Sunday, August 19, 2018

FEDERICO GARCÍA LORCA
SAINT OF ANTINOUS


ON AUGUST 19th, the Religion of Antinous honors St. Federico García Lorca, who was openly gay and who is one of the greatest poets of the Spanish language. 
He was executed by the Fascists on this day, August 19th, during the Spanish Civil War in 1936.

García Lorca's central themes are love, pride, passion and violent death, which also marked his own life.


The Spanish Civil was just getting underway in August 1936 and García Lorca was seen by the right-wing forces as an enemy. The author hid from the soldiers but he was eventually found.

An eyewitness has told that he was taken out of a Civil Government building by guards and Falangists belonging to the "Black Squad". García Lorca was shot in Granada without trial. The circumstances of his death are still shrouded in mystery. He was buried in a grave that he had been forced top dig for himself. 

According to some sources, he had to be finished off by a coup de grâce. One of his assassins later boasted, that he shot "two bullets into his arse for being a queer".

It was the end of a brilliant career as a poet and dramatist who was also remembered as a painter, pianist and composer.

In the 1920s he was close friends with Luis Buñuel and Salvador Dalí, among many others who later became influential artists in Spain. Despite the accolades from artists and critics, he suffered from bouts of depression brought on largely by his inner conflict about his homosexuality.

He was tortured by the demands of being a celebrity in a homophobic society and the yearnings of his gay soul.

During his lifetime only a handful of close friends were allowed to read the collection of gay poems which would be published many years later as his Sonnets of Dark Love. Here is one of them, entitled Love Sleeps in the Poet's Heart:


You'll never understand my love for you,
because you dream inside me, fast asleep.
I hide you, persecuted though you weep,
from the penetrating steel voice of truth.
Normalcy stirs both flesh and blinding star,
and pierces even my despairing heart.
Confusing reasoning has eaten out
the wings on which your spirit fiercely soared:
onlookers who gather on the garden lawn
await your body and my bitter grief,
their jumping horses made of light, green manes.
But go on sleeping now, my life, my dear.
Hear my smashed blood rebuke their violins!
See how they still must spy on us, so near!


With the Catalan painter Salvador Dalí and the film director Louis Buñuel he worked in different productions.

Dalí and Lorca had met in 1923. From the beginning, Lorca was fascinated by the young Catalan's personality and looks. Also Dalí had admitted that Lorca impressed him deeply.

When Buñuel and Dalí made their famous surrealist short film Un Chien Andalou (1928), García Lorca was offended: he thought that the film was about him.

Lorca's friendship with Dalí inspired a poem, a defense of modern art and at the same time an expression of homosexual love. Dalí dedicated his painting of Saint Sebastian to his friend, who often compared himself to the tortured homoerotic martyr.

"Let us agree," Lorca wrote to Dalí, "that one of man's most beautiful postures is that of St. Sebastian."

"In my 'Saint Sebastian' I remember you," Salvador Dalí replied, ". . . and sometimes I think he IS you. Let's see whether Saint Sebastian turns out to be you."

García Lorca was capable only of a "tragic, passionate relationship," Dalí once wrote — a friendship pierced by the arrows of Saint Sebastian.


The Religion of Antinous honors this great artist who lived and loved tragically and passionately and who died tragically for being gay.

Saturday, August 18, 2018

ANTINOUS MAY HAVE EATEN CHEESE
ON HIS FATEFUL VISIT TO EGYPT



ANTINOUS and Hadrian were in Egypt in August 130 AD and enjoyed the finest wines, olives, figs ... and cheese? Now there is proof that the ancient Egyptians were expert cheese makers.

Egyptologists have discovered a jar of the world's oldest cheese in the tomb of an ancient Egyptian mayor, but ... frustratingly for turophiles ... the taste of the bacteria-laced sample is likely to remain a mystery.

The discovery, announced in the American Chemical Society's Analytical Chemistry journal this week, came after researchers tested the whitish contents of the jar found in the tomb of Ptahmes, a mayor of 13th Century BC Memphis, an important capital in ancient southern Egypt.

"This is the oldest solid cheese ever found," Enrico Greco, a scientist with the department of Chemical Sciences at the University of Catania who coauthored the report, told The Telegraph

Remains of cheese-like products older than the jar's contents had previously discovered in Poland, China, and Egypt, but a scientist who took part in the discovery says they were the products of natural fermentation so were more like yogurt than cheese.

Older samples discovered elsewhere were "more attributable to natural fermented milk like yogurt or kefir. In our case we didn't find any biomolecular traces of proteins resulting from natural fermentation of milk," Greco said.

The jar had been covered in a canvas to preserve the cheese.

The scientists investigated its contents using liquid chromatography and mass spectrometry, the American Chemical Society said. 

The tests showed the cheese had been made from a mixture of cow and sheep, or goat, milk. They also revealed that the sample was laced with Bricella melitensis, which can be deadly to humans.

But the cheese's taste is a mystery.

Friday, August 17, 2018

ANTINOUS IN CANOPUS AUGUST 130 AD
THE PLEASURE RESORT THAT HADRIAN
WOULD RECREATE AT HIS VILLA



CANOPUS and Heracleion! Where Hadrian and Antinous spent pleasant days away from the hubbub of steamy Alexandria in August and September of the year 130 ... just weeks before tragedy.

Heracleion is a real-life Atlantis which sank off the coast of Egypt nearly 1,200 years ago has now been brought back to the surface with the help of 3-D ... and Antinous and Hadrian visited this city ... before a massive earthquake caused it to sink beneath the waves.

The city of Heracleion, home of the temple where Cleopatra was enthroned, was one of the most important trade centres in the Mediterranean area before it disappeared into what is now the Bay of Aboukir. 

The Imperial entourage visited Alexandria and nearby Canopus in August or September 130 AD. 

It is hard to believe they would have passed by fabled Heracleion without at least a brief stop to pay respects at the famous temple of Hapi the Nile inundation deity ... it was Hapi who helped Antinous perform his first miracle after deification.

Heracleion had been the primary Egyptian port at the mouth of the western arm of the Nile prior to the founding of Alexandria. 

By the time Hadrian and Antinous saw Herakleion the city had been in genteel decline for 300 years but was still an important destination for annual pilgrimages by the Egyptian faithful during the annual inundation of the Nile. 

Nearby Canopus had a reputation as the fun spot of the ancient world, a sort of Las Vegas or Monte Carlo or Club Med where those who could afford it played in the sun (and in the pleasure houses) of what is recorded history's first fun-in-the-sun resort.

Canopus was a welcome change from Alexandria, where Christians and Jews waged bloody street battles and where the snooty Greco-Egyptian social classes looked down on the upstart Romans and gossiped viciously behind their backs ... "but not too far behind their backs," as Antinous authority Royston Lambert notes.

"Hurt and resentful," Lambert writes in "Beloved and God," "Hadrian and his circle may in late August have removed themselves from the intense and captious city along the canal to the elegant and relaxed pleasure resort of Canopus with its elegant villas, its vine-threaded arches straddling the water to shade its revellers and its splendid Serapeam."

Lambert points out that "it was delicious Canopus and not mocking Alexandria" that Hadrian used as the motif in a special "resort-theme" area in his villa at Tibur.

In Marguerite Yourcenar's novel "Hadrian's Memoirs," it is at Canopus that Hadrian (increasingly obsessed with omens and astrological prognostications as his health fails) consults a "heka" (Egyptian magic) mistress and asks the old witch if there is any way to extend his lifespan.

Antinous' beloved tame falcon is sacrificed and its ka is added to the many kas of the emperor's in what the witch says is a guaranteed way to prolong Hadrian's longevity. 

An even more sure-fire way would be for a human being to sacrifice his life in love and total devotion to the emperor.

But human sacrifice had been banned by Hadrian's predecessor Tiberius and Hadrian was known to oppose such practices.

So Hadrian and Antinous return to Alexandria and Hadrian considers the matter closed. Only later does he learn that Antinous secretly goes back to Canopus. 

"He paid another visit to the sorceress," Hadrian writes in his memoirs.

Only a few pages later, with the Nile flood lagging and with Hadrian's health flagging, Antinous makes a burnt sacrifice of a lock of his hair at an Egyptian temple on the banks of the Nile opposite Hermopolis.

Then he sheds his clothes and folds them neatly on the bank ... and walks out into the Nile....

Thursday, August 16, 2018

ANNOUNCING THE LARGEST GALLERY
OF ANTINOUS IMAGES IN THE WORLD



WE are proud to announce the most extensive collection of Antinous images in the world!

Flamen Antonius Subia spent nearly two years assembling the GALLERY OF ANTINOUS ICONS


What initially was supposed to be one page of images became a massive library.

He says it turned out to entail "months of painful, agonizing, finger-crippling, endless catalogueing, and intricate photoshop enhancing and resizing of countless... countless. ..Antinous images!"

The endeavour proved to be not only a technical challenge but also something of a spiritual initiation.

Antonyus says, "I now feel that I am an expert in Antinous Iconography...as over the process, I have become deeply familiar with each and everyone of Antinous's wonderful, beautiful statues and busts and other images.

"I have to tell you that in the end...it has been the most meaningful, and intimate experience of getting to know Antinous on a level that I have never before felt.

"He is so astonishingly beautiful... I found myself treating each and every one of his images with particular, loving care and devotion.

"It's amazing...when you handle his beautiful image again and again...when you gaze upon him, and study him, and see example after example, they all seem to blur together until you are left with this cumulative impression of what he really must have looked like...like the sum total...as though I had layered translucent leaves of his face and body one over the other, each showing through to the next, cancelling out errors, cracks, chips, peculiarities, the hand of the artist, modern enhancements, slight differences...my own impression of what I always thought he looked like...all blurring together into a ghostly form of his true image...I see him now.

"But I am also deeply familiar with all the different variations...I know them all by name, location, origin, and bits of their history...I know the image of Antinous as I had never known it before."

Antonyus adds that the gallery is not complete and he has issued a call for readers to submit more images.


"My intent is to have the most complete collection of Antinous images in the world," he explains. "We are after all The Temple of Antinous, his modern religion. It is only right that we take his image into our possession and display his form for all to see....with reverance and piety...not as an object of art, or history, but as an object of worship."

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

SNEAK PREVIEW OF COSTUMES AND MUSIC
OF RUFUS WAINWRIGHT'S HADRIAN OPERA


HERE's a sneak preview of the costumes ... and the music ... from long-awaited opera about Antinous and Hadrian by Rufus Wainwright which will have its world premiere 13 October 2018 with the Canadian Opera Company in Toronto.

A little Versace beach wear, some Klimt-inspired gold, and the bursting colours of Minoan frescoes ... and royal purple from Tyre snails ... these are the costumes.

"They're definitely Roman-inspired," says award-winning Canadian designer Gillian Gallow of the costumes she has conceived. "But there is also an extremely theatrical and modern perspective to it."

Guided by a strong belief that the opera stage requires a heightened sense of reality ... a visual language of grand gesture that communicates as effectively to the audience in the fifth balcony as it does to those in the front row .. Gillian has designed costumes she calls "dramatically Roman."


The garments are rooted in historical detail, pattern, and colour, but they’re also scaled to the opera stage, carefully tailored to meet the dramatic and emotional demands of the world’s biggest performing art form.

"Versace did a runway show in 2015 that was very Greek-inspired and Hadrian himself was known for his love of Greek culture, for referencing Greek art and customs, and for championing a Hellenic revival in Rome. So when it came time to imagine Antinous, we were inspired by Versace’s melding of this contemporary aesthetic with the period look."

The opera by Wainright and Daniel McIvor, entitled "HADRIAN," which explores the relationship between Roman Emperor Hadrian and the young Antinous, will run October 13–27 at Toronto’s Four Seasons Centre.

Peter Hinton will direct a cast that includes Thomas Hampson as Hadrian and renowned tenor Isaiah Bell as Antinous, with Karita Mattila as Plotina.

The opera tells the story of the Roman emperor and his young lover Antinous, who was deified after his mysterious and premature death. Wainwright has offered the promise of something provocative:

"I think in our modern world," he says, "among younger audiences especially, there's a hunger for a sort of spectacle that the opera world thinks is no longer relevant."
What attracted him to Hadrian was the power of the story Wainwright wanted to tell.

Certainly the story of the Emperor Hadrian has plenty to offer contemporary audiences. Quixotic, domineering and visionary, Hadrian represented the end of the Classical era in Roman history, a fascinating period when the influence of Greek ideas began to predominate in Roman society, changing its political landscape in significant ways.

Wainwright adds, "And then there's Antinous, essentially the male equivalent to Helen of Troy ... though we know he actually existed and exactly what he looked like. At one point he was neck and neck with Christ in terms of cult status after disappearing in the Nile. Imagine what a different world that would have been if he had lived!"

Here is an exclusive sneak preview of the musical score:




And here are more costume designs:




Tuesday, August 14, 2018

HERE'S YOUR CHANCE TO BE A CHAMPION
IN THE SACRED GAMES OF ANTINOUS


HERE is your chance to pay tribute to Antinous with your own special artistic talents ... and to compete for prizes ... in keeping with the ancient tradition of holding Games in honor of Antinous.

The 4th SACRED GAMES OF ANTINOUS in the modern era will be held 25 August 2018. Applications for entries are being taken now.

Announcing the opening of The Games, Flamen Antinoalis ANTONIUS SUBIA says prizes will be awarded on 25 August in the categories of Visual Arts, Performing Arts and Literature.

Submissions must be entrants' original work and must pertain to Antinous in some way.

Deadline for submissions is 22 August 2018. Submit entries hereantinouspriest@gmail.com

This is the IV ANTINOEIAD of the modern era, and entry is open to everyone wishing to honor Antinous with their own artistic, academic or athletic talents.

"These Games are open to all ... regardless whether you are gay and regardless of gender," Antonius says.

"You can submit any form of artistic endeavor ... poems, paintings, videos or literary works. But you can also submit dancing, running or other physical effort ... as long as you provide documentation of your performance art," he explains.

Prizes will be awarded to winners, and will be shipped to the winners wherever they live in the world.

The winners will be announed during ceremonies at the HOLLYWOOD TEMPLE OF ANTINOUS on 25 August 2018.

"Everyone has heard of the Ancient Olympics, but there were other Games held in antiquity," Antonius says.

"And among the most famous were the Games of Antinous, which were called the Megala Antinoeia ... the Great Games of Antinous," Antonius adds. "These were Sacred Games which were held in Antinoopolis, Bithynia and in Mantinea."

The most famous Games were held at Antinoopolis, the city founded by Emperor Hadrian in Egypt at the spot along the Nile where Antinous had drowned in the year 130 AD.

The competitors were primarily young men called Ephebes. 

In Antinoopolis these included swimming and boat races in the Nile.

But the Antinous Games were unique in that they also included competition in the arts and music. 

The over-all winner was consecrated as the living embodiment of Antinous and given citizenship in Antinoopolis, with an all-expense-paid life of luxury and adoration. 

He was worshiped in the temple as the representative of Antinous, the emblem of youth and masculinity. He was the Divine Ephebe.

The Great Antinoeia, as the Games of Antinous were called, were held for hundreds of years. 

But little was known of the actual competitions until a fragile papyrus was deciphered recently which revealed some intriguing and somewhat shocking details about the Games of Antinous of the year 267 AD and two wrestlers named NICANTINOUS AND DEMETRIUS.

The Games of Antinous faded into obscurity ... but have been revived in the past decade by us. They are held every four years during the cycle of the blooming of the ROSY LOTUS OF ANTINOUS AFTER THE LION HUNT in August.

Monday, August 13, 2018

THE BIRTH OF DIANA


DIANA the Divine Huntress was born August 13, according to the Lanuvium inscription which is consecrated to Antinous and Diana. 

She is said to be the twin sister of Apollo, but our belief is that the virgin huntress is the female Antinous, his twin sister, goddess of lesbian beauty just as Antinous is the god of gay beauty. 

Diana and Antinous are deities of the Moon. 

As Antinous is often assimilated to Apollo, he therefore substitutes as the twin of Diana, though he can often be viewed as her male double, so that Antinous is Diana. 

She is Helen of Troy to the Castor and Pollux of Antinous-Apollo, they share not only the attribute of hunters, and of the moon, but also as gods of magic and darkness. 

Diana is often compared to Heckate, the supreme goddess of Theurgian magicians, who rose to prominence during the reign of Marcus Aurelius. Antinous therefore is the male equivalent of Heckate. 

We pray to Diana to guide us in our hunt and to illuminate our nights with the silver light of her sublime power. We recognize that the Moon of Diana is the Moon of Antinous.

On this night we venerate the Virgin, she who guides new life into the world, goddess of beasts, the mistress of the hounds, the archeress, the young Great Mother of Ephesus.

Sunday, August 12, 2018

HERCULES INVICTUS


ON AUGUST 12th, we honor Hercules Invictus, the champion of homosexuality.

The Great God Hercules, defender of mankind against chaos, the son of Zeus, the strongest and mightiest man that has ever lived, was one of the first of the Greek gods to be worshipped by the Romans.

The Greeks of southern Italy introduced the Cult of Hercules at such an early date that the Romans were convinced that Hercules was indigenous. Indeed, he was admitted by Romulus into the sacred Pomeria, the spiritual protective wall of the city of Rome.

The cult of Hercules was centered at Tibur, where Hadrian built his magnificent Villa, and Hadrian is often compared to Hercules for his travels, his physical strength, courage, and his sexual prowess.

Hercules was driven mad by Hera and forced to murder his wife and children. In order to atone for his sin, he visited the oracle of Delphi and was instructed to submit to twelve labors.

Hercules accomplished them all, and many others including the release of Prometheus from bondage. 


He was also a sexual champion and the number of his lovers is very long, and they include boys such as Abderus, Chonus, Haemon, Hylas, Iokastus, Iolaus, Nestor, Philoctetes, Polyphemus, Telamon, Abderus, Admetus, and Dryops.

Without question, Hercules was a champion of homosexuality, and a defender of mankind against the forces of evil. 


For his benefit to mankind, he is venerated as a God and Protector of the Religion of Antinous.

(Illustration above of Hercules battling the Hydra by gay old-school beefcake artist George Quaintance.)

Saturday, August 11, 2018

LEGIONS PROCLAIM HADRIAN EMPEROR
A TURNING POINT IN LGBT HISTORY



ON August 11th 117 AD, the Legions proclaimed Hadrian as successor to Trajan to become Emperor of Rome ... a major turning poing in LGBT history. 

While on campaign in Nikomedia, capital of Bithynia, Hadrian receives word that Trajan unexpectedly died on August 8th.

He learns that Trajan's "deathbed will" named him as the emperor's adopted son and successor. It is the de facto accession of Hadrian as emperor of Rome.

It is believed that Trajan's wife, the Empress Plotina (who adored Hadrian), forged the will of her husband, naming Hadrian as successor. 

Whatever happened, the Legions proclaimed Hadrian emperor on August 11th.

The support of the army insured the validity of our Emperor's claim, ushering in the Sacred and Golden Age of the Antonines, the dynasty of peaceful and wise emperors which would end with Marcus Aurelius. 

Our own FLAMEN ANTINOALIS ANTONIUS SUBIA explains what this means to gay men everywhere:
"Hadrian became Emperor over Rome at the pinnacle of her glory. Her boundaries stretched farther than ever before; farther than they ever would again. Millions of people were subject to his authority. As Emperor, Hadrian first made peace with the Parthians, surrendering some of the land that Trajan had occupied, and then began the work of consolidating the Empire from the inside. We celebrate the Accession of Hadrian as the miracle that might never have been, without which Antinous would never have been known, and our religion would never have been born. Hadrian is Our Father, Our Emperor and Our Capitoline God, we recognize on this day that the beginning of his age is the beginning of our own."
On August 11th, please take a moment to remember the day on which Hadrian's long and heartfelt dreams and ambitions became reality and the path was paved for him to begin work on creating a civilization based on Hellenistic tolerance — and above-all his dream of founding the perfect religion based on love and beauty.

May the Divine Hadrian help us all achieve our heartfelt dreams and ambitions in this regard.

Friday, August 10, 2018

MONTAGUE SUMMERS
SAINT OF ANTINOUS


ON AUGUST 10th, the Religion of Antinous honors the Reverend Montague Summers, saint of Antinous, who was a very upfront and openly gay member of the  Sacred Band of Lover/Warriors at the turn of the last century and who published a book of Uranian poetry entitled Antinous.

Born April 10, 1880, the Rev. Montague Summers died at the age of 68 on this day in 1948. 

Here is a splendid contemporary description of him:

"During the year 1927, the striking and somber figure of the Reverend Montague Summers in black soutane and cloak, with buckled shoes — à la Louis Quatorze — and shovel hat could often have been seen entering or leaving  the reading room of the British Museum, carrying a large black portfolio bearing on its side a white label, showing in blood-red capitals, the legend 'VAMPIRES'."
While everyone else in Late Victorian and Edwardian England was constrained by strictures of class and morals, Montague Summers thumbed his nose at all restrictions of any kind. Having studied theology to become an Anglican clergyman, he suddenly claimed he had received a visionary call to become a Roman Catholic priest. He donned self-styled priestly robes and called himself "Reverend Alphonsus Joseph-Mary Augustus Montague Summers" — when in fact he had not been ordained officially by anybody.

It was shocking enough in England to convert to Catholicism and become a priest. But to become a fake priest was even more scandalous. But there was more ....


All the while he was also seriously studying the Occult and became friends with the crowd of Occultists who hung out at Watkins Books just off Leicester Square in London's theatre district — still even today one of the "craftiest" places to see and be seen.

In the late 19th Century, Watkins was the only book shop in England (or perhaps in the world) which specialized in esoteric books and witchy things. It was frequented by Madame Blavatsky and Bram Stoker and Arthur E. Waite and Pamela Colman Smith and — of course — Aleister Crowley. Summers became friends with Crowley and they enjoyed playing off each other, claiming they were opposite "polarities" of magical craft.

When Crowley announced he was a modern-day wizard, Summers responded by announcing he was a modern-day Catholic witch hunter. He wrote his own Malleus Maleficarum which claimed to be an accurate account of witchcraft and of the methods necessary to combat it.

He also wrote a book on The History of Witchcraft and Demonology, saying:

"In the following pages I have endeavored to show the witch as she really was — an evil liver: a social pest and parasite: the devotee of a loathly and obscene creed: an adept at poisoning, blackmail, and other creeping crimes: a member of a powerful secret organization inimical to Church and State: a blasphemer in word and deed, swaying the villagers by terror and superstition: a charlatan and a quack sometimes: a bawd: an abortionist: the dark counselor of lewd court ladies and adulterous gallants: a minister to vice and inconceivable corruption, battening upon the filth and foulest passions of the age".
As with everything that Rev. Summers wrote, it is difficult to determine whether his intention was to condemn or to praise. He was so clearly fascinated by the Occult that one never knew quite whether he was "for it" or "against it."


There was no doubt, however, about his love of handsome youths. It was said that he had never been ordained because of rumours of improprieties with boys as a school teacher, teaching upper class English schoolboys the finer points of Latin.

Indeed, Summers was for a while part of the circle of the Uranian poets, who celebrated ancient Greco-Roman erastos/eromenos man-boy love. His first book, Antinous and Other Poems appeared in 1907 and was dedicated to male-male love.

He was fascinated by Classical male-male love, and by the lives of  the Catholic saints, especially Saint Catherine who was drawn and quartered and who lives on as the English teatime "Hot Cross Bun"  symbolizing the way Catherine was torn limb-from-limb into four gore-spewing pieces rather than give up her faith. Very tasty with tea and clotted cream.

Rev. Summers revelled in telling young boys that their favorite snack symbolized the brutal dismemberment of a lady of faith. All of it told alongside Latin grammar lessons and tales of vampires and werewolves.

After his books on witchcraft, he wrote authoritative books on vampires, including The Vampire: His Kith and Kin (1928) and The Vampire in Europe (1929), and later a definitive book on werewolves, The Werewolf (1933). The werewolf book influence a whole generation of movie-makers, especially the German writer Curt Siodmak who wrote the screenplay for the 1941 horror classic The Wolf Man starring Claude Rains and Lon Chaney Jr.

Nearly everything that you have seen in Hollywood werewolf movies (wolf bane, silver bullets, etc.) comes straight from Curt Siodmak's reading of Rev. Summers book back in the 1930s.

The main difference between Rev. Summer's books on vampires and werewolves and books by other experts was that the other experts referred to these beings as "folklore superstitions" or as "pathological psychoses" in deranged minds. But when you read Rev. Summers' books, you know that he believed in the real actual true-life existence of vampires and werewolves.


In the old Hollywood werewolf movies, when a character went to the bookshelf and pulled down a book on werewolves and turned to a page with a woodcut illustration of a man-wolf — that was a cinematic reference to the 1933 book by Rev. Summers which was in fact on the shelves of well-stocked scholarly libraries around the world.

Summers's work on the occult is notorious for his unusual and old-fashioned writing style, his display of erudition, and especially his undoubted belief in the reality of the subjects he treats.

He was also fascinated by 19th Century Gothic literature. The genre was best exemplified by Mary Shelley's Frankenstein early in the century and the genre came to a thrilling close at the end of the 19th Century with Bram Stoker's Dracula.


Uptight Victorian readers had read Gothic horror novels with a mixture of shock and delight and Summers recognized the art form of the Gothic novel as a symbol of a romantic backlash against urbanization and industrialization.

He knew that "horror" was here to stay as a part of popular culture — as indeed it is. Every book shop, every video/DVD store has a big "Horror" section.

He helped to make horror a serious study of academic research by writing The Gothic Quest: a History of the Gothic Novel (1938), A Gothic Bibliography (1940) and he published a collection of Gothic horror stories in The Supernatural Omnibus (1931) and Victorian Ghost Stories (1936).

Above all, Rev. Summers was very strange and eccentric. The Times of London called him "in every way a 'character' and in some sort a throwback to the Middle Ages". He was also unabashedly and openly homosexual in an age when others (such as St. Oscar Wilde) faced jail and ruination for being gay.

Summers was a member of the Order of Chaeronea, a secret society for gay men founded in 1897 by George Ives, which was named after the location of the battle where the Sacred Band of Thebes was finally annihilated in 338 BC. The Sacred Band consisted of 150 homosexual couples and the reason was that lovers would fight more fiercely and more cohesively at each other's sides than would heterosexual men who were "just buddies."


Rev. Summers is a Blessed Prophet of Homoeros and a Dedicant and Messenger of Antinous among the Aula Sancti Ecclesiae Antinoi (our list of saints).

Thursday, August 9, 2018

A QUEER TEMPLE IN LONDON
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 are enshrining him in a new installation, The Oscar Wilde Temple, located in a Victorian church in London.

It follows upon the artists' success with the same OSCAR WILDE TEMPLE project at a church in New York's Greenwich Village last year.


London's Oscar Wilde Temple, which will open for six months from October 3, will be free to visit and open to "all faiths and non-believers alike," the artists said in announcing the project.

It can also be booked "for LGBTQ+ marriage celebrations, naming ceremonies, vow renewals, memorials and markings of other important occasions," with proceeds from private events going towards LGBT homelessness charity the Albert Kennedy Trust.

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 wilfully died for what they believed in.


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

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

THE ACCESSION OF HADRIAN
AS EMPEROR OF ROME


ON August 8th 117 AD, Trajan died amidst doubts as to who would be his successor ... paving the way for Hadrian to succeed him as emperor. 

It would not be until August 11th that the situation would become clear and the Legions would proclaim Hadrian emperor.

Hadrian had been on tenterhooks for years wondering whether Trajan would formally adopt him as his heir. 

If Trajan died without the issue of succession being settled, it could result in civil war — or at least in the assassination of Hadrian by some other ambitious man.

Then finally, while on campaign in Nikomedia, capital of Bithynia, Hadrian receives word that Trajan unexpectedly died on August 8th. 


He learns that Trajan's "deathbed will" named him as the emperor's adopted son and successor

It is believed that Trajan's wife, the Empress Plotina (who adored Hadrian), forged the will of her husband, naming Hadrian as successor.

Whatever happened, the Legions proclaimed Hadrian emperor on August 11th. 


The support of the army insured the validity of our Emperor's claim, ushering in the Sacred and Golden Age of the Antonines, the dynasty of peaceful and wise emperors which would end with Marcus Aurelius.

Our own FLAMEN ANTINOALIS ANTONIUS SUBIA explains what this means to gay men everywhere:

"Hadrian became Emperor over Rome at the pinnacle of her glory. Her boundaries stretched farther than ever before; farther than they ever would again. Millions of people were subject to his authority. As Emperor, Hadrian first made peace with the Parthians, surrendering some of the land that Trajan had occupied, and then began the work of consolidating the Empire from the inside. We celebrate the Accession of Hadrian as the miracle that might never have been, without which Antinous would never have been known, and our religion would never have been born. Hadrian is Our Father, Our Emperor and Our Capitoline God, we recognize on this day that the beginning of his age is the beginning of our own."
On August 11th, please take a moment to remember the day on which Hadrian's long and heartfelt dreams and ambitions became reality and the path was paved for him to begin work on creating a civilization based on Hellenistic tolerance — and above-all his dream of founding the perfect religion based on love and beauty.

May the Divine Hadrian help us all achieve our heartfelt dreams and ambitions in this regard.

HAPPY WORLD CAT DAY
IS YOUR HOME A CAT TEMPLE TOO?


AUGUST 8th is World Cat Day ... so it's the purrr-fect day to look over the shoulders of archaeologists who have unearthed what appears to have been a major temple to the cat goddess Bastet in the royal quarter of ancient Alexandria.

The discovery represents the first trace of the true location of Alexandria's royal quarter, where the Ptolemies resided and which served as the home base for Roman visitors, such as Julius Caesar and Marcus Antonius, and later Emperor Hadrian and his lover Antinous in 130 AD.

The temple was in use for centuries. Presumably it was still in use when Hadrian and Antinous arrived in Alexandria. In later centuries Christians and Moslems used it as a "quarry" for stone to build new structures.

Its ruins remained buried until an archaeological team, doing routine excavations near the Roman theatre in Alexandria, stumbled onto the temple foundations and a cache of 600 Ptolemaic statues, primarily of cats and the goddess Bastet.

The temple was built by Queen Berenike, wife of Ptolemy III (246-222 BC). The temple compound is believed to measure 60 metres by 15 metres and extends underneath the present Ismail Fahmi Street in the heart of Alexandria.

The team, which comprises 18 skilled excavators and restorers, unearthed a large collection of statues depicting the cat goddess Bastet, the goddess of protection and motherhood, which confirms that the temple was dedicated to this popular Delta goddess.

The Bastet statues were unearthed in three different areas of the site  together with other limestone statues of unidentified women and children, according to Al Ahram newspaper. Clay pots as well as bronze and faience statues of various ancient Egyptian deities have also been uncovered, along with terracotta statues of the gods Harpocrates and Ptah.

The temple foundations definitely can be dated to the reign of Queen Berenike, making this the first Ptolemaic temple discovered in Alexandria to be dedicated to the goddess Bastet. It also indicates that the worship of the goddess Bastet continued in Egypt after the decline of the ancient Egyptian dynasties.

An inscribed base of a granite statue from the reign of Ptolemy IV was also unearthed. It bears an Ancient Greek inscription written in nine lines stating that the statue was commissioned by an official of high standing at the Ptolemaic court. Abdel-Maqsoud believes the inscription celebrates Egypt's victory over the Greeks during the Battle of Raphia in 217 BC.

Archaeologists also found a cluster of other ancient structures, including a Roman water cistern, a group of 14-metre-deep water wells, stone water channels, and the remains of a bath area, as well as a large number of clay pots and shards that can be dated as far back as the founding days of Alexandria in the 4th Century BC.


"This find is the first trace of the real location of Alexandria's royal quarter," the newspaper reported.

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

THE ANCIENT PRIESTS OF ANTINOUS
KNEW HOW THE LEOPARD GOT ITS SPOTS


ANCIENT PRIESTS of Antinous at the Great Temple at ANTINOOPOLIS in Egypt were familiar with leopard-skin priestly robes. 

Whether they actually wore leopard skins in the Egyptian priestly manner is unknown, but it is certainly possible.

The Ancient Egyptian magical SEM priests always wore a leopard skin ... as do many African shamans even today.

Indeed, it is highly likely that the Ancient Egyptians got the idea from their southern neighbors — where else could they have got the idea, after all? 

The Egyptians were accustomed to lions and we know that lions were a menace even in the 2nd Century AD when Hadrian and Antinous conducted the SACRED LION HUNT. But it is safe to say that leopards were very rare and highly prized species even in Ancient times — which made them even more magical.

The Egyptians said the leopard started out as a variety of sacred lion, the lion being associated with the sun god Ra and of pharaoh's power and rulership as an incarnation of the sun god. 

The leopard lived in the desert like the lion and was indistinguishable from the lion because the leopard originally had no spots.

This is the cue for Anubis and Seth to enter the scene!

Anubis had a very odd love/hate relationship with Seth. Some said that Anubis was the son of Seth by Seth's consort Nephthys. Others said Anubis was the son of Osiris and Seth's consort Nephthys and that Nephthys placed the baby in the care of her sister Isis to avoid Seth's wrath. 


At any rate, little Anubis was raised by the Osiris side of the divine family, not the Seth side. Anubis and Seth had a very strained relationship, to say the least, full of doubt and suspicion on both sides.

Not surprisingly, Anubis took sides with Isis (as his foster mother) and her son Horus (perhaps his biological half-brother? ) in seeking to avenge the death of Osiris (his own true father?) after Seth murdered Osiris by drowning and mutilating his body.

The struggle between Horus and Seth continues to this day, of course. Seth has the advantage of being able to transform himself into any creature, thus eluding his pursuers. Sometimes he is a hippo. Sometimes he is a crocodile. Sometimes he is a giant serpent. Often, he is a graceful antelope. He can be deceptively beautiful and entrancing.  


The Lie takes many deceptive forms,
always posing as the Truth. 

But Anubis was able, by means of his keen canine senses, to sniff out Seth in whatever form he takes. 

Once, Seth assumed the form of a leopard and blended into the desert sand so well that Horus was unable to spot him from the air as he circled high in the sky upon his falcon wings, using his sharp falcon eyes to scan the Earth.

But Anubis sniffed out Seth and decided to brand him so that everyone would be able to see him. Anubis trotted over to the banks of the Nile and dunked his paws in rich black Nile mud. Then he leapt onto the leopard and left indelible muddy paw prints all over Seth's hide.

That is how the leopard got its spots, according to the Ancient Egyptians.

The highest caste of Egyptian magician/priests wore leopard skins to symbolize the never-ending struggle between the Truth and the Lie. The Lie persists. Seth the Deceiver was not killed by Anubis. But Anubis revealed Seth for the Lie that he is.


And that is why the Priests at the Great Temple of Antinoopolis may have worn leopard skins ... to demonstrate that it is possible to see through the Lie to uncover the Truth that lies underneath.

Monday, August 6, 2018

LET ANTINOUS GUIDE YOU
THROUGH THE CATACOMBS OF THOTH

By Priest Hernestus



AUGUST 6th is ancient Egyptian festival of Thoth or Djehuti and in August of the year 130 Antinous and Hadrian were in Egypt and were soon to be heading up the Nile towards the the Sacred City of Hermopolis.

Hadrian and Antinous visited this city in October 130 AD … indeed it was the last city Antinous saw before he died in the Nile.

The thing you have to remember about Hermopolis, the Sacred City of Thoth, god of writing, is that it is located in the very middle of Egypt. Thoth officiated at the weighing of the soul before the throne of Osiris.

Appropriately, his sacred city is at the fulcrum of the scales, as it were, midway between the Lower Kingdom capital of Memphis and the Upper Kingdom capital of Thebes.

It is no coincidence that, when Akhenaten sought a site midway between Upper and Lower Egypt, he chose a site only about 20 kilometres south of Hermopolis for his city of Akhetaten (Tel El Amarna).

It is at this very point, at the fulcrum of Egypt, at the center of the Egyptian world, just across the river from Hermopolis and a few miles north of Akhetaten, that Antinous plunged into the Nile.

The Greeks called the town Hermopolis, the City of Hermes, because they associated Thoth with their own Hermes. The Egyptians, however, have always called it Shmunu, a name whose meaning is lost in the mists of time. They still call it that: Al Ashmunein. Like so many things in Egypt, the spelling has changed but the essence has remained the same.

There is little in the modern town of Al Ashmunein to indicate what ancient Shmunu looked like because it has continued to be lived in and built upon for generation after generation. 

In a way, we are lucky that Antinoopolis was abandoned many centuries ago. At least we can still see where the ancient streets were. At Hermopolis/Ashmunein, as at Thebes/Luxor, centuries of building has been going on and there is no way to see what is underneath without ripping out half the town.
Even so, there are still some truly spectacular monuments ... monuments that Hadrian and Antinous most definitely must have seen during their trip to Hermopolis in the last week or so of October in the year 130.

Most impressively, there are still a number of Doric columns of an ancient temple which is nowadays called the "Basilica" because it served as a Christian church after the fall of paganism.


It is very moving to stand among these towering columns and to think that Hadrian and Antinous must have stood here as well and marvelled at this structure when it was still in its glory.

There are also some splendid statues, most notably a monumental statue of Thoth in his guise as the "dog-faced" (cynocephalic) baboon, a primate whose mischievous intelligence was associated by with Thoth, lord of learning and magic.

When you stand amongst the ruins and look around yourself, you notice what appear to be odd-shaped mounds and hillocks. As so often in Egypt, these are not natural geological formations at all. They are the remnants of walls and buttresses and other structures.

Hadrian and Antinous must have seen all this. And they must have been taken on a tour of the City of the Dead which lies to the west of Hermopolis at the point where the irrigated valley gives way to the desert. You take a few steps past the irrigated gardens and orchards and suddenly find yourself stumbling around in the sandy desert. It is the contrast between life and death. The place is now the site of the village of Tuna al Gebel.

It is here that some spectacular tombs were built, tombs that undoubtedly were visited by Hadrian and Antinous. They couldn't help but have seen the Tomb of Isadora (right), for example.

Isadora was a prominent young woman who drowned in the Nile early in the 2nd Century. Her drowning death caused her to be venerated by the Egyptians. Antinous undoubtedly saw her tomb, which was brand new at the time. He heard about her death and her subsequent veneration.

Possibly he saw her mummified body, which is still on view in the tomb.

He and Hadrian would also have seen the beautiful Greco-Egyptian tomb of the Priest Petosiris.

It was quite a tourist attraction even back then. The Imperial Entourage gathered in front of the tomb like modern tourists.

Petosiris was High Priest of Thoth and his tomb features some lovely reliefs honoring Thoth and showing scenes of Greco-Egyptian life.

There is also a stele nearby marking the northern boundary of the city of Akhetaten. I doubt very much that Hadrian and Antinous would have been shown that "heretic's" boundary stone, located high in a cliff. 

But it demonstrates just how close these two sites are. Hermopolis was practically within the city limits of Akhetaten.

Today there is a flight of steps that enables you to get up close to it.

And then, of course, there are the catacombs. No tourist who visits Hermopolis can resist climbing down into the catacombs, where hundreds of thousands (if not millions) of mummified ibis birds and mummified baboons were buried over thousands of years. 

I'm sure Hadrian and Antinous were no different and were taken on a tour of the catacombs, where they peered into the cubby-holes which formed the last resting place for all those baboon and ibis mummies.

The catacombs are a labyrinth of corridors leading off into inky blackness. 

The only light, then as now, is from torches placed in holders along the way. 

Nowadays, of course, they are electric torches and flood-lights. Back then, they were flickering flame torches.

Occasionally you come across a baboon or ibis that was given special treatment and which has its own little chapel with a votive offering stone out front.

I've been to the Hermopolis catacombs and I can tell you it is one of the spookiest and yet one of the most wonderful places in all of Egypt. Generally, I don't condone public display of mummies. 

But in this case, in these catacombs, I felt strangely right at home. It was the home of Hermes/Thoth, a place sacred to him.

So I trailed along with an Egyptian guide holding an electric torch flashlight and directing about 20 of us tourists through the labyrinth, right down to a tiny room at the very end ... after about a 15-minute walk.

It allegedly had been a chief scribe's study, if legend is correct.

I doubt that seriously since I can't imagine why any scribe would want to sit in a dusty, stuffy, pitch-black cubicle hundreds of meters down a tunnel when he could sit on a cushion on the cool paved floor of a temple annex with birds chirping in the sycamore outside instead.

I can't explain why, exactly, but I felt refreshed in those catacombs.

There were mummified ibis birds and baboons everywhere I looked, shoved into terracotta tubes like plastic plumbing pipes, all stacked in row upon row along all the walls. 

The guide explained that many of them didn't actually contain ibises or baboons. Some contained perhaps only one ibis bone and the rest was filled with chicken carcass or sparrows.

I felt that that didn't matter. They were all "virtual ibises" as far as the priests of Thoth were concerned, I have no doubt. The same for dog skeletons in place of baboon mummies.

They were meant to constitute a powerhouse of Thothian energy. And they did that by magical association with each other. I wanted to sense that energy, so I stayed behind as the group worked its way back to the entrance.

You should do that in Egypt. I highly recommend it. I stayed behind in the Burial Chamber of the Great Pyramid, and in
the Osireion at Abydos and enjoyed just being alone there.

Eventually, however, I realized it was time to leave because the guide had warned that he would turn out the lights upon leaving and anyone left inside would be sealed inside in perfect inky blackness.

So I hurried back along the tunnel to where the guide met me with shocked surprise. You can't blame him for being upset. If I'd been sealed in or if I'd set fire to the place or something, HE would have been held responsible. 

He gets paid a few lousy piasters a day and yet gets in trouble if the tourists get into trouble. I gave him some baksheesh money on the way out and felt deliciously guilty with the thrill of it all.

I wonder if Antinous stayed behind to be alone in the catacombs? What boy or young man wouldn't want to do that, just for the eeriness of it all?

It was the climax of a journey through Egypt that had taken Hadrian and Antinous to many very strange places. They had possibly seen the Tomb of Alexander in Alexandria. In Memphis, they had stood on the cliffs overlooking the vast City of the Dead. They had seen the pyramids. They had seen fabulous temples and palaces.

What was going through the mind of Antinous? What happened here, in the very center of Egypt itself, to prompt him to take his life? Assuming he committed suicide, and was not the victim of accident or foul play, just what was it here in Hermopolis, the sacred city of Hermes/Thoth, that convinced him it was time to end it all?