Friday, May 31, 2019

THE ANCIENT RENAISSANCE MAN IMHOTEP
SET THE EGYPTIAN PRECEDENT
FOR ANTINOUS TO BECOME A GOD


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

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

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


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

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

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


Vizier under King Zoser


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


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

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

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


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

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

Architect of the famous pyramid at Sakkara


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


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

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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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


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

Physician-magician, God of medicine


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


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

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

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


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

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

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


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

Thursday, May 30, 2019

JOAN OF ARC, SAINT OF ANTINOUS


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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

JAMES WHALE, SAINT OF ANTINOUS


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


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


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


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


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


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


Tuesday, May 28, 2019

RUFUS WAINWRIGHT'S OPERA 'HADRIAN'
IS NOMINATED FOR MAJOR AWARDS



IT has just been announced that Rufus Wainwright's opera about Antinous and Hadrian has been nominated for major awards.

The opera by Wainright and Daniel McIvor, entitled HADRIAN, has been nominated in seven categories for the 40th Anniversary Dora Mavor Moore Awards in Canada.

"Hadrian" is up for outstanding new opera production along with "Outstanding Performance of an Individual" nominations for baritone Thomas Hampson in the role of Hadrian and coloratura soprano Ambur Braid in the role of Empress Sabina, as well as outstanding costume design by Gillian Gallow.

The Doras will be bestowed June 25 at the Sony Centre for the Performing Arts in Toronto.

The opera's world premiere on 13 October 2018 at the Canadian Opera Company got a standing ovation during repeated curtain calls from a sold-out capacity audience at the Toronto opera house.

"Finally, after hundreds of years of doomed heterosexual love on the Opera stage, Rufus Wainwright and the Canadian Opera Company gave us some doomed homosexual love to enjoy. Thanks, Hadrian!" critic Christopher Butcher tweeted on Twitter.

"Just came back from Hadrian and I am SHAKEN that was so amazing and Thomas Hampson was perfect in the role as Hadrian. And as always Rufus Wainwright wrote a phenomenal score. I'll never forget it," another reviewer tweeted.

In the audience were a number of followers of Antinous and one of them posted this notice to us:

"Sold out house. Audience rapt for the entire performance, barely moved. The libretto is such a fascinating story. I was moved several times. Sets and costumes are effective. Performances outstanding. There's a curious feeling in this production as if you're looking at the ancient world from their standpoint, not ours looking back. It really grew on me. Some of it is so sublime. The past really is a foreign country."

The most gushing praise came from arts critic Leslie Barcza, who wrote: 

"There are some wonderful performances, great moments to report.

"First and foremost, the love story between two men presented on the opera stage brought an eruption of applause early in Act III ... While we were presented with a homosexual encounter, everything was tasteful, discreet.

"I was intrigued that Ambur Braid (as Empress Sabina) effortlessly stole the show, in a character who is far more sympathetic than one might expect. The jealous wife of a gay man, she has the two most dynamic moments musically, a pair of arias that, for whatever reason, are the moments of greatest inspiration & commitment from Rufus Wainwright. In this respect perhaps Wainwright is being truly Canadian, in being so self-effacing."

The opera, which explores the relationship between Roman Emperor Hadrian and the young Antinous, runs October 13–27 at Toronto’s Four Seasons Center.

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

Over four acts and three locations ... Hadrian’s villa, Greece, and Egypt ... the opera "is a surreal romp through time and space, mixing true occurrences with complete fabrication in order to illustrate a vivid 'creative snapshot' of what the end of the Classical era may have felt like," Wainwright says.

It opens on the last night of Hadrian's life in 138 AD. He wants to know the truth about Antinous' mysterious death eight years earlier in October of the year 130 AD.

Was it an accident? Or murder? The plot twists, political deals are struck amidst power struggles, deceptions, and visiting ghosts. And then it ends where it started.

But not before a love scene: "I realized that there are no sex scenes written into opera," Wainwright tells The New York Times, "let alone anal sex scenes. I think for some people it will be powerful to see gay love represented in the larger-than-life fashion that only opera can provide," he adds.

"When I first read the fabulous "Memoirs of Hadrian" by Marguerite Yourcenar, a novel which inspired at least three generations of gay men, I was instantly struck with the idea of transforming this historical subject into operatic form," Wainwright says.

Here is an exclusive excerpt from the opera's tender love scene between Hadrian and Antinous:


'THE LOVE GOD' BY MARTIN CAMPBELL
IS A BRILLIANT NOVEL ABOUT ANTINOUS


THE most brilliant novel about Antinous to appear in over half a century ... THE LOVE GOD ... is authored by our own MARTINUS CAMPBELL, priest of Antinous.

While that sounds like biased praise, we Antinomaniacs are hard to please and would not hesitate to pick apart a poorly researched book or one that denigrated Antinous, even if it were written by one of our best friends ... perhaps especially if it were. 

At the same time, a sycophantic book that presented Antinous as being cloyingly sweet and angelic would be unbearable and not believable.

So we are gratified (and greatly relieved) to report that this book truly is a remarkable work of historical fiction right up there with Marguerite Yourcenar's landmark MEMOIRS OF HADRIAN 60 years ago.

Martin traces the life of Antinous from the moment his tousle-haired head emerges from his mother's womb under auspicious stars in Asia Minor to the moment his head sinks beneath the swirling waters of the Nile on a starry evening in Egypt.

Antinous comes to life as a young man of breath-taking beauty who is filled with conflicting passions and loyalties. He is a young man who at times is naive, yet at other times worldly wise with an ability to see the world as it is ... and to describe it with at times brutal honesty to the most powerful man in the world.

Above all, this is a gentle love story between Antinous and Emperor Hadrian, himself a man of contradictory passions and priorities.

Martin himself is a man shares these passions. He has rebounded from a series of debilitating strokes to resume a daunting array of political activism for LGBTIU health and rights issues ... while working on this novel.

Based in a hilltop home overlooking the sea in Brighton England, he spent the best part of a decade researching this novel, retracing the footsteps of Antinous across Greece and Italy, as far north as Hadrian's Wall and as far south as the Nile in Upper Egypt.

Historical facts are excruciatingly accurate ... even the positions of the stars and planets at the moment of the birth of Antinous have been calculated to precision.

An academic scholar can read this book with satisfaction, noting obscure and arcane references which only the experts in the field of Antinology fully appreciate.

At the same time, however, this is a fun book to read even for those who have never heard of Antinous in their lives and who have no firm grasp of Roman civilization in the 2nd Century AD.

There is intrigue, skulduggery, near-death by lightning, getting lost in a subterranean labyrinth, a storm at sea, earthquakes ... and some fairly hot man sex as well, albeit tastefully brought to the page.

The narrator is the Classical Love God himself: Eros. He shoots his amorous arrows and ensures that Antinous and Hadrian fulfill the destiny which the Fates have in store for them ... despite efforts by certain people in the Imperial Court to thwart the Fates.

But the genius of this book is that there are no black-and-white villains or heroes. Antinous is a young man with all the problems and drives of late adolescence. Hadrian is a man with a mid-life crisis of doubt and regret.

Others such as Empress Sabina and her constant companion Julia Balbilla and their coterie of fawning courtiers and freedmen are not really hateful towards Antinous so much as they are simply perplexed by him. 

They view him the way some members of the Royal Household might look at the favorite Corgi of the Queen, unable to comprehend her affection for it, her grief when it dies.

They whisper amongst themselves: What hold does Antinous have over Hadrian? 

Just who does he think he is? And is he a threat to them? 

What is so different about Antinous that Hadrian doesn't grow weary of him ... as he always has with previous toy boys? 

Because they cannot understand how he fits in the scheme of Imperial court life, some really rather wish he would just disappear ... voluntarily or otherwise. 

And through it all is the boyhood friend of Antinous who has accompanied him on this long journey with mixed feelings and with growing envy and jealousy. 

The boiling emotions all stem from Eros, who winks knowingly at the reader as he shoots one arrow after another with unerring accuracy to ensure that Antinous fulfills his destiny ... to take his place alongside Eros as a God of Love.

The result is a richly entertaining and beautifully written novel which appeals to those seeking authoritative scholarly accuracy as well as readers who just want a riveting and memorable adventure yarn.

The Love God is available as Kindle and as a paperback ... CLICK HERE to order.

Monday, May 27, 2019

WE CELEBRATE THE FEAST OF COMUS
GREEK GOD OF DRAG QUEENS



MAY 27th is the Greek festival of Comus ... the god of drag queens! 

Comus is the son of Dionysus which means that he is the son of Antinous, because Antinous is often depicted as Dionysus.

During his festival, the worshipers of Comus would dress in clothes of the opposite sex and have fun dancing all night. He is the god of cross-dressing, partying, comedy and comedians. 

Art above by Edmund Dulac shows Comus in red wig and green frock leading his followers in a wild dance in his role as the god of festivity, revels and nocturnal dalliances. 

He is a son and a cup-bearer of the god Bacchus. Comus represents anarchy and chaos. His mythology occurs in the later times of antiquity. During his festivals in Ancient Greece, men and women exchanged clothes. 

He had a wreath of flowers on his head and carried a torch that was in the process of being dropped. 

Comus was often depicted with Momus (illustration left), who was the deity of satire and mockery and who later became the familiar court jester.

Unlike the purely carnal Pan or purely intoxicated Bacchus, Comus was a god of excess. 

He is the god of drunken revelry, merrymaking, the source of jokes and comedy, especially anything which provokes a huge belly laugh. He is the god who makes a party go with a swing. 

His festival was a time of fun and frolics, with men dressed in drag and women sauntering about in male garb.

27 de maio é o festival grego de Comus ... o deus dos travestis! Comus é o filho de Dionísio. Durante seu festival, os adoradores de Comus vestir-se-iam nas roupas do sexo oposto e dariam o divertimento dançar toda a noite. Ele é o deus do travestismo, da festa, da comédia e dos comediantes. A arte por Edmund Dulac mostra Comus na peruca vermelha e no vestido verde que conduz seus seguidores em uma dança selvagem.

27 de mayo es el festival griego de Comus ... el dios de los travestis! Comus es el hijo de Dionisio. Durante su fiesta, los adoradores de Comus se vestirían con ropas del sexo opuesto y se divertirían bailando toda la noche. Él es el dios del travestismo, fiesta, comedia y comediantes. El arte de Edmund Dulac muestra a Comus en la peluca roja y el vestido verde que lleva a sus seguidores en una danza salvaje.

Sunday, May 26, 2019

IS THE HEAD FOUND IN THE ROMAN FORUM
FROM A STATUE OF ANTINOUS-DIONYSUS?



A white marble head unearthed during excavations at the Roman Forum on 24 May is believed to represent a male deity, most likely Dionysus, according to Rome archaeologists.

But could it possibly be Antinous in the guise of Dionysus?

Initially it was thought that the head ... with its feminine features and thick, wavy hairstyle ... represented a female goddess.

However, closer inspection showed it to have a band around its head decorated with a "typically Dionysian flower, the corymb, and ivy."

So, it is now believed to be Dionysus, explained the director of Rome's archaeological museums Claudio Parisi Presicce.

The wavy hair style is not like the curly hair that most Antinous statues display. 

However, the famous Mondragone Antinous/Dionysus at the Louvre in Paris has hair not dissimilar to the newly found head.

The slightly larger-than-life head has been dated to the imperial age, which corresponds from the 1st Century BC to the 5th Century AD, and is described as being in an "excellent state of preservation."

"The hollow eyes, which were probably filled with glass or precious stones, date it to the first centuries of the empire", Parisi Presicce told Italian news agency ANSA.

The Mondragone Antinous-Dionysus, which is a fragment from a colossal statue of Antinous, also has hollow eyes which once had inlaid gemstone eyes.

Dug up on Via Alessandrina, the head was embedded in a late-Medieval wall. Experts are convinced it was reused as building material, as often happened in the Middle Ages. 

EMPRESS REGINA FONG
BELOVED SAINT OF ANTINOUS


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"Happy Birthday Regina Fong even though you and the Black Cap are now gone.

"What can one say in this current day except to pay a tribute to the one and only Reg...Regina Fong, Queen if them all….

"Regina Fong the Empress of Camp. Queen of the Black Cap.

"You Reigned supreme. Sage of the rejected, muse to all that were affected.

"Daily she held court at the corner of the front bar, vodka and tonic, laughter, dialogue quite chronic. Nightly you drew the crowds: shaking us from the  melancholy of the expected life, denial waking strife.

"Cabaret Artiste beacon of hope, torch carrier of all who could but strive to such heights.

"Black cap memories to be had everyday at the end of the front bar at 11:00 am. Sitting to Michael Jeffries swapping war stories giving advice...in comes Steffens and Camp David...last of the Polari...Vada, Vada, Naff, Convo...Laughter, drinks, and scams galore.

"Always aching for the next adventure of days gone by…. If you could smell and hear the wonder of the front bar of the black cap...nicotine stains and morning shakes...characters and creatures of a world gone by...but not forgotten...bastions of an age of defiance, survival, and overwhelming urge to be fabulous.

"Happy Birthday H.I.H. Regina Fong...the likes of you could never be wrong."

Saturday, May 25, 2019

EPISTLE OF THE SACRED BULL HUNT 2019
By Flamen Antinoalis Antonius Subia



TONIGHT the Hollywood Temple of Antinous (along with followers in other nations via Facebook Messenger) celebrates The Sacred Bull Hunt of Antinous.

The commemoration marks the end of Taurus, the death of the Bull of Heaven ... and the coming of Gemini, the Divine Twins ... or shall we say The Lovers ... Hadrian and Antinous.

The Cycle of the Sacred Hunts are of course a recognition that Antinous was a God of the Hunt, that in his life-time, he is recorded in verse to have participated in a Lion Hunt, and in stone relief, his image has been identified as one of the participants, along with Hadrian in the hunt of the Bear and the Boar, and also the Lion on the tondos of the Arch of Constantine.

We might call this cycle "Hunt Spirituality," an awareness of the active element of Antinous.  

From his images we are given to understand him as a melancholy, day-dreaming, slightly self-involved, yet gentle and radiantly peaceful boy...but this is only part of the beautiful story.

Another part, which is in the ancient record and therefore can be regarded as biographical, is that he was a hunter...on horseback...and perhaps on foot...able to chase down wild animals, and kill them with a spear.

The Sacred Hunts commemorate the nature of the animals which then become part of who Antinous is, and by extension, who we may become, or find ourselves to be.

Whether we see ourselves as the Hunter Antinous, or the Hunted Animal...or a mingling of the two...the significance is always through our own personal essence...animalistic...the Sacred Hunts, therefore are one of the significant forms that Animalism has taken up in the New Religion of Antinous.

Antinous was never historically said to have hunted a Bull...so for historical accuracy, this is not a Sacred Hunt with historical precedence...this would be my own invention....but I will try to explain the essence of what I feel it means, and perhaps will you understand and even add your own meaning..or detract from it, or have no opinion at all.

But as I feel now...the Bull Hunt is probably one of the more meaningful and powerful understandings of Antinous that I have discovered.

There is an ancient connection between Antinous and the Bull that has remained unexplained, or unobserved because the meaning is unclear.

If there is no historical precedent to prove that Antinous participated in the bullfights, there is evidence to show that the bull was sacred to Antinous.

There are a number of coins from Asia Minor, that portray Antinous standing by the side of a bull, or have a Bull on the reverse. A coin from Antinous's home town Bithynium-Claudiopolis is among this type.

The majority are of the type that read "Fatherland of Antinous the God"...they were minted in cities where the Religion of Antinous was strongest and most heart-felt, where he was openly proclaimed to be a God of the Country...and so from the coins, we can know that the bull, among other animals, was considered to be a sacred symbol of Antinous.

The Bull, therefore, is an ancient, stone-age and early Bronze age symbol for a King, and it is from this connection that the notion of the Bull of Heaven is derived.

The Egyptians believed that the Ka of Osiris would take the form of a perfect young Bullock...when one of these perfect bulls was discovered, it was treated with deep reverance, and allowed to live in splendor like a living god...because it was a living god...it was Osiris.

When the bull reached the age of 28, the age when Osiris was murdered, the bull was sacrificed.

Certain parts were eaten by the Pharaoh, while the body of the bull was mummified and given a tomb at Saqqara.

Plutarch said "The Apis should ever to be regarded by us, as a fair and beautiful image of the soul of Osiris."

The Apis Bull was the Spirit of Osiris in living form...eternal and ever-present. Antinous was of course first compared to Osiris because he drowned in the Nile.  In ancient antiquity when a King died, his Ka and his Ba...soul and spirit, were said to join and take form as Osiris in the underworld, so as to circle the cosmos in the Boat of Millions of Years.

In later history, any person who could afford to have the elaborate ceremonies associated with mummification and the recitation of the Book of the Dead could also join Osiris.

It would seem to be highly probable to suppose that Antinous may have undergone the most elaborate Egyptian burial that Hadrian could arrange....that Antinous was very likely mummified and entombed in or near his temple in Antinoopolis...if he was not bought home and entombed at Hadrian's Villa.

Mummification seems very likely, though there is no proof or evidence that it occurred...but that he was first and very closely identified with Osiris seems to hint that perhaps his association with Osiris would have been elaborated, and not merely allegorical.

Antinous and Osiris were united in one being...known as Osarantinous.

Our sacred Obelisk Text repeatedly mentions him as "The God, Osiris-Antinous the Justified"...because among several other gods, one of the most important elements of the divinity of Antinous was his connection to Osiris.

The living symbol of Osiris was the Apis Bull...therefore, as the Coins of Bithynia seem to suggest...the Bull was likewise, the living symbol of Antinous...the Ka of Antinous...the Spirit of Antinous in living form.

The Bull can therefore be viewed as a symbol of our spiritual connection to Antinous...the living spirit of Antinous, the consumption of which, like the flesh of the sacred Apis Bull is in essence the consumption of the Spirit of Antinous.

There is a strong likelihood that Antinous and Hadrian may have hunted Bulls.

We must therefore wonder what the Bull Hunt means to us, in what of so many contexts we may choose to view the brutal combat between a man and a bull...which is in a sense, a parable of man against nature...against the world (earthquakes for example)...the ferocious forces that are greater and able to destroy us, over which we can only triumph with excessive courage, at the risk of our very existence.

The Bull Hunt, therefore, is a sacred observance of how with intensities of inner strength, we can overcome all those forces that would destroy us.

And so it is, in the Name of Antinous, that I offer you the Sacred Bull Hunt, in observance of which I recommend that you take a moment to think upon the obstacles of your life, those which seem overwhelming, or on the verge of destroying you, or breaking you down, those from which you seek to flee...that you may find the courage to face them, even at the cost of everything that you count as dear and of value.

It is these wild forces that we must face, if we are ever to regard ourselves as Men.

In Commemoration of the End of Taurus,

May Antinous, the Spirit of Osiris give you strength.

~ANTONIUS SUBIA

Friday, May 24, 2019

CENTAUR MOSAIC AT HADRIAN's VILLA
OFFERS INSIGHTS INTO EMPEROR's MIND



THE FAMOUS Centaur Mosaic from the grand dining pavilion of Hadrian's Villa at Tibur has intrigued art historians for decades. The mosaic is on view at the Altes Museum in Berlin, along with stunning sculptures of Hadrian and Antinous. But few people have had the opportunity to view it up close with commentary by eminent art historians — until now!

This new video (below), with a running narration by Dr. Steven Zucker and Dr. Beth Harris, provides brilliant insights not only into the Roman interpretation of Greek art, but also into the subtle differences in the way that the Romans and the Greeks perceived their place in the cosmos.

One important point which Drs. Zucker and Harris do not make, however, is that Hadrian was called "The Lion Slayer" because the Emperor and Antinous killed a man-eating lion in Egypt in the summer of the year 130 AD — only weeks before the tragic death of Antinous. 

Another detail is that the centaur downed by the tiger is a female, presumably the mate of the centaur holding the boulder. It is unclear whether the downed mate is dead or only stunned and is about to be rescued — just as Hadrian rescued Antinous from the Egyptian lion in real life.

So Hadrian's dinner guests could look at the mosaic and interpret the bearded centaur as being a mythic aspect of the emperor himself — protecting the Empire from the beastly forces of chaos. Hadrian could also be equated with Chiron, with Antinous perhaps his tutor.

In Greek mythology, Chiron was one of the Titans, the greatest of the Centaurs. Chiron was the tutor to a great many gods and demigods, including Prometheus, Theseus, Achilles and Hercules, to name but a few.

Astrologically, Chiron represents a person's healing energies and, indeed, the word for "surgery" in many European languages (chirurgie in French and German, cirugya in Spanish, chirugia in Italian and Portuguese) comes directly from the Ancient Greek words for "Chiron Hands" ... a healer with the skilled hands of the Titan Chiron.

Astrologically, the minor planet (or asteroid) CHIRON IS IN ARIES ... which boosts cosmic healing. Hadrian, who was obsessed with astrology himself, could hardly have looked at this mosaic without pondering cosmic implications.

Zucker and Harris, founders of Smarthistory, aptly point out that this mosaic ... only a tiny fraction of the dining pavilion's mosaic ... must have been a profound source of dinner conversation.

Thursday, May 23, 2019

SOON YOU CAN TEXT THE NAME OF ANTINOUS
IN PROPER EGYPTIAN HIEROGLYPHS



YOU soon may be able to text the hieroglyphic Egyptian spelling of the name of Antinous ... in genuine hieroglyphs!

Over 2,000 hieroglyphs may soon be available for use on phones, computers and other digital devices. 

The Unicode Consortium recently released a revised draft of standards for encoding Egyptian Hieroglyphs. 

If approved, the available hieroglyphs will provide greater access and global uniformity for Egyptologists, covering a much longer period of hieroglyphic usage than ever before.

The proposal is part of a larger effort between the Unicode Consortium, ancient linguists, font designers, and the federal government to attempt to study, preserve, and then digitally represent ancient and endangered languages through the use of computer code.

Although Egyptian Hieroglyphs have been defined within Unicode since version 5.2, released in 2009, the glyphs were highly limited in number and did not stretch into the Greco-Roman period ... which was when Antinous lived.

There is only one other hieroglyphic inscription of his name ... in the glyphs on the atop the Pincio Hill in Rome.


Here is a transliteration of his name, which is spelled with these glyphs:

A-N-D-I-I-NU-S

The Egyptians spelled it with a forearm ("A"), a wave of water ("N"), a hand ("D"), two reeds ("I") another "N", a water pot ("NU") and a bolt of folded cloth ("S"). The little triangles on either side of the "NU" pot are not standard glyphs and possibly only serve to balance the composition.

Also: an unvoiced "determinative" in the form of a human eye with highlighted upper lid. The most intriguing glyph is the eye with highlighted upper lid. It represents no spoken sound. It is a "determinative," which is to say it modifies or enhances the meaning of the name. 

Though experts are unclear about this glyph, it is usually interpreted as meaning "eye make-up," "eyelashes," "looking" or "good-looking." 

Incidentally, no royal cartouche is used in his name. Only the names of pharaohs and caesars are written inside a cartouche. The names of gods stand alone ... so Hadrian (a pharaoh) must be spelled with a cartouche, while Antinous (as a god) stands alone.

The name can also be spelled in a vertical format using another "S" glyph (the horizontal "door bolt"), depending on the scribe or artist's graphic art constraints.

Aside from the mysterious, unvoiced eyelid glyph, the most distinctive part of the name is the "NU" which is a biliteral glyph, which means it is two sounds "N" and "U" combined in one glyph.

It's the only biliteral in the name. Biliterals always denote something special. The Egyptians usually didn't bother to try to show vowel sounds in names unless the vowel was particularly important. 

That is an indication that this particular "NU" sound was very important in pronouncing the name Antinous. The Egyptians heard a distinct "NU" sound in his name and felt it needed to be graphically represented.

It is important to remember that this Egyptian spelling represents a phonetic rendering of the name Antinous. As we know from modern languages, other people hear other sounds in a name. It was the same in Ancient times. 

Our transliteration from the ancient Greek is Antinoös, with an umlaut (two dots) over the second "o" to stress that there were four syllables (as far as certain Greeks were concerned). 

In other languages, Antinous is spelled "Antinoo" or "Antinoos".

We know from other inscriptions that the Egyptians were quite accurate in rendering "A-D-R-I-A-N-S" (Hadrianus) and the names of the other Caesars.

So these glyphs give us a tantalizing clue as to how his name may actually have been pronounced.

Did they really call him something that would sound like "Andi-NU-us" to our modern-day ears? That's what the Egyptian hieroglyphic inscription implies.

Each glyph was carefully chosen by the Priests of Antinous. On the Earthly Level, they wanted a phonetic match, of course. But on the Sacred Level they wanted a mystical match.

As Above, So Below.

CLICK HERE for a more esoteric discussion of the mystical meaning of his name.

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

HARVEY MILK, SAINT OF ANTINOUS



ON May 22nd the world honors Harvey Milk ... his birthday (22 May 1930) is commemorated as Harvey Milk Day around the world. 

Champion of the early gay rights movement, in 1977 Harvey Milk became the first openly Gay person to be elected to the Board of Supervisors in San Francisco.

He advocated the liberation of homosexuality for the benefit of society in general, and jokingly claimed to be a gay recruiter. He was instrumental in passing the Gay Civil Rights Bill in San Francisco, which was to be his undoing.

On November 27, of 1978, Milk was murdered City Hall along with Mayor George Moscone by former City Supervisor Danny White who had resigned his office after the enactment of the bill. Dan White was acquitted of murder but sentenced to only seven years on manslaughter charges.

Following his acquittal on May 21st, 1979, riots broke during a demonstration in front of City Hall, and later, 100,000 people marched on Washington in support of Gay Rights chanting "Harvey Milk Lives!" He became the first gay saint and martyr following the movement that began at the Stonewall.

In a tape recording made one year before his assassination, as if in prophecy, Harvey Milk said, "If a bullet should enter my brain, let that bullet destroy every closet door."


For his actions, for his life, for the changes that he effected, and for the love that continues to burn for him in the memory of his gay, lesbian and transgender children, we priests of Antinous recognize and sanctify Harvey Milk as a Heroic Saint and Martyr.

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

CASTOR AND POLLUX
TWIN GODS OF HOMOSEXUALITY



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

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


The photo above shows the Prado's Ildefonso Group, twin statue of Castor and Pollux, with a marble head of Antinous "restored" to the left figure.

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


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

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


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

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

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

Flamen Antonius has this further insight into Castor and Pollux:

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

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

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

THE BIRTH OF PLATO
SAINT OF ANTINOUS



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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

Monday, May 20, 2019

HOME ALONE IN ROME
HADRIAN FACES LIFE WITHOUT ANTINOUS


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

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

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

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

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

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

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