Sunday, March 29, 2020

TRACE THE FOOTSTEPS OF ANTINOUS
WITH THIS STREET MAP OF ROME



WE envision Antinous strolling down these streets in Rome's infamous Subura red-light district with other young friends from the "paedagogium" academy.

The wide street that traverses this fragment of a map of the city of Rome from right to left (west to east) has been identified as the Clivus Suburanus, a major street that ran from the Forum and the Argiletum through the Subura neighborhood, past the front of the Porticus Liviae, to the Esquiline Gate.


The fragment at right is from the  Forma Urbis Romae, or Severan Marble Plan of Rome. 

This enormous map, measuring ca. 18.10 x 13 meters (ca. 60 x 43 feet), was carved between 203-211 AD and covered an entire wall inside the Templum Pacis in Rome.

Recently, a "new" piece was found which completes the "Circus Flaminius" section of the FORMA URBIS ROMAE or SEVERAN MAP.

This enormous map depicted the ground plan of every architectural feature in the ancient city, from large public monuments to small shops, rooms, and even staircases.

This fragment represents a large section on the Oppian Hill of the residential and commercial district called the Subura. 

Roman poets like Martial and Juvenal described the Subura as a sordid commercial area, riddled with violence, brothels, and collapsing buildings. 

In reality, it was probably not different from any other neighborhood in Rome … or many modern European cities, for that matter … where commercial activity intermingled with the religious and political life in the great public monuments and smaller local shrines and meeting halls of the local "collegia" and where the large "comus" homes of the rich stood next to the decrepit apartment buildings that housed the poor. 

An abundance of evidence demonstrates that even in imperial times the Subura housed senators (probably on the upper slopes) as well as sandal makers, blacksmiths, and cloth sellers. Commercial activity was probably concentrated all along the clivus Suburanus.


The Severan Marble Plan is a key resource for the study of ancient Rome, but only 10-15% of the map survives, broken into 1,186 pieces.

For centuries, scholars have tried to match the fragments and reconstruct this great puzzle, but progress is slow … the marble pieces are heavy, unwieldy, and not easily accessible. 

Now, computer scientists and archaeologists at Stanford are employing digital technologies to try to reconstruct the map.

In collaboration with the Sovraintendenza of the Comune di Roma, a team from Stanford's Computer Graphics laboratory has been creating digital photographs and 3D models of all 1,186 fragments.

The next step is to develop 3D matching algorithms to "solve the map," and to build a fully searchable database of the fragments … a much-needed tool for archaeological research.

Saturday, March 28, 2020

A SPECIAL PRAYER TO ANTINOUS
IN THIS SPECIAL TIME OF CRISIS



THIS is prayer you can use in a personal ceremony in reference to the current situation we are all going through. It is hoped that this can bring some peace and comfort. 

What you will need:
White Candle
Water
Libation bowl

Light the candle and say:

Antinous Mithras God of Light be our guide.
Light our way through these troubled times.
Grant us freedom from fear just as you grant freedom
From the confines of this world.
As the obelisk declares that you hear the prayers of Gods and Men.
As you heard the pleas of Hadrian, we ask that you hear ours as well.
Great God Antinous who is our strength and guiding light
We humbly come before you.
We seek your healing, protection and wisdom
During this present time of sickness that has affected the whole world
(here you can include specific locations ie: New York City)
We ask that those afflicted by this virus that you grant them healing.
Just as you Antinous, you who gave your life to save Hadrian,
So, to now we ask that you save us from this virus.
Strengthen the bodies of those who are fighting this infection and heal them.
Give comfort to those suffering from symptoms of this virus.
We ask that you provide medical care for those in need.
For those working in the medical profession
We ask that you give them strength and protect them from this virus
Provide the equipment necessary to keep them safe
We ask for wisdom for those working on a cure
Grant to them what they need in order to end this modern plaque.
We ask the Divine Hadrian to bestow his wisdom to those in charge
Whether they are in government or in a position of authority.
In order to lessen the burden this virus has caused.

Libation:
Pour water into the libation bowl and say:

Antinous your first miracle was the inundation of the Nile
By this you saved an entire empire.
We ask that this water that represents that miracle
Cleanse the world from this virus that threatens us all.
(You may drink this water afterwards or pour on plants)
Our hearts can rest assured because the sacred obelisk says:
“He hears the prayers of all those who call out to Him,
And He cures the afflictions of those in need”

Ave Antinous
Michaelus Priest of Antinous

Friday, March 27, 2020

CENTAUR MOSAIC AT HADRIAN's VILLA
OFFERS INSIGHTS INTO EMPEROR's MIND



THE FAMOUS Centaur Mosaic from the grand dining pavilion of Hadrian's Villa at Tibur has intrigued art historians for decades. The mosaic is on view at the Altes Museum in Berlin, along with stunning sculptures of Hadrian and Antinous. But few people have had the opportunity to view it up close with commentary by eminent art historians — until now!

This new video (below), with a running narration by Dr. Steven Zucker and Dr. Beth Harris, provides brilliant insights not only into the Roman interpretation of Greek art, but also into the subtle differences in the way that the Romans and the Greeks perceived their place in the cosmos.

One important point which Drs. Zucker and Harris do not make, however, is that Hadrian was called "The Lion Slayer" because the Emperor and Antinous killed a man-eating lion in Egypt in the summer of the year 130 AD — only weeks before the tragic death of Antinous. 

Another detail is that the centaur downed by the tiger is a female, presumably the mate of the centaur holding the boulder. It is unclear whether the downed mate is dead or only stunned and is about to be rescued — just as Hadrian rescued Antinous from the Egyptian lion in real life.

So Hadrian's dinner guests could look at the mosaic and interpret the bearded centaur as being a mythic aspect of the emperor himself — protecting the Empire from the beastly forces of chaos. Hadrian could also be equated with Chiron, with Antinous perhaps his tutor.

In Greek mythology, Chiron was one of the Titans, the greatest of the Centaurs. Chiron was the tutor to a great many gods and demigods, including Prometheus, Theseus, Achilles and Hercules, to name but a few.

Astrologically, Chiron represents a person's healing energies and, indeed, the word for "surgery" in many European languages (chirurgie in French and German, cirugya in Spanish, chirugia in Italian and Portuguese) comes directly from the Ancient Greek words for "Chiron Hands" ... a healer with the skilled hands of the Titan Chiron.

Astrologically, the minor planet (or asteroid) CHIRON IS IN ARIES ... which boosts cosmic healing. Hadrian, who was obsessed with astrology himself, could hardly have looked at this mosaic without pondering cosmic implications.

Zucker and Harris, founders of Smarthistory, aptly point out that this mosaic ... only a tiny fraction of the dining pavilion's mosaic ... must have been a profound source of dinner conversation.

Thursday, March 26, 2020

WALT WHITMAN
SAINT OF ANTINOUS


ON March 26th the Religion of Antinous takes a moment to celebrate the life of one of our most popular Antinoian prophets ... Saint Walt Whitman.

Walt Whitman was born on May 31, 1819, on the West Hills of Long Island, New York. He was lavished with love by his mother, but treated with stern discipline by his carpenter father.

After only a few years of school, Whitman was pulled out to help with the family earnings. He educated himself, reading all that he could, worked in a printing house, and eventually became a schoolteacher who taught with refreshing openness and excitement, allowing his students to call him by his first name. After years of teaching, he went into journalism, and in time was the editor of several publications.

However, Walt Whitman is said to have experienced a life-transforming epiphany. He left New York, and returned to live for a period with his family, then returned from isolation with Leaves of Grass, one of the most powerful collections of poems in American literature and the first to allude heavily to homosexual love.

It is often said that, during his time in isolation, a religious sense of purpose entered his heart, which he revealed in the Calamus poems.

The aromatic, psychotropic calamus plant with its phallic spadix flower pods was his symbol for homosexuality. The calamus has special meaning for us because Kalamos of Greek myth fell in love with the beautiful youth Karpos. 

Like Antinous, Karpos died by drowning. Grief-stricken Kalamos wept among the reeds at the waterside until he was himself transformed into a reed, whose rustling in the wind is his sigh of woe.

When the American civil war broke out, Walt Whitman was 42 years old and served as a hospital nurse, falling in love with all the soldiers, especially those who died in his arms.

Open expressions of love between men were accepted without issue during the war, and it was when the visionary enlightenment of Walt Whitman became clear to him. He saw that the origin of this love, brotherly, or friendly perhaps, if not more, was the salvation of the human race, and certainly able to heal the divide between North and South.

His final years were spent communicating his message to the new torchbearers, such as John Addington Symonds and Edward Carpenter. After his death, and as Gay Liberation took strength, he was called a Prophet, particularly by the George Cecil Ives and the Order of Chaeronea.

We, adherents of the ancient/modern Religion of Antinous, proclaim him to be St. Walt Whitman the Prophet of Homoeros, and we elevate him to his own stratosphere in our devotion.

He died March 26th, 1892 of tuberculosis compounded by pneumonia. Over 1,000 mourners paid their respects. St. Walt told us how he wanted us to remember him, not as a great poet, but as "the tenderest lover":

You bards of ages hence! when you refer to me, mind not so much my poems,
Nor speak of me that I prophesied of The States, and led them the way of their Glories;
But come, I will take you down underneath this impassive exterior ... I will tell you what to say of me:
Publish my name and hang up my picture as that of the tenderest lover,
The friend, the lover's portrait, of whom his friend, his lover, was fondest,
Who was not proud of his songs, but of measureless ocean of love within him ... and freely poured it forth,
Who often walked lonesome walks, thinking of his dear friends, his lovers,
Who pensive, away from one he loved, often lay sleepless and dissatisfied at night,
Who knew too well the sick, sick dread lest the one he loved might secretly be indifferent to him,
Whose happiest days were far away, through fields, in woods, on hills, he and another, wandering hand in hand, they twain, apart from other men,
Who oft as he sauntered the streets, curved with his arm the shoulder of his friend  while the arm of his friend rested upon him also.


Wednesday, March 25, 2020

ANTINOUS HELPS YOU COMBAT FEAR
DURING THE CORONA VIRUS PANDEMIC



AS worshipers of Antinous, how do we Navigate the Corona Virus Pandemic right now, for as we face this pandemic there is a collective consciousness and culture of fear all over the world. 

As worshipers of Antinous we don’t have to contribute to it, nor do we have to be oppressed by it. (Healing Antinous Art above by Miranda Baggins.)

1. First make a list: What all do you have to do? Look at it again – what do you have to do, and what can wait till later? What’s easy and can be cleared out of the way with little effort? What’s most important and deserves the bulk of your time? Start working the list and checking things off. Making a list doesn’t sound very spiritual to you? Haven’t you heard of the 42 Negative Confessions? The 12 Labors of Hercules? The Four Noble Truths of Buddhism? Making lists is a near-universal religious practice – put it to use in your life.

2. You feel in Despair:  Things are bad, and you can’t see how they’re ever going to get better. Intellectually, you know you’ll manage one way or another, but right now you can’t see that far ahead and you’re not in the mood to listen to anyone’s cold hard logic.
Pray and make offerings. You can’t control how you feel, but you can control what you do – and it is always good to worship the Gods. Giving to Them reminds us that there’s something bigger than ourselves. And giving promotes reciprocity: we give to Them and trust that They will give to us.

ANTINOUS PRAYER BEADS

THERE are Catholic rosary beads, Eastern Orthodox beads, Swedish Lutheran Fr√§lserkransen beads, Islamic prayer beads, Buddhist meditation beads, Hindu japa mala beads and even Wiccan prayer beads ... now several adherents of Antinous are designing ANTINOUS PRAYER BEADS.

Look to Your Ancestors

Many of our ancestors have faced situations like this before, but with different diseases. Though it is new to most of us, it is not new to the world. We can draw strength and hope from the wisdom of our ancestors, as well as their compassion and resilience. They adapted, and we are also now adapting. 

Whatever comes, whatever we face, they stand behind us and beside us as our protectors and as our guides, and we ourselves are evidence that life goes on. We can take hope from that.
Give thanks for what you have, even if you don’t feel very thankful right now. Speak the yearnings of your heart, even if they’re clouded with pain. Don’t know what to say? Find an ancient prayer (The Hymns of Orpheus)  to recite, or perhaps a modern one.

Pour libations and make food offerings. Worshippers  of Antinous in ancient times would have given votive offerings to him at his altars; there is evidence that he was given gifts of food and drink in Egypt, with libations and sacrifices probably being common in Greece. Making offerings in a fire is a powerful act at any time. If it’s part of your tradition and appropriate for the deities you’re approaching, make your offerings to Antinous and any other gods you worship, and then after a suitable period of time, revert the offerings and consume the now-sanctified food and drink. As you eat and drink, you ingest the blessings of the Gods.

Cultivate Life & Create

It’s incredibly important to focus on life-giving and life-affirming experiences at times like this. Plant flowers start seeds. Learn the wisdom of the plants. Nurture your connection to the earth.
Make something with your hands. It doesn’t matter what it is but give yourself to the experience without attachment to the result. You’re utilizing your sacral energy when you do so, which is where the joy of living springs from. It’s incredibly important to remember the joy of living at a time like this.

Making list and prayer and offerings and even long walks outside are very helpful but one spiritual practice that is especially suited for difficult situations is:

3. Divination: Whether you use Tarot, Runes, or Scrying. Pick your favorite. Divination can’t make your decisions for you, but it can show you where a particular path will take you and what things will be like when you get there.  If a path displayed is not what you wanted maybe you need to make some changes before it gets too late.

4. Sigil Magic: There may be hard situations you are going through, financial, job, better place to live, etc.  Any magical system can help. The term sigil derives from the Latin sigillum, meaning "seal" Though Sigil Magic is thought to have started in the Medieval period there is no reason you can’t use it in your worship of Antinous.  This link is an easy step by step method that I have used. http://sigildaily.com/activating-rituals/

5. Meditation:  There are several ways to mediate You can use mediation focused on Antinous or other gods and spirits or ideas. There is the Buddhist-style “empty your mind”.  Focus on your breathing or on a candle flame. If thought pop into your head, acknowledge them, let them go, and return to your breathing. Just sit. The physical and psychological benefits of meditation are clear – the spiritual benefits can be every bit as dramatic.

Build a foundation of regular devotion. Do the necessary prep work. Do your rituals in wild places and in dark places.  Be patient but be persistent. Be open to the workings of Antinous and be receptive to his call.

These are the spiritual practices that work for all of us in difficult times. They won’t prevent bad things from happening – nothing will do that. They don’t keep us from getting upset or stressed or stuck. But they help us regain our center faster and they help us respond to difficult times in the ways we want to respond.

And lastly: Saturn is entering the sign of Aquarius

Saturn is entering the sign of Aquarius for the first time on March 22nd. While it will leap back in Capricorn temporarily on July 1st, it will re-enter Aquarius on December 17th and will remain in the sign for the next three years.

Saturn entering the sign of Aquarius is going to put a significant focus on the questions of innovations, technology, and collective progress. The energy is going to be focused on anything new, anything modern, and anything progressive. Saturn is returning to the position it was in between 1991 and 1994, effectively giving people born at that time their “Saturn return.” As much as it can be a difficult time for people to go through their Saturn returns, it’s also a time where people are given a significant chance to grow and take responsibilities.

AVE ANTINOUS
Michaelus, Priest of Antinous.

Sources: Patheos website “7 Spiritual Practices for Difficult Times” and “How to Navigate the Pandemic Pandemonium”. Also, Antinous The Gay God blog.

Monday, March 23, 2020

WE HONOR THE EMPRESS SABINA


THE Empress Sabina Augusta ... Vibia Sabina ... Hadrian's Wife ... died sometime in the year 136, and was deified in the year 138.

The date of her elevation to godliness is not known, but because she was so often compared to the Mother Goddess Ceres-Demeter, we declare her Apotheosis to coincide with the return of spring in Rome, and dedicate our celebration of the Equinox to our mother and Empress, Nova Dea Ceres, Sabina Augusta.

This relief sculpture of her deification, in which she is shown rising up from the cremation flames on the wings of a female Aeon, shows Hadrian enthroned, behind him is a figure that resembles Antoninus Pius.


And reclining on the floor is one who could possibly be Antinous, the resemblance to the youth on the Apotheosis of Antoninus is remarkable.