TODAY we celebrate the Sacred Boar Hunt of Antinous which was one of the few recorded events in the actual life of Antinous.
This wonderful, mysterious hunt represents the pinnacle of his life ... Antinous at the highest point of his brief mortal existence, full of youth, beauty and vitality ... mounted on horseback in the forest with his lover Hadrian, hunting a boar.
That night there was sure to have been a big party, Roman style, with delicious boar meat, drinking, music, wild sex, and all the good things in life. This is what our festival means ... to enjoy life ... to take it all in right now and be glad that we are alive and well.
Take all your pain and disappointment of the past, unfulfilled wishes, regrets, embarrassment, mistakes ... Hopes and dreams that never came true ... Take a moment to set yourself free of their burden, they are of no use to you anymore.
Instead, look to good things that you have now, the pleasures and beauties that surround you, the friends you hold close, the accomplishments you have earned, enjoy what the gods have given you ... eat, drink, fall in love, indulge in sexual desire ... in all the splendors of being alive, right now at this moment.
For as just like Antinous as he rode, strong, young, beautiful and free, we never know what fate has in store. One year after the Boar Hunting ... Antinous was dead.
We celebrate the Boar Hunt tonight as the high point in out liturgical year. In six months ... we will enter the Death and Deification of Antinous.
I would like to take this occasion to make an announcement which has been long in coming, but which I hope will set us upon a new course towards deeper and more profound growth in our Religion. After lengthy consultation and discussion with several devoted members of our group, over a period of weeks...we arrived at a general consensus that I would like to present to the community of Antinous believers everywhere in the world.
The Priesthood of Antinous has conferred and voted upon the issue of what the official name for members of our group will be called from this point onward. Many proposals were brought forward and there was a great deal of interesting discussion which helped our decision immensely ...in the end the priests convened and were unanimous in our vote.
From this day forward, it is my decree, with consent of the Sacerdotium, that all those who wish to undergo the official channel of training and initiation into Religio Antinoi will be known as:
COMPANIONS OF ANTINOUS
We take this name from a surviving description of those who participated in the ancient Antinous cult during its high point during the mid 3rd century AD ... over one hundred years after Antinous died. There were other options proposed, but it was decided at last to go with Companions because of the uniquely gay connotation of the word ... how before there was Gay Marriage ... homosexual couples used to describe their lovers as “Long Time Companions” ... this was the one of the deciding factors.
The word Companion, we are told, comes from old French, and was originally ... “Com-Panis” in later Latin ... one with whom you take bread together as a close friend ... which implies more than just love but life-long commitment, trust and devotion to one another ... from which the word “company” also originates.
The direct ancient Latin equivalent is Comitii ... from which the word Committee originates ... we are therefore the Committee of Antinous ... or the Company of Antinous.
The historical text from which we take out name is from Origen of Alexandria, from his book ... Contra Celsus ... which was written in 248 AD. It was written in response to a book by a Greek philosopher of the time most likely from Alexandria, named Celsus who had written a critical book against Christianity ... comparing the Christians to several of the wild new, hedonistic cults that had arisen during the late classical period.
Celsus ... an old fashioned, conservative pagan ... compared the Christians to the Antinous cult, which was an outrage to the Christians and of course compelled Origen to write a lengthy book to refute what Celsus had written, point for point and defend Christianity.
The Church destroyed Celsus’s book long ago, so only the words that Origen quoted remain. They also destroyed every text from the Antinous cult they could get their hands on ... but thankfully for us ... throughout the dark ages, for hundreds of years later, monks meticulously hand-copied what Origen wrote in defense of Christianity ... passing his book on so that now we have several amazing paragraphs from a contemporary eye witness that discuss the ancient Antinous cult.
Origen endeavors to explain why Christians are NOTHING like those perverted Antinoans(!) ... and this was over one hundred years after Antinous died, his cult was still going strong ... so much so that both a Christian author and a pagan philosopher were appalled and disturbed by what we were all about.
I am sure I am not the only one here who has experienced confusion, misunderstanding and even outright rejection ... not only from Christians ... but also from “fellow” pagans ... even gay pagans (!) who sometimes cannot see past the fact that Antinous was a living person.
I’ve been told by GAY PAGANS that they don’t consider Antinous to be a “REAL” god ... because he was once human!
This is part of why I am so immensely fond of this word COMPANION to describe us ... because it encapsulates a precious moment in time ... very much like our own time now (after so many centuries of darkness) when both the Christians and many traditional pagans both look at the Companions of Antinous with misunderstanding and think that we are completely out of our minds ... because of course we are!
This quote comes from the words of Celsus, as recorded by Origen ... in other words ... 2,000 years later ... we learn from a Christian quoting the words of a Pagan who insults our ancient Antinous-brothers from long ago. They are with us still in spirit now, we are their legacy, and from the Barque of Millions of Years, they are watching us and supporting us.
Whatever it was they did to incite such disapproval (there are clues in other texts) ... my only wish is that we can do as much if not more to revive their magnificent spirit in the world today.
This is the Quote:
“In the next place, that he may have the appearance of knowing still more than he has yet mentioned, he says, agreeably to his usual custom, that there are others who have wickedly invented some being as their teacher and demon, and who wallow about in a great darkness, more unholy and accursed than that of the COMPANIONS of the Egyptian ANTINOUS. And he seems to me, indeed, in touching on these matters, to say with a certain degree of truth, that there are certain others who have wickedly invented another demon, and who have found him to be their lord, as they wallow about in the great darkness of their ignorance. With respect, however, to Antinous, who is compared with our Jesus, we shall not repeat what we have already said in the preceding pages.”
-Origen of Alexandria, Contra Celsum, Book V, Ch. 63
So from this day forward...let us be Companions of Antinous!
In the next few months we will be preparing a formal system of initiation into the modern Antinous Religion. This will involve a period training and explanation. Afterwards, if the passion and calling remains true in the heart of the initiate ... then there will be an preliminary cleansing ceremony and a mystery initiation.
The most important part of the initiation ceremony will be when they will be asked to declare that they believe in Antinous as a god ... before witnesses. If they are not willing to do this, if they are merely an Antinous enthusiast ... then they should not seek to join ... no one will reject them ... they can still be friends and participate as much as they like ... but we will not consider them to be a COMPANION OF ANTINOUS.
One never knows however what time and circumstance will bring ... some people have taken years to reach the point where they are ready to become a true member ... there’s no rush, we will still be here waiting for the day to embrace them as one of us.
We are all devoted Companions to one another, Antinous is the force that holds us together ... if you don't “feel” him deep down and show it (we can always tell) ... then we have no way of knowing that you are serious and truly one of us to be embraced as a brother/sister.
To join this group is to become a member of a world-wide community of LGBTQ people of all ages, nationalities and ethnicity ... there are even Heterosexual people among us.
We are all devoted to one another as Brothers/Sisters-Lovers ... with Antinous devotion as a binding force that holds us together ... we are all equals in the eyes of Antinous ... we are All His Companions ... his eternal lovers.
The Antinous force that we each have in our hearts binds us together in a sacred pact of Love and Devotion to one another ... this is why it is important that a new initiate state before other Antinoan witnesses that they truly believe in his divinity and in his force that binds us together ... HOMOTHEOSIS ... because to be accepted as a Companion of Antinous ... every new initiate will be expected to feel commitment and devotion not only to Antinous, and to our Gay Spiritual Cause, but also to every member as if they were a brother or sister or lover ... and every current member will be expected to embrace the new initiate as their equal and beloved Antinous family member.
It will be the responsibility of the Priests and Priest-Candidates to prepare all new interested people who want to join to be fully aware of who Antinous is, what his religion represents and what it means to be a Companion of Antinous.
In the past if you believed in Antinous or even had a vague interest ... or even just wrote a brief email ... THERE just like that ... you were a member! It was completely informal.
But now the time has come for this to change. We must be more formal and serious about this ... and we want everyone to take this more seriously and take commitment to each other as brother-lovers serious.
It is important for us to lay out the full implications of what it means to be an Antinous believer, and it is important to help a newcomer form a personal connection to Antinous, to have an experience of direct manifestation from him, if he so chooses.
We can’t just let people figure it out on their own, and then feel disappointed when this fails to occur. We must explain everything, not only in writing but through verbal communication whenever possible.
If after being instructed the person discovers that perhaps this is not for them, then the initiation should either be denied or deferred for another time when they are ready. The priests should use their instinct to avoid bringing non-committed, non-serious people into the official group.
The preliminary period of study and preparation is a chance to gauge how serious or “chosen” a person is. It is immediately obvious when Antinous has chosen someone to become his follower. Our challenge is to help this grow and develop.
But where that blessing is not immediately obvious, we must work to find the doorway to open and help the new person find Antinous in their heart. Once this is established, and it is clear that they are ready, we can prepare the ceremony and welcome them into our “Company.”
I feel like this is the a huge step that will bring us all closer together and send out rays of Homotheosis power all over the world and call others who are destined to be part of this together.
My great hope and mission is to bring the people of Antinous together around the world and to re-awaken his power and potential again. I feel as if Antinous has cast forth a great net around the world and has started to reel us in with his purple threads that bind us all together. I feel that these next important steps that we will be taking are what he has been waiting for.
I offer my Blessing to All the people who love and believe in Antinous everywhere in the world on this occasion of the Sacred Boar Hunt. I ask Antinous to bless us as we begin the transition into this new phase of development. May the Companions of Antinous gather together in great numbers from all over the globe!
May the Meat of the Sacred Boar
Feed the spirit of Homotheosis
In all our hearts!
~Antonius Nicias Subia