Tuesday, September 30, 2014




TWO PRIESTS  of Antinous at the Temple of the Blessed Boy in Rome had devoted their lives to the Good God and were getting on in years.

As young men they had become priests together.

Their love for each other was symbolized and enhanced by their love for Antinous. Together, they had lived out their lives at the great Temple of Rome under the most exalted Priest Nikias.

Nikias of Rome was the author of a famous inscription in Greek which addresses Antinous as NEOS HERMES the "New Hermes" who conveys the deceased through the portals of death into transcendent light. A great Antinoo-Hermeticist, Nikias had taught them much about the triumph of Antinous over death.

And now, as toothless old men, they were approaching the final stage of their earthly priesthood. Both men were frail and ill. They knew death was imminent.

But they were unafraid, for they were confident that they would be re-united in death through the grace and love of the Most Great and Good God whom they had served so faithfully all their lives.

But how exactly would that re-union occur? The ancient texts spoke of the Barque of Millions of Years sailing across the heavens towards the Star of Antinous. But that was the Egyptian imagery, and these priests were both Romans and had only ever served in the Antinous Temple of Rome.

The Rome Temple would of course place their death masks in niches in a special area of the temple dedicated to former priests.

Incense and prayers would be offered to them. Would their shades inhabit those niches?

Would Antinous welcome them in Hades, despite the fact that Antinous the Boy God had come from Bithynia in Asia Minor?

Would their souls be reincarnated as some Eastern mystics believed? Would they hover between heaven and Earth or perhaps be consigned to spending part of the year in the underworld and part of it as lemurs roaming the Earth?

They weren't afraid. But they were exceedingly curious to find out. Confidentially, they believed amongst themselves that they would sail with Antinous aboard the Boat of Millions of Years —  a perpetual journey which would never end. But they weren't sure ....

They had spent years perfecting their meditation skills and, without false modesty, they could claim to be masters at the art of trance vision travel. They both knew that the Egyptian hieroglyphs had told the truth in promising that Antinous speaks through dreams and visions. They also knew how to send psychic messages to each other, and had done so on many occasions.

So they made a deal. He who was the first to die would appear to the other in a dream and reveal what the afterlife was like.

As accomplished as they were, they nonetheless knew that such astral communication must be as succinct and simple as possible.

So they agreed that, if the afterlife was as they had envisioned it, the deceased would appear to his friend and utter the word TALITER meaning "exactly so" as they had expected it to be.

And if it was not as they had imagined, the deceased would say ALITER meaning "different" from what they had expected.

The fateful day came not long afterward, and the surviving priest lit incense and recited prayers before the niche mask of his beloved friend and fellow priest.

That night, almost immediately after his head touched his pillow, his deceased friend appeared to him. He was no longer old and sick and frail. He was as young and handsome as the day they had entered the temple. And he was smiling and clearly very excited and seemed to have forgotten the agreed-upon words.

"Taliter or aliter, which is it?" the sleeping priest asked his departed friend.

The friend smiled bigger than ever and said: TOTALITER ALITER — "totally different" — and still beaming with joy, he turned and vanished into golden light.

Monday, September 29, 2014


AFTER leaving Alexandria, the first important stop for Antinous on the Nile journey in September 130 AD was at Heliopolis, the ancient center of the worship of Re, the sun god.

The Heliopolitan cosmology states that the universe is created when the Atum (first principle) masturbates and creates himself as the sun god Re, the visible manifestation of the Atum, and then rises up from the primordial waters in the form of a mound.

Re then gives birth to the Enneads, the Nine beings who create the cosmos: Shu (air) and Tefnut (fire), Geb (Earth), Nut (Sky), Osiris and Isis, Seth and Nepthys who together are the principles of life. 

The creator, Re-Harakhte, travels across the sky on his Boat of Millions of Years every day, and then as it submerges beneath the horizon, Re-Harakhte battles against death and evil, and is greeted triumphantly each morning by the priests of Heliopolis. 

Antinous was admitted into these mysteries, and gained a place by the side of Re-Harakhte on his sacred boat, according to the hieroglyphs on the Obelisk of Antinous.

The glyphs state that Antinous can "assume any form his heart desires, because the semen of the First God TRULY is in his body."

When Hadrian and Antinous visited Heliopolis, they were no doubt shown the sacred shrine of the Bennu bird, who was said to have burst forth in a shower of radiant light from the heart of the First God.

This is the same First God who ejaculated into his own mouth to utter the words of creation at the moment of Sep Tepy, the Creation Moment. Other versions say he ejaculated in great arcs which created all the other deities and the entire universe.

Then on October 11th, a few days after visiting the Sacred Shrine of the Phoenix in Heliopolis (and acquiring that virulent bit of spellwork), Hadrian and Antinous visited Oxyrhynchus and heard of the fabled phallus of Osiris.

And a couple of weeks later, Hadrian cradled the limp body of Antinous on the shores of the Nile. The body was limp like a marionette whose strings had been cut.

Hadrian "wept like a woman" and refused to accept oblivion for his Beloved Boy. Instead, he proclaimed Antinous a god and set about making sure that the Religion of Antinous took root and blossomed.

The Obelisk of Antinous speaks of Antinous being full of the "Semen of the First God" which is the creative force of the universe. 

That means Antinous can assume "any form his heart desires" since he (like Osiris) is one with the First God — and one with the Bennu Bird.

Antinous IS the Phoenix.

Sunday, September 28, 2014


ANY day now archaeologists may uncover the "big secret" of AMPHIPOLIS in Macedonia, Greece, and finally be able to say what or who Casta hill ... or whether the tomb is empty. 

Amid rampant speculation, here are some of the candidates:

Alexander the Great
The Greek prime minister is said he is almost certain it must be the LOST TOMB OF ALEXANDER. Alexander sailed from Amphipolis to Asia. However, it is almost certain that his tomb is located in Alexandria, since people such as Julius Caesar, Hadrian and Antinous are supposed to have visited his burial site there. Some, however, insist that his bones were moved to Amphipolis by his mother Olympias, while others argue that this "tomb" is only a cenotaph "waiting" to receive him, or a second monument in his honor.

General of Alexander’s army and Alexander's male lover. Professor Theodoros Mavrogiannis believes that the Casta hill tomb belongs to Hephaestion and claims that the tomb was built in 325 BC by order of Alexander himself.

MOTHER OF ALEXANDER, wife of Philip II, king of Macedon, and daughter of King Neoptolemus of Epirus. Cassander had her murdered by stoning in 316 BC.

Androsthenes, Laomedon and Nearchus
Alexander the Great’s three admirals are closely connected to Amphipolis. Androsthenes and Laomedon were born there while Nearchus was either born or exiled in Amphipolis.

Son of Antipater, did not follow Alexander’s army in Asia. He stayed with his father in Macedonia and used to fight with Polyperchon but eventually allied with him, when he killed Alexander’s son, Heracles. In 311 BC, he killed Alexander’s second son and successor, Alexander IV, along with his mother Roxana. He died of edema in 279 BC.

He served under Philip and Alexander. He returned to Greece from Asia in 324 BC -after the death of Alexander- and was appointed regent of Macedon by Antipater in place of the latter’s son, Cassander.

Philip II of Macedon
Some do not believe that the tomb of king Philip was located in Vergina. Meanwhile, others claim that ancient Greeks might have built a second monument in Amphipolis to commemorate the king.

Son of Alexander who was murdered with his mother, Barsine.

Alexander IV
The twelve-year-old son of Alexander and Roxana who was murdered along with his mother by Cassander. If his grave is located in Vergina, then it is possible that someone buried him and disposed of his mother’s corpse.

The WIFE OF ALEXANDER became the mother of his son in 323 BC after Alexander had died. Roxana fled to Epirus in order to be saved by his descendants, and later went to Amphipolis, where she was murdered by Cassander in 310 BC.

Antigonus Monophthalmus
General of Alexander’s army, was proclaimed king in 306 BC and demanded that Cassander gives him Macedon. He died eighty-one years old and was buried with royal honors.

Philip Arrhidaeus
Son of king Philip. After Alexander’s death, he was proclaimed king by the Macedonian army as Philip III of Macedon. He was killed by soldiers who defected against Olympias. His bones were transported by Cassander to Aegae.

Saturday, September 27, 2014


THE Egyptian hieroglyphs on the Obelisk of Antinous in Rome say that Antinous hears the prayers of all who call out to him and that he answers them through dreams. How does it work? Check out this message we have just received from an Antinous adherent in Brazil:

I would like to share this experience. Yesterday, I had to take two very important tests, in English and French, for my doctorate selection. I'm Brazilian, and even though I have studied English for many years, it's not my first language. And I'm definitely not very good with French. 

So, last Monday, I danced under the full moon and asked Antinous the Gay God for focus and a relaxed mind during the tests. 

When I went to bed, I dreamt of a fairy glade inside an ancient circle of stones under the full moon, where several fey people were enjoying themselves: dryads, leprechauns, sirens, satyrs and others. 

Antinous was there, seated on a throne, crowned as Dionysus, drinking wine and smiling at me, as I was seated on a bench nearby eating some grapes. 

At the center of the glade, two shirtless, very muscular, red-haired leprechaun-like young men were drinking bright-colored, foamy ale while dancing-wrestling to the merry sound of faery fiddlers. 

The two fairy boys looked exactly the same, except for their tights, one leaf-green and the other dark red. 

Antinous looked at me and I not so much heard as I actually sensed in my head a thought, this powerful feeling, a message that was something like this: 
"You don't need to worry about what you already know, for it is in your memories. You don't need to worry about what you do not know, for it is there just waiting to be discovered, as long as you keep your eyes and ears open. Drink, dance and rest. You shall do well!" 
After that, the two red hairs took me to dance and drink with them. I really had a very good time there. I felt like I was 20 again (I'm 46). 

When I took the two tests yesterday, I was amazed! You see, the board might have chosen any academic text among dozens of authors and hundreds of books, but they chose two authors that I knew and, among their many works, two texts that I had already read and written about. 

One of them is a particularly difficult French author that many students avoid reading if they can afford to, but I had a full course on his works and ideas during my M.A.

I couldn't help but smile and say a silent prayer to Antinous, for I felt deeply blessed. And the sexy red-haired leprechauns were a nice touch ;)

Friday, September 26, 2014


A range of Tom of Finland postage stamps have become the biggest-selling commemorative stamps ever launched in Finland.

The stamps were issued just last week to commemorate the “proud homoeroticism” of the influential gay artist, who is a Saint of Antinous and who inspired the look of Freddie Mercury and the Village People.

The artist, whose real name is Touko Laaksonen, remains an influential figure in gay art.

We honor him as a SAINT OF ANTINOUS whose gift of erotic artistry and wry humor influenced the Stonewall generation. 

Tom of Finland's style is so identifiable, so iconic, that it is immediately recognizable ... He is so closely identified with his iconic art that few people ever suspect that his name is not actually Tom, though he is indeed a Finn.

In issuing the stamps, the Finnish postal authority said: “His emphatically masculine homoerotic drawings have attained iconic status in their genre and had an influence on, for instance, pop culture and fashion. In his works, Tom of Finland utilized the self-irony and humor typical of subcultures.

"The drawings on the stamp sheet represent strong and confident male figures typical of their designer," the postal authority said.

After the stamps went on sale on Monday, the service reported that it had received pre-orders from 178 countries, and that the range of stamps were the best selling in Finland’s postal service’s history.

The most orders came from Sweden, the US, the UK and France.

"We haven’t seen this kind of interest before and we probably won't again soon," said Finnish postal official Markku Penttinen.

"Our starting point was to get Touko Laaksonen's artwork in our stamps. We know that he was very well-known globally. Of course the subject matter is also topical and much discussed. This equation has worked better than we anticipated," he continued.

Thursday, September 25, 2014


IF you are unaware that Emperor Hadrian formed an alliance with China in 120 AD then you haven't seen this remarkable epic film made in Malaysia.

CLASH OF EMPIRES is a action-packed drama tracing Hadrian's attempt to create a civilization based on Hellenistic principles stretching from the Atlantic to the Pacific by means of a marriage between a prince of Rome and a princess of the Han Dynasty.

The Emperor dispatches a golden haired Roman Patrician named Marcus Caprenius to a rendezvous with Princess Meng Li Hua on neutral ground in Malaysia half-way between Rome and China.

But when Caprenius's fleet is shipwrecked in Goa, India, he is forced to seek the help of a Malaysian scoundrel called Merong, who claims to be a descendant of Alexander the Great.

In Malaysian history, Merong was the true-life founder of Kedah, one of the principal states of modern Malaysia, and his name is revered but shrouded in myth and legend.

In the film, Merong's efforts to bring Meng Li Hua and Caprenius together run afoul of Garuda tribes led by an evil shaman who has equipped himself and his henchman with amulets making them invincible.

The shaman raises storms to battle the Chinese and Roman forces and confronts them with an invincible army.

Merong, calling on his Greek heritage, uses mirrors to create an ARCHIMEDES HEAT RAY which incinerates Garuda naval vessels and even some of the sailors.

But the evil shaman blots out the sun, making the mirrors useless. Just when things literally look darkest, reinforcements arrive in the form of a combined Roman-Chinese naval flotilla to save the day.

Merong fulfills his destiny as founder of a noble Malay nation, and the alliance between Rome and China is sealed by matrimony.

Romance, martial-arts fight scenes and lots of CGI effects made this film a big-budget blockbuster in Malaysia. It is definitely the most arcane film you are ever likely to see about Hadrian ... who even makes a brief cameo at the beginning of this trailer:

Wednesday, September 24, 2014


THE Imperial entourage headed by Emperor Hadrian and his beloved Antinous set sail in a fleet of gilded ships that would carry them up the Sacred Nile in September 130 AD. 

The inundated waters were beginning to recede making the journey possible, as it was forbidden for the "Pharaoh" to travel on the river while it was still in flood. 

Antinous and Hadrian assumed their places on the sacred boat, from which later, Antinous would take his plunge into godliness. (Image: "Barque" courtesy Andrew Prior)

This Ship is what we call the Boat of Millions of Years, a symbol for our religion, and an illustration of the ever-lasting Heaven of Antinous, which is a journey across the river of the Milky Way, toward the Black Star.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014


THE Gnostic Father St. Carpocrates was in Alexandria when the Imperial court arrived in September 130 AD. 

His doctrine of Freedom and Libertinism came to flower shortly after the death and deification of Antinous. 

St. Carpocrates taught that we were all equal to the gods, but that we do not remember our divine origin. 

(Image: "Carpocrates" oil on canvas by Antonius Subia)

The process of self-deification involves exposing ourselves to the angels who ruled over forbidden things so as to be free from their control. 

Homosexuality was considered sacred by Carpocrates because it is a form of love fundamentally free from the process of regeneration. 

St. Carpocrates possessed a copy of the Secret Gospel of Mark, which contained a passage from the life of Jesus in which the Savior reveals the Kingdom of Heaven to a boy by laying naked with him.

Flamen Antonius Subia elaborates:

"While in Alexandria, we believe that Antinous blessed and inspired the young Carpocrates to spread his new philosophy to the world. 

"We observe this moment of transfiguration as the mutual consecration exchanged by Antinous the God and Carpocrates the Gnostic, while Hadrian's entourage boarded the fleet of ships and departed from Alexandria. 

"Carpocrates blessed the Sacred Boat as Antinous stepped aboard. The profundity of the Carpocratian message is the heart of the Salvation of Antinous."

Monday, September 22, 2014


ON the Equinox ... may Antinous-Cyparissus bless us with celestial alignment and let us be in harmony with the cosmos. 

We regard the September Equinox (Autumnal in the Northern Hemisphere and Vernal in the Southern Hemisphere) as the SACRED STAG HUNT in which Antinous spiritually pursues the magic stag through the spiritual forest ... the stag representing the male god force within us. 

The stag is a symbol for gay spirituality, a graceful, beautiful animal, crowned with horns, mighty and strong, yet pursued by hunters who yearn for the taste of his tender meat.

We look to the story of Cyparissus the beautiful boy who was lover of Apollo or in another version of the forest god Silvanus. 

As a gift of love, the god gave Cyparissus a beautiful stag, but while hunting the ever jealous god of the west wind fooled Cyparissus into accidentally shooting and killing his beloved stag. (Image: "Cyparissus" by Jacopo Vignali)

The boy was so consumed by grief that Sylvanus-Apollo took pity and immortalized him by turning him into the Cypress tree, which is an emblem of death. 

So it is the the Stag Hunt brings summer to a close and prepares the way for the Death and Transfiguration of Antinous.

We pray to the Horned God to come into our lives and direct our magical forces as gay men towards fulfilling our goals and accomplishing our dreams. We are both hunter and hunted.

Antinous is both the beautiful Cyparissus and his beloved stag, and between the two is a sacred gay mystery.

Ave Antinous the Stag Hunter



THE second season of the British television ancient Rome comedy PLEBS will premiere on Monday September 22nd at 10 p.m. on ITV2 with a double-bill.

Plebs follows the lives of three desperate young men from the lower classes as they try to participate in sexual intercourse, hold down jobs and climb the social ladder in the big city. 

Two are free men: Marcus (Rosenthal) and Stylax (Fry), who work in a scriptorium in the company of Water Boy (Man), Aurelius (Basden). 

The third leading character, Grumio (Sampson), is their lazy slave with an attitude problem. 

Marcus and Stylax live next door to two Britons, Cynthia (Colquhoun), an aspiring actress, and her slave Metella (Bewley).

In the opening episode of the show's second season, the boys win big at a chariot race and it looks like their fortunes might have taken a turn for the better.

Stylax decides to reinvent himself as a charioteer, Marcus prefers to spend his money on romantic pursuits, while Grumio gets nothing:

Sunday, September 21, 2014


ON September 21st the Religion of Antinous honors KING EDWARD II of England and his lover PIERS GAVESTON.

Although Edward fathered at least five children by two women, he was widely known to be homosexual. 

His inability to deny even the most grandiose favours to his male favourites (first a Gascon knight named Piers Gaveston, later a young English lord named Hugh Despenser) led to constant political unrest and his eventual deposition by his wife Isabella in January 1327. (Image: suburbanbeatnik)

Several contemporary sources criticised Edward's seeming infatuation with Piers Gaveston, to the extent that he ignored and humiliated his wife. Chroniclers called the relationship "excessive, immoderate, beyond measure and reason" and criticised his desire for "wicked and forbidden sex".

As the resentment against Edward's rule and Gaveston's position of power grew, some barons insisted Gaveston be banished, through the Ordinances of 1311. Edward recalled his friend, but could do little to prevent Gaveston being captured in 1312 under the orders of the Earl of Lancaster and his allies, who claimed that he had led the king to folly. He was captured murdered and his head cut off.

Edward's grief over the death of Gaveston was profound. He kept the remains of his body close to him for a number of weeks before the Church forcibly arranged a burial.

In 1326, another of Edward's lovers, Hugh Despenser the younger was brutally killed by a mob. They dragged him from his horse, stripped him, and scrawled Biblical verses against corruption and arrogance on his skin. He was then condemned to hang as a thief, be castrated, and then to be drawn and quartered as a traitor. In 2009, mutilated body parts found at an abbey were identified as those of Sir Hugh Despenser the Younger, one of the most reviled medieval courtiers and reputed gay lover of the Plantagenet king, Edward II.

Edward II abdicated and was imprisoned. A historian later described his death: "On the night of 21st September while lying on a bed the king was suddenly seized and, while a great mattress ... weighed him down and suffocated him, a plumber's iron, heated intensely hot, was introduced through a tube into his anus so that it burned the inner portions beyond the intestines."

In 1598, the almost certainly gay playwright Christopher Marlowe wrote a wonderful play called, simply, Edward the Second. It does not shy away from describing the love between Edward II and his greatest favourite Gaveston.

There is one lovely quote which we can imagine our Beloved Boy saying to Hadrian. Edward offers Gaveston gold, men at arms, his great seal or anything he desires. Gaveston responds:

It shall suffice me to enjoy your love,
Which whiles I have, I think myself as great
As Caesar riding in the Roman street,
With captive kings (in) his triumphant (chariot)

Saturday, September 20, 2014


ANTINOUS stood here and saw this room ... lavishly frescoed rooms in the Palatine villa of Emperor Augustus and his wife Livia which are now open to the public for the first time, following years of painstaking restoration. 

The rooms in the "Domus Augusti" on Rome's Palatine hill where the emperor lived with his family are re-opening after a €2.5 million (US $3.22 million) restoration to mark the 2,000th anniversary of Augustus's death ... with previously off-limit chambers on show for the first time.

From garlands of flowers on Pompeian red backgrounds to majestic temples and scenes of rural bliss, the rooms are adorned with vividly coloured frescoes, many in an exceptional condition. 

Restorers said their task had been a complex one, with bad weather during excavation threatening the prized relics of a golden era in the Eternal City.

"We had to tackle a host of problems which were all connected, from underground grottos to sewers ... and I'm talking about a sewer system stretching over 35 hectares (86 acres)," Mariarosaria Barbera, Rome's archaeological superintendent, told AFP the French news agency. 

To protect the site, tourists will have to book to join one of three daily groups of up to 20 people who will be taken around by a guide for a 15-minute visit.

After being awarded tribunica potestas for life in 23 BC, Octavian decided to buy the house of Quintus Hortensius on the Palatine and make it his primary place of residence. 

The comparative modesty of the Domus Augusti was in keeping with the return to traditional ideals promoted during the Augustan period. 

The Domus Augusti was located near the Hut of Romulus and other sacred sites which relate to the foundation of Rome. In antiquity this residence contained two levels, each leading to a garden courtyard.

The founder of the Roman Empire was born Gaius Octavius in 63 BC on the Palatine hill. The great-nephew of Julius Caesar, he was adopted as his son shortly before the latter was assassinated. 

Gaius Octavius went on to rule over Rome for 40 years, during which the Republic experienced an era of great wealth and relative peace.

Livia, the love of his life, was his third wife, whom he married when she was pregnant with her first husband's child. He adopted the baby, Tiberius, who would succeed him after his death.

Augustus died aged 75, after which the Senate raised him to the status of a god and appointed Livia his chief priestess. As part of the 2,000 year celebrations, the Palatine Museum has dedicated a room to Augustus with objects connected to his life on show.

Friday, September 19, 2014


SEPTEMBER 19 the Religion of Antinous celebrates the birth of the Divine Emperor Antoninus Pius.

Caesar Titus Aurelius Fulvius Boionius Arrius Antoninus was born on this day 86 A.D. at Lanuvium, near Rome.

Under the Divine Hadrian he served as Proconsul of Asia minor from 130 to 135, the most crucial years in the development of the Religion of Antinous. After that he was summoned to Rome to be close to Hadrian as his health failed.

With the untimely death of the emperor's chosen heir, the blessed Lucius Aelius Verus Caesar, Hadrian chose Antoninus to be his successor. Thus Hadrian adopted him as his son and successor on the 25th of February 138, on condition that he himself adopted Hadrian's great nephew-by-marriage Marcus Aurelius, and Lucius Aelius Verus's son Lucius Verus, who was only 7 years old.

Hadrian's choice in successors proved to be infinitely wise. 

Following decades of political turmoil, civil strife and imperial excesses, Hadrian and his successors ushered one final period of peace and prosperity for Rome which would go done in history as the Sacred and Golden Age of the Antonines.

On Hadrian's death, Antoninus Pius was enthusiastically welcomed to the throne by the Roman people, whose hopes of a happy reign were not disappointed. For Antoninus came to his new office with simple tastes, kindly disposition, extensive experience, a well-trained intelligence and the sincerest desire for the welfare of his subjects.

One of his first acts was to persuade the Senate to grant divine honors to Hadrian, which they had at first refused (but later agreed to). This gained him the title of Pius (dutiful in affection). He built temples, theaters, and mausoleums, promoted the arts and sciences, and bestowed honors and salaries upon the teachers of rhetoric and philosophy.

Unlike his predecessors Trajan and Hadrian, Antoninus Pius was not a military man. His reign was comparatively peaceful. Insurrections amongst the Moors, Jews, and Brigantes in Britain were easily put down. The one military result which is of interest to us now is the building in Britain of the Wall of Antoninus (a few miles north of Hadrian's Wall), which was proclaimed in 2008 to be a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

During his reign, Antoninus issued coins celebrating the religious glory of Rome in celebration of the nine hundredth anniversary of the city in 147. The coins asserted the superiority of Romanism over the Empire.

Antoninus is said to have restored the sanctity of the ancient Roman faith, and to have reinvigorated its ceremonies, which is another possible reason why he was surnamed Pius.

The Religion of Antinous was in its infancy when Antoninus Pius came to power. The Blessed Boy's temples were under construction. The Sacred City of Antinoopolis was unfinished. It would have been easy for Antoninus Pius to pull the plug on the expense involved in the new religion. After all, Antoninus Pius was known as a penny-pincher who demanded fiscal restraint.

Instead, Antoninus Pius generously supplied the fledgling religion with imperial largess and was instrumental in the spread of the Faith of Antinous in those early years. Without him, the religion would have vanished at Hadrian's death. Instead, it flourished for centuries.

After the longest reign since Augustus (surpassing Tiberius by a couple of months), Antoninus died of fever on March 7, 161. His last public utterance was when the tribune of the night-watch came to ask the password — "aequanimit as" (equanimity). It was a fitting epitaph.

His body was placed in Hadrian's Mausoleam, a column was dedicated to him on Mars Field, and the temple he had built in the Forum in 141 to his deified wife Faustina was rededicated to the deified Faustina and the deified Antoninus. The Temple of Antoninus and Faustina still stands today in the Roman Forum (at right, now called the Church of San Lorenzo in Miranda).

We pay tribute to Antoninus Pius, who truly lived up to his title as a man of wisdom and piety.

Thursday, September 18, 2014


MAGINATION is the key word. Just imagine the cramped artist's studio in London's Chelsea district and, with the help of the artist's images, you are there. It is December 1909. The solid-black walls of the apartment contrast starkly with the red-orange drapes. 

Jamaican folk artefacts share space on a Victorian curio shelf with photographs of friends and relatives — a mother in Jamaica, a father in Brooklyn Heights, a famous actress in a West End production, Bram Stoker, W.B. Yeats. The jet-black walls form a void-like exhibition space which highlights the dazzling Caribbean art as well as the dozens of paintings and sketches which line the walls. Suffragette posters. Oil landscapes. But particularly watercolor illustrations of dreamscapes and fairy tales.

A brightly painted miniature theatre with ornate proscenium and cloth curtain stands proudly in one corner, with its cast of tiny cardboard cut-out "actors" waiting patiently for their entrances.

An enormous gramophone stands in the opposite corner, and Debussy's La Mer is playing at full volume, as it has been all morning. The neighbours have long since stopped complaining about the music.

The artist, Pamela Colman Smith, is a petite woman in her early 30s who sits in the middle of the studio with paint brush in hand, mixing watercolors, her eyes trance-like as the music envelops her. She is wearing a vividly hued kimono with broad sleeves made even more colorful by splotches of paint.

One of the two Japanese combs pinning back her long dark hair has loosened, causing her tresses to sag to one side, but she is oblivious.  The paint is dripping from her brush, but she pays no mind, keeping her eyes firmly shut as Debussy transports her to a place she calls "the unknown country" of her artistic inner heart.

On the easel in front of her is a small canvas showing an androgynous person wearing a short kimono-like tunic with sleeves and an abstract floral design uncannily like the kimono she is wearing. The figure is striding to a precipice as a small white animal dances at his heels.

The painting is almost finished. The outline was done in pen. Only a  few more brush strokes are needed for the hand-coloring. Debussy will provide the musical sunrise which will be the cue that the illustration is finished.

And then the small illustration will join all the others (about 80 in all, give or take one or two) which are carefully arranged on drying shelves around the studio. The printer is waiting. The cards must be delivered by the end of December.

She has been working on the Tarot card project for about a year, since Arthur E.A. Waite asked her to illustrate "his" new pack of Tarot cards in his long-running one-upsmanship feud with other occultists in London. 

He had very strong ideas about the design of the 22 Greater Trumps but was unconcerned with the 56 Lesser Trumps. Only one other artist had ever illustrated all 78 cards, an unknown 15th Century artist whose dazzling cards were jealously guarded by the Sola Busca family of Italy. 

The Sola Buscas had grudgingly permitted photographic copies of the cards to be put on view at the British Museum in 1908.

And so it was, that a petite 30-something sufragette took a tweedy advertising executive for the Horlick's bedtime powdered milk drink  (Waite's "day job" when he wasn't doing occult spellwork) and dragged him to the British Museum and said she would do the job but only on condition that she illustrate all 78 cards with artistic license for design and color.

It had taken months of pain-staking work. "A big job for very little cash!" she would write to her friend and benefactor Alfred Stieglitz,  who had made room in his famed New York photography gallery for exhibitions of some of her "Pictures in Music", watercolors she painted in a trance-like state while listening to her favorite composers, such as Mozart, Tchaikovsky and Debussy. On a visit to Paris, she had even been bold enough to introduce herself to Debussy and show him paintings she had done to his music. She was greatly flattered when he said she had captured the very essence of his music.

"You ask me how these pictures are evolved," she said. "They are not the music theme — pictures of the flying notes — not conscious illustrations of the name given to a piece of music, but just what I see when I hear music-thoughts loosened and set free by the spell of the sound."

She explained that, for example, "Often when I hear Bach I hear bells ringing in the sky, rung by whirling cords held in the hands of maidens dressed in brown."

Stieglitz had shown her music paintings to rave reviews in New York in 1907. The New York Sun critic wrote: "Pamela Colman Smith is a young woman with the quality rare in either sex — imagination."

Pamela — "Pixie" to her few close friends (mostly women) — had grown up in London and New York City, as well as in Jamaica. Her father was a globe-trotting businessman who spent little time at home. Her mother came from a long line of women poets and children's story-book writers. The details of her childhood are fuzzy. She had a dark complexion and facial features which prompted speculation that she had been adopted during her father's many trips to Jamaica. At any rate, she spent her formative years in Jamaica, where she learned the patois dialect perfectly and became a master story-teller of Jamaican tales of magic and wonder.

But when her mother died at an early age, little Pixie moved to Brooklyn Heights where she lived with her father and pursued art classes at the renowned Pratt Institute, a progressive school which encouraged students to explore new avenues of expression.

And when her father also died suddenly, she was shipped back to England to live with a troupe of actors who were friends of her eccentric father. She was relieved to be back in England, since her skin color had exposed her to racist discrimination in the States.

The rarified atmosphere of London's Leicester Square theatre district was an invigorating change. In New York she had been "a mulatto". 

In London's West End she was simply exotic. She lived with the high-profile actress Ellen Terry, who became her mother, mentor and best friend. Sir Henry Irving, a leading thespian and empresario, became her ersatz father. The three of them toured Britain in productions when they weren't staging their own plays in the West End. Pixie lived in Irving's theatre. She learned set design, costume design (and how to mend costumes between acts) and she learned how the stage is the world-in-small.

A century on, it is hard for us to appreciate how mind-opening the theatre was. There was no radio, no television. Even the cinema was in its infancy. To see the world, you went to the theatre. Pamela didn't just go to the theatre. Surrounded by actors and directors 24 hours a day, she truly LIVED the theatre. She said it was the perfect place for a budding artist.

"Go and see all the plays you can," she advised young artists. "For the stage is a great school — or should be — to the illustrator — as well as to others."

She openly admitted she had learned more in the theatre than at her famous New York art institute.

"The stage has taught me almost all I know of clothes, of action and  of pictorial gestures," she said, and her advice to other artists was to  throw away the textbook and just open their eyes and ears. An artist should always have a sketch pad at hand. She even took her sketch pad to the ballet to see Nijinsky dance.

"Learn from everything, see everything, and above all feel everything! And make other people when they look at your drawing feel it too!"

She was dismissive of painters who are interested only in their medium and who shun other liberal arts.

"Keep an open mind to all things," she said. Even though you are a painter, listen to music, go to the ballet.

"Hear all the music you can, for sound and form are more closely related than we know."

And she dismissed turn-of-the-century painters who strove only for beauty, ignoring ugliness.

"For through ugliness is beauty sometimes found," she observed. She recalled having seen a very dark and brutal stage production which in a way reminded her of the gritty beauty of poverty-stricken Jamaica.

"All through that play I thought that ugly things may be true to nature, but surely it is through evil, that we realize good. The far-off  scent of morning air, the blue mountains, the sunshine, the flowers, of a country I once lived in, seemed to rise before me — and there on the stage was a woman sitting on a chair, her body stiff, her eyes rolling, a wonderfully realistic picture of a fit."

Through Ellen Terry and Henry Irving, Pamela made friends with literary luminaries such as "Dracula" author Bram Stoker, "Peter Pan" playwright J.M. Barrie and and poet/playwright W.B. Yeats.

In fact, "Sherlock Holmes" was her uncle — because her real-life great uncle was the actor William Gillette, who brought Holmes to the stage in London and on Broadway. It was Gillette who introduced many of the mannerisms and props (the deerstalker cap, the meerschaum pipe) which have been intrinsically associated with Sherlock Holmes by succeeding generations. Her Uncle Bill even saw to it that Pamela illustrated the programs for his Holmes productions.

Pamela became well-known for her afternoon literary teas, at which Yeats, Stoker and other luminaries would gather in her studio while she put on the costume of a Jamaican wise woman and sat cross-legged on the floor, relating Jamaican folk tales in dialect.

She used a miniature theatre and tiny cardboard characters to illustrate her hugely delightful tales.

Her literary friends encouraged her to publish and illustrate the stories under her own name, which she did. The book is still in print.

One frequent male visitor described one such literary evening, saying, "The door was flung open, and we saw a little round woman, scarcely more than a girl, standing in the threshold. She looked as if she had been the same age all her life, and would be so to the end. She was dressed in an orange-colored coat that hung loose over a green skirt, with black tassles sewn all around over the orange silk, like the frills on a Red Indian's trousers. She welcomed us with a little shriek. She was very dark, and not thin, and when she smiled, with a smile that was peculiarly infectious, her twinkling gypsy eyes seemed to vanish altoghether. Just now, at the door they were the eyes of a joyous, excited child."

This was shortly after the turn of the 20th Century, and she had perfected her artistic style and was busy as a book and magazine illustrator. While publishers mandated style to some extent, Pamela Colman Smith advocated the Arts and Crafts style, also known as the Secession style or, in the US, as the Craftsman or, especially in California, called the Mission style.

The Arts and Crafts Movement was a style which dominated in the years before World War I, and which was between the Art Nouveau style of the 1890s and the Expressionist style which would revolutionize art after the Great War. The Arts and Crafts Movement was an attempt to reject superfluous Victorian "wedding cake" adornment and to simplify things to the basics of simple lines and solid colors, in defiance of bourgeouis homeowners who wanted clutter.

For one brief moment, in the cosy years before the war, idealistic artists such as Pamela depicted a magical world in which machines did not dominate humankind. They were artists who sought to recreate pre-industrial, even primitive styles in art, architecture and decoration. Lines were simple. Colors were bold and earthy.

Pamela's generation of artists saw that a world driven by steam pistons was heading blindly, full-steam ahead for collision with the cold and immutable forces of nature. The Titanic disaster in 1912 was only a symbolic inevitable disaster waiting to happen, as far as these artists were concerned.

The Arts and Crafts Movement flourished in the first decade of the 20th Century, and Pamela managed to get by financially with her illustrations in that style. She also provided illustrations and even wrote articles for Gustav Stickley's "The Craftsman" magazine which was a leading purveyor of the style.

Not surprisingly, her Tarot cards are an enduring monument to the Arts and Crafts Movement and its philosophy which holds that a return to timeless styles in the Arts can help the human race return to timeless virtues and ageless wisdom. She was seeking to create a world in which racist thought and moral hypocrisy would vanish along with high-button shoes and celluloid shirt collars. She wanted everyone to sit on the floor, cross-legged, and discover the childlike magic of just being alive.

The cards were published with very little fanfare in December 1909. Only a few occultists took notice, and most of them were engaged in feuds with each other. The general public did not notice. Tarot cards were considered to be "French". The only Tarot cards hitherto available were from France, and they were considered only slightly less objectionable than saucy French porn postcards. Pamela was keenly aware that her cards were not going to make inroads into popular culture.

"Oh, the prudishness and pompous falseness of a great mass of intelligent people!" she wrote in an article for Stickley's "The Craftsman". It was an article aimed at inspiring young artists. "Lift up your ideals, you weaklings, and force a way out of that thunderous clamor of the steam piston, the hurrying herd of blind humanity, noise, dust, strife, seething toil!"

Those 78 cards are a veritable map of the place which she called "the unknown country" within an artist's heart. Many of her book illustrations are variations on that theme, such as "The Hill of Heart's Desire" at left.

To look at each card in succession is to take a trip through a magical land where cosmic wisdom and virtue prevail. You can spot  recurring landmarks, such as castles, bridges and towers, which recur from different vantage points throughout the "journey". This magical land is peopled by beings who at times wear Renaissance clothing and at other times wear chitons and togas. The whole magical world is a place beyond linear time and space.

Waite never adequately acknowledged her work. In the book accompanying the cards he failed to mention her by name, saying only that a "young woman artist" had illustrated them on his instructions. 
But in fact, Pamela had been a member of the Order of the Golden Dawn along with Stoker and Waite. In a way it was only natural since the English-speaking world's first esoteric book store, Watkins, had just opened its doors a few steps away from the Leicester Square theatre district.

Pamela never wrote about her initiation into occult mysteries. But the very first card in the deck, The Magician, is graphic proof that she was privy to occult knowledge of the most secret sort. In 1909 only a handful of people had read a badly translated copy of Das Buch Abramelin, a 15th Century German-language grimoire written by a German-Jewish sorcerer who claimed to have been initiated into ancient mysteries by a master living in a desert cave on the banks of the Nile.

Even now, a century after Pamela painted that card, very few people have read the Book of Abramelin, certainly not in the original German. To this day there is no full English translation. Those few who have read it immediately realize that The Magician card is a very precise portrait taken straight from the ancient book.

In it, the novice magician is instructed to wear a clean white tunic bound at the waist by a symbolic ouroboros serpent. He is to wear a  crimson mantle over the tunic while standing before a simple wooden table upon which are his magical tools. The book then says that, for best results, the magician's magical work space should look out over a witch's garden of flowers and magical herbs.

Whatever Waite thought of "his" cards — and he was very vague in  saying what their purpose should be other than clearly to aggrandize  himself — Pamela knew they were tools not for TELLING the future, but for SHAPING the future through ancient Abramelin magical spells. That occult secret, sealed in the colorful symbolism of her cards, was destined to die with her — to be rediscovered a century after she created the cards by priests of ANTINOUS THE GAY GOD.

With that first card, The Magician, and with Renaissance alchemical symbolism throughout the deck, Pamela shows she was highly knowledgeable in the occult arts.

The rest of her story is quickly told. The Titanic sank but the age of the steam pistons did not go down with it. Instead, the First World War swept aside the lofty dreams of Pamela's generation of artists. The Arts and Crafts Movement was the first casualty. By 1915 Gustav Stickley's "The Craftsman" magazine ceased publication and his design company went bankrupt.

Pamela's illustration assignments dried up. By the mid-1920s she was unable to get even one job a year. When a distant uncle died and left her a modest nest egg, she took the money and left London, buying a village cottage at the far western tip of England — not far, in fact, from the fictional location of Baskerville Hall, which had figured so prominently in Uncle Bill's Broadway-hit Sherlock Holmes plays.

She lived in isolation with a woman companion. She died penniless at age 72 on September 18, 1951. The cottage and all her possessions were auctioned to pay back taxes, leaving her companion with nothing.

In December 1909 she had told her New York gallerista friend Alfred Stieglitz that she would send him a pack of the Tarot cards which she said were being "printed in color lithography (probably very badly) as soon as they are ready" and that she would also "send over some of the original drawings as some people MAY like them." By "some people", she meant "buyers". But the original art work has never surfaced. Not one of the 78 originals is known to exist.

The printed card decks vanished into obscurity for decades until the  American playing card connoisseur Stuart R. Kaplan resurrected them in about 1970. It is largely thanks to him that anyone knows anything about this extraordinary artist, who created a single work which is ageless and timeless and which continues to appeal to new generations.

The final word belongs to Pamela Colman Smith, and it is a statement of inner strength which could just as easily be the catch-phrase of The Fool card in her Tarot:

"Banish fear, brace your courage, place your ideals high up with the  sun, away from the dirt and squalor and ugliness around you and let that power that makes the 'roar of the high-power pistons' enter into your work — energy — courage — life — love. Use your wits. Use your eyes. Perhaps you use your physical eyes too much and only see the mask. Find eyes within, look for the door into the unknown country."

Wednesday, September 17, 2014


WE are proud to consecrate French archaeologist Albert Gayet as a Messenger Saint of Antinous for his pioneering efforts to reclaim the city of Antinoopolis from the sands of oblivion.

The city that Hadrian built and dedicated to his lover Antinous flourished for hundreds of years before being looted and plundered and lost to the desert sands of Egypt.

Napoleon's French team of proto-archaeologists mapped and catalogued the remains at the turn of the 19th Century. 

But it was this rather curious and eccentric French bachelor who would make the lost city ... Antinoopolis ... famous again.

Antinoopolis became renowned around the world in 1895 when Gayet began exploring the vast necropolis burial grounds south of Antinoopolis. 

An estimated 40,000 mummies were buried in the Antinoé necropolis.

Between 1895 and 1911, Gayet worked tirelessly at Antinoé, the French name for the city which became synonymous with his own name. 

He stood out against the squalor of the wretched modern village and the moonscape of ancient ruins ... dressed impeccably in a three-piece black linen suit and tie, with a boater hat, a cane and white gloves ... more befitting a stroll on the Champs Élysée in Paris than overseeing Egyptian workers toiling in the blistering Egyptian sun as they unearthed mummies from the sands.

Gayet's crews worked day and night unearthing hundreds of mummies representing all social classes and historical epochs.

To his utter astonishment, many of the mummies were gilded, many were swathed in priceless woollen wraps and others wore Byzantine jewellery and headdresses.

He returned to Paris, where the most exquisite mummies were put on display at the Louvre, attracting throngs of visitors and spawning a "Coptic Craze" throughout Europe and America.

Antinoopolis embroidery and linens inspired Matisse, Renoir and the leading Paris fashion designers, who incorporated the rich colors and designs into their work.

But the craze soon waned. The mummies were packed away in storage, most of them to disintegrate or become lost. 

Gayet died in Paris at age 60, impoverished and embittered after having spent 20 years of his life trying to raise funds for further exploration of Antinoopolis. 

Unmarried, he bequeathed a number of Antinoopolis artefacts which he had kept for himself to his sister in Dijon, where the artefacts are in the local museum and a street is named after him.

Gayet's dream of a "Musee d'Antinoé" in Paris died with him.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014


A Senate committee in Brazil is drafting legislation to criminalize homophobia ... amid public outrage over the brutal murder of 18-year-old JOÃO ANTÔNIO DONATI.

"We are introducing an urgent bill in Congress to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity," said Senator Ana Rita, who chairs the Brazilian Senate's Human Rights Committee.

She said the Senate committee was also demanding a full inquiry into the murder last week in the city of Inhumas in Goias state.

Senator Rita called on authorities in Goias state to hand over all records so as to clear up widespread reports of a cover-up.

"Situations such as these can no longer be tolerated," Rita said in a nationally broadcast statement. 

"They must be thoroughly investigated and addressed by the police and the judiciary and the perpetrators of such crimes must be severely punished." 

As head of the Senate's human rights committee, she added: "Prejudice and discrimination against the LGBT population is a major human rights violation in Brazil. LGBTs are victims of murder, abuse, verbal abuse, discrimination at school, at work, on the street and physical aggression."

She quoted statistics by the Grupo Gay da Bahia (GGB) showing that a homosexual is killed every 36 hours in Brazil. Approximately 70% of murders of LGBT people go unpunished.

"This is a shameful and intolerable situation which is long overdue for change," Senator Rita added. "After more than 25 years of criminalization of racism and almost 10 years of criminalization of domestic violence it is high time to criminalize homophobia."

Her response followed protests and candlelight vigils in several cities Saturday and plans for a memorial service on September 17.

João's battered body was found in a vacant lot with his mouth and trachea stuffed with a plastic bag and a paper note, on which had been scrawled an anti-gay hate message saying that this is what should happen to all queers.

Reports say bruises, lacerations and contusions showed that he had put up a desperate struggle against his attackers. Police have tried to quash reports that his neck was fractured and both legs broken, saying pathology tests have not been completed.

His confessed murderer, identified as a 20-year-old fruit picker named Andrie Maycon Ferreira Da Silva, has told interrogators he had consensual sex with João but afterwards felt disgust and revulsion and wanted to teach him a lesson in manhood. 

In a rambling account shown on television, he claimed he was not a murderer but was only righteously incensed by the existence of unrepentant gays like João.did not intend to kill about howa Police suggestions that the two may have been involved in "lovers' quarrel" have sparked anger in the GLBTIU community.

On the same day that João was killed, two other gays were beaten and a transvestite was murdered in the same state. 

Brazil has the largest Antinous faith community in the non-English speaking world, and adherents of Antinous have taken the unprecedented move of proclaiming João the first SAINT OF ANTINOUS in Brazil.

At the Hollywood Temple of Antinous, the founder of the modern religion of Antinous, ANTONIUS SUBIA, said:

"My prayer goes out to Antinous to take João Donati into his embrace, to give him a place of glory and bliss and show him that the world is not merely a place of hatred and violence, but that love still exists here.  

"May his short beautiful life prove to be a changing point for Brazil, may his violent death awaken his country to the darkness and hatred that has infiltrated their society.  May he be a martyr whose violent death brings an end to such things in the future."