Sunday, May 31, 2015


SOME 3,000 years before Antinous, the Egyptians deified another mortal commoner ... the ancient "Renaissance Man" Imhotep ... Egyptian magician, physician, scribe, sage, architect, astronomer, vizier, and priest.

Imhotep's many talents and vast acquired knowledge had such an effect on the Egyptian people that he became the first individual of non-royal birth to be deified ... setting a precedent for Antinous to attain the status of a god.

 Imhotep, or "he who cometh in peace," was born in Ankhtowe, a suburb of Memphis, Egypt. 

The month and day of his birth are noted precisely as the sixteenth day of Epiphi, third month of the Egyptian harvest (corresponding to May 31) but the year is not definitely recorded. 

It is known that Imhotep was a contemporary (living in the same time period) of the Pharaoh, or king of Egypt, Zoser (also known as Neterikhet) of the Third Dynasty. But estimates of the era of his reign vary by as much as three hundred years, falling between 2980 and 2600 B.C.E.

Imhotep's father, Kanofer, a celebrated architect, was later known to be the first of a long line of master builders who contributed to Egyptian works through the reign of King Darius the First (522–486 B.C.E. ). His mother, Khreduonkh, who probably came from the province of Mendes, is known today for having been deified alongside her son, an Egyptian custom.

Vizier under King Zoser

The office of the vizier in politics was literally described as "supervisor of everything in this entire land." Only the best educated citizen could handle the range of duties of this position that worked closely with the Pharaoh, or king of Egypt.

The capital city was Mennefer (Memphis) called the city of the "White Walls" for the enormous walls around the Temple of Ptah compound (right).

As vizier, Imhotep was chief advisor to Zoser in both religious and practical matters, and he controlled the departments of the Judiciary (court system), Treasury, War, Agriculture, and the General Executive.

There are no historical records of Imhotep's acts as a political figure, but his wisdom as a religious advisor was widely recognized after he ended a terrible famine (a severe shortage of food) that dominated Egypt during seven years of Zoser's reign. It is said that the king was failing in his responsibility to please the god Khnum, and his neglect was causing the Nile to fall short of a flood level which would support Egyptian farms. 

Imhotep, having a vast knowledge of the proper traditions and methods of worship, was able to counsel Zoser on pleasing Hapi, the the god of the inundation, allowing the Nile to return to its usual flood level.

The first miracle attributed to Antinous was a bountiful Nile inundation in the year 131 AD. 

Architect of the famous pyramid at Sakkara

 The Step Pyramid at Sakkara is the only of Imhotep's achievements that can still be seen and appreciated today. Its reputation is largely based on Imhotep's accomplishments as the pyramid's inventor and builder. 

This pyramid for King Djoser, also called "Netjerikhet" (Incarnation of the Gods), was the first structure ever built of cut stone, and is by far the oldest of the Seven Wonders of the World, the seven structures of the ancient world that were astonishing accomplishments for their time. 

It took twenty years to complete—not very long, given the newness of the idea and the state of structural science in the Bronze Age (between 3000 B.C.E. and 1100 C. E.), the period of development where metals, particularly bronze, were used for the first time.

Imhotep wanted the tomb to accommodate the Pharaoh's rise into the heavens. To do this, he planned to improve upon the flat, rectangular mastabas, or built-in benches, which were the traditional tombal structures. 

The pyramid was raised on top of the base mastabas in five smaller steps, one on top of the other.

He added a passageway on the north side issuing upward within the structure from a sarcophagus chamber (where the stone coffin holding the mummy is kept) seventy-five feet below ground. 

The total height of the pyramid and base is just under two hundred feet, unimaginably large for a single structure before Imhotep's design.

The project at Sakkara was designed in its entirety as a way for the deceased to perform the rituals of the jubilee festival, or Hebsed. The complex consisted of many other buildings, as well as ornamental posts some thirty-seven feet high. 

The protection of the king and his burial gifts—about 36,000 vessels of alabaster, dolomite, aragonite, and other precious materials—was the other primary function of the burial site.

The entire complex was enclosed within a stone wall about thirty-five feet high. Imhotep added several false entrances to throw off possible tomb raiders. As a final measure, the king's treasure was lowered through vertical shafts around the tomb into a long corridor one hundred feet below ground. The digging of just this corridor without machines of any kind is an amazing accomplishment by modern standards.

When Antinous and Hadrian visited Egypt in the year 130 AD, they stood atop the plateau at Sakkara and marveled at the achievements of Imhotep.

It is likely that Imhotep was the architect and master builder of many other projects completed during a forty-year period of the Third Dynasty, though none of them compare in size or stylistic influence to the burial site at Sakkara. 

Imhotep was also the author of an encyclopedia of architecture that was used as a reference tool by Egyptian builders for thousands of years.

Physician-magician, God of medicine

As a god of medicine, Imhotep was beloved as a curer of everyday problems who could "provide remedies for all diseases," and "give sons to the childless."

Members of the cult of Imhotep in the Twenty-sixth and Twenty-seventh Dynasties (between 525 B.C.E. and 550 C. E.) would pay tribute to the God at his temple just outside Memphis. 

The temple also contained halls devoted to the teaching of medical methods, and to the preservation of the materia medica, which details the entirety of Egyptian medical knowledge which may actually have originated with Imhotep.

Imhotep's name was often grouped with such powerful deities as Thoth, God of Wisdom, Isis, the wonder-worker, and Ptah, a healer and the ancient God of Memphis. 

Although royal individuals were deified by the Egyptians, Imhotep is unique as the first non-royal man to be known by his own name as a god inferior in power only to Re (chief Sun-God). With that precedence in mind, the Egyptians had no objections to accepting Antinous as a God.

Imhotep was also a member of the great triad of Memphis, with Ptah, Imhotep's father among the gods, and Sekhmet, a goddess associated with childbirth.

It is a matter of debate today how much of Imhotep's reputation as a curer of disease stems from medical skill and how much comes from his command of magic and healing rituals.

More than 3,000 years before Antinous died in the Nile ... Imhotep set the precedent for deification of mortal non-royals in Egypt.

Saturday, May 30, 2015


ON MAY 30th the Religion of Antinous honors Saint Joan of Arc who was burned as a heretic on this day in 1431.

She was a peasant girl who led the armies of the King of France against the occupying forces of the English. She claimed to have been chosen by God to drive the English from France and deliver the country to her King.

Joan of Arc said that she conversed daily with Saints Catherine and Margaret and St. Michael the Archangel. Her greatest victory was the liberation of Orleans, where Charles, then Dauphin, was crowned as King of France.

She was later captured by the English and subsequently tried by the Church and burned as a heretic. The focus of her trial was upon the nature of her visions, which the inquisitors condemned as Demonic, and upon her refusal to wear women's clothing.

Joan of Arc was in essence the most courageous of all transvestites, whose insistence upon male dress and hair style, and occupation as a warrior was the excuse used by the Church for her condemnation and subsequent burning as a heretic. The Church however reversed this decision in 1909 by beatifying her, and then finally consecrating her as a saint in 1920.

Though she is a saint of the Catholic Church and a devoted Christian, it is for her courage as a transvestite and possibly as a sacred lesbian that she is included as a Heroic Martyr Saint of the Religion of Antinous.

Friday, May 29, 2015


ON MAY 29th the Religion of Antinous celebrates the life of Saint James Whale (22 July 1889 — 29 May 1957), the openly gay British-born director of such films as Frankenstein, The Old Dark House, Bride of Frankenstein and The Invisible Man.

His movies were modern parables about the cruelty of "normal" people towards "monsters" in their midst. 

All of those 1930s films are recognized as classics of the genre. Whale directed over a dozen films in other genres, including what is considered the definitive 1936 film version of the musical Show Boat.

He became increasingly disenchanted with his association with horror, but many of his non-horror films have fallen into obscurity. Whale was openly gay throughout his career, something that was very unusual in the 1920s and 1930s.

He tended to use gay actors who were friends of his, including Colin Clive, Ernest Thesiger, Charles Laughton and Laughton's wife Elsa Lanchester, who played the "Bride". Thesiger has tea (below) in mad-scientist garb. 

Bride of Frankenstein, in particular, is widely interpreted as having a gay subtext and it has been claimed that Whale's refusal to remain in the closet led to the end of his career.

James Whale's true genius was in making movies which made the audience sympathize with the "monster" instead of the "normal" people, who invariably were portrayed as ridiculous, comic fools.

James Whale's soaring career was dashed by homophobic studio bosses who objected to having a "pansy" directing major movies. He spent the last decade of his life as an outcast in Hollywood.
He "accidentally" drowned in his own swimming pool in the mid-1950s after having become a chronic depressive following a stroke.

His life was brought to the screen in the award-winning movie Gods and Monsters, which is a masterful adaptation of a very wonderfully written gay novel entitled Father of Frankenstein by Christopher Bram.

The book and the movie are about his final weeks of life with flashbacks to his childhood in poverty in northern England and his traumatic experiences during World War I and to his heyday as the toast of Tinseltown, and his plunge into obscurity — and his final plunge into the watery arms of Antinous.

It is a great irony that the only out-and-proud Hollywood director of the 1930s is remembered as a man whose name is equated with monsters.

Sir Ian McKellen, who is also from conservative Northern England and is an openly gay star of stage and screen, was nominated for a Golden Globe and for an Academy Award for his role as James Whale in the 1998 movie Gods and Monsters.

Brendan Fraser also won critical acclaim in that film as Whale's yard boy who identifies with the Frankenstein monster. His compelling portrayal suggests to the audience that all of us are gods and monsters, to some degree. But then, even Antinous was a god to pagans — yet a monster to early Christians.

And Lynn Redgrave won a Golden Globe and got an Oscar nod for her scene-stealing performance as James Whale's disapproving Swedish housekeeper — a tongue-in-cheek characterization drawn from the real-life eccentrics who performed supporting roles in Whale's wonderfully campy old movies.

Thursday, May 28, 2015


ANTINOUS shows up in the most extraordinary places — even at the supermarket magazine rack.

Some years ago, Hachette published a magazine series entitled THE GODS OF ANCIENT EGYPT which featured special issues on scores of Egyptian deities — nearly 100 in all — each sporting a glossy brochure and an epoxy resin figurine in a little plastic "display case." The magazines were widely available at booksellers and newsstands around the world.

Antinous was featured in Issue 88 — possibly the most collectible issue in the whole series.

The Hachette magazines have long since gone out of print, but the figurines are still found on eBay and other online marketplaces. Antinous is hard to find, but occasionally he turns up and the bidding turns fierce as ANTINOMANIACS fight to possess the little 4.5-inch (14 cm) figurine.

The one pictured here sold on eBay for nearly $50 in "NRFB" condition — "Never Removed From Box."

It is "only a fake" of course. But that does not make it any less sacred or magical to anyone who loves Antinous. In ancient times, Antinous figurines, images, coins and medallions were prized by his worshipers as a sort of portable Sacred Token or Pocket Shrine.

In his authoritative 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."

Poor people made do with more crudely made representations, such as coins and figurines and medals made of lead, clay and other base materials. The demand was so great that there was a rife trade in which we would nowadays call "copyright piracy" among artisans turning out "illicitly yet more crude and cheap medallions of this hero whose images, miracles and protection were obviously sought by countless poor folk of faith."

People of modest means who were lucky enough to get their hands on one of his clay figures or commemorative coins would carry them with them for protection, often even wearing them:

"Many were pierced by holes and hung from the neck as talismans: Antinous' image offering protection against evil, sickness and death," says Lambert. 

Other such tiny statuettes, figurines, coins and medallions were placed in portable shrines or pouches or adorned away-from-home altars, and others were buried with the dead "to invoke the god's aid on the perilous journey into the unknown."

We look at the little Hachette Antinous figurine and see only a cheap epoxy resin plastic action figure, crudely hand-painted in some Chinese sweat shop. 

But imagine how the Ancient Priests of Antinous would have gaped in wonder at this little figurine swaddled in cellophane, along with a book of shiny pages unlike any papyrus, pages adorned with inscrutable glyphs and breathtakingly realistic images. 

Where we see ordinary plastic, the Ancient Priests would see a wondrous statuette fashioned in what to them would be a magical putty-like material not like anything found on Earth.

Clearly, it was fashioned by the Gods themselves — clearly, ANTINOUS THE GAY GOD truly is "immanent" (in-dwelling) in this miraculous vessel.

And the Ancient Priests would, of course, be absolutely right. 

Wednesday, May 27, 2015


I found this old stereoview with Antinous a few days ago. 

It is from the Louvre Museum and is dated 1860 on the back of the card. The image shows the Antinous-Aristaeus statue.

Stereoviews are designed to be seen through a stereoscope, which I do not have but am tempted to purchase. 

When looking through the scope it produces "3-D" version of the image. 

It is amazing to think how many hands held this image and were able to see the glory of Antinous.


Tuesday, May 26, 2015


ON MAY 26th the Religion of Antinous celebrates the life of Reg "Regina Fong" Bundy, a blessed saint of Antinous, who was born on this day in 1941 and died on April 15, 2003. A brazenly gay cabaret artiste — she disliked being called a drag queen — she was a well-known AIDS charity host who influenced a generation of post-Stonewall gays in Britain with acerbic send-ups of politics and popular culture.

Regina Fong was not just a "queen", she was an "empress" — the last of the Russian Imperial Dynasty of the Romanoffs. Forget Anastasia (and Ingrid Bergman in a '50s film), Regina Fong was the REAL heir to Russian nobility. Like so many Russian aristocrats, she sought asylum in monarchical Britain after the Russian Revolution. There were indeed members of the Russian Imperial family who lived (albeit rather modestly) on the grounds of Windsor Castle during the 20th Century. Empress Regina lived (albeit rather immodestly) in London's West End.

Her Imperial Highness (HIH) Regina Fong did in fact become an Iconic cult figure on the European Cabaret stage. Known to friends as Reg (pronounced "Redge"), she lost her battle to cancer April 15, 2003.

But Reg, by creating Her Imperial Highness Regina Fong, a flame-red-wigged champion of gay rights, was insistently committed to being the knight in shining red armour who carried the banner of charities involved in transforming the AIDS epidemic from mortal tragedy into spiritual triumph. She reminded us all that gay cabaret, especially in London at that time, was (and continues to be) a central part of gay life.

After the "Gay Liberation" in the late '60s and '70s, drag queens and cabaret artistes were pushed to the back of the room, to more mainstream, homogenized images of gay life.

Regina Fong, and other Gay pioneers like Lily Savage, changed this forever and brought Gay Cabaret back to its rightful spot in the London Gay Scene. The Cabaret Tent at London Gay Pride events as the epicenter of Gay culture in good times and bad is the direct legacy of this valiant drag queen — er, ahm — cabaret artiste!

Our own Knight Stephanos personally knew Empress Regina Fong and conferred with her often in the legendary Black Cap gay bar in the heart of the Camden Town District of London. And so it is fitting that Knight Stephanos (pictured right with Her Imperial Highness) explains her Sacred Significance to us:

"Reg Bundy and his creative spirit, through HIH Regina Fong, reminded us all that we mattered as gay people, that we mattered, and that being just who we were was were our strength laid as a culture.
"I knew Regina Fong between the years of 1989 and 1995, a time when contracting the HIV Virus was a virtual death sentence. We witnessed scores of wonderful gay men fall to aids. Regina Fong (and more importantly his non-drag persona Reg Bundy) was a pillar of hope with his sarcastically witty way of keeping up stiff-British-upper-lips during some incredibly dark times.
"If Reg could keep up a brave face in such a scary time, then all was not lost. I had many conversations with Reg in the old front bar at the Black Cap. Surrounded by the dregs, gutter street characters and top-notch West End talent that would congregate, Reg held court and parlayed the latest gossip and told stories of how it was to be gay in London before it was legal.
"He was a Romantic at heart, a Dreamer and a Bitch, who always left you with something to think about, cry about or laugh about. There are many things that are a fog to me about London in those far-off days. But Reg Bundy I always remember as clear as a bell. 
"I assumed Reg would live for ever. It is surreal to me that he is gone, But I know his spirit lives on, looking down from some corner of the Black Cap and many other pubs in London, and even right here in Hollywood, California, keeping watch and holding court, drinking vodka-and-tonic — being a beacon in dark times — and a Gay Saint Always."

Monday, May 25, 2015


ANTINOPHILES who have despaired of finding Antinous-related items for their homes, cars and work places can breathe a sigh of relief. 

One-stop shopping is just one click away at the online TEMPLE OF ANTINOUS SHOP

This shop features official Antinous articles selected and designed by FLAMEN ANTONIUS SUBIA personally.

If you admire the artwork of Antonyus, then order your own posters of his hand-picked favorite paintings and photographs.

A wide range of T-shirts is available, including classic "T", fitted "T", ringer "T", sleeveless, long-sleeve and baseball jersey — in up to nine colors, depending on the style and design you prefer.

The handy Antinous Tote Bag is a must-have as is a wide array of Antinous lapel buttons and refrigerator magnets in various sizes and designs.

Naturally, there are coffee mugs — and even an official Antinous beer stein appropriately adorned with the well-known Subian portrait of Antinous/Dionysus.

One of our favorites is the Antinous Keepsake Box, available in red-mahogany or black, with a tile cover portrait of the Louvre's breath-taking Ecouen Antinous. This roomy box is perfect for any home shrine or altar and is the perfect jewelry box.

And of course the ever-popular Antinous bumper sticker (at the top of this entry) provides the Beauteous Boy's blessings on any vehicle.

All items are ordered with safety and guaranteed efficiency through cafepress, which has a sound reputation for speedy delivery around the world, with secure payment in all major currencies.

Sunday, May 24, 2015


ON Sunday, May 24, 2015, red rose petals will cascade through the oculus of Hadrian's Pantheon in Rome.

The event commemorates the ancient Roman spring festival as well as Christian Pentecost.

Rome firefighters scaled the 43-meter-high dome to pour the rose petals through the 9-meter-wide oculus "eye opening" at the top of the historic building.

The ceremony, suspended for many years, was revived in 1995. It dates back to the earliest days of Christianity when the falling rose petals symbolized flames of Pentecostal enlightenment showering down on the faithful.

Saturday, May 23, 2015


THERE's a theory that the Romans introduced the hamburger to Britain, and that theory will be put to the test on Hadrian’s Wall at the weekend.

Specialist group Taste of History will be using a 1,500-year-old Roman recipe for what very much looks like a modern burger.

Visitors to Birdoswald fort at Gilsland on the Northumberland-Cumbria border will be able to sample the result from 11am-2pm on Saturday. Roman Centurion Joe Jackson (photos courtesy THE CHRONICLE) will be on hand to help flip burgers.

English Heritage may be tempted to temporarily change the fort’s name to Burgoswald as the Roman group cooks up its Magnus Macus.

Food historian Dr Annie Gray, said: “We all know that the Romans left a huge mark on Britain, fundamentally altering the British diet forever.

“Street food became available en masse, including Isicia Omentata, what can be seen as the Roman forefather to today’s burger.

“This ‘burger’ was decidedly more upmarket than many of today’s offerings, and is richer and more complex than the plain beef version most common today.”

There would have been plenty of demand in Roman times with constant traffic along the Wall between forts, garrisons of up to 1,000 men at some of the bases and a cosmopolitan mix of people from across the empire.

There were also the civilian settlements outside some of the forts.

It has long been known that the Romans brought fast food joints ... or thermopolia as they called them ... to Britain.

A recipe from the surviving ancient Roman cookbook, Apicius, details an item called Isicia Omentata which comprises minced meat, pepper, wine, pine nuts, and a rich fish based sauce called GARUM, all formed into a patty.

This is what will be served up at Birdoswald for the first time in many centuries.

The pattie will be cooked over an open fire and served in a bun for visitors to decide for themselves whether the Roman burger beats its modern day counterparts.

Frances McIntosh, English Heritage curator based at Corbridge Roman site in Northumberland, said: “This weekend visitors to Birdoswald Roman Fort can have a taste and decide for themselves whether the Romans brought the first ‘burger’ to Britain.

“Having access to convenient food was vitally important as they patrolled the frontier.

“Garrisons in the fort did not have the mess halls we see in modern military bases and they would probably have taken the opportunity to save time cooking by buying fast food.

“At Corbridge there is evidence of open fronted shops which may have sold such food.

“We know that the Romans imported items like fish sauce and wine to Hadrian’s Wall.”

The sauce was made by fermenting fish, including innards. But Taste of History is playing safe with a pasteurised Vietnamese fish sauce with added vinegar.

Friday, May 22, 2015


TODAY the Religion of Antinous commemorates the day in the year 131 AD when Hadrian returned from the journey to the East alone ... without Antinous ... with only his circle of companions as comfort. 

He came back to Rome a grieving and broken man. The man who had spent his life traveling would never leave Rome or his Villa again. The remaining years of his reign would be marked by moodiness, capriciousness and a protracted conflict in the East.

But this sad ending was also a bright beginning ... the beginning of the new religion, a religion which was to incorporate all of Hadrian's hopes for a Hellenistic civilization based on love of art and beauty.

As Antonius Subia has written: "The Return of Hadrian to Rome is when the seed of the old religion of Antinous was delineated and implemented, and it is sacred as the occasion when the proliferation of images began. Hundreds of these images remain and are the guiding star of the New Religion of Antinous."

It was also at this time that the sacred precinct of the Villa of Tibur known as the Canopus with its long colonnaded pool was constructed, which is believed to be an architectural allegory of the Nile and the Divine Mystery of Antinous.

This day marks a turning point in the saga of Hadrian and Antinous. Hadrian returns to Rome a prematurely old and sick man. His active years died with Antinous. He sets about trying to cement his legacy.

A part of him died with Antinous. A new part was born.

Thursday, May 21, 2015


ON May 21st the Religion of Antinous honors Plato, Saint of Antinous, because May 21st is Plato's birthday, and no worshipper of Antinous could possibly forget HIS birthday.

The greatest of all western mystics and philosophers was born on this day in the year 427 BC. He was originally named Aristocles, but was called Plato by one of his teachers because of the breadth of his shoulders and of his speech, and we might also say because of the magnitude of his legacy of wisdom.

He was a follower of Socrates and the majority of his works are written as Dialogues of Socrates, wherein Plato elaborates his vision of the Universe, the inner workings of mankind, the complexities of human relationships, and the virtues of civilization.

All we know about Socrates is in reality only what Plato has told us of his teacher. Out of loyalty, Plato gave all personal credit to the wisdom of his divine teacher.

Plato founded the Academy in Athens that was dedicated to the love of wisdom and to the perfection of the minds and souls of young men. The image above is a mosaic from Pompeii showing Plato and his academy assembled under his famous olive tree.

Plato studied Pythagoreanism in Italy and made further speculation into the mathematical mysticism of the first philosopher thereby creating the model upon which western monotheism is based. The Platonic system was essentially a unification of the social inquiry of Socrates with the cosmic ramifications of the teachings of Pythagoras.

Here is how Flamen Antinoalis Antonius Subia explain's the significance of Saint Plato:

"In the vision of Love that Plato expounded, Venus Urania, Celestial Love, is glorified as highest form of human affection, above the earthly requirements of procreation. The love between two men, what is innocently called Platonic Love, was considered by Plato to be the most divine form of relationship.

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

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

Wednesday, May 20, 2015


DAESH Islamic State militants swept into the desert city of Palmyra in central Syria on Wednesday, and by evening were in control of it, residents and Syrian state news media said.

The sad victory over this city which Hadrian and Antinous visited in its heyday gives DAESH another strategically important prize after the group devastated art treasures at Nimrud, Hatra and Nineveh in recent weeks.

PALMYRA, with its grand complex of 2,000-year-old colonnades and tombs, is one of the world’s most magnificent remnants of antiquity.

In the 3rd Century AD, Palmyra was so prosperous, that its queen Zenobia launched a revolt against Rome. She conquered Egypt before being defeated and taken as a hostage to Rome by Emperor Aurelian. 

But for the fighters on the ground, the city of 50,000 people is significant because it sits among gas fields and astride a network of roads across the country’s central desert. 

Palmyra’s vast unexcavated antiquities could also provide significant revenue through illegal trafficking.

Control of Palmyra gives the Islamic State command of roads leading from its strongholds in eastern Syria to Damascus and the other major cities of the populated west, as well as new links to western Iraq, the other half of its self-declared caliphate.

As they have swept across Syria and Iraq, Islamic State fighters havedestroyed or damaged numerous ancient sites and sculptures, condemning them as idolatry in slickly produced recruitment films, even as they pillage and sell off more portable items to finance their activities. 

That has raised fears both locally and internationally that Palmyra, a United Nations world heritage site, could also suffer irrevocable damage.


THE magnificent life-size Apis Bull basalt statue commissioned by Hadrian reportedly was "smashed to pieces" in a botched effort by curators at a museum in Alexandria to shift it into a crate for shipment to an exhibition.

The Egypt Heritage Task Force group on Wednesday wrote on Facebook that the statue was broken to pieces while it was being transported from the Graeco-Roman museum storeroom to the Maritime Museum to prepare it for a European exhibition tour of Alexandria's underwater archaeology.

Hadrian and Antinous VISITED THE SERAPEUM, where hundreds of Sacred Apis Bulls were entombed, during their tour of Egypt in 130 AD. It was perhaps then that Hadrian commissioned the statue.

He commissioned a number of other fine statues, includiing several of Antinous as Osiris, of Ptah and a bust of Antinous merged with the Apis bull-god Serapis.

The Apis Bull statue is about 1.90 metres long, carved in basalt and dated to the reign of the Hadrian in the 2nd Century CE. 

It was discovered to the west of Pompey's Pillar in Alexandria and is considered the finest example of Hadrian's favored Greco-Roman style of sculpture.

The activists claim the masterpiece should have never been moved for the exhibition because, under the antiquities law, all unique heritage objects cannot travel to exhibitions abroad.

"The statue was moved to be packed to travel even before the official approval of the exhibition was taken," they claim in a statement, adding that the Ministry of Antiquities did not report the incident so that the company responsible for the exhibition would not have to pay the insurance. 

Instead, they claim, a foreign archaeologist who is also involved in the exhibition paid to get the statue restored.

"The statue was restored badly," one of the activists told Ahram Online but requested anonymity. She pointed out that the statue should not leave Egyptian soil.

"This is still being kept low profile, despite the fact that Ahmed Sharaf, the ex-chief of museums at the Ministry of Antiquities, has been imprisoned on other corruption charges since," she added.

However, the claims by activists have been disputed by the antiquities ministry.

"All that has been published on Facebook or said by the activists is completely untrue and unfounded," Nadia Khedre, head of Museums Section in Alexandria, told Ahram Online.

"The statue is safe and sound," she asserted, adding that it arrived safely at the Maritime Museum and was never broken. She describes what has circulated on the internet as an attempt to distort the reputation of Egyptian archaeologists and restorers.


TODAY the Sun enters the Sign of Gemini — the sign of the Twins Castor and Pollux, Gods of Homosexuality.  This is the zodiac sign which ushers in a special sacred time in the Religion of Antinous, for this is the time of year when the STAR OF ANTINOUS rises, after having been hidden below the horizon since the Death of Antinous at the end of October.

We honor the Dioscuri who were born as triplets with the beautiful Helen as their sister. The mother of the three was Leda who was seduced by Zeus who came to her in the form of a swan. Leda gave birth to an egg from which emerged Castor, Pollux and Helen. (Image by generous consent of ANDRÉ DURAND)

The identical brothers were inseparable, and had a deep affection for one another, for which reason they were often worshipped as gods of homosexuality. Helen was constantly being abducted and in need of rescue, which the brothers were usually successful in accomplishing, however, her beauty was eventually to lead to the Trojan War.

Castor was a skilled horseman, and Pollux was an unconquerable boxer. They took part in the voyage of the Argonauts, and with Orpheus they calmed a storm, for which reason they were worshipped as the protectors of sailors.

Later in the voyage, Castor was killed, and Pollux was so overwhelmed that he begged Zeus to accept his life in exchange for his brother's. 

Out of compassion, Zeus immortalized Castor and proclaimed that Pollux would spend half the year in the underworld and half the year in heaven with his brother. 

Together they were placed in the sky as the sign of Gemini.

The Divine Twins miraculously appeared in Rome to announce the victory of the Republic over the allies of the last king by watering their horses in the Fountain of Juturna in the Forum.

Flamen Antonius has this further insight into Castor and Pollux:

"The sacredness of the Twin Gods, with their third twin sister Helen is found in Norse Mythology as the Alcis and as the twins Frey and Skirnir with their third twin sister Freya.

"The symbolism of brotherly love, and of sacrificing one's life for the immortality of a brother is at the heart of the Religion of Antinous, and is an example of the sacrifice that Antinous is said to have committed for the prolongation of the life of Hadrian. The Dioscuri are Antinous and his "rival" Aelius Caesar, and they are also seen in the two brothers of Hadrian's court, Macedo and Statianus Caesernius, who were servants, protectors, confidants, lovers, friends, witnesses and first priests of Antinous.

"The Sacred Star of Antinous rises during the sign of the brothers Castor and Pollux."

Tuesday, May 19, 2015


ON May 19th, the Religion of Antinous honors our Saint Peter Wildeblood, a British journalist, novelist, playwright and gay-rights campaigner, who was born on this day in 1923.

He became one of the first men in Britain to declare publicly that he was gay, when he was arrested and put on trial in a headline-making case in 1954. 

He was sent to prison on a conviction of "conspiring to incite acts of gross indecency and buggery." 

His case created such an uproar that it helped to lead to the 1960s reform of anti-gay laws in the UK.

In the uptight post-war years of the early '50s, Wildeblood had made something of a name for himself in the theatre and as a roving reporter for a major newspaper, London's Daily Mail, when he happened to meet a 23-year-old RAF corporal named Eddie McNally in Piccadilly Circus. 

Although Eddie McNally was not Peter Wildeblood's type, they developed a relationship over time. In the summer of 1952 they arranged to go on holiday together at Edward Montagu's beach hut on the English coast. John Reynolds, who was also an airman and a friend of Eddie McNally, also joined them.

About 18 months later, on Saturday, January 9, 1954, Peter Wildeblood was arrested at his home and his house was searched. He was charged with conspiring with Edward Montagu and Michael Pitt-Rivers to incite Eddie McNally and John Reynolds to commit indecent acts.

The police tipped off the press and the story was headlined in all the Sunday newspapers the next day. Eddie McNally and John Reynolds became witnesses for the prosecution.

The media went on a feeding frenzy and his picture was plastered all over the front pages for weeks. One paper retouched his photos to make it appear that he was wearing lipstick. He was vilified in public. He later described one incident when a woman recognized him being driven past in a vehicle.

"That night, a woman spat at me," Wildeblood wrote later. "She was a respectable looking, middle-aged, tweedy person wearing a sensible felt hat. She was standing on the pavement as the car went by. I saw her suck in her cheeks, and the next moment a big blob of spit was running down the windscreen.  

"This shocked me very much. The woman did not look eccentric or evil; in fact she looked very much like the country gentlewomen with whom my mother used to take coffee when she has finished her shopping on Saturday mornings. She looked thoroughly ordinary, to me. But what did I look like to her? Evidently, I was a monster."

What so troubled the decent people of the day was not that homosexual practices went on — everybody knew they always had and always would — but that anybody would openly declare himself to be "a homosexual." 

He was in the news constantly until his conviction and sentencing to 18 months in prison. Because he was (understandably) depressed, he was considered suicidal and was transferred to a dire hospital for the criminally insane where the squalid conditions affected not only his mental health but also his physical health.

He was released after 12 months and immediately launched a personal crusade to overturn anti-gay sex laws in Britain. He lobbied in Parliament and wrote articles and a book entitled Against the Law which outlined how gay people can be entrapped and harassed in their own homes for consensual activity among adults which does not affect anyone else.

His three main points were: homosexuality between consenting adults in private should not be illegal, that prison only encourages homosexuality, and that prison hospitals were inhumane.

While writing this he bought a small drinking club in Soho which attracted a mixture of types on the fringes of society. This provided material for his fictional autobiography about the club, A Way Of Life.

It was a surprise success and encouraged him to write more novels and plays which were hits on stage in London's West End in the late 1950s. In the '60s he became a well-known TV scriptwriter and producer. In the '70s he was lured by Canadian television with a lucrative contract, and emigrated to Canada, where he adopted Canadian citizenship and was responsible for numerous hit productions over the next 16 years.

When he retired in the 1980s, he went to live in a wooden Edwardian cottage in Victoria on the western coast of Canada which had a stunning view over the Juan de Fuca Straits to the Olympic Mountains above Seattle. He suffered a series of debilitating strokes in the mid-'90s which left him speechless and quadriplegic. He learned to communicate via a computer using movements of his chin. He suffered a final stroke and died November 13, 1999, at the age of 76.

In saluting Saint Peter Wildeblood, the Religion of Antinous honors the beacon of courage and hope which he represented in an age of darkness and despair for gay men everywhere. Everyone advised him to remain quiet, and yet he chose to speak out. He did not choose to be exposed but, placed at the mercy of events, he chose to become their master.

His book was a courageous act of defiance against the kind of injustice which the straight world called justice. 

"Very faintly," he wrote, "as though at the end of a tunnel, I could see what I must do. I would make a statement ... I would simply tell the truth about myself ... I would be the first homosexual to tell what it felt like to be an exile in one's own country. I might destroy myself, but perhaps I could help others." 

Monday, May 18, 2015


OVER the centuries, Antinous became the icon of Classical male beauty ... the measurements of the Antinous statues served as a guide for male perfection in many 18th and 19th Century art instruction books.

These etchings showing the exact proportions of the body of Antinous are from "The Artist's Repository" Published 1795-1813 in London by Charles Taylor. 

The plates are in the Crayon Manner and printed in brown ink.

Sunday, May 17, 2015


THE International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia is observed on May 17 and aims to coordinate international events that raise awareness of LGBT rights violations and stimulate interest in LGBT rights work worldwide. 

Commemorations are taking place in almost 120 countries, in all world regions.

The day is particularly strong in Europe and Latin America, where it is commemorated with public events in almost all countries.

May 17 is also marked in multiple countries in all world regions including, 32 of the 76 countries in the world where same-sex relationships are criminalized.

Common actions include large-scale street marches, parades and festivals. In Cuba, for example, Mariela Castro has led out a huge street parade in honor of May 17 for the past 3 years. 

In Chile in 2013, 50,000 people took to the streets to mark May 17, and the VIII Santiago Equality march.

The main purpose of the May 17 mobilisations is to raise awareness of violence, discrimination, and repression of LGBT communities worldwide, which in turn provides an opportunity to take action and engage in dialogue with the media, policymakers, public opinion, and wider civil society.

One of the stated goals of May 17 is to create an event that can be visible at a global level without needing to conform to a specific type of action.

Saturday, May 16, 2015


PALMYRA is in the headlines this week as the sad target of DAESH Islamic militants, who have vowed to destroy all "heathen" art and architecture as they did recently at Nimrud, Hatra and Nineveh.

Antinous and Hadrian visited the fabled "city of the desert" Palmyra during their three-year tour of the Eastern Empire.

But when they were there 1,900 years ago ingenious "terra-farming" kept the desert at bay, according to new findings.

For centuries, experts have been somewhat bewildered as to how this city could have achieved wealth and prosperity in the middle of a desert.

In the 3rd Century AD, Palmyra was so prosperous, that its queen Zenobia launched a revolt against Rome. She conquered Egypt before being defeated and taken as a hostage to Rome by Emperor Aurelian. 

According to a new study, Palmyra was a miracle of human ingenuity and "terra-farming" which could serve as a model for water-thirsty urban areas today such as Phoenix, Arizona.

Palmyra was surrounded by a number of villages that fed the city and together they harnessed rain water resources necessary for survival.

"The archaeologists gathered evidence that residents of ancient Palmyra and the nearby villages collected the rainwater using dams and cisterns. This gave the surrounding villages water for crops and enabled them to provide the city with food. The collection system ensured a stable supply of agricultural products and averted catastrophe during droughts," according to findings by Norwegian researchers.

Archaeologists from the University of Bergen in Norway and the Palmyra Museum mapped a large expanse of land around the city of Palmyra with the help of satellite photos and to their surprise, a large number of remains of villages from ancient Roman times were detected to the north of the ruined city. Remains of 2,000-year-old water reservoirs were also found.

"We were able to form a more complete picture of what occurred within the larger area," project manager Jørgen Christian Meyer, a professor at the University of Bergen, said, adding, "These findings provide a wealth of new insight into Palmyra’s history."

Once a flourishing city, with a population of 100,000 inhabitants, and a part of the Roman Empire, Palmyra was an oasis for travellers in the Syrian Desert, northeast of modern-day Damascus.

The city was first mentioned in the archives of Mari in the second millennium BC, The Roman Empire took over Palmyra in the middle of the 1st Century AD as part of the Roman province of Syria, according to UNESCO, which declared the Palmyra ruins to be on the World Heritage List in 1980.

"It grew steadily in importance as a city on the trade route linking Persia, India and China with the Roman Empire, marking the crossroads of several civilisations in the ancient world," UNESCO says about Palmyra on its official Website.

Despite its location in a semi-arid region, Palmyra became a thriving and prosperous city about 2,000 years ago by cultivating the desert soil and using rain water, something human beings of today could learn from and do even better, with all the available modern aids and methods, to feed many and bring about sustainable development.

Palmyra is still at a crossroads of history, and fighting between Syrian government forces and insurgents reportedly has damaged ruins at the ancient site.

Antinous and Hadrian visited Palmyra on their fateful tour of the Eastern Empire. 


"The inner circle of Hadrian's court, with a light escort, visited Palmyra in what is now Eastern Syria, near the northern Iraqi border. Palymra was an ancient buffer state between the Roman and the Persia Empires, which had now been at peace for many years. 
"Palmyra was therefore a mixture of both cultures, with its own, ancient Assyrian and Hittite blood beneath the surface. 
"According to Marguerite Yourcenar, Antinous was initiated into the Cult of Mithras while at Palmyra to the displeasure of Hadrian who was already an initiate, and perhaps an influential leader of the secret cult because of his position as Pontifex Maximus. 
"Coming after the Zoroastrian sanctification in Armenia, and given the Phrygian aspect of the Mithraic cult, and the proximity to the Persian border, and the end of the transition from the Age of Taurus to the Age of Aries, which the cult revealed, we celebrate the initiation of Antinous into the mysteries of Mithras and their cosmic revelation."

Friday, May 15, 2015


WE lift up our hearts to the great wing-footed God Mercury on this day in mid-May when Mercury traditionally leaves stodgy Taurus and wings his way into Gemini, his astrological home.

The Ancient Romans celebrated this cosmic event on May 15th each year with the Mercuralia festival.

Father of Antinous, son of Zeus and Maia, Mercury is the god of speed, the Lord of commerce, communication, and cunning. 

He is forever young and beautiful, the patron of skilled athletes, especially runners, and yet he possesses the infinite wisdom of extreme old age.

When Mercury was one day old, he charmed Apollo by stealing the sun god's prized cattle and crafting an ingenious story to cover his tracks.

Apollo fell in love with Mercury and from that day forward became his godfather and protector, presenting him to Olympus. Zeus was so taken by his son Mercury that he made him the messenger of the gods, and placed in his hand the sacred Caduceus, the serpent-entwined rod.

Hermes (as he was called by the Greeks) was charged with escorting the souls of the dead to the underworld, and to relay messages between heaven and hell. Thus he acquired his mystic powers, which were the inspiration of the Hermits, and of their religion known as Hermeticism.

He was known to them as Hermes Tristmegistus, the "thrice-great", and was said to have taught the secret knowledge of salvation to mankind.

As Hermes of the crossroads, he was a Phallic god, whose image was a herme, or column with a bearded head and a large penis that was placed at forks in the road to protect travelers.

Mercury made love to Venus and was father of Pan, Priapus, Hermaphroditus, and of Fortuna. He was the craftiest inventor, who created the lyre, which he gave to Apollo. And he invented written language, weights and measurement.

Mercury was the god of good business, but also of dishonesty and absolute capitalism. He invented dice and was the lord of gambling and all games of chance.

Antinous was often compared to Mercury in the statues and in the artefact fragments (bust above). His powers of youth, virility and physical fitness were central parts of the Religion of Antinous. But the hermetic sages, from whom so much of the salvation of Antinous extends, deepened this fascade. He is, along with Dionysus, Apollo and Osiris, a major facet of the Spirituality of Antinous.

We acknowledge and extol Mercury, the wing-footed god, and pray to him as Antinous to run by our side and give us good fortune throughout our travels and in our communication with the divine.