Sunday, March 31, 2013

HYPATIA OF ALEXANDRIA

SAINT OF ANTINOUS



ON March 31st the Religion of Antinous solemnly commemorates the glorious life and cruel death of Saint Hypatia of Alexandria.

Hypatia is one of the most important female philosophers who ever lived, and her tragic murder at the hands of fanatical Christians on the steps of the Great Library of Alexandria is symbolic of the barbaric forces which brought down the worship of Antinous and other Classical deities.

The brutal stoning-flaying-immolation death of Hypatia in about the year 400 AD is regarded by many historians as the beginning of the Dark Ages.

St. Hypatia was a philosopher and mathematician who lived in Alexandria during a time of turmoil and conflict between Christians and the last pagan philosophers of the Great Library.

Her father was the Philosopher Theon, and Hypatia studied among the Neoplatonists. She was the author of several highly reputed works and commentaries, none of which has survived. She held a reputation of excellence that exceeded her contemporaries.



Hypatia taught among the male philosophers and attracted a large following even among Christians. Her beauty was highly desired by numerous men, but she remained chaste (or at least unmarried) all her life, which leads some to suspect lesbianism.

The proud life of Hypatia came to an end at the end of March during the season of Lent when she was attacked by a Christian mob, led by a fanatic Deacon named Peter, who dragged her through the streets to a church called Caesareum. 


There she was stripped naked and killed by the mob with their bare hands. It was said that they stoned her with ceramic roof tiles, then flayed her flesh with razor-sharp shards of oyster shells, tore her limb from limb and burned her.

"Saint" Cyril, Bishop of Alexandria, who encouraged her assasination, was then praised for eradicating the city of "idolatry and witchchraft". 


The Martyrdom of St. Hypatia of Alexandria is one of the most profound examples of Christian violence against paganism, women, and philosophy. And she is noted as one of the last reasoning pagans murdered by the irrational religion which has dominated Western Civilization ever since.

Her death is among the heinous crimes of the Christian Church, whose attrocities continue to this day. The image at right, by Charles William Mitchell, portrays Hypatia just before her death, naked at the altar, imploring her attackers to take heed of their own faith?which they continue to ignore.


For these reasons and in memory of the unnamed Ancient Priests of Antinous who suffered similar fates, the Religion of Antinous has proclaimed Hypatia of Alexandria a Saint and Venerable Exemplar and honors her with a Feast Day on March 31. As Sacred Synchronicity would have it, her Antinoian Feast Day in 2009 coincided with the release of major motion picture based on her life.

Openly gay Chilean-Spanish filmmaker Alejandro Amenábar's $75-million production AGORA stars Oscar-winning actress Rachel Weisz and was the biggest box-office hit in Spain for the year 2009.

In the film set in Roman Egypt in the final days of the 4th Century A.D., Weisz plays the astrologer-philosopher Hypatia of Alexandria, who fights to save the collected wisdom of the ancient world. Her slave Davus (Max Minghella) is torn between his love for his mistress and the possibility of gaining his freedom by joining the rising tide of Christianity.
 


Saturday, March 30, 2013

GATEWAY TO HADES FOUND IN TURKEY

A RIVAL TO GATEWAY TO HADES IN GREECE



AN Italian archaeological mission has found the historical Gate to the Underworld of the ancient Phrygian city of Hierapolis in modern-day Turkey. The Turkish announcement comes only weeks after Greek experts claimed to have found evidence for the existence of a GATEWAY TO HADES IN GREECE.

In ancient times there were several Gateways to Hades ... in Asia Minor ... in Greece ... and in Rome ... but the one at Hierapolis was perhaps most famous of all.

The Turkish discovery was made by a mission headed by Francesco D'Andria from the University of Salento which is in charge of the excavations in the Greco-Roman city. The ruins of the city are near the modern-day Pamukkale in Turkey.

According to Greco-Roman mythology and tradition, the Gate to the Underworld, also known as Pluto's Gate ... Ploutonion in Greek, Plutonium in Latin ... was the entrance point to hell.

Both Cicero and Greek geographer Strabus referred to the Hierapolis Plutonium in their writings, and both had visited it. It was a well-known place of pilgrimage in Antiquity.

Since the excavations commenced in Hierapolis in 1957 ... by an Italian mission under Paolo Verzone from the Turin Polytechnic ... finding the exact location of Plutonium had been the focus of the archaeological digs.

D'Andria told ANSAmed news agency that he had found it by studying the vast literature from the period and reconstructing the route of a thermal spring to a cave, ascertaining that in that area bird corpses were collected.

According to the tales of the travelers in those times, bulls were sacrificed to Pluto before pilgrimages into the Plutonium. The animals were led by priests to the entrance to a cave from which fetid fumes arose, suffocating them to death.

The announcement of the discovery came only weeks after  archaeo-spelunkers announced that a rival Gateway to Hades in southern Greece apparently was a cave dwelling which once housed an entire underground city.

Ironically, the giant cave could have resembled something vaguely similar to the scene depicted by Jan the Elder Bruegel of Aeneas and the Sybil entering Hades (above). 
 

The complex settlement seen in this cave suggests, along with other sites from about the same time, that early prehistoric Europe may have been more complex than previously thought.

The cave, located in southern Greece and discovered in 1958, is called Alepotrypa, which means "foxhole."

The cave in Greece apparently went through a series of occupations and abandonments before it finally collapsed.

Friday, March 29, 2013

ANTINOUS IN PALMYRA



IN March of 130 AD, the inner circle of Hadrian's court, with a light escort, visited PALMYRA in what is now Eastern Syria, near the northern Iraqi border.

Palymra was an ancient buffer state between the Roman and the Persia Empires, which had now been at peace for many years.

Palmyra was therefore a mixture of both cultures, with its own, ancient Assyrian and Hittite blood beneath the surface.

According to Marguerite Yourcenar, Antinous was initiated into the Cult of Mithras while at Palmyra to the displeasure of Hadrian who was already an initiate, and perhaps an influential leader of the secret cult because of his position as Pontifex Maximus.

Flamen Antonyus Subia says:

"Coming after the Zoroastrian sanctification in Armenia, and given the Phrygian aspect of the Mithraic cult, and the proximity to the Persian border, and the end of the transition from the Age of Taurus to the Age of Aries, which the cult revealed, we celebrate the initiation of Antinous into the mysteries of Mithras and their cosmic revelation."

Thursday, March 28, 2013

THE ENTOMBMENT OF ANTINOUS


AFTER the process of mummification had been completed, and the ceremony of the Opening of the Mouth had given life to the eternal vessel of Antinous, his body was carried on a boat shaped bier into the newly constructed and consecrated tomb.

The tomb was perhaps located in the sacred city of Antinoopolis, but this is not certain.

It might have also been located in Rome, at Hadrian's Mausoleum, or at the Villa of Tibur.

No one knows, the tomb, and the body of Antinous is lost.

Flamen Antonius Subia says:

"We must search for his remains and for his final resting place within our selves. The Entombment of Antinous, like his return to Bithynia is a final triumph of the Body of Antinous, it is the final part of the earthly journey, and the occasion of the most solemn ceremonies of dedication. We are the Tomb of Antinous, and the Entombment is our moment of impregnation."

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

THE APOTHEOSIS OF 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.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

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.




Monday, March 25, 2013

THE DEATH OF ADONIS


ADONIS was the most beautiful boy that ever lived, so beautiful that Venus fell totally in love with him and forsook all her love-joys in order to follow him on his hunt through the forests of Mt. Lebanon.

But Adonis was unmoved and completely rejected her advances. She became infatuated and abandoned herself to the boy who only cared to hunt.

Mars was jealous of his rival, and outraged to see Venus subjected to desperation and lust, so he contrived to lure Venus away by having Mercury recall her to her neglected duties, because without her influence to temper the raging schemes of her Erotic son, there was no love in the world.

While she was away, Mars transformed himself into a wild boar and let Adonis pursue him through the woods.

The God of War suddenly charged the young God of Beauty and disarmed him, and with a deadly kiss, gored Adonis in the groin sinking his razor tusk between his perfect white legs.

When she returned, Venus found her beloved boy dead and cut her hair in mourning, she immortalized his soul as a flower, and made the river that bears his name flow red.

The love between Venus and Adonis was unfulfilled, her adoration for him was unreturned because Adonis had no care for women, and he preferred his hunting dogs to her gentle caresses.

Only the War God Mars had his way with Adonis, though motivated by jealousy and rage, it was a violent sexual attack, for which all the world must mourn, because in the savagery of the Lust of Mars, the world was forever robbed of the beauty of Adonis.

Flamen Antonyus Subia says:

"We venerate Adonis and seek his shadow in the gardens of human beauty. Antinous is the 'Adonis of the Underworld' ... our perfect desire who flees from our embrace ... but we, like Venus, never abandon him to his endless hunt, and caress his cheek even though our hands can never touch him."

Sunday, March 24, 2013

THE DEATH OF ATTIS


THE cycle of the March Equinox is Sacred to the Great Mother of the Gods, and to her divine lover-son Attis, who dies and is reborn at this time of year.

Persephone returns from the underworld, and the verdure returns to the face of the Earth.

The death of Attis is symbolic of the fruit flowers that appear at this season and then fall away, making room for the ripening fruit.

It was celebrated in Rome with the introduction of a great pine tree that was carried into the Temple of Magna Mater.

An image of the dead Attis was carried on a bier and hung from the tree which was decorated with purple ribbons and violet flowers.

On the Day of Blood, the priests performed austerities including the self-castration of new priests, and the bloodletting of the old priests to the accompaniment of drum and cymbal music.

After the Day of Blood, when Attis was said to have risen again, the festival turned to joy and elation and was known as the Hilaria.

The final part of the sacred days was the day of cleansing, when the image of the Great Mother, a black stone encased in silver, was taken to the river Arno and washed by the priests.


Flamen Antonyus Subia says:

"The five-day cycle of the Equinox ... the return to Bithynia, the Mithraic Mysteries and the Entombment ... are all contained in the Death and Resurrection of Attis, the beautiful boy, who severed his own testicles and died giving his blood to the bosom of the earth ... but did not die."

Saturday, March 23, 2013

WE HONOR ANTINOUS/MARS


WHEN the Sun enters the Sign of Aries at the March Equinox, we honor Antinous in his special guise as Antinous/Mars.

Mars, God of War, son of Jupiter and Juno, father of Romulus and Remus, founders of Rome, was the divine spirit of the Roman Army whose legions subjugated the world.

His power ran like molten steel in the blood of Romans who he made them invincible.

The ram was sacred to him, and thus the sign of Aries was devoted to him, as it was in the early spring, after the fields were sown and before the harvest that the men went to war.

Originally Mars was an agricultural deity, whose duty was to protect the fields from marauders. But he soon became an aggressive conqueror, whose sacred spears were ritually shaken by the Flamen Martialis when the legions were preparing for war.

He had twin sons who accompanied him and went before the armies in battle, their names were Phobos and Deimos, fear and panic.

He was the illicit lover of Venus, and it is said that they were the co-creators of Rome who through war brought love and peace to the whole world. It was in this spirit that Hadrian worshipped the pair.

Mars is the great spirit of masculinity, the violent, courageous power of the male sex, the penetrator and subjugator.

His emblem, an iron spear, is a symbol for the phallus, and so it is that Mars is the great potent Phallus of Man, the impregnator.

In this sense he is venerated as the warrior within all men, and as our most extreme, animalistic, carnal, aggressive nature.

He is the conqueror of winter, the dominator of spring, the protector of life, and the bringer of death.

He is war and fury, selflessly courageous, for the protection of the weak and for the defeat of the strong.

Mars never surrenders, and this is why Venus is so mad with lust for him, and why we adore him as our protector.

Friday, March 22, 2013

OUR CALL FOR END TO LOOTING

AT ANTINOOPOLIS IS SHOWING RESULTS



OUR urgent appeal for Egyptian authorities to intercede to stop LOOTING AT ANTINOOPOLIS is beginning to show results, according to archaeologists at the site who say Egyptian news media have responded and are now shaming authorities into action.

Armed guards are to be posted at the archaeological dig site in Upper Egypt. Additional "gaffirs" (watchmen) will be hired. And a proper guard house will be built, according to James B. Heidel, president of the Antinoupolis Foundation which oversees the dig operation adjacent to the Nile village of el Sheikh Abada .

In addition, thanks to this blog and others, the international news media are beginning to take notice of the looting situation. Perhaps even more importantly, newspapers in Egypt are beginning to report on the dire situation.

The photo at the top of this page is an article in the Egyptian newspaper Al Masry al Youm saying its team of investigative reporters arrived at Antinoopolis and found "looting of the ancient city in al Minya governorate in broad daylight.  Gangs were digging for antiquities in el Sheikh Abada and only one guard in charge of the security."

The Egyptian newspaper said, "You can see armed people digging, and they disappear suddenly when they see strangers around.  And there is only one guard with an old gun. The number of the guards used to be 31, but now there is only one waiting for his retirement next September ... without replacement."

The looters are looking for gold and jewels, and the newspaper said its investigative team got proof of that.

"On the top of the Deir el Hawa site [a monastery at the north end of Antinoupolis] al Masry al Youm reporters saw some people digging in broad daylight, and once they saw us come, they disappeared as if the mountain swallowed them.

"And they left a deep hole after some of the archaeologists found pharaonic gold and colored glass and some papyrus and ancient coins which give them the hope to find something valuable," the newspapter said.


No gold, pharaonic or otherwise, has ever been found by archaeologists at Deir el Hawa.

"The guard shot his gun in the air trying to make them run away until the police can come and see," the paper reported, but added that it is a hopeless task.  "Once the guards leave, the people come back again and continue digging."

The newspaper gave a damning report of bureaucratic stonewalling on the looting issue. Its reporters got no cooperation from Nagua Mohammed Ali, the regional head of ancient sites in the nearby city of Mellawi,

"She ordered her employees not to give us any information or to help us in any way," the paper said.  "She asked the photographer of Al Masry al Youm to destroy the pictures he had taken of the damage of the site."

Meanwhile, the director of the Antinoopolis archaeological mission, Dr Rosario Pintaudi, has met with the head of the Ministry of State for Antiquities in Egypt, Dr Mohammed Ibrahim, to draw up steps to stop the looting and increase security.

"We are working closely with our Egyptian colleagues to stop the looting, to increase the number of gaffirs (guardians) at the site, to add armed guards at the site from the Ministry of Interior, and to build guard houses around Antinoupolis to house these men," says Heidel.

"It is our hope that very soon the damage and looting will lessen and that Antinoupolis will be better protected from those who try to harm it," Heidel says.


The Emperor Hadrian founded the city of Antinoopolis at a bend in the River Nile in honor of his beloved Antinous, who had died at that spot in late October 130 AD during an Imperial tour of Egypt.

The city thrived for centuries as a center of commerce, culture and religious fervor ... first in honor of Antinous the God, then later as a Christian monastic center of learning and later still as an Islamic religious center.

Antinoopolis remained a place of oracles, magic and religious fervor throughout its long history.  

Thursday, March 21, 2013

THE TRIUMPHAL ENTRY OF ANTINOUS

INTO BITHYNIA, LAND OF HIS BIRTH



ON March 21st the Religion of Antinous commemorates the triumphant entry in 129 AD of Hadrian and Antinous and the Imperial party to the province of Bithynia where the Blessed Boy was born.

Imagine the joy that his family and relatives and his boyhood friends and neighbors shared when Antinous returned. No longer a boy, but now nearly grown to full manhood. How they would have celebrated!

How proud everyone must have been. Hadrian's heart must have soared like an Imperial Eagle with joy at the jubilant reception. Antinous must have been as wowed and awe-struck by the Bithynians, as they were gob-smacked by what a handsome young man he had become since they had seen him last.

Flamen Antinoalis Antonyus describes it this way:

Antinous returns to his hometown and is greeted as a returning King. Hadrian is hailed as the living Zeus, and Antinous is spoken of as the New Ganymede.

Their visit precedes the Death and Resurrection of Attis which is the Childhood religion of Antinous. It is observed in this context by us as a presage of the Death and Resurrection of Antinous that would later be commemorated in Bithynia, which is the second of the four Holy Cities of Our religion.

Antinous is worshipped as the triumphant son, returning from across the sea, like so many gods whose ships vanish over the waves, promising one day to return.

We pray that Antinous will return to the place of his birth which is at the core of our soul, and that he will take his place within the small shrine of Attis that we have kept ready for his arrival within our very hearts.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

PLATO's OLIVE TREE SURVIVED 2,500 YEARS

ONLY TO BE CHOPPED UP FOR FIREWOOD


THE perennial olive tree under which Plato is believed to have taught his students 2,400 years ago, is now gone ... chopped up for firewood in the economic chaos that is sweeping Greece. 

In 1976 a bus ran into it and fractured its trunk and destroyed nearly all of the tree above ground. The photo shows the tree before the bus hit it.


The broken part of the tree was then transferred to the nearby Geoponic University of Athens and kept in a case. 

In early 2013, the remaining lower part of the trunk and its gigantic roots were reported missing ... uprooted and stolen to serve as firewood as is the case in many places in Greece. 

It was calculated that the stolen part of the tree weighed more than 1,000 pounds, nevertheless it was removed without anyone taking notice.... 

Legend has it that the tree was part of the alleys that surrounded Plato's Academy, and it was among the 12 olive trees that marked the 12 gated entries to the property. 

This part of Athens was later, and still is, named "Eleonas" (olive grove) because of those ancient olive trees.

This mosaic from a house at Pompeii shows that the tree was well known 1,900 years ago.

Plato is a blessed Saint of Antinous.  Here is how Flamen Antinoalis Antonyus Subia explain's the significance of Saint Plato:

"In the vision of Love that Plato expounded, Venus Urania, Celestial Love, is glorified as highest form of human affection, above the earthly requirements of procreation.

"The love between two men, what is innocently called Platonic Love, was considered by Plato to be the most divine form of relationship.

"Hadrian, in all ways the most Platonic of all Emperors, the veritable manifestation of the Philosopher King as glorified by Plato in The Republic, was demonstrating the meaning of Venus Urania, for all the world to see, in his passion for Antinous.

"For the beautiful light in which Plato illuminated the inner nature of homosexual love, he is venerated as a divine Saint of the Religion of Antinous."

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

ROBERT MAPPLETHORPE

SAINT OF ANTINOUS


ON March 19 the Religion of Antinous honors Robert Mapplethorpe, Saint of Antinous.

In 1990, the Cincinnati Contemporary Arts Center and its director were charged with "Pandering Obscenity" after an exhibition of Mapplethorpe?s photographs. 


They were eventually acquitted but the event fueled a national debate over federal funding of the arts in the United States. 

The debate, which has affected American art ever since, focuses on whether tax dollars should be spent on projects which political conservatives deem objectionable. Specifically, the debate is over whether gay-theme art should be funded.

Robert Mapplethorpe died from AIDS on March 19th, 1989, one year before his art spawned the controversy, so he was only able to speak through his photographs.

His subject matter portrayed homosexually charged images of nude men.

The controversy that Robert Mapplethorpe sparked exposed the double standard by which homosexual art is judged against heterosexual art. He revealed that nudity is most "obscene" to non-gays when it involves males.

We proclaim his sainthood to be heroic and dedicated to Antinous, because Robert Mapplethrope beautifully photographed a plaster statue of Antinous (shown at left), indicating that he must have known our God and in some way loved him.

Monday, March 18, 2013

CHARLOTTE VON MAHLSDORF

SAINT OF ANTINOUS

SAINT Charlotte von Mahlsdorf, who was born on this day in 1928, was a Berlin trans/gay who survived the Nazis and East German communists and about whose life a Pulitzer Prize winning play, "I Am My Own Woman", has been staged at theatres around the world.

The title is misleading since the original German is "Ich bin meine eigene Frau" and the word "Frau" can mean either "Woman" or "Wife". The phrase was Charlotte's answer to her mother's question: "Don't you think it's time you got a wife?"

Charlotte was her own man and her own woman and her own husband/wife. In a long life amidst dictatorship, war and oppression of human-rights, Charlotte learned to create her own identity. We honor Charlotte as a Saint of the Religion of Antinous.

St. Charlotte, who liked to wear frumpy house dresses with a clunky handbag and a strand of pearls and matronly shoes, somehow managed to survive the Gestapo, the East German Stasi secret police and assaults by neo-Nazis. In doing so, Charlotte made serious ethical compromises along the way in order to stay alive. 

Charlotte amassed a huge collection of Victorian antiques which some said came from the homes of Jewish Holocaust victims and (later) from homes of people fleeing East Germany.


But Charlotte DID stay alive in dangerous times during which others perished. Charlotte's life forces you to ask yourself what YOU would have done in similar circumstances.

After German unification, Charlotte became something of a reluctant gay icon in Germany in the 1990s. Charlotte never had any pretensions of being intellectual or a political activist. 

Charlotte never quite fit in with post-Stonewall activists, who were a bit puzzled by her dowdy grandmotherliness and her passion for 19th Century Renaissance Revival style antiques. Like Quentin Crisp (also a Saint of Antinous), Charlotte belonged to another era.

But unlike Quentin Crisp, Charlotte wasn't especially witty or campy (despite her appearance) and was not an artist of the arch one-liner the way Quentin was. In appearances on talk shows, she would sit there, smiling politely, with not a great deal to say unless it was about collecting and restoring 19th Century antiques. But what she did say was eloquent in its simplicity: 

People should be kind to each other and let each other get on with their lives the way they want to.

Above all, she didn't much like being a celebrity. Too many people expected things of her. She became a target for neo-Nazis, mostly drunken, youthful vandals in the 1990s. Not surprisingly perhaps, considering all she had lived through, she became somewhat paranoid towards the end of her life. In the end, she fled to Sweden where she spent her final years in virtual isolation before dying in 2002.

We honor St. Charlotte von Mahlsdorf for being someone who was not afraid to be openly trans/gay in the face of totalitarian dictatorships and police states. Someone who survived the Nazis and the Stasi secret police ? wearing a dress, a strand of pearls and a handbag.


Sunday, March 17, 2013

THE APOTHEOSIS

OF MARCUS AURELIUS



MARCH 17th is the anniversary of the death of Marcus Aurelius and we in the Religion of Antinous set aside this day each year to remember the last of the great philosopher-emperors, and a man who knew both Hadrian and Antinous.

What follows, is adapted from writings over the years by Flamen Antinoalis Antonyus.

As a young boy Marcus Aurelius had caught the eye of the Emperor Hadrian. He was appointed by the Emperor to priesthood in the year 129 (just a year before the death of Antinous), and Hadrian also supervised his education, which was entrusted to the best professors of literature, rhetoric and philosophy of the time.

Marcus Aurelius discovered Stoicism by the time he was 11 and from his early twenties he deserted his other studies for philosophy. The Emperor Antoninus Pius, who succeeded Hadrian, adopted Marcus Aurelius as his son in 138.

Antoninus Pius treated Aurelius as a confidant and helper throughout his reign; Marcus Aurelius also married his daughter, Faustina, in 139. He was admitted to the Senate, and then twice the consulship. In 147 he shared tribunician power with Antoninus. During this time he began composition of his Meditations, which he wrote in Greek in army camps.

At the age of 40, in 161 Marcus Aurelius ascended the throne and shared his imperial power with his adopted brother Lucius Aurelius Verus. Useless and lazy, Verus was regarded as a kind of junior emperor; he died in 169. After Verus's death he ruled alone.

Most of his reign was spent fighting and negotiating with the Germanic barbarians who were steadily crowding around the borders of the Empire. Marcus was able to hold them back with a succession of victories and peace treaties. In 177 he made his son, Commodus, joint-Emperor, though Commodus had no interest in the responsibility, caring more for the gladiatorial sports, but Marcus, the philosopher- king, took no notice of his son's blood-lust, which was to later cost the Empire dearly.

For much of his reign, Marcus Aurelius had suffered from severe illness, but his calm devotion to stoic virtue gave him the strength to continue without rest and without his poor health interfering with his duties. While with the legions on the German frontier, Marcus Aurelius suddenly died on March 17th in the year 180AD.

His ashes were conveyed to Rome and placed in Hadrian's Mausoleum. Commodus assumed power and began the chain of tragic events that are said to have brought the decline and fall of the Roman Empire.

For his wisdom, and strength, and because he was the last instrument of Hadrian's plan that brought so much glory, and prosperity to Rome, we venerate the deified Marcus Aurelius as a god of the Religion of Antinous.

An important feature of the philosophy was that everything will recur: the whole universe becomes fire and then repeats itself.

Constantly regard the universe as one living being, having one substance and one soul; and observe how all things have reference to one perception, the perception of this one living being; and how all things act with one movement; and how all things are the cooperating causes of all things which exist; observe too the continuous spinning of the thread and the contexture of the web. (from The Meditations)

Saturday, March 16, 2013

ROMULUS SHRINE TO JUPITER LOCATED
AT BASE OF PALATINE IN ROME



THE temple built by Romulus to celebrate the hand of Jupiter giving Roman troops their unstoppable force has been found at the foot of the Palatine Hill, Italian archaeologists say.

The ruins of the shrine to Jupiter Stator (Jupiter the Stayer), believed to date to 750 BC, were found by a Rome University team led by Andrea Carandini.

"We believe this is the temple that legend says Romulus erected to the king of the gods after the Romans held their ground against the furious Sabines fighting to get their women back after the famous Rape (abduction)," Carandini said in the Archeologia Viva (Living Archaeology) journal.


Historians have always been intrigued by ancient references to the temple, but never knew precisely where it was located or what it looked like. The lithograph above is a fanciful 19th Century idea of its possible appearance.

According to myth, Romulus founded Rome in 753 BC and the wifeless first generation of Roman men raided nearby Sabine tribes for their womenfolk, an event that has been illustrated in art down the centuries.

Carandini added: "It is also noteworthy that the temple appears to be shoring up the Palatine, as if in defense".

Rome's great and good including imperial families lived on the Palatine, overlooking the Forum.

Long after its legendary institution by Romulus, the cult of Jupiter the Stayer fuelled Roman troops in battle, forging the irresistible military might that conquered most of the ancient known world.

In the article in Archeologia Viva, Carandini's team said they might also have discovered the ruins of the last Palatine house Julius Caesar lived in - the one he left on the Ides of March, 44BC, on his way to death in the Senate.

Friday, March 15, 2013

IN A FIRST, BRITISH MUSEUM MAKES MOVIE

AS PART OF POMPEII EXHIBIT



THE British Museum will stage two unique live broadcasts to movie audiences across Britain and Ireland with a special offer to school groups as part of the museum's historic LIFE AND DEATH - POMPEII AND HERCULANEUM exhibition, which opens March 28 and runs until September 29.

Introduced by British Museum director Neil MacGregor, this unique live broadcast event will take cinema audiences round the exhibition.

Using renowned experts and live performance – music, poetry and eye-witness accounts – the production will bring to life extraordinary objects, some never seen outside Italy before.

Interviews throughout the exhibition will be intercut with stunning specially recorded films in Italy, showing Pompeii and Herculaneum and the sleeping Vesuvius.

This exhibition is the first ever held on these important cities at the British Museum, and the first such major exhibition in London for almost 40 years.

The exhibition has a unique focus, looking at the Roman home and lives of the people who lived nearly 2000 years ago in Pompeii and Herculaneum, both typical Roman towns at the heart of the empire.

The live event will take visitors along a Roman street and into a local house with atrium entrance, bedroom, kitchen, dining room, sitting room and garden.

We will be taken close up to the famous casts of the people caught in the volcanic heat as well as the objects from their daily lives.

Examples include intricate pieces of jewellery, sculpture, mosaics, cooking equipment and even food including an intact loaf of bread with the baker's stamp still on it.

Also on display will be wooden furniture carbonized by the high temperatures of the ash that engulfed Herculaneum which are extremely rare finds that would not have survived at Pompeii – showing the importance of combining evidence from the two cities.

The furniture includes a linen chest, an inlaid stool and even a garden bench. Perhaps the most astonishing and moving piece is a baby's crib.

Neil MacGregor said “Following the success of live cinema broadcasts of theatre, opera and ballet, the British Museum is thrilled to be the first museum to broadcast a live exhibition event.

"This is a unique experience for audiences across the country to enjoy a very special evening view of this unmissable exhibition, full of fascinating objects lent to us from Italy, from the comfort of a cinema chair.

"It will be a very personal tour guided by experts who will explore the stories these special objects tell us of Roman life 2000 years ago. We hope this will inspire people to travel to come and see the exhibition at the British Museum”.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

News Release

HELP STOP LOOTING
OF ANTINOOPOLIS


HOLLYWOOD — Modern-day priests of the Ancient Roman gay god Antinous have issued an urgent appeal for action to stop the looting of the city in Egypt which was named in honor of their deity.

Antinoopolis, established by Roman Emperor Hadrian for his male lover who drowned in the Nile, is being plundered by Egyptian villagers — and the world is turning a blind eye.

Antinoopolis was the West Hollywood of Ancient Rome. Named in honor of Antinous, who was deified to become the last Classical deity, what is left of the city of Antinoopolis is "being systematically destroyed" by tomb robbers in search of artifacts, according to archaeologists. They blame lax law enforcement as Egypt spirals into political and economic chaos.

Although looting at other sites up and down the Nile has received widespread attention, the dire situation at Antinoopolis has failed to attract attention.

"Nobody cares because Antinous is the god of gays, and they are embarrassed to mention that fact," says Antonyus Subia, head priest of the Hollywood Temple of Antinous, headquarters of the modern-day Religion of Antinous.

"Even the few news articles which have appeared about the destruction of Antinoopolis fail to mention Antinous at all," Subia says.

The love affair between Emperor Hadrian and Antinous is the stuff of Shakespearean drama. The Emperor and his male lover had embarked on a grand tour of Egypt when Antinous died mysteriously in the Nile in October of the year 130 AD.

Grief-stricken Hadrian was said to have "wept like a woman" and immediately founded a city on the banks of the Nile where Antinous died. The city thrived for 500 years.

Ruins were still visible as recently as 2012, but archaeologists say that, since the revolution in Egypt in 2011, local residents have gone on a looting spree, even bringing in bulldozers to look for artifacts.

The modern-day priests of Antinous the Gay God have contacted lawmakers, dignitaries and gay celebrities in an appeal to bring an end to the looting.

"This is our gay heritage which is being destroyed," says Subia.

The grief-stricken Emperor declared Antinous a god after his death in the year 130 AD.

Miraculously, the following year a drought ended in Egypt. Soon after, other miracles were attributed to Antinous.

Lowly born himself, Antinous was seen as a promise of divinity for slaves and plebs. Antinous even gave Jesus a run for his money in the early days of Christianity. The priests of Antinous were renowned for religio-magical prowess.

"Hadrian spread the Religion of Antinous around the Roman world," Subia explains, "promoting Antinous as the savior of the world, and the bringer of peace."

The Hollywood Temple of Antinous is devoted to the rebuilding of the ancient Religion of Antinous, but rebuilding it in a manner which meets the spiritual needs of gay men in the 21st Century. The religion was revived in 2002 and now has an active membership of nearly 1,000 persons, in addition to thousands more via Twitter and Facebook, according to Subia.

"Homosexuality is Sacred, and Antinous is the manifestation of the Divine Gay essense," says the Hollywood gay priest. "Through love of our own kind, we are made aware of self-love, and the origin of celestial love...and with that Sacred Secret in our hearts, we are made divine, through the grace and beauty of Antinous."

"We urgently request all concerned gay people to contact their lawmakers and spread the word before the Gay City is lost forever," Subia says.

Priest Uendi's Video Homage
To Lost Antinoopolis




A video made by me about the History of Antinoopolis.

We have sadly learned the area where Antinoopolis once stood is being bulldozed over to create a graveyard.

All remaining artifacts will no doubt be stolen or lost.

I pray to Antinous and his ancient worshippers.

Antinous is still alive and well in all hearts.

— PRIEST UENDI


Wednesday, March 13, 2013

LONDON'S ROMAN AMPHITHEATER

RE-OPENS TONIGHT AFTER 1,500 YEARS



LONDON's Roman Amphitheater, hidden under the Guildhall, re-opens tonight for its first play for 1,500 years, a production of Euripides' tragedy, "Medea."

The remains of the 5,000 seat Amphitheatre, which dates from approximately 70 AD, were discovered by archaeologists in 1988.

The production of "Medea," which runs from March 13-16, is the first play to be staged in the venue for 1,500 years.

Musical Director Anna Raphaeline said that working on the project had been "an amazing experience."

"It goes between being quite an eerie place because of the history involved, and a very calm place because it's a real secret locked away," she added.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

HERE IS THE FULL ARCHAEOLOGICAL REPORT

ON THE LOOTING AT ANTINOOPOLIS


THIS 16-page report by archaeologists on the scene has been sent to experts and governments around the world in an effort to prompt Egyptian authorities into taking action to stop the "systematic destruction" of Antinoopolis.





 

SHOCKING PHOTOS REVEAL EXTENT

OF DESTRUCTION AT ANTINOOPOLIS


SHOCKING new photos taken by archaeologists reveal the extent of looting and destruction at Antinoopolis in Egypt.

These shocking images, provided to us by an archaeological source, prove claims by experts in Germany and Egypt that local villagers are engaged in "systematic destruction" of the ruins of the sacred city built by Emperor Hadrian to honor his beloved Antinous.

This blog broke the news on Friday of WIDESPREAD PLUNDERING AT ANTINOOPOLIS which was built at the spot where Antinous died in the Nile in October 130 AD. The city flourished for centuries ... but its sad ruins are being looted by residents now .

Experts say Antinoopolis is the latest example of a widespread LOOTING EPIDEMIC that is sweeping Egypt all up and down the Nile Valley. Under the guise of "clearing farm land" or "expanding cemeteries" villagers are in fact plundering archaeological sites.

These photos, annotated by date, prove that looting has been going on at Antinoopolis since at least last October.

The images show village children armed with digging tools who are sent out by their families to dig for buried treasure. Experts point out that these tools are specifically for digging ... not tilling fields.

The German/Italian archaeologists working at the site say that villagers sneak out at night to pillage freshly-excavated digs while the experts are asleep. Next morning, the archaeologists find only rubble where their painstakingly cleared dig was going on.

One photo shows how Moslem graves have been placed on top of the ruins of the city's walls. 

In Islamic Egypt, graves are inviolable and cannot be removed ... but families can use them to gain access to treasures.

The photos also show how the last traces of the mighty Hippodrome, a chariot racing track modeled on the Circus Maximus of Rome, has been partially bulldozed to make way for "graves."

Monica Hanna, a researcher with the University of Humboldt in Berlin, says the construction of cemeteries is often a cover to dig up antiquities.

"We are losing the archaeological sites forever. If a home is built, the state can later remove it and retrieve the land. But once the dead are buried, it is impossible to do so," explained Hanna.

Hanna launched a "Save Antinoopolis" campaign in order to shed light on the crisis facing the important archaeological site.


She and others are circulating the shocking photos to authorities in Egypt and experts around the world in a frantic effort to save what can still be salvaged.



Monday, March 11, 2013

THE ASSASSINATION OF ELAGABALUS

ROME'S TRANSGENDER TEEN EMPEROR



ON March 11th the Religion of Antinous solemnly commemorates the assassination of Elagabalus, Rome's transgender teen emperor.

Imperator Caesar Marcus Aurelius Antoninus Augustus was born on an unknown date in the winter of 204 AD in the city of Emesa in Syria.

His birth name was Varius Avitus Bassianus, and he is believed to have been the son of Caracalla, for which reason he was declared Emperor by the Legions of Syria during an uprising against the short-lived Emperor Macrinus who had assassinated Caracalla and taken the throne.

Varius Bassianus was only 14 years old when he became sole ruler of the Roman Empire and took the name of Antoninus. He was the last Emperor to bear the sacred name of the most glorious rulers of the world, the Antonines. He is known to history as Elagabalus, because he was from birth the high priest(ess) of the androgynous sun deity Elagabal.

He brought his strange, phallic religion to Rome, and very shortly began to impose Elagabal, going so far as to nullify all other cults and force the Romans to accept his one god. It is even claimed that he closed and demolished the temple of Antinous at Tibur and perhaps others, but this is rumor.

What Elagabalus is famous for is that he was an extreme homosexual phallus worshipper with an insatiable fondness for chariot racers who he often elevated to the highest positions of authority simply based on the size and grace of their penises. He is criticized by ancient historians for portraying himself as Venus on Mount Ida, and allowing himself to be sodomized on stage by his chariot racers in the roles of various gods in full view of an audience.


History is slanted by anti-tranny prejudice. Elagabalus is recorded as having been one of the most infamous and degenerate figures in Roman history. 

This despite the fact that he was not particularly cruel or demonstrably mad. He simply offended the sensibilities of later historians ... particularly Victorian historians who were appalled by the fact that a trans teen had been acclaimed emperor of Rome.

Elagabalus, devoted to the androgynous god Elagabal, made it his priority as emperor to demote all others gods and goddesses to the position of servants to the principal deity. A black stone phallic representation of the god was processed through the streets of Rome to the temple annually.

Many of the sacred symbols of other religions were moved to the temple of Elagabal, including those of Jews and Christians. To persuade followers of other deities to worship Elagabal, the emperor participated in the rituals of several other religions. On a daily basis animal sacrifices were performed, consistent with the practices of many of the religions.

Victorian historians record Elagabalus' life as scandalous, yet an examination of their remarks reveal a troubled trans youth struggling with his identity.

"Not only was he bi-sexual, but also a transvestite. He would go to the taverns at night wearing a wig, woman's clothes and makeup and ply the trade of a prostitute. This activity only ended when he met Hierocles, a Carian slave, and became his wife. Hierocles was even permitted to beat the emperor when displeased, as any man might beat his wife. Even more scandalous Elagabalus not only acted and dressed like a woman, but he wanted to be physically transformed into one. He asked his physicians to contrive a vagina for him, promising huge rewards for success."

In other words, he was a transgender teenager who had the power and money at his disposal to create the gender-bending reality he desired to live in.

At the age of 14, in 218, Elagabaltus, a zealous believer, declared a religious initiative giving Elagabal precedence over all other gods, even Jupiter himself.


The god was also to have a consort. Pallas Athena was the first choice, a goddess tended by the Vestal Virgins. As part of his strategy Avitus married one of the vestals. When Romans balked at the violation of a vestal virgin, however, he opted for the symbolic marriage with Urania, a moon goddess.

His attempt to unify Rome under one religion met with strong resistance and did nothing to moderate his unpopularity. In the very year that Elagabalus became emperor the Third Legion, which had placed him in office, attempted to replace him with Verus, their commander. The attempt failed. Over time, subsequent attempts by the Fourth Legion, by the fleet, and by a pretender named Seleucus also failed.

But as unpopular as he was with the nobility and commanders of the Legions, he was not at all unpopular with the plebs, upon whom he lavished gifts and games. As emperor he had a Temple built to Elagabal, restored the Flavian Amphitheatre (the Colosseum) that had been damaged by fire and completed the construction of the public baths of Caracalla in the Vicus Sulplicius. He also had built a palace complex, the Horti Variani, with an amphitheatre, a circus, a bath, and audience hall.

His most famous projects, however, were the temple of Elagabal (the Elagaballium) on the Palatine hill and another such temple on the southeastern edge of the city. From these temples the emperor delivered largesse to crowds that gathered below.

None of his works, or gifts to the people, were sufficient to offset his reputation among the elite, tarnished by his promiscuous behavior with men and women. Regardless, provided with almost absolute power one wonders, wouldn't most teenage boys be self- indulgent? Many of the adult emperors did no less.

Many legends have arisen about the decadent lifestyle of Elagabalus, including the tall tale that one of his palace orgies was the scene of an inadvertent massacre when so many flower petals were showered upon the banquet guests that dozens of people suffocated to death as they reclined on their couches. 


A colossal, wall-sized painting of this scene by Lawrence Alma-Tadema shocked and titillated Victorian  viewers.

As the young emperor's popularity dwindled his mother, Julia Soaemias, and other supporters recognized that the royal family was in danger of their lives. Rome had a tradition of murdering unpopular emperors, and sometimes their adherents as well.

In hopes of rescuing the regime his close family and supporters induced Elagabalus to adopt his cousin Bassianus Alexianus, a young man popular with the praetorian guard, and name him Caesar, heir to the throne.

The scheme backfired in that Julia Mamaea, Alexianus's mother, was as ambitious as Julia Soaemias and desired to see her son emperor as quickly as possible. Mamaea, playing on the praetorian guard's contempt for Elagabalus entreated for the assassination of Elagabalus. Soaemias, discovering the adoption had created greater danger not less, urged Elagabalus to have his cousin killed lest he himself be murdered. However, no one would obey the order.

Here is where we catch up with Julia Soaemias and Elagabalus:

"Mother," spoke the young emperor, 17 years old, the glow of childhood still reflected in his eyes, "they don't understand what I want to accomplish. If they did, they wouldn't hate me."

"Child," replied Julia Soaemias, "they have more than one reason to hate you. You're obsessed with being a woman and you flaunt Roman tradition. You seek to bring down their gods and make them slaves to Elagabal. Elagabal knows I worship him as much as you, but he wants not that we place him above other gods."

"I will go to the praetorian camp and entreat with them, explain what I intend. Surely they will listen. A single god for all Rome would unify us as naught else might. Our former glory would be restored and Rome would endure forever. I will go. I will go now! The armies must be made to understand," declared the emperor, rising from his throne even as he spoke.

"If you go to the guard they are as likely to kill you as listen to you," admonished his mother.

"That is a chance I must take," he retorted, "Rome is more important than my life."

At the praetorian camp:

"All hail Nellie Ellie," sarcastically called a guardsman upon the approach of the emperor.

"Run, fear for your manhood, she comes to drain us dry," screamed another voice.

Other guardsmen laughed and joined in, a little nervously at first, after all this was the emperor of Rome, but with growing enthusiasm. 


Stepping down from his chariot Elagabalus, dressed as a woman, his wig meticulously styled and his makeup artfully done, spoke in a loud voice, "I have come to discuss with you the fate of Rome." 

His mother, having accompanied him stepped down beside him, on her countenance fear was plainly written. She had a bad feeling about what could happen that night and the crowd of soldiers mocking and jeering did nothing to lessen that fear.

"Alexianus would have me murdered and restore the old gods, the many religions which kept Romans apart. I have dedicated my rule to bringing our great nation together under one god, you must see the wisdom in such a venture," he called out in a loud voice, ignoring the insults and belittling remarks.

"Wisdom from a boy whore," yelled out a disgruntled soldier, "Drunk one night, boy, I had you. Was that your wisdom, Nellie Ellie?" The crowd laughed uproariously.


"I am the priestess of Elagabal. It is my place to be among my people, to suffer the worst and the best at your hands. I am also your emperor and I command you to kill my rival, Alexianus," he ordered.

His mother leaned forward and whispered in his ear, "Tread softly my son, their temper is not to be trifled with. I like not their mood."

"You have had my spear once, priestess," venomously spat a soldier near the front of those gathered. "Now have another!" As the soldier uttered the words he hurled a spear. It landed to one side, but came perilously close to hitting Elagabalus.

"I want nothing but the betterment of Rome," shouted Avitus, taking his mother by the arm and retreating to his chariot. Too late he took the reins of his spirited horses, the soldiers had already surrounded his chariot and taken control.

"You will agree to abdicate in favor of Alexianus before you leave this night, or you shall not leave," spoke up the closest of his adversaries. The army heard the words and began to chant, "Alexianus, Alexianus, Alexianus."

Enraged the youthful emperor screamed, "I am emperor. It is I who know what is best for Rome. Not you traitors. Now, let go of my horses!" With his whip he struck at the face of the nearest soldier, landing a vicious blow that brought blood.

The soldier in turn pulled Elagabalus from the chariot and stabbed him. Others joined in. The last thing Elagabalus saw before he died was the soldiers pulling his mother from the chariot,"Let my mother be," he tried to yell, but only a whisper passed his lips.


So ended the reign of the trans teenage Varius Avitus Bassinus, having ruled Rome for but four years. 

He had been the first emperor to attempt to unify Rome under one god. 

His gender variance, his sexual escapades while frowned on but tolerated had destroyed his credibility. After the murders, his body and that of his mother's, were dragged naked through the streets of Rome.

Finally, beheaded, both bodies were thrown into the Tiber, the punishment for convicted criminals.

Elagabalus reigned only four years, and was 18 years old when he was murdered, the same age as Antinous. 


Though his character is condemned as perverse, the open phallicism that he imposed upon Rome, and the dramatic exhibition of his homosexuality warrant his deification, and he was the Last of the Antonines.