Thursday, June 21, 2012

THE SOLSTICE

AND THE DELPHINEA OF ANTINOUS


THE JUNE SOLSTICE is one of the most sacred days in the Liturgical Calendar of the Religion of Antinous.

It is the day when Ra Herakhte, the heavenly father of Antinous, stands still for a moment. In the Northern Hemisphere it is the longest day  and from now on the days become shorter and shorter. For our brothers in the Southern Hemisphere, this is the Shortest Day and from now on the days become longer and longer.

That is an important aspect to remember about the Religion of Antinous. The Blessed Boy is beyond such constraints as Summer and Winter or even Life and Death. For Antinous, the days are ALWAYS getting longer and the they are ALWAYS getting shorter.

For HE lives in our hearts — wherever we are.

The Religion of Antinous celebrates a whole cluster of Sacred Events on this magical day, which we call The Delphinea as a collective term. The Delphinea is the celebration of the beautiful, golden-haired god of light, Apollo, for starters.

And then we celebrate the day that Hadrian and Antinous met and fell in love. But on this date we also celebrate the beautiful boy Hyacinthus.

And we celebrate June 21st as the day in the hot summer of the year 130 AD when the Imperial entourage crossed the Sinai desert and entered into Egypt on the final, fateful leg of that final, fateful journey. A year earlier, on this date, they had entered Ephesus in triumph. 

On June 21st of the year 130 AD, however, they were entering a drought-stricken Egypt (breadbasket of the empire) where the local populace looked to their emperor for a miracle.


That miracle would occur, but at a terrible price. Antinous would plunge into the Nile and drown. The following season, the Nile would inundate the croplands, bringing bounty and abundance once more to Egypt and, as a consequence, to the hungry empire.

The Bountiful Flood of the year 131 is the first of the many miracles attributed to Antinous the Gay God.

And on June 21st of the year 131, Hadrian would commission the OBELISK OF ANTINOUS, the Egyptian hieroglyphic text of which comprises our religion's greatest single document of faith.

All of these overlapping dates are confusing, of course. But one of the most brilliant modern-day followers of Antinous wrote the following words on this very topic. A visionary artist living in the San Francisco Bay Area, KEVIN KIHN wrote:
"It's my feeling that Hadrian and Antinous are always eternally arriving at Ephesus, at Athens, at all the Hellenic and Hellenistic cities where Hadrian was particularly beloved. Hadrian will always be bereaved and bereft weeping on the shore of the Nile, and always perpetually with his Antinous. For I fancy that time is like a spool or reel of film on which every frame is eternally preserved, and all times past are present even in the now."
But first, let's spool the reel of time back to Apollo and the Solstice! Antinous would be associated with many deities in the generations to come. Among his many names, the Beauteous Boy was adored as Antinous-Apollo.

The glorious image above left shows a modern reproduction of the Apollon Parnopios which has been gilded and fitted with gemstone eyes to show how it might have looked in a temple where a ray of sunlight would have set it ablaze in gleaming light.

The Delphinea is the celebration of the beautiful, golden-haired god of light, Apollo, and of his triumph over the great and monstrous Python which was wrapped around holy mount Parnassus. The Python was the creation of Juno, a creature of jealousy whose coils were meant only to stifle and constrict the grace of that which was to proceed from the Sacred Way of the holy city of Delphi.

Apollo shot the Python and destroyed it, when he was only three days old, which is like the brilliance of the Sun dispelling the covering of night. He set the black stone which had fallen from the sky, called the Omphalos, over the navel of the Earth, and charged a Sibyl, a priestess of the Great Mother to watch over the stone and to convey his wisdom to mankind.

Flamen Antinoalis Antonyus Subia explains the significance for us Antinoians:
"The Oracle of Delphi, called a Pythoness, was overtaken while seated atop a golden tripod, by a fire that is the breath of the God. Apollo is the Flower Prince reborn, he is the Twin brother of Dionysus, the Twin brother of Diana. He is the Son of Zeus, and the inheritor of his Kingdom, just as Aelius Caesar was the chosen son of Hadrian.

"Apollo is the God of wisdom and art, the speaker of truth, the deliverer of radiance, reason and beauty. Apollo is the God of Socrates and Plato, and he is the God of Pythagoras who claimed to be his son, exhibiting a golden thigh as proof. Apollo is the unconquered light, the full manifested brilliance, power and wisdom of Orpheus.
"Of all the gods, Apollo is the most boy-loving, though the touch of his heart was invariably fatal. He is the genius of the dying boy-gods. We pray to Apollo, the great god of homosexuality, and seek his guidance on this day, the longest day of the year."
 Which segues into the "Incipit Amor". In the year 123, Hadrian toured the Danube region and Asia Minor. It was on this occasion that he met and fell in love with Antinous, in the ancient Bithynian capital city of Nicomedia, according to current research. One portrayal of the event has Hadrian in a garden, surrounded by the youth of the city, hearing a poetry recital.

Antonyus tells it this way:


"Towards the back of the crowd, Hadrian notices a boy of extraordinary beauty who did not bring a stylus and tablet for taking notes, but sat removed from the others, silently gazing into the fountain, contemplating the words of the reader, as if in a dream. Hadrian was captivated, and is said to have gained the blessing of the boy's parents to have Antinous join the court, where there were already other boys of Hadrian's interest. Antinous would have been twelve years old. He was then sent to Rome to attend the Paedagogium, a finishing school for boys. This day marks the beginning of the love upon which our religion is based."


The relief sculpture at right shows Hadrian addressing a crowd with a boy who bears a striking resemblance to Antinous foremost in the crowd, touching the robe of the Emperor.

During the June 21st Solstice, when we celebrate the Delphinea, the Religion of Antinous also commemorates the entry of Hadrian and Antinous into the fabled city of Ephesus in the year 129.

Ephesus had 300,000 inhabitants at its peak in the time of Hadrian, and it drew thousands of devotees to the shrine of the goddess annually. Even today, Ephesus is one of the most complete and most splendid ancient sites in the world and still draws thousands of tourists every year. The Great Library of Ephesus, which Hadrian patronized and greatly expanded, has been lovingly restored.

The Temple of Ephesus was one of the wonders of the ancient world. It was consecrated to Artemis, in her Asian element as a Phrygian-Hittite goddess of the hunt, a youthful manifestation of the Great Goddess of Mount Ida and Dydimus.


The old Temple had burned down on the night that Alexander the Great was born, but after his conquest, Alexander ordered the reconstruction of the Temple, which was still standing when Hadrian and Antinous visited.

Antonyus Subia explains the parallels between Artemis and Antinous and why we celebrate this Sacred Day:
"Artemis is considered the female Antinous, as his divine twin, the only goddess to exhibit lesbian qualities. She was worshipped as Diana alongside Antinous by the funeral society of Lanuvium. Ephesus was one of the first cities to proclaim Hadrian a living God, and one of the first to adhere to his veneration as a Divus.
"The presence of Antinous and Hadrian with their very pronounced Artemisian qualities must have made a deep impression on the Ephesians, in that they were aware that the city was being visited by living gods. It is to Artemis of Ephesus that this day is Sacred, as the female twin of Antinous, the Bithynian hunter god."
And on June 22nd the Delphinea concludes when we honor the beautiful boy from Sparta known as Hyacinthus. The astonishing beauty of Hyacinthus and his long, flowing blonde hair was first noticed by Zephyrus, the God of the West Wind. The moisture laden Zephyrus fell madly in love with the boy, and attempted many times to seduce Hyacinth. But every time the boy rejected the wind god, whose breeze is the most lovely and most arousing.

Antonyus relates what happened next:


 "It was then that Apollo noticed Hyacinthus and fell completely in love with him also. Unlike with Zephyrus, when Apollo revealed his love to Hyacinthus, he was not rejected, but his shining love was returned many fold. The two, who were like twins, whose long, blonde curls, rustled together in the jealous wind of Zephyrus, enjoined a passionate love affair ...


"... until one day, the sight of their happiness proved too much for Zephyrus to endure, and while Apollo and Hyacinthus were throwing the discus together, the wind god sent a gust of air, when Apollo threw the golden disk, causing it to fall directly on the perfect head of Hyacinthus who died instantly from the blow.

"It was all an accident, and a tragedy, but Apollo was beside himself with grief, like Hadrian holding the body of his beloved Antinous.

"The Sun God turned the blood that flowed through the soft curls into the flower that we call the Hyacinth. The Death of Hyacinthus is the divine metaphor for the beauty and tragedy of life taken from the young in their full vigor, falling victim to the accidents of youth. It is also a warning to those who would approach the majesty of the great god Apollo, who is rightfully called the Far-Shooter, and the falling of the golden discus is a sign that the powers of the sun at this time of the year, though at their greatest, are slowly fading. The disk strikes Hyacinth on the head and the days grow shorter."

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