EPISTLE ON THE DEATH OF ANTINOUS
BY FLAMEN ANTINOALIS ANTONYUS SUBIA
NEVER a day of celebration, not really a day of mourning...mostly, for me, a day of introspection...an evening to take a good long, reflective ritual bath.
To sit back in the water and let my mind drift off to the place where Antinous is...somewhere deep inside myself, somewhere far across the galaxy, on the other shore of the cosmos, a place outside of time...the outer darkness between here and the Dark Star.
From the very beginning, when I first began to take Antinous worship seriously, like twelve years ago...the very first act of devotion that I can remember was to take a spiritual bath in contemplation of Antinous. At a meaningful point, well into the ceremony, once the halllucinogenic effects of the hot water have taken hold...I bow down before Antinous...and then plunge my head under the water, symbolically drowning myself in devotion to Antinous.
This year will be different however...I have alot to think about deep down...
But unlike years before, this time I will add a few drops of water from the Canopus pool at Hadrian's Villa.
I have a tiny piece of Marble from the bathhouse at the Villa, where Antinous himself might have bathed...which just simply blows my mind away.
I know that 19 centuries have passed since Antinous took a bath there...the wind and rain and sun have cleaned away any trace of Antinous-molecules that might have once clung to my little chunk of marble...but having stood there...in the presence of his beautiful, sacred statues...I can say now that time is meaningless...Antinous is immortal...his presence will never fade from the stones...his presence will never fade from me, for having touched him...and for having been touched by HIM.
Death is meaningless...we just simply go away...
I don't believe in the concept of heaven or an after life anymore...it is merely a comfort of illusion for those who cannot bear to gaze into the heart of darkness.
The Barque of Millions of Years is not an after-life...the Dark Star is not a heaven or a place to which our souls go for all eternity...
When the notion first came over me (during a bath ritual) I thought it was the after-life (4REAL!)...that we would spend eternity partying on a magnificent pleasure ship, with Antinous and all the gay saints and all the gay priests and all the gay worshippers of Antinous...that we would all be together again forever and ever.
But over time, as my awareness openned to deeper levels of consciousness...the darker truth became more and more clear...more and more certain, despite my better wishes, it became undeniable...that the Barque of Millions of Years as a metaphor for Death is a journey to the Dark Star, a celestial concept that nolonger exists...except within our hearts...just like Antinous...who is right here within us...but the moment we try to take hold of him...he slips farther and farther away...drifting into the darkness of the outer cosmos...forever gone.
One day we will be like he is...and there is nothing to be afraid of...we will reach out and take his hand and enter the darkness.
So put away all thoughts of an afterlife, put away your hopes and dreams of eternal existence ...
There is no need to hold these illusions anymore...the truth is far more beautiful than the poets or prophets have ever claimed.
The truth for me is in ANTINOUS.
This religion has been the greatest thing that ever happened to me.
I can see him being pulled lifeless from the Nile...I can see his hair and his profile with cyrstalline-clarity...sparkling before me...
The image has grown more and more vivid over time, as if a fog were slow parted and there he is right before me, almost within me.
I can feel the pain of Hadrian screaming out...I can feel the wound that struck Hadrian's heart...sinking deep into my own heart.
As much as I love Antinous, and treasure all that I have learned from him,
I would rather that he had not died, I would rather that he had gone on to live a long, long life,
grown old and ugly, withered and grey, fat and broken down...and finally lied down in the dust and died an old, old man.
I would rather that he had seen more of the world, felt more of the pain of existence, and taken more of its joys.
If Antinous had not fallen into the Nile...we would have never known of him, (or each other for that matter)
There would never have been a Gay God...there was nothing to (really) compare to him before,
And there wouldn't have been another one afterward.
Were it not for Antinous...I would have continued in a world of illusions,
It was Antinous who broke me of my fantasies...it was never an easy thing
And I still struggle deep down with the question of "why did I believe in so much bullshit for so long?!"
I will never be free, I don't want to be free of the struggle anymore...there's no peace of mind anywhere to be found.
Antinous is Dead...he will always be Dead...
There's no Peace in that.