the sacred poem of the SACRED LION HUNT was found here.

We are reminded by Oxyrhynchus of the fragile nature of the written word and how easily knowledge can be lost, and therefore, we sanctify the memory of the city to the importance that these fragments confer about our God Antinous. The primary Goddess of Oxyrhynchus is Athena-Sophia, patroness of learning.

There were also Greek temples to Demeter, Dionysius, Hermes, Apollo, the goddess Fortune together with Roman temples to Jupiter Capitolinus and Mars.

Apparently, the city had many public buildings, as noted in the papyrii unearthed in the region, as well as places of worship.

Though only traces remain, archaeologists have identified a theater, which could seat 11,000, a hippodrome where the traditional chariot races took place, four public baths, important because there was no running water available in private homes, a gymnasium, which was an important center of cultural life during the Hellenistic and Roman periods, and two small ports on the Bahr Yusuf canal.

It is also likely that there were military buildings, such as barracks, since the city supported a military garrison on several occasions during the Roman period — a military installation which Hadrian no doubt visited.

Hadrian would have delighted in the city's libraries and temples.

Antinous, like adolescents of all ages, no doubt was intrigued by the fact that Oxyrhynchus (Greek for "pointy snout") takes its name from a phallic-shaped fish which was worshiped by the Egyptians because it had devoured the severed penis of Osiris.

There are several versions of the myth concerning the Travails of Isis and Osiris. The Nile is a very long river, and each region seems to have had a local version of the tale of the Death and Resurrection of Osiris.

People in Oxyrhynchus told a version in which Seth, God of Chaos, murdered his brother Osiris and dismembered his body, strewing the various body parts up and down the length of the Nile.

Grieving Isis went in search of her lover's limbs, collecting them and reassembling them. 

She found every bit of him except for his penis, which had been imgested by the Oxyrhynchus fish, giving the creature a distinctly phallic shape.

To this day, some people in Egypt refuse to eat this fish, calling it unclean. Others, however, say its flesh lends potency and virility to men suffering from erectile dysfunction, or that women who eat of this fish will bear strong male children.

To search for the body parts, Isis enlisted the help of her sister Nephthys and Anubis (who is either the son of Nepththys and Seth or possibly the illegitimate son of Isis and Seth, depending on which version of the story you hear). 

Then she used magical spells over life and death (which she had tricked Ra into entrusting to Thoth, who then passed the spells on to her) and magically restored Osiris to everlasting life.

But she wanted a son to avenge Osiris, and so Isis fashioned a magical erect penis of "electron" (a gold/silver alloy of special magical properties) and transplanted it onto the loins of Osiris.

Some say she transformed herself into a hawk and mated with the magical phallus. Others say her wiles were enough to cause a spontaneous ejaculation which sent semen gushing in great arcs.

Sacred Marionettes with enormous pricks were an important part of Egyptian sacred/magical ritual Passion Plays in Oxyrhynchus. Perhaps such a play was staged for the amusement of Hadrian and Antinous. The Greek historian Herodotus describes one such play about the Passion of Isis for her beloved Osiris. Herodotus uses the Greek name Dionysus in place of Osiris.

Herodotus writes:
The rest of the festival of Dionysus is observed by the Egyptians much as it is by the Greeks, except for the dances; but in place of the phallus, they have invented the use of puppets one cubit high (two feet or 60 cms) moved by strings, the hinged male member nodding and nearly as big as the rest of the body, which are carried about the villages by women; a flute-player goes ahead, the women follow behind singing of Dionysus.

The semen with which Osiris sired Horus was no ordinary semen, of course. It was the "Semen of the First God".

Hadrian and Antinous would have heard a lot about the "Semen of the First God" during their travels through Egypt. A few days before they arrived in Oxyrhynchus, they had visited Heliopolis.

That is the town near Mennefer (Memphis/Cairo) where the Egyptian magician/priest Pancrates gave to Hadrian (or rather sold to him at an exorbitant price) a magical spell which could bind another man's affections to him forever ... when the spell was cast properly. If cast wrong, the spell would result in the death of the other man.

There was some speculation in ancient times as to whether the death of Antinous may have be related to this strange Egyptian spell. 

Whether you or I believe in the efficacy of Ancient Egyptian Spellcasting  Hadrian most certainly DID believe in magical spells (being the wise man that he was).

Let's assume Hadrian cast the spell a few days or weeks prior to the death of Antinous — well, that would certainly explain his inordinate grief at the Blessed Boy's death and his penance in declaring Antinous a god … perhaps out of a profound sense of guilt.

Historians have speculated on this point for centuries.

But back to the Phoenix of Heliopolis — the Bennu bird who "Comes into Being by Himself". Hadrian and Antinous visited Heliopolis and 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 in mid-October, 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.