Monday, June 30, 2014

THE BRITISH MUSEUM PRESENTS
'A LITTLE GAY HISTORY'



THE British Museum is highlighting a guide focusing on gay-related exhibits as part of the London Pride festival this month.

"A Little Gay History" by Richard Parkinson, a curator in the ancient Egypt department, features gay objects and topics which otherwise often get overlooked at the mammoth museum.

There is a sculpture of the beautiful face of Antinous, at whose death Emperor Hadrian "wept like a woman"; a battered copper coin showing the poet Sappho, whose surviving fragments of erotic poetry were so intense that the Victorians called all women who loved women after her native Lesbos; and a 20-year-old tin badge demanding, "how dare you presume I'm heterosexual".

The guide together with an audio guide featuring the voices of prominent British actors, will form part of the Pride festival – which will also include a special showing of the Merchant Ivory film of EM Forster's "Maurice," in which the hero finds love in the galleries of the British Museum. Forster wrote the book in the early 20th Century but would not allow it to be published until after his death in 1970.

After Antinous drowned in the Nile in AD130, possibly killing himself, Hadrian proclaimed him a god and displayed his image across the empire. His subsequent deep depression may have contributed to his own early death just eight years later. 

At the museum's blockbuster exhibition on Hadrian in 2008, a survey showed most visitors had no idea of the married emperor's intense feelings for another man.

Parkinson claims that the oldest chat-up line in history can be found in his department: a poem from 1800 BC in which one ancient Egyptian male god makes a pass at another, remarking "neferwi-pehwi-ki" – what a lovely backside you have. 

However he concedes that many of the tender Egyptian images of two men caressing actually depict brothers, and that the graphic images on one papyrus from 950 BC, including a god fellating himself, are religious, not erotic, texts.

"Desire leaves no archaeological traces," he writes, making it easy to ignore, miss or misunderstand gay references. "History has all too often been a list of the deeds of famous men who are implicitly  'heterosexual' and usually European … Unsurprisingly, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people have often felt excluded and silenced, and without a voice."

The objects Parkinson has chosen, most from the British Museum but some from the British Library, include a drawing by Michelangelo showing the beautiful body of Phaeton falling from his father's sun chariot, which the artist sent to his handsome young friend Tommaso de'Cavalieri. If he didn't like it, Michelangelo promised to make another "by tomorrow evening". 

Parkinson writes: "The combination of the superb drawing and the elegantly written note to his friend, protesting that it is only a first sketch, embodies an infatuated eagerness to impress a young man in a way that feels instantly recognisable to anyone who has ever been in a similar situation."

He has also included some recent acquisitions, including a 1997 pack of playing cards portraying Japanese drag queens, made by the artist Takashi Otsuka, donated to the museum on condition that it is stored "with the queens on top".

A colourful quilt bought in Pakistan in 1985 is said to have been made by, or for a hijira transsexual, but the curators are not sure if this is actually true. Without the story, the quilt is just a piece of cloth, Parkinson says.

"Even with the anecdote, the history of its maker's life remains a blank. For all the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people we can name in history, we must consider how many thousands of others are unrecorded, unacknowledged and unremembered."

In the audio trail, narrator Maggi Hambling is particularly struck that Sappho's Greek island home valued the poet enough to put her on its official coinage. "So two Sapphos might be worth a bag of peas?" she ponders.

However, looking at some of the museum's huge collection of donated protest badges, she remarks that she personally can't stand being called lesbian, just about accepts lesbionic, but prefers to refer to herself as a dyke.

Actor Russell Beale, who also narrates the audio guide, is awed by the beauty of the Roman silver Warren Cup showing men and youths making love, so startlingly erotic that the first time the British Museum was offered it in the 1950s, it turned it down flat. 

In 1999, when it came on the market again, the museum had to raise £1.8m to acquire it

"It's just heaven, isn't it?" Russell Beale sighs.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

THE LOST TOMB OF ANTINOUS
WILL BE FOUND ONE DAY


AND TOURISTS WON'T BE ABLE TO STOP DANCING
WHEN ANTINOUS EMERGES FROM HIS CRYPT
AND SHIFTS INTO DIVINE DJ MODE:


"ANUBIS" OFFICIAL VIDEO BY SWISS ELECTRO-DANCE DJ MIKE CANDYS

Saturday, June 28, 2014

EDWARD CARPENTER
SAINT OF ANTINOUS


THE last of our three Uranian Patriarchs, Edward Carpenter was born in Brighton England on the 29th of August, 1844, to a very large middle-class family. 

While his brothers went into the military, Edward became a scholar, with great success and eventually even taught at Cambridge where he was required to become ordained as a curate of the Anglican Church.

It was at this time, when he was 24, that he first read Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman and was completely changed. He resigned his position at Cambridge and devoted his life to the working class, becoming a Socialist philosopher, lecturing, organizing and speaking for working men.

When his parents died, he received an inheritance that he used to purchase a rural estate at Millthrope, which he turned into a veritable Socialist Commune. He repressed his homosexuality for much of his life, channeling his desire into politically inspired friendships.

But the Millthrope house gave him the freedom to express his feelings more openly, and he began to write books on the subject of Uranian Love. He was deeply influenced by Hindu spirituality, and visited India, all of which emerged in his spiritual view of the Socialist movement, which was not so much about political revolution, but directed towards a change in human consciousness, of which homosexuality rapidly became his greatest cause.

While returning from India he met George Merrill on the train. It would be the love of his life. The younger man soon moved into the house at Millthrope, the two became inseparable lovers whose relationship lasted over forty years.

In 1908, he published The Intermediate Sex, the first widely available book on the subject of homosexuality. After the death of John Addington Symonds, with whom he had been closely allied, Edward Carpenter assumed the role as torch bearer, and subsequently published dozens of books and essays for the cause of gay liberation.

He died on the 28th of June, 1929, in Guildford England, and though not widely known at the time, was to later become a spiritual patriarch for the gay liberation movement of the late 1960s and '70s. He is regarded as a Saint and Patriarch of the Religion of Antinous, and remembered as one of the first fathers whose work changed the world with subtle power.

Friday, June 27, 2014

THE DEATH OF JUDY GARLAND
SPARKED THE STONEWALL RIOTS


THIS is the day the Liturgical Calendar of the Religion of Antinous sets aside for remembrance of Saint Judy Garland, whose death was the spark that ignited the Stonewall Riots on a sultry night in 1969 when a bunch of drag queens and assorted other gay men decided they weren't in the mood to put up with yet another raid by the corrupt and brutal NYPD.

Gays had had enough and they had just suffered a terrible shock — Judy Garland's tragic death on June 22 had rocked the gay world. It was said that 13 twisters raged through Kansas the day Judy died, which — in Kansas — in June — is a pretty safe bet, in any case. But still, and all the same ....

Judy had died in London, and amid much news media hype, her body was flown back to New York for a memorial service which drew a huge crowd of grief-stricken gay men who gathered outside Campbell's Funeral Chapel in Manhattan — on June 27, 1969.

Afterwards, the bars were jammed with gay men drowning their sorrows in booze and drugs while listening to Judy Garland songs full blast on every jukebox.

The mood was electrified by a sense of solidarity in grieving for a fallen idol. Gay men had surprised themselves by turning out en masse for Judy's funeral. They had experienced strength in numbers for the first time. They had been on national TV news.

In an unprecedented move by prime-time national news anchormen, Walter Cronkite and Huntley-Brinkley had talked about Judy Garland's "tremendous appeal among male homosexual fans" — at supper time when whole families were watching the evening news!


Blacks were standing up for their rights. Women were burning their bras. The Chicano Movement was gathering steam. And now "ho-mo-sexuals" (the announcers were unaccustomed to speaking the word aloud) were having the audacity to congregate outside a sacred chapel in broad daylight — and they even showed their faces on the evening news!

Straight people were being confronted with homosexuals right there on television beamed into their homes. And — more importantly — homosexuals were seeing themselves and their brothers/sisters on national television news. Gays in isolated places who had worshipped Judy Garland at the movies or on LP and tape, were now watching other gay people weeping for her in New York. For the first time, gay people in isolated places saw themselves on TV. We were not alone in our grief at the passing of a star with whom we somehow innately felt connected.

It was a Friday night. Late June. Hot and steamy. The bars were filled to bursting. Gay men were sharing a rare moment of solidarity in powerful emotions. There was a feeling, not only in New York, but around the world, that a paradigm shift had taken place. A gay icon had died suddenly and tragically (shades of Antinous) and we gay people everywhere found ourselves in a catharsis of identity change. None of us understood what was happening. Just as it was with being gay, we gay men couldn't explain it, we just "felt" it and "knew" it to be true.

And THAT moment was when the Manhattan police happened to stage one of their periodic raids on queers. Basically it was a routine raid on an average gay bar. Nobody had reckoned with what would happen next. Even gay men were surprised by what happened next.

ESPECIALLY gay men.

We were men who had been accustomed to being timid fraidy-cats. Men who had never dared to stand up for their sexuality. Drag queens and faggots never fought back. That was a fact of gay survival. We knew we were gay. And we knew what we weren't. We were not "MEN".

Grief turned to outrage. It was a spontaneous uprising fuelled by rage. The vice squad was overwhelmed. Reinforcements had to be sent in. Gay men stood their ground and advanced on the police, pushing them back.

It was the turning point for us. Gay men throughout America — and later in London, Berlin, Sydney and elsewhere — began standing up for themselves under the banner "Remember Stonewall".

In a sense, Judy Garland died for us. Had it not been for her tragic death — strangling on vomit over a toilet bowl in a London hotel suite — there might not have been any Stonewall Riots.

Flamen Antinoalis Antonius Subia puts the Stonewall Riots into a spiritual context:

"It was the first resistance by homosexuals against the repression of two thousand years, and the beginning of the Gay Liberation movement. The importance of the Stonewall Riots is the awakening of gay consciousness, the throwing off of the coils of the python that had for so many centuries enveloped our divine form of Love. This sacred revolt is holy to Apollo, Dionysus, and Diana combined as the guardian spirits of Homosexuality. Our modern Gay society was born on this occasion, and all of the peace and freedom that we have obtained in the these short decades are due to the courage that erupted on that Sacred Night in front of the Stonewall Bar."

Thursday, June 26, 2014

THESE ANCIENT ROMAN FOUNTAIN CURSES
ARE NOW PERPETUATED BY UNESCO



IN ancient times, visitors to the Roman baths in what is now the city of Bath in England would write a curse on a thin sheet of lead and then throw it into the spring that fed the baths.

Now Bath’s famous Roman curse tablets have been added to the UNESCO Memory of the World register of outstanding documentary heritage.

The 130 Roman curse tablets can be seen at The Roman Baths.

They are the personal and private prayers of 130 individuals inscribed on small sheets of lead or pewter, and cast into the hot spring at Bath, and date from the 2nd-4th century AD.

The earliest known surviving prayers to a deity in Britain, they are messages in Latin to the Roman goddess Sulis Minerva, from people who had suffered an injustice, asking for wrongs to be put right and for revenge.

The tablets are extremely difficult to read and translate and some are quite virulent, such as the person who, seeking revenge for theft of a bronze vessel, asks that it be filled with the blood of the thief.

One curse was written in British Celtic, the only text known to survive in that language. 

Another tablet contains the earliest known use of the word ‘Christian’ in Britain.

The curse tablets are the only objects from Roman Britain to have been inscribed on the UNESCO Memory of the World UK register, which aims to raise awareness of some of the UK’s exceptional documentary riches.

They were one of nine new inscriptions to the register and they join the 41 already listed.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

THE PRINCES LIVED HAPPILY EVER
IN THIS GAY CHILDREN'S FAIRY TALE



AND the two princes lived happily ever after ... in the world's first gay fairytale book for children.

The Princes and the Treasurea fairytale children's book featuring two gay princes, has just been released around the world after its initial release in the United States earlier this year. 

Although the story begins with the typical plot of the prince on a quest to save the princess and find a treasure, it blossoms into a love story when the two princes Earnest and Gallant meet during their mission, do some self-discovery, and realize that the real treasure they have found is the love they have for each other. 

They even get married!

This groundbreaking children's book was written by openly gay college professor Jeffrey A. Miles (who teaches business management at the University of the Pacific). Miles told the Advocate:

"I really wanted a story like this when I was a little boy. I knew that stories about princes falling in love with princesses didn’t apply to me and my life. I knew from a very early age that I was never going to marry a princess. 

"So I wrote this story for children, but I also wrote it for anyone who wants to read a fairy tale story of two men who meet each other, go on an adventure, fall in love, get married, and live happily ever after with their handsome prince. "

When asked about how kids seem to be taking the book, Miles said:

"I'm happy to say that kids love the story just like the other famous fairy tale stories. Kids see that the story is about two people who fall in love and get married. All of the kids who have read the story don't find it unusual that the two characters who get married happen to be two men. Kids seem to see that love can happen between two people regardless of the couple’s gender. I've been amazed how easy that idea is for kids to understand and how hard that is for some adults to understand."

This book is exciting for many reasons- the gay role models, the twist on a classic fairytale storyline, and the shattering of stereotypes- to name a few. Not to worry, Miles has already completed a sequel, The Princes and the Dragon, and plans to continue writing about Earnest and Gallant starting a family and raising twin children.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

EXPERTS HAIL 'MAGICAL MOMENT'
AS GOLD COIN FOUND AT HADRIAN'S WALL



IN a breakthrough which defied two generations of diggers along Hadrian’s Wall, a volunteer French archaeologist has found the first gold coin at Vindolanda, the Roman site which has been intriguing excavators for almost 50 years.

Described as being “well-worn”, the confirmed aureus bears the image of the Emperor Nero, dating it to around AD 64 or 65. 


And early this morning ... as this blog item was being published ... it was announced that a part of a Roman sword blade had been found ... still sharp and sporting nicks from having been used in battle (image at left).

As for the gold coin, the precious currency was worth half a years’ salary for serving soldiers, but was lost on the northern outpost of the empire following 300 years in circulation.

“I thought, ‘it can’t be true’,” says Marcel Albert, from Nantes, who has spent six years taking part in a dig which has attracted participants from across the world.

“It was just sitting there as I scrapped back the soil, shining, as if someone had just dropped it.”

Thousands of coins have been found at the former auxiliary fort, which is perhaps best known for revealing a treasured set of writing tablets.

“My first find at Vindolanda nearly 20 years ago was a coin, but because of their scarcity I didn’t think for a moment that I would ever see a gold coin unearthed at the site,” said Justin Blake, the Deputy Director of Excavations at the Vindolanda Trust.

“It was an absolutely magical moment for the whole team.”

Beads, brooches, rings, leather shoes, arrowheads, pottery and a gaming counter have already been unearthed during the opening half of the digging season at Vindolanda.

“You actually have more chance of winning the lottery than finding a gold coin on a Roman military site,” says Dr Andrew Birley, the Director of Excavations.

“So this is a special and very likely one-off find.”

Experts hope to carry out extensive research before putting the coin on show at the site’s museum.

“It had been a great year on site to date with a whole host of finds,” reflects Sonya Galloway, of the Trust.

“Just yesterday they found a iron spoon also from the 4th Century level – perhaps it was used by an angry wife to hit the person over the head with when it was realised they lost the gold coin.

“They are excavating three areas of the site this year – the fort, where this discovery was made, the vicus, where they are digging deep into the pre-Hadrianic levels, and further to the north of the main site, where we have a Canadian Field School from the University of Western Ontario.”




Monday, June 23, 2014

25 ANCIENT GREEK THEATRES
NOW REOPENED FOR DRAMA PRESENTATIONS



IN an unprecedented effort to rejuvenate interest in Greek cultural sites, 25 Ancient Greek theatres and archaeological sites across Greece are being reopened this week.

A number of theatres staged plays over the weekend and other sites will be opened to the public in coming days.

The “Athens Festival” institution, in collaboration with “Diazoma” association, have taken the initiative of opening the sites to the public in order to promote the country’s cultural heritage.

Most ancient Greek theaters are scheduled to open this weekend in order to host various theatrical productions during the summer. 

As part of the initiative, the 25 ancient Greek theaters and archeological sites participating, will host a theatrical production of “The Woman of Zante” (“Gynaika tis Zakynthou”) by Dionysios Solomos, directed by Dimos Avdeliodis and Olia Lazaridou in the leading role.

Even though the organizers wanted the initiative to include 30 locations, the Central Archaeological Council of Greece (KAS) deemed that five of these locations could not be used due to renovations or excavations that were underway. 

Because of the fragile nature of the sites, access will be limited.

For example, in the theater of Maronia only 350 people will be able to watch the play. 

At other sites, such as the theater of Dimitradas, Athens Festival decided that the play would be performed outside the building, as an alternative solution.

Stavros Benos, president of Diazoma said that the implementation of the initiative is “’a great victory. Up until now, ancient theatres remained closed unless renovation work was carried out.”





Sunday, June 22, 2014

THE SOLSTICE IS SACRED
TO ANTINOUS AS APOLLO-HYACINTHUS


THE cycle of the June Solstice is sacred to Antinous in the form of Apollo-Hyacinthus. ... Antinhous being the beautiful flower boy Hyacinthus who dies, just as the sun begins to die, but who was raised from the dead and deified by the love of the God of Light, who forbade Dis Pater from taking his beloved boy to the place of Death....

Hyacinthus arose as Apollo, to live forever within the rays of the Unconquered Sun, an allegory of ourselves awakening to the light of reason, truth and sacred Homotheosis.

The beautiful boy from Sparta known as Hyacinthus, whose astonishing beauty and 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.

It was then that Apollo noticed Hyacinthus and fell completely in love with him also, however when Apollo revealed his love to Hyacinth, 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.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

ANTINOUS MERGES WITH APOLLO
DURING THE GLORIOUS JUNE SOLSTICE



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. 

Antinous would be associated with many deities in the generations to come. Among his many names, the Beauteous Boy was adored as Antinous-Apollo (image above).

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 Antonius 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."

Also on the Solstice we celebrate the day that Hadrian and Antinous met and fell in love ...  "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.


Antonius 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.

Friday, June 20, 2014

HADRIAN'S VILLA OBSERVATORY TOWER
IS ALIGNED TO THE SOLSTICES






HADRIAN would have been planning a long night tonight in his personal observatory, despite the fact that it is the shortest night of the year in the Northern Hemisphere — the Summer Solstice — which is exact at 12:51 p.m. in Rome Saturday. 

First, he would observe the setting sun sending a shaft of goldish-red light through a certain slit in his observatory tower to illuminate a golden statue of the Egyptian Goddess Isis.

Then there would be oracles at midnight. You can just see the cluster of priests and augurs, chanting and offering sacrifices amidst billowing clouds of incense. 

An Etruscan haruspex or two would be wearing yellow robes and conical hats as they inspected the entrails of animals. Patrician augurs would be wearing their finest ceremonial togas as they listened for messages from nocturnal birds. Babylonian astrologers would be clad in garish robes with multi-tiered crowns as they scanned the heavens and babbled to each other about their arcane calculations. 

And naturally the Egyptian priests would do their utmost to out-do all the others with outlandish make-up, headdresses and robes to the cacophony of sistrums, gongs and the whoosh of incendiary incense sending up pastel-colored clouds of smoke to the wailing of a priestess of Isis in the throes of a trance.

Scores of Imperial court officials and hangers-on would be stifling yawns as the oracles took most of the night. 

But yawns would turn to gasps of wonder and praise when the Emperor announced that he had just seen the RISE OF THE STAR OF ANTINOUS over the eastern horizon.

Then at dawn, the Emperor would climb stairs to the upper chamber to observe the Solstice Sunrise on June 21st.

He would announce the outcome of the oracles and whether the Antinoian Auspices for the coming year were favorable.

Modern Priests of Antinous will be celebrating rites at the HOLLYWOOD TEMPLE OF ANTINOUS to mark the Solstice.

The meditations of the Hollywood Priests of Antinous will be focused on an Italian archaeologist and her team who will be spending this Solstice at the ruins of a tower on a hillock at Hadrian's Villa which was the Emperor's own private observatory. 

These experts, led by MARIA DE FRANCESCHINI, have demonstrated that the observatory tower is in fact aligned to the Solstices. She believes the observatory was dedicated to the Egyptian goddess Isis, who raised Osiris from the dead to become a god of resurrection and transfiguration — just as Hadrian declared Antinous a god of resurrection and transfiguration.
 

For centuries, experts had been mystified by the layout of the sprawling complex of marble baths, banquet halls, luxurious residences, gardens, shrines and unidentified structures 30 kilometers outside Rome.

Hadrian's Villa was a sprawling complex of buildings, temples, gardens, a zoo and — yes — even an observatory tower on a hillock on the edge of the compound from which Hadrian could observe the heavens. 


 But, in an article published in the journal Nature last year, De Franceschini wrote that she believes the mystery-shrouded Rocca Bruna Tower, long held to be Hadrian's private observatory, is in fact aligned so as to produce sunlight effects for the seasons.

She describes her findings personally in the video at the top of this entry. 

De Franceschini says that during the summer solstice, rays of light pierce the tower and another of the villa's buildings. In the Rocca Bruna Tower, dawn sunlight during the summer solstice enters through a wedge-shaped slot above the door and illuminates a niche on the opposite side of the interior (image courtesy nature.com). And in a temple of the Accademia building, De Franceschini has found that sunlight passes through a series of doors during both the winter and summer solstices. 

"The alignments gave me a new key of interpretation," says De Franceschini, who adds that the two buildings are connected by an esplanade that was a sacred avenue during the solstices. Based on ancient texts describing religious rituals and study of recovered sculptures, she thinks the sunlight effects were linked to religious ceremonies associated with the Egyptian goddess Isis, who was adopted by the Romans.

De Franceschini, who works with the University of Trento in Italy, has published a book describing the archaeo-astronomical work, VILLA ADRIANA ARCHITETTURA CELESTE. She credits two architects, Robert Mangurian and Mary-Ann Ray, for initially noticing the light effect in Rocca Bruna.

According to nature.com, Robert Hannah, a classicist from the University of Otago in New Zealand, says that De Franceschini's ideas are plausible. "They're certainly ripe for further investigation," he says.

Hannah believes that the Pantheon, designed by Hadrian in Rome with a circular opening at the top of its dome, also acts as a giant calendrical sundial, with sunlight illuminating key interior surfaces at the equinoxes and on the spring equinox on April 21st, the city's birthday.

Few classical buildings have been investigated for astronomical alignment, says Hannah, partly because it is much easier to check for alignments in prehistoric structures such as Stonehenge, which do not have potentially contradictory artefacts.

De Franceschini spends every solstice at Hadrian's villa, seeking further verification. Our thoughts and prayers go with her during this special season of the Solstice.


We can envision Hadrian, sick with grief and alone after the death of Antinous, ensconced in his observatory tower scanning the heavens for a sign from his Beloved Boy, praying to Isis for her to work her magic on Antinous.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

NICK DRAKE
SAINT OF ANTINOUS


ON JUNE 19th the Religion of Antinous commemorates the birth of SAINT NICK DRAKE, the sexually ambivalent English singer who died under very mysterious, Antinous-like circumstances at a young age and who became an artistic icon for future generations of dreamers and artists.

Nicholas Rodney Drake was born on June 19th, 1948, to an upper middle class English family living in Burma. His father was an industrialist and there was never much question about Nick's financial future. Indeed, he would have been a wealthy middle-aged man today had he done nothing at all. 


But Nick never ceased to wonder and worry about his spiritual future. Despite or perhaps precisely because of his admission to Cambridge University, Nick Drake was convinced that he should shun a financially certain future and pursue a future as a musician.

Nick Drake learned to play piano at an early age, and began to compose his own songs, which he would record on a reel-to-reel tape recorder he kept in the family drawing room in rural England.

In 1966 he spent some time in the South of France where he purportedly became acquainted with "the best sort of pot" and perhaps experimented with LSD — and possibly sex with both females and males.

Returning to England, he realized he was not suited to receive a degree from Cambridge University. Nick abruptly and shockingly (as far as his family was concerned) ended his studies at Cambridge nine months before graduation, and in autumn 1969 moved to London to concentrate on a career in music.

Nick signed to Island Records when he was 20 years old and released his debut album, Five Leaves Left, in 1969. By 1972, he had recorded his second album — Bryter Layter and part of his third, Pink Moon. Neither of the first two albums sold more than 5,000 copies on their initial release in Britain, much less abroad. He never made an American breakthrough, unlike other major British artists of the era.

Nick was devastated and depressed. His excruciating shyness to perform live or be interviewed further contributed to his lack of commercial success. Despite this, he was able to gather a loyal following.

He managed to complete his third album, Pink Moon, recorded in midnight sessions in the winter of 1971, immediately after which he withdrew from both live performance and recording, retreating to his parents' home in rural England. Once again, it did not sell well. He felt he was a failure. On November 25th, 1974, Nick Drake retired to his upstairs bedroom where he took a cocktail anti-depressants which killed him. He was found stretched over his bed next morning by his mother.

The Religion of Antinous honors Nick Drake as a prophet of Homoeros. He was a man who saw through the transparent barriers between sexuality to see the spiritual truth of reality. He was one of those many men who are never sure of their sexuality. But it is unimportant whether he was "gay" or not.

Nick Drake is a symbol of these sorts of dreamy and shy men who live existences of quiet despair. Nick Drake could play better riffs on the guitar than almost anybody of his generation. He had a beautiful voice. He was a gifted song-writer. He knew he had more  talent in his little finger than most well-paid artists would ever possess. But his career never took off. The big break never happened. Nobody appreciated him. He was broke and disillusioned.

His sister says she believes he took an overdose of anti-depressants  thinking he wanted it to either cure him or kill him, because he couldn't go on living in such despair of being an artistic failure. How many people in the economic meltdown of the early 21st Century don't feel the same despair? And yet ....

Nick Drake could scarcely have dreamt as he swallowed a handful of pills on a dreary November evening in his parents' house in the English Midlands that he would become a major recording star with fans around the world — 30 years after his death. His three albums now are cult chart-busters around the world.

When we remember Saint Nick Drake, we must remember too that Antinous is the patron of these sensitive souls who die untimely and tragic deaths at an early age. Antinous is the River Man who drowned in the Nile ....



Wednesday, June 18, 2014

BIG ROMAN TEMPLE FOUND IN FRANCE
DEDICATED PERHAPS TO ANTINOUS?



AN unprecedentedly large Roman temple has been unearthed in northern France which dates to the 2nd Century AD in the heyday of the Religion of Antinous.

The discovery raises new hope of an Antinous Temple being found, or at least a shrine or chapel (aedicula) to Antinous within a temple.

Experts caution, however, that they do not yet know to which deity or deities this temple was dedicated.

This is the largest provincial temple found in France. It measures 70 meters by 105 meters and has two small pavilions in the back, of which only the foundations remain. 

In the center, the "Cella," visitors could access a dramatic masonry platform via a front staircase.

Here in the heart of the temple, the ancient Romans would have erected the statue of a deity.

Archaeologists have discovered many elements of the artwork inside the sanctuary, including clashed spears and marble veneer.

The entrance to the temple was a monumental façade measuring 10 meters high and 70 meters long, which made it an exceptional structure in Roman Gaul.

This façade consists of 13 to 17 arches, above which the Romans surmounted an entablature and, exceptionally, a frieze that should include a dedication in bronze letters.

A few decades after its erection, the façade collapsed in one piece perhaps due to a defect in the foundation related to the nature and slope of the ground, which caused a mess of thousands of blocks and fragments. 

Archaeologists intend to study these fragments to gradually restore the original appearance of the sanctuary. 

The ornamentation, sometimes enhanced color reveals carved decorations: Greek meanders, foliage, animals, and images of several deities, including Venus, Apollo, and Jupiter.

Within the entablature, its most unique sequence is the frieze decorated with deities from the Greco-Roman Pantheon, such as a crouching Venus alongside the head of an old woman. 

This sculpture recalls an episode told by Homer in The Odyssey. After an affair with Mars, Vulcan’s wife retired to the woods. An old lady informed the gods, who sought the place of her retreat.

To punish her, Venus turned the old woman into a rock. At the top of the façade, one of the most remarkable features is a decoration of monumental heads, which measure three times larger than human size, with complex hair and eyes that had once consisted of colored stones.

Among them, the head of Jupiter and a series of griffins with outstretched wings sit along yet-undetermined gods … could Antinous be one of them?

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

WHEN IT IS ALL TOO MUCH TO BEAR



MANY of us carry intolerable burdens on our fragile mortal shoulders. The priests of Antinous receive messages from people around the world ... from people who have loved ones who are terminally ill or otherwise incapacitated.

Some have horrendous health problems themselves. Not to mention financial problems. Emotional problems. Addiction problems.

It can all be too much to bear. Oftentimes you think you have been abandoned by the Great and Good God and that you must bear this burden all alone.

But the Great and Good God is there, standing right behind you, and he is making sure that you don't falter.

There is a famous relief from the ruins of the Temple of Zeus in Olympia, Greece, which illustrates the myth of the day when Herakles stepped in to relieve Atlas of the heavy burden of carrying the weight of the world on his shoulders.

The relief shows Atlas stretching out his hands to grasp the Apples of the Hesperides -- and Herakles struggles to hold the world -- which turns out to be a lot heavier than he had anticipated.

Herakles despairs of being able to hold the world. He strains with all his might and is only just barely able to keep it from tumbling.

But standing behind him is the goddess Athena (out of Herakles' field of vision) and Athena calmly lifts her left hand and gently steadies the burden with her fingertips. She's not doing any heavy lifting. She is only using her little finger to steady the load.

There is great Sacred Symbolism in this relief's message. Herakles thinks he is carrying the burden all by himself and he fears he cannot do it.

But in fact he is not carrying it all by himself. Athena is behind him all the time.

The Sacred Symbolism applies to all of us.

You have to strain with all your might and you may despair and you may feel abandoned and all alone. And yet ... the Great and Good God is there behind you, lifting his little finger to help you bear the weight of the whole world!

Monday, June 16, 2014

THE RIDDLE OF THE ROMAN DODECAHEDRON
IS UNRAVELED AT LAST BY NIMBLE FINGERS



MORE than 100 of these strange objects are known to exist, and their purpose remains a puzzling mystery that has baffled archaeologists since their first discovery.

All throughout Europe, small geometric objects known as Roman dodecahedrons have been recovered. 

As far north as Hadrian's Wall, and further south toward the Mediterranean, the dodecahedrons, usually made of bronze or stone, are seldom larger than about eight to ten centimeters in size. 

So what was their purpose?

No written records mention them, and experts have come up with many suggestions.

They could have been gaming pieces or weapons or even impediments strewn ahead of invading armies to cripple cavalry horses.

Others have speculated that they may hold religious or cultural significance, and some have gone so far as to presume they could have been useful in determining the proper times for planting various crops throughout the year.

But was there a simpler and more practical use … a use that was literally at our fingertips?

And for one man, this kind of practical thinking led him to finding a unique use for the Roman dodecahedrons… as well as a possible solution to their creation in ancient times.

In the video below, YouTube user Martin Hallett offers his own thoughts about what the Roman dodecahedrons might have been used for, demonstrating a fascinating potential solution to their design … and an interesting, but creative outcome as well.

Using a 3D printer, he had a scale replica of one of the dodecahedrons made, and then went to work experimenting… with knitting yarn.

His breakthrough came when he realized the holes in the dodecahedron always come in five different sizes ... just as human fingers always come in five different sizes. 

He deduced that these strange objects must have served some practical purpose related to fingers.

And the answer was indeed right at his fingertips ….


Sunday, June 15, 2014

FOLLOW IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF ANTINOUS
DEEP INTO THE MYSTERIOUS SERAPEUM



ANTINOUS and Hadrian visited the Ancient Egyptian capital city of Memphis (Mennefer) in October of the year 130 AD and one of the highlights was the Serapeum underground labyrinth of tombs of the Sacred Apis Bulls.

Now you can follow in the footsteps of Antinous because the Serapeum has reopened to the public for the first time since 1986, when it was closed for safety reasons. 

It recently opened again following 10 years of renovations to shore up the crumbling subterranean labyrinth which has mystified and impressed visitors for thousands of years.

Priest Hernestus was among the last visitors who wandered awe-struck through the Serapeum before it was deemed too unsafe for tourists. 

He remembers it as one of the most magically mysterious places in all of Egypt, not least of all because he had been warned it could cave in at any moment.

The enormous burial site at Saqqara, just south of Cairo, dates back to 1400 BC and is the burial place of 30 Sacred Apis Bulls, animals considered to be holy by Pharaohs.

The labyrinth, lighted in ancient times by torches and today by electric lighting, was lined with tomb niches for the Apis Bulls. Each niche contained a giant granite sarcophagus weighing between 60 and 70 tons. 

Experts over the centuries have been puzzled as to how the Ancient Egyptians were able to carve out this underground labyrinth and place such enormous granite sarcophagus coffins (each containing a mummified bull) into the tight confines of the narrow niches.

The site was discovered in 1851 by French Egyptologist Auguste Mariette - who blasted it open with dynamite - but closed in the late 20th Century because the rising water table following construction of the Aswan High Dam was eating away at the masonry holding up the arched passageways.

It has has now been fully renovated at a cost of $15 million (£1.2 million).

The foundations of the tomb have been reinforced, walls mended and lighting, ventilation and surveillance installed.


The tombs of the bulls lie in massive granite coffins along the complex labyrinth of underground galleries, connected by long dark passageways.

"This archeological site is linked to very old beliefs regarding ancient Egypt, when they declared the sacred Apis Bull to represent the responsibility of Egypt’s ruler that was to guarantee the fertility of the land and its animals," Mohammed Ibrahim, the secretary of state for antiquities, told AL ARABIYA NEWS.


Egypt is in the throes of political turbulence not seen since the times of the pharaohs. 

The tourism industry has taken as nosedive as foreigners avoid traveling to Egypt.

Ibrahim hopes that sites such as the Serapeum will help to draw visitors back.
 

Saturday, June 14, 2014

WORLD'S FIRST JOKE BOOK
DATES FROM THE DAYS OF ANTINOUS


EVER HEAR the joke about the astrologer who predicted a sick boy would survive the night and get well? He wanted payment in advance ... just in case! 

An English translation of PHILOGELOS (THE LAUGHTER LOVER) is a collection of jokes dating from the Hadrian Era and gives insights into Roman humor.

Take for example the joke in which a man complains that a slave he has just bought has died.

"By the gods," answers the slave's seller, "that's more than he ever did when he was with me."

Other jokes in the book show that sex, nagging wives and farting have formed the basis of humor for centuries.

One example is: "A misogynist is attending to the burial of his wife, who has just died. When a passerby asks, 'Pardon me, who is it who rests in peace here?', he answers, 'Me, now that I'm rid of her!'."

The 265 jokes in Philogelos are attributed to a pair of jokers called Hierocles and Philagrius. Little is known about them, except that they were more likely to have been the compilers of the jokes than the original writers of the gags.

The jokes have been published in a multimedia online book, which includes video of veteran British stand-up comedian JIM BOWEN performing the jokes for a 21st century audience.

Bowen said: "One or two of them are jokes I've seen in people's acts nowadays, slightly updated. They put in a motor car instead of a chariot."

The translator of the book, William Berg, a US professor of classics, said the Philogelos book was already a later version of jokes dating back to the 1st and 2nd Century AD.

HERE'S A SELECTION:


No. 187: An ill-tempered astrologer cast the horoscope of a sick boy, promised his mother that he would live for a long time, then demanded his fee. "Come back tomorrow and I’ll give it to you then," the worried mother said. "But what happens to my fee if he dies in the night?"

No. 201: A man consults a charlatan soothsayer and asks about the health of his family who live in a distant province. "They are all well, especially your father." "But my father’s been dead for ten years!" "Ah, clearly you do not know your REAL father."

No. 202: Having cast a boy’s horoscope, a charlatan prophet predicted that he would be first a lawyer, then a city prefect, and finally a provincial governor. But the boy died. His mother came back and remonstrated, "My son has died, the one you said would be a lawyer and prefect and governor." "I swear by his memory," responded the prophet, "he would have been all of those things had he lived!"

No. 203: Someone went to a charlatan prophet and inquired if his conniving rascal of a rival would come back from a voyage. The prophet promised that he would die at sea. But the man found out a few days later that his enemy had returned unharmed. "Well," said the prophet, "how shameless can you get? That man even goes so far as to cheat the Fates!"

No. 204: A charlatan prophet cast a client’s horoscope and told him he could never have children. "But I’ve already got seven!" "Then you’d better take good care of them!"

No. 205: A charlatan prophet was captured by the enemy, and confessed his trade. Now it so happened that they were about to fight a battle. "You’ll win it," he promised them, "as long as the enemy don't see the hairs on the back of your heads." (trans. B. Baldwin)

Get it?

Friday, June 13, 2014

KING LUDWIG II of BAVARIA
SAINT OF ANTINOUS


ON JUNE 13th the Religion of Antinous commemorates the life of King Ludwig II of Bavaria, who died on this date in 1886 under mysterious circumstances in an Alpine lake. As with Antinous, his death is shrouded in myth and legend and it will never be known whether he drowned accidentally or whether he was assassinated.

Born August 25, 1845, Ludwig was only 18 when he ascended to the throne of Bavaria in 1864. He was the  last truly sovereign monarch of that Alpine nation, which was engulfed by Prussia during his reign and very much against his wishes.

While the king of Prussia was planning a war against France, and various other crowned heads of Europe were scheming and conniving to commit war and bloodshed, "Mad" King Ludwig (as he was called) devoted the entire resources of his land to the performing and visual arts, commissioning operas by Richard Wagner and building the most astounding fairy-tale castles and palaces.

In the build-up to the Franco-German war, as troops were marching off to battle, Ludwig did not bother to see off his military forces. Instead, he went off on a jaunt to Switzerland to confer with Wagner on plans for a Wagnerian opera house in Munich. The opera house was never built, due to opposition from local critics. Instead, it was built at the Bavarian town of Bayreuth to the specifications of the composer, paid for by Ludwig personally.

Shockingly, in a staunchly Roman Catholic land, Ludwig never married and instead surrounded himself with handsome manservants, artists and architects.

Indeed, Ludwig is best known as a closeted gay man whose legacy is intertwined with the history of art and architecture, as he commissioned the construction of several extravagant fantasy castles (the most famous being Neuschwanstein below) and was a devoted patron of Wagner, who might never have finished his "Ring" cycle without Ludwig's ostentatiously generous support.

In an age of fiercely militaristic nationalism, Ludwig came under intense pressures from his advisers to abandon his artistic projects and to devote himself to empire-building. Feeling harassed and irritated by his ministers, he considered dismissing the entire cabinet and replacing them with fresh faces. The cabinet decided to act first.


 Seeking a cause to depose Ludwig by constitutional means, the rebelling ministers decided on the rationale that he was mentally ill, and unable to rule.

Medical psychiatry was in its infancy, and a panel of "experts" assembled mostly anecdotal evidence of the king's "madness" to satisfy the ministers.

The list of "mad" behavior included his extreme shyness, his distaste for politics and state affairs, his complex and expensive flights of fancy (including moonlit picnics at which his young groomsmen were said to strip naked and dance), conversations with imaginary persons, sloppy and childish table manners and sending servants on lengthy and expensive expeditions to research architectural details in foreign lands.
He was deposed on June 9, 1886, and placed under house arrest at a castle on the shores of Lake Starnberg south of Munich where he was under the constant watchful eye of a psychiatrist.

On June 13, around 6:00 pm, Ludwig asked the psychiatrist to accompany him on a walk along the shore of Lake Starnberg. The doctor agreed, and told the guards not to follow them. The two men never returned. At 11:30 that night, searchers found both the king and his doctor dead, floating in the shallow water near the shore.

Ludwig was known to be a strong swimmer, the water was less than waist-deep where his body was found, and the official autopsy report indicated that no water was found in his lungs. Nonetheless, the official death certificate listed suicide by drowning. The death of the doctor was never explained.

Most other monarchs of his era have been forgotten, or else their names have been cursed by succeeding generations for laying the groundwork for the First World War. But Ludwig was only interested in laying the groundwork for grand architecture and enduring cultural masterpieces. His legacy of art and architecture — and homoerotic romance — continues to inspire and to enchant.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

A LITTLE ANTINOUS CAN GO A LONG WAY


POCKET shrines are a handy and magical way to take Antinous with you wherever you go. 

ECCLESIA ANTINOI is the online meeting place for adherents of Antinous, and recently we have been talking about creating portable altars and pocket shrines. 

Many group members have shrines at home but would like to have a sacred little something to take with them, not only on long journeys but even when they go to work, to school or run everyday errands.

One group member said a household altar can be a multi-purpose center. He told us: "As I prepare a new altar and shrine to Antinous, I've dedicated a place to put my wallet, money, and keys in a niche in the shrine thus connecting my life source — money — with that of Antinous' caring, protective spirit."

Everyone can create ANTINOUS ALTARS in even the most limited space. It need not be large and expensive. Even a photo of Antinous on a shelf can be a sacred spot.

Many people think they have to have lots of space and buy out a whole home-hardware store to build an overly elaborate shrine which takes up practically a whole room. That's not true. You can create a Sacred Space anywhere — on a table top, on a shelf or a special box or bag — for a portable shrine such as travelers and pilgrims used to have with them on arduous journeys in bygone centuries before the advent of paved roads and reliable transport.

Just as a bonsai tree embodies a forest giant, a pocket shrine is the embodiment of the Great Temple of Antinous in ANTINOOPOLIS.

A pouch or bag can hold a photo or figure of Antinous along with other "magical" things which are special to you such as crystals, sea shells, inspirational notes, mementos of people (or animals) you love. A deck of tiny Tarot cards or a small vial of perfume oil, dried flowers and prayer beads. The possibilities — as tiny as they may be in physical size — are absolutely unlimited.

In his book about Antinous, Beloved and God, Royston Lambert points out that in ancient times many followers of the Blessed Youth felt it was necessary to have a tangible representation of Antinous with them at all times for protection and for blessings:

"Some of the devotees evidently could not bear to be parted from the beneficial and reassuring presence of their Antinous and therefore had small, light-weight travelling busts or bronzes made to accompany them on their journeys."

Ancient worshipers of the Beauteous Boy knew that a little Antinous quite literally can go a long way ....

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

THE RISE OF THE STAR OF ANTINOUS


ON JUNE 11th, the Religion of Antinous celebrates the Rise of the Star of Antinous.  This is the date in our Liturgical Calendar when the Constellation of Antinous begins to rise over the horizon at sunset. It is visible on the eastern horizon along the banks of the Milky Way.

Wherever you live on Earth, you can see the Constellation of Antinous on starry nights from mid-June through late October when, in synchronicity with the Death of Antinous in late October, the Star of Antinous descends below the western horizon in the glare of the setting sun.
 

The Constellation of Antinous is no longer recognized by astronomers (just as Pluto has been demoted to the rank of "dwarf planet"). But it is still visible from any point on Earth nestled between Sagittarius and Capricorn and in the talons of Aquila (the Eagle Constellation) representing the Imperial Eagle which carried Antinous to lofty heights.

The most visible identifiers are the three bright stars of Aquila — Altair at the crown of his head, Tarazad, and Alshain. Alshain is derived from Arabic for "Two Friends" which astrologers have cited as a hint as to how to interpret the Sign of Antinous.

The Star of Antinous is however difficult to see. Most people cannot see it at all. You won't find it on any star chart. Like the Star of Bethlehem, it is a mystery and a conundrum about which many theories have been written.

And even if you could see it, the light which reaches your eyes would have left the star thousands of years ago — perhaps about the time that Emperor Hadrian discovered the star.

The simple truth of the matter — and the most beautiful facet of all — is the fact that Hadrian discovered the Star of Antinous with his own tear-filled eyes as he looked skyward in grief after the death of his beloved Antinous. Distraught and weeping, the emperor stood under the canopy of the star-studded heavens and looked up the River Nile towards the spot where his Beloved Boy had died. And he saw a new star which he recognized as a celestial sign that the gods had taken Antinous to be one of them.


You have to realize that Hadrian was a keen astronomer/astrologer himself. He knew the heavens like the back of his hand and he was so adept at casting horoscopes that it was said he had determined the exact hour of his death. He built an observatory at his sumptious villa outside Rome. And the tour of Egypt had brought him into contact with the finest Egyptian magician/priests, one of whom taught him how to cast a binding spell which could give him dream-visions and could also cause someone to fall hopelessly in love with him or — depending on how it was cast — even cause that person to die in agony.

Hadrian was that sort of control freak. Despite the fact that he was the mightiest man on Earth who could send a man to death on a whim (and did so, on occasion), he also wanted control over the future. And he wanted to be able to force someone to love him and never, never leave him.

Much has been theorized about those fateful final days leading up to the death and deification of Antinous and Hadrian's discovery of the STAR OF ANTINOUS.

Yes, much has been written about these events and about Hadrian's obsession with magic and astrology and soothsayers. One of the more fanciful versions was published in a novel in the mid-1950s by the German author Ernst Sommer. Entitled simply Antinous, the novel suggests Antinous sacrificed his own life to save his beloved emperor during the imperial tour of Egypt in the year 130 AD.


The dramatic climax of the plot has Hadrian lying in a villa in Hermopolis, feverish and at death's door after having been bitten by a mosquito. The emperor writhes in bed, calling out Antinous's name. The Empress Sabina and heir-apparent Lucius, jealous but also fearful that the presence of Antinous might further agitate the emperor, issue orders that the boy be kept away from the emperor.

After several daring attempts to sneak into the villa, Antinous is finally put under house arrest aboard an imperial vessel anchored a few miles upstream near the fallen-down Temple of Bes (the future site of the Sacred City of Antinoopolis). Lucius has ordered that he be put in irons to prevent him from sneaking off to visit Hadrian. But the guards cannot bring themselves to place the beauteous boy in irons, in defiance of Lucius's orders. Instead, they merely confine him to his quarters below deck with a single porthole overlooking the nighttime waters of the Nile.

Sensing that the emperor is dying, Antinous realizes his love for Hadrian is boundless and that nothing can keep them apart. Thinking back to his discussions about life and death with Jewish Rabbis, Christian clerics and Egyptian priests of Osiris, he realizes that the day has come. The hour has arrived. It is time to surrender everything he has — in a pure act of love that will transform everything.

He opens the porthole hatch and sees an unusually bright star which seems to beckon. He steps out of his clothes and leaves them (his last earthly possessions) lying in a heap on the floor. He climbs deftly out the porthole and slips quietly into the water.

At the same moment, Hadrian breathes his last breath, to the horror of Sabina and Lucius and the others who are gathered at his bedside. In a state now beyond physical life, Hadrian opens his eyes to see Anubis standing before him with outstretched hands, lifting him out of bed and guiding him away down many dark corridors. At last, Hadrian is taken through a massive portal and into a chamber where Thoth is waiting beside scales placed before Osiris.

Thoth begins the Weighing of the Heart ceremony as Osiris asks who this person is who seeks admittance to his realm. In the midst of the solemn proceedings there is a loud banging at the portal and Anubis announces that someone has arrived to offer his own heart in exchange for the emperor's heart, so that Hadrian might live and walk the earth again. That person is standing unseen just outside the portal. After brief discussion, the Egyptian deities acknowledge that the Law of Maat specifically envisions such an exchange and that, indeed, it is the most sacred and powerful of covenants — surrendering one's own heart on the Scales of Truth for that of a loved one. Such love cannot be denied. The offer cannot be denied.

Genesthoi — So Be It Done!

Back at the death bed in the Hermopolis villa, Hadrian gasps suddenly and his eyelids fly open, to the amazement of everyone who thought he had just expired. Sensing what has happened, he speaks hoarsely of a vivid dream involving deities. He looks around and demands to know where Antinous is.

"Where is he? What have you done with him? I know he would be here at my side if he were physically able. Bring him to me at once!"




But as Sabina and Lucius stammer excuses, and before the runners can summon Antinous, a boat crewman bursts into the room with the news that Antinous is missing and presumed to have drowned in the Nile.

Hadrian suffers a relapse, but the Egyptian magic is well done. So he cannot die this time. As the search for Antinous continues, with hope waning each day, Hadrian retreats to the rooftop observatory of the villa in Hermopolis which has been placed at his disposal by a wealthy Hermopolite. The emperor stares into the heavens night after night, refusing to give up hope that Antinous might yet be alive, perhaps dazed and confused and lost somewhere along the river.

Then one night he looks into the heavens and sees the proof that he has been looking for since the disappearance of Antinous. He summons the empress and Lucius and the entire court and also calls for the chief astrologer of the Temple of Thoth in Hermopolis to come quickly.

He informs them that a new star has appeared in the heavens and that it is a celestial sign that Antinous has left this earthly existence to ascend to the pantheon of the gods. He has surrendered everything on behalf of his beloved emperor, just as he had always said he would. Everyone thinks Hadrian has suffered another relapse and is delusional with fever. But the astronomer arrives and swiftly confirms that the sharp-eyed emperor has indeed discovered an uncharted star.

As Hadrian leaves to issue orders for the deification of Antinous, construction of the city at the spot where he drowned and erection of temples throughout the world, the astronomer remains behind in the rooftop observatory with the wealthy owner of the house. Where precisely is this new star, the owner asks. "I know quite a bit about the stars for an amateur, but I can't for the life of me see anything at the spot in the heavens where Caesar was pointing just a while ago."

The astronomer says that the new star is definitely there and that astronomers throughout the world will confirm its existence and it will be recorded duly in all the star charts.

"Yes, but can't you point it out to me?" the wealthy man pleas. "I'm straining my eys looking, but I just can't see anything."

The astronomer answers, "And that is why you will never be a good astronomer. You scan the heavens with your eyes, but not with your heart."

So Hadrian looked into the nighttime skies and discovered a new star to point the way to that new religion. As a scholar and man of science he was able to see it with his own two eyes. Perhaps it was a super-nova which flared and then went out — who knows? He saw it and his court astronomers confirmed it and the Constellation of Antinous was recorded in the star charts for 19 centuries to come.

But more importantly, Hadrian discovered the Star of Antinous shining in his heart. The Death of Antinous showed him a way to make his vision of the perfect religion a reality on Earth. It was the Light he was seeking. It was the Light of Antinous.

So when you look up into the nighttime skies tonight in search of the Star of Antinous, don't be surprised if you can't find it with your physical eyes. You can't find it in physical space, which is why Flamen Antinoalis Antonius Subia calls it the Dark Star of Antinous. Look inside your heart and you will find it shining there with all the beauty of a dream of perfection ....

Lumen Antinoi Adiuva Nos!

(Light of Antinous, Sustain Us!)