Wednesday, September 20, 2017

ONCE IN A LIFETIME CHANCE
TO SEE THESE POMPEII TREASURES



AN exhibit at the Pompeii Antiquarium is showcasing treasures found inside one of the most well-known houses among the urban villas of the Insula Occidentalis at the archaeological site, the House of the Golden Bracelet.

The show - called "Treasures under the lapilli. Furnishings, frescoes and jewels from the Insula Occidentalis" - runs through May 31, 2018.

The rich furnishings and parietal paintings on show belong to the House of the Golden Bracelet.


It is one of the richest villas from the western district Insula Occidentalis, which has been closed to the public for decades and cannot yet be visited as the entire complex is under restoration.

And the golden bracelet after which the house was named represents one of the most valuable and beautiful artworks found in Pompeii.


The golden bracelet, one of the exhibit's highlights, was found on the wrist of a woman fleeing the catastrophic eruption of Mount Vesuvius that buried the Roman city in 79 AD.

The piece of jewelry, which weighs 610 grams, is characterized by two snakes' heads holding in their mouths a disk with the bust of Selene, the goddess of the moon.

The goddess is wearing a half moon-shaped tiara surrounded by seven stars, her arms raised to hold a veil.

Another fugitive was carrying a box in wood and bronze with 40 gold coins and 175 silver coins, which is also part of the exhibition.

Victims who died inside the luxury home, including two adults and a child who sought refuge in an under-stair cupboard, are on display as plaster casts made during excavation work.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

THE BIRTH OF ANTONINUS PIUS



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.

Monday, September 18, 2017

PAMELA COLMAN SMITH
SAINT OF ANTINOUS


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."

Sunday, September 17, 2017

FRENCH EGYPTOLOGIST ALBERT GAYET
IS A SAINT OF ANTINOUS


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.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

ANTINOUS THE GAY GOD


INVITES YOU TO TAKE HIS HAND
AND FLY WITH HIM OVER THE CITY OF ROME
AT THE HEIGHT OF HIS RELIGION
IN THE FOURTH CENTURY A.D.



TARRY A MOMENT WITH ANTINOUS IN HADRIAN's PANTHEON (4:00 min.)


Friday, September 15, 2017

A QUEER TEMPLE IN NEW YORK
PAYS TRIBUTE TO OSCAR WILDE



FOR us, Oscar Wilde is a beloved saint of Antinous.

Now the New York- and Ireland-based artist duo David McDermott and Peter McGough enshrined him in a new installation, The Oscar Wilde Temple, located in a church in Manhattan's West Village.

Upon entering the space, visitors find a first assembly of portraits depicting historical LGBT figures, many of whom championed gay rights or were otherwise killed because of their sexuality and gender identity.

Paintings of gay icons and activists Marsha P. Johnson, Harvey Milk, and Xulhaz Mannan become constellations of martyrdom adjacent to the installation’s main event: the hagiography of Wilde. 


They illuminate the twisted heritage of queer advancements and reactionary violence against those advancements.

It symbolizes how the queer community must often rejoice and suffer in equal measure.

And the dim mood lighting of the temple recalls that of a funerary chapel, creating an atmosphere of meditation and mourning.

The Victorian fabric covering many of the temple walls is florid but altogether muted in a silent, muddy palette. 


Votive candles in purple-tinted glass dot the temple’s landscape, asking us to remember the dead.

Turning to McDermott and McGough's main focus, the deification of Wilde, we see a variety of mementos and devotionals. Paintings, sculptures, and quotations argue for Wilde’s foresight and forbearance on queer history.


The most elaborate of these examples is Oscar Wilde Altarpiece (2017), which depicts Wilde as a kind of Roman god or Catholic saint. He stands in Victorian dandy garb, hands clasped and chin pushed slightly up to confer a sense of grace. 

He is perched above his prison number from Reading Gaol, C.33, in a triumphant yet relaxed posture.

Just behind the figure, a stained-glass image of Jesus peers into the temple, his image beckoning viewers to connect Wilde’s narrative to a number of Christian martyrs who willfully died for what they believed in.

This sly juxtaposition makes a case for Wilde's sanctification as an icon of queer suffering.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

ANTINOUS WORKS MIRACLES FOR YOU
WHILE YOU DAYDREAM AT WORK


NEXT time you have a difficult problem to solve, and concentrating on it just isn't getting you anywhere, consider this: Maybe you're thinking too hard.

"Walk over to a window and think about the people or cars going by for a few minutes, until you get bored," suggests Josh Davis, research director at the New York Neuro-Leadership Institute. 

"Let your mind wander."

How will that help? "Always being 'on' blocks the brain processes that occur when we daydream," says Davis. 

His new book, TWO AWESOME HOURS Science-Based Strategies to Harness Your Best Time and Get Your Most Important Work Done, draws on new discoveries in brain science.

The idea is certainly not new. The Ancient Priests of Antinous knew that zoning out for a few minutes allows your brain to tackle tasks it can't handle when you're busy. 

They called it the medium for Antinous to work miracles in your life.

In ancient times, Antinous was known as a miracle worker. His worshipers prayed to him for miracles, oracles, visions and answers to problems in their daily lives.

The Egyptian hieroglyphs on the OBELISK OF ANTINOUS state clearly that Antinous answers the prayers of all who call upon him through dreams and visions, for example.

The hieroglyphs also make cryptic references to his ability to work magic through his heart. This is a reference to the Ancient Egyptian concept of the "Intelligence of the Heart."

The Egyptians knew that the brain is the center of motor activity and sensory perception. 

But they believed the heart is the center of a form of intelligence which has baffled most mainstream Egyptologists ... who assume the Egyptians believed the heart was where cognitive thinking occurs.

But the Egyptians had a very different view of the universe from our rational, scientific view of the universe. 

We dissect facts and analyze them. But while the Egyptians were very good at analyzing facts, they also retained the Zen-like ability to see the whole ... which leads to contemplation ... not analysis.

The Egyptians understood that if you want to find an intelligent solution to a problem, your brain can do the work. You have all the necessary intelligence inside the bone in your skull.

However, most people use their brains the same way they use their muscles. You can strain your head just as if it were a muscle, and work very hard trying to arrive at an answer, but it doesn't really work that way.

When you really want to find an answer to something, what you need to do is contemplate the problem. Visualize your question as well as you can, and then simply wait.

If you don't, and if you instead try to find the solution through brute mental strength, you may be disappointed, because any solution that comes in that way is likely to be wrong.


But when you have waited for a while, the solution will come of itself. That is what the Egyptians called the Intelligence of the Heart ... using your heart instead of your head.

It will work for you in the same way your stomach will digest your food for you without your having to supervise it consciously. Our attempts to supervise everything consciously have all led to consequences that aren't too good for our stomach, and the reason for that is quite simple.

Conscious attention, which employs words, cannot think of very much. We are forced, therefore, to ignore almost everything while we are thinking. We think along a single track, but the world doesn't proceed along a single track.

The world is everything happening altogether everywhere, and you just can't take all that into consideration because there isn't time.

However, the Intelligence of the Heart can take it all into consideration because it is capable of handling innumerable variables at once, even though your conscious attention cannot...


The hieroglyphs on the Obelisk of Antinous promise that Antinous the Gay God enables us to discover the Intelligence of the Heart ... the Intelligence of HIM ... he opens his heart to you ....

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

ANCIENT ROMAN TOY SWORDS
UNEARTHED AT HADRIAN'S WALL FORT



TWO Roman swords, hundreds of military artifacts and a pair of 2,000-year-old wooden toys swords have been discovered at a fort in northern England.

The metal blades and wooden toy swords were unearthed during an excavation of a Roman cavalry barrack at Vindolanda on Hadrian's Wall.

Archaeologist Dr Andrew Birley said the finds were like "winning the lottery".


The items will all go on display in the site's museum in Northumberland in the autumn.

The first sword was found by volunteer Rupert Bainbridge in the corner of a living room of the barrack.

It had a bent tip and a Vindolanda spokesman said it was the "ancient equivalent of a modern soldier abandoning a malfunctioning rifle".
 

Mr Bainbridge said he was "excited" by finding "such an extraordinary artefact".

A second sword, without a wooden handle, pommel or scabbard but with the blade and tang intact, was found in a neighbouring room.

The weapon would have been valuable at the time, leading archaeologists to think its owner left the fort in a hurry.


In another room were two small wooden toy swords which he said are "almost exactly the same as those that can be purchased by tourists visiting the Roman wall today" (photo right).

Other items found in the barracks' floor included bath clogs, leather shoes, knives, brooches, arrowheads and ballista bolts.

Dr Birley said: "You can work as an archaeologist your entire life on Roman military sites and, even at Vindolanda, we never expect or imagine to see such a rare and special object as (the swords).

"It felt like the team had won a form of an archaeological lottery."

The finds are believed to date from about 120 AD when the fort was thought to be home to about 1,000 people.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

RUN LIKE PHEIDIPPIDES
JUST DON'T DIE LIKE PHEIDIPPIDES



ON September 12, 490 BC, 10,000 Greeks use superior tactics to push 100,000 Persians back into the sea at the Battle of Marathon Bay ... forever changing the course of Western Civilization.

Though outnumbered 10 to 1, the Greeks won thanks to their new tactics.

Instead of individual soldiers fighting one-to-one duels, the Greeks rolled out their "phalanx" battle line of Hoplite soldiers who fought as one impenetrable unit.

The Battle of Marathon was a watershed in the Greco-Persian wars, showing the Greeks that the Persians could be beaten; the eventual Greek triumph in these wars can be seen to begin at Marathon. 

The battle also showed the Greeks that they were able to win battles without the Spartans, as they had heavily relied on Sparta previously. 

This win was largely due to the Athenians, and Marathon raised Greek esteem of them. Since the following two hundred years saw the rise of the Classical Greek civilization, which has been enduringly influential in western society, the Battle of Marathon is a pivotal moment in history.

The battle is perhaps now more famous as the inspiration for the marathon race. 

Although thought to be historically inaccurate, the legend of the Greek messenger Pheidippides running to Athens with news of the victory became the inspiration for this athletic event, introduced at the 1896 Athens Olympics, and originally run between Marathon and Athens.

Pheidippides was a professional "hemerodrome" (foot courier) who was sent to Sparta to request help when the Persians landed at Marathon, Greece. 

He ran 240 km (150 mi) in two days. Thanks to him, the Persians were defeated. 

He then ran the 40 km (26 mi) from the battlefield near Marathon to Athens to announce the Greek victory over Persia in the Battle of Marathon (490 BC) with the words "Chairete, nikomen!" ("Rejoice, we are victorious!") ... before collapsing and dying ... uttering "Cairete" (Rejoice) with his final rasping gasp of breath.

Image at top of entry: "Man Runs First Marathon To Bring News of Greek Victory Over Persia" painting by Tom Lovell (1909–97)

Monday, September 11, 2017

GAY MARTYRS OF TERRORISM


ON September 11th we remember those gay and lesbian men and women who have died in terrorist attacks.

The magnificent Religion of Antinous is not just about beauty and male-on-male sex and it's not just one continuous gay cocktail party. Alas!

The word "alas," by the way is a Latin corruption of the Greek name "Hylas" ... the beloved young companion of Herakles/Hercules. In Mysia, handsome young Hylas was abducted by water nymphs and vanished below the waters of a stream.

Heartbroken Herakles went mad with grief, bellowing "Hylas! Hylas!" and ripping out trees as he frantically searched for his beloved. He never abandoned his search, and his cries of "Hylas! Hylas!" continue to echo through the ages every time we say the word "alas!"

Hadrian and his beloved drowned Antinous have always been associated with Herakles and his beloved drowned Hylas. And so ... alas! ... the Religion of Antinous is profoundly and irrevocably associated with tragedy and with grief. That is the reason why the sculptures of the Beauteous Boy never show him smiling and boyish. He always gazes off to one side, his head tilted slightly downward, with a wistful and slightly melancholy expression on his face.

It's as if he is always whispering, "Alas!"

And so it is fitting that the Ecclesia Antinoi Annals of Saints and Martyrs and Exemplars includes the names of many, many people who have died under tragic circumstances.

Some died of overdoses or suicide. Others, such as the gay college student Matthew Shepard who was bludgeoned to death in Wyoming, were murdered simply because they were gay. 


In Iran, coming out is tantamount to a death sentence. 

Many, many others have been taken by the scourge of AIDS.

And still others on our list, Aula Sancti Ecclesiae Antinoi, have suffered and died because they just happened to be at the wrong place at the wrong time.

On September 11th we remember those gay and lesbian men and women who  have died in terrorist attacks.


They include the gay waiters and pastry chefs in the Windows on the World restaurant on the 110th floor of the World Trade Center, and also the gay and lesbian office workers in the Twin Towers, and the gay passengers and crew aboard the hijacked planes.

They also include the gay victims of the subsequent bombings and atrocities in London, Madrid, Orlando and many other cities.

We don't know the names of most of those people. But one name stands out: Mark "Bear Trap" Bingham.

Mark, 31, was a passenger aboard United Airlines Flight 93 and was flying home to see his mother. 

He made a phone call to his mother. He was so distracted by the chaos on board the plane that he identified himself by his full name, saying, "Hi, Mom, this is Mark Bingham." 

He just had time to tell her he loved her and that his plane was being hijacked before the phone call abruptly ended.

Mark was a big man at 6 ft 4 in (1.93 m) and 225 pounds (102 kg) and was a rugged rugby athlete. He is believed to have been among the passengers who attempted to storm the cockpit to try to prevent the hijackers from using the plane to kill hundreds or thousands of additional victims.

That assumption is based on the fact that his lover of six years said he had repeatedly fought back against muggers and gay bashers and that Mark definitely would not have surrendered to his fate without first putting up a fight. "Mark was a fighter. He hated to lose ... at anything!"

Mark Bingham may never have even heard of Antinous, and the Ecclesia Antinoi had not been founded yet before he died. He most definitely never expected to be remembered as a gay martyr. And he scarcely could have imagined being memorialized in movies and on websites and in books and TV docu-dramas.

He surely never expected to become a symbol and an icon. But that is what he has become.

And so, on September 11th, we remember Mark "Bear Trap" Bingham as a symbol for all those gay people who happen to be at the wrong place at the wrong time when terrorists strike — as can happen to any of us.

Like Mark (and like Herakles, for that matter), we fight and struggle to do the best we can in our day-to-day lives, but sometimes things just turn out far differently from anything we could ever imagine. Sometimes tragically so ... Alas!

Sunday, September 10, 2017

GAY TEEN MARTYR JOÃO ANTÔNIO DONATI
FIRST BRAZILIAN SAINT OF ANTINOUS



ON September 10th we remember the brutal mutilation murder of a gay teenager on this date in 2014 in Brazil ... the first official saint of Antinous in Brazil.

The death of 18-year-old JOÃO ANTÔNIO DONATI galvanized worshipers of Antinous into proclaiming him the first martyr saint of Antinous in Brazil.

His severely beaten body was found in the city of Inhumas in the state of Goiás with his neck fractured and both legs broken and 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.

His horrific bruises, lacerations and contusions showed that he had put up a desperate struggle against his attackers.

On the same day that João was killed, two other gays were beaten and a transvestite was murdered in the same state. But the images of João's smiling Facebook selfies instantly touched the hearts of millions.

Outrage swept the nation, with protest marches and vigils held in numerous cities.


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. 

Brazilian Novitiate Priest DECO RIBEIRO says more than 300 LGBTIU victims of homophobic murders were reported in Brazil in 2015 alone, though the true figure is unknown.

"Hundreds more have died since then," says Deco. "Each and every one of these is a martyr who is symbolized by João Antônio Donati. He was a vibrant young man filled with all the hopes and dreams of so many his age, and who became yet another victim of homophobia in Brazil, and who so deeply touched us that we have been moved to initiate something in our country that has long been in the offing: the Declaration of Apotheosis and canonization of the martyrs of homophobia in Brazil."

Noting that anti-gay hate crimes and murders are frequent in Brazil, Deco says: "This is the first statement and official nomination amid many others that will follow continuously over time honoring the names of many victims who have died in the past and who inevitably will be murdered in the future."

He adds, "We are setting out upon a long and arduous road which will entail hard battles for criminalization of homophobia in a country that has become increasingly Christo-Fascistic, homophobic and intolerant in a grotesque throwback of catastrophic and irreparable proportions. This is a turning point in history."

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

"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," Antonius said in the statement issued moments ago.

After João's death, his FACEBOOK page was filled with messages of condolence. 

A month before his murder, he updated his profile image with the accompanying message: "Determination, courage and self-confidence are decisive factors for success.

"No matter what obstacles and difficulties. If we are possessed of an unwavering determination, we will be able to overcome them." 

Though Brazil passed same-sex marriage into law in May 2014, homophobic attacks and transphobic attacks are still common.

Saturday, September 9, 2017

THESE SEVEN ANCIENT PRIESTS
DEVOTED THEIR LIVES TO ANTINOUS


IN many religions the number seven is sacred ... Christians honor the Seven Archangels … but (typically) apocryphal texts and regional denominations can't agree on the lists of seven. The big four are certain: Michael, Gabriel, Raphael and Uriel, but after that things get a bit iffy. 

Depending on which "church" is involved the seven may include: Raguel, Sariel, Baracael, Ieadiel, Sealtiel, Peliel, Gamael, Jerahmeel, Izidkiel, Hanael or Kepharel.

Oh and at least one list includes Lucifer, the fallen angel.

In Santeria Las Siete Potencias Africanas (Seven African Powers) are the best known and most powerful Orishas of the Yoruban pantheon. There are endless variations worldwide.

Many Protestants, of course, denounce all mention of angels, potencias or even saints as idolatrous, further confusing the situation for many modern seekers.

The Religion of Antinous has no "angels" (fallen or otherwise) in the Judeo/Islamic/Christian sense.

But the Romans depicted many ascendant souls as having wings and assisting in elevating mortal humans to attain celestial realms.

By sacred synchronicity, we know the names of Seven Ancient Priests of Antinous. They are:

JULIUS FIDUS AQUILA, Priest, Epistrategos and Architect of Antinoopolis.

ARISTOTIMOS, Priest of Delphi.

HOSTILIUS MARCELLUS, Priest of Corinth.

ISIDORUS DIDYMUS, Priest of Alexandria.

NICIAS, Priest of Rome.

PUBLIUS SUFENUS, Priest and Eunostos of Neapoli Oriens.

LUPERCUS, Priest and Eunostos of Neapoli Aetolia-Arcarnia.

There were many other priests, of course. But alas, their names went unrecorded.

We have no portraits of any of these Seven Ancient Priests. And their mortal appearance is of little importance.

Priest Hernestus wears prayer beads and a bracelet with seven charms and beads representing the Seven Ancient Priests. He prefers to think of them transcending Time and Space ... serving as mediators in modern guise for all of us.

Rather than worshiping mythical angelic beings, we honor these seven human beings of flesh and blood who really lived and who devoted their lives to Antinous. 

They were priests of Antinous ... we honor them ... men who lived and breathed and who remind us that angels come in many guises ... angels are all around us in our everyday lives.

Friday, September 8, 2017

PORTAL TO ANOTHER DIMENSION
IN THE MIDDLE OF MODERN-DAY ROME


IN a quiet corner of a shady plaza in the middle of Rome stands an ages old portal to another dimension.

The "Magical Doorway" (Porta Alchemica) is all that remains of a 17th Century alchemical laboratory which drew scientists from across Europe ... and which drew the wrath of the Inquisition.

The Alchemy Gate or Magic Portal is a landmark from the Villa Palombara built in 1680 by Massimiliano Palombara marquis of Pietraforte on the Esquiline Hill.

The Porta Alchemica is the only survivor of the five gates of the villa Palombara. 


There was a lost door on the opposite side dating from 1680 and four other lost inscriptions on the walls of the mansion inside the villa. 

The marquis was fascinated by occult and esoteric sciences. His wealth and social position enabled him to act as a patron to a number of alchemists. 

In his villa he also held meetings, attended by other important personages who shared his interests, such as the Swedish Queen Christina, who lived in Rome after having abdicated, the distinguished astronomer Domenico Cassini, the renowned scholar Father Athanasius Kircher, and others.

Villa Palombara had a small detached outbuilding, probably a laboratory, where the occult meetings and the alchemic experiments were secretly held, and occult rituals were performed.

A young doctor and alchemist from Milan named Giuseppe Borri, who had been expelled from the Jesuit college for delving into the occult, came to Rome and joined the circle of Villa Palombara.

A legend says that Borri, sponsored by the marquis, was successful in transforming lead into gold ... creating the Philosopher's Stone of transformational magic. 

But one night he suddenly fled - this really happened, after being stalked by the pope's Inquisition - and left behind a number of papers inscribed with complicated formulae which nobody was able to decipher. 

So Massimiliano Palombara had them inscribed on the doorways of his laboratory.

Another version of the legend says that an occultist calling himself Antimony (an alchemical element whose symbol adorns the portal lentil) conducted experiments at the villa ... and vanished through the doorway one night ... disappearing into a magical dimension ... leaving behind only a solid-gold apple as proof that he could transform matter into gold.


Unfortunately Villa Palombara was completely demolished in the second half of the 1800s, when the new district was built. 

The other doorways were lost ... along with their alchemical formulae.

On both sides of the surviving portal stand two bearded and bandied-legged statues ... they are statues of the Egyptian deity BES which once stood at a Temple of Isis and Serapis in Ancient Rome.

Knowledge of the Egyptian hieroglyphs had long since been lost when the portal was built. 

The marquis could not have known that BES was a worshiped by the Egyptians not only as a protective deity ... but also as a protector of Egyptian SEM magician-priests.

Or perhaps the marquis was very well aware of this ....

Thursday, September 7, 2017

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO JERMAINE STEWART
WHO TAUGHT US 'THE WORD IS OUT'


Happy birthday, Jermaine Stewart, born September 7th, 1957, who was one of the first gay artists to break out of the clubs and crossover into mainstream just as the music video was being born and kids were clamoring "I want my MTV!"

Jermaine was an out and proud inspiration to gay kids at home in front of their parents' TV sets in the '80s, and to jaded gay grownups in front of theirs as well. 

He always made you smile and want to get up and push the furniture out of the way and dance.

Jermaine began his performing career as a teenager in Chicago, touring with the Chi-Lites and The Staple Singers and appearing on the "American Bandstand" and "Soul Train" TV shows, which were prototypes for all-music broadcasters.

He would go straight from school in the afternoon to the "Soul Train" studios in Chicago where the show was shown locally in black-and-white — who knew that the show would become a nationwide hit within a few years?

By the early '80s he had worked with Shalamar, Millie Jackson, Tavares, the Temptations, and Culture Club as a background vocalist and dancer.

With the help of Culture Club member Mikey Craig, he landed his first solo recording contract with Clive Davis of Arista Records (10 Records in the UK) in 1984. 

His first single, "The Word Is Out," was produced by Peter Collins and was supported by a video shot in Paris. 

The song reached number 41 in the US R&B and Billboard charts, and was followed by an album of the same name in 1985.

Although "The Word Is Out" did much to enhance Stewart's reputation, it did not prove to be the commercial success Arista had expected.

But things changed with his second album, "Frantic Romantic," which included the song that would be Stewart's biggest hit, "We Don't Have To Take Our Clothes Off." It became an international success, reaching the Billboard Top 5 and number 5 in the UK charts.

Jermaine's third album, "Say It Again," was probably his most successful internationally. He was big in the US and Britain, but he was stupendously popular in Europe and Asia. 

He was a veritable superstar in Germany , where "Don't Talk Dirty To Me" was one of the biggest selling records of 1988, making the top 5.

While other mainstream pop stars went for a mainstream look, St. Jermaine went for eye-popping glitz-and-match attire and a glamour-diva image which Asians and Europeans loved.

This was when his career peaked and began a slow but steady decline as '80s radio-friendly pop tunes fell out of favor. In the early '90s he recorded an album entitled "Set Me Free." The album marked a return to the dance funk style of his pre-fame days. The title track was released as a single in the U.S., but sold poorly. The album was never released ….

Meanwhile, his health was beginning to decline. He did however start recording a new album in 1996, but never finished it. St. Jermaine Stewart died of complications of AIDS on March 17, 1997, at the age of 39.

Ironically, his biggest hit "We Don't Have To Take Our Clothes Off," with its safe sex message, was one of the first mainstream pop responses to the AIDS crisis.

We honor Jermaine Stewart for his courage and for his talent and for his audacity at being an in-your-face '80s gay style icon. Besides, not even Diana Ross had this many costume changes in a four-minute music video: