Friday, January 31, 2020
ON January 31st the Religion of Antinous celebrates the life of Saint Derek Jarman.
St. Derek, born on this day in 1942, created eleven extraordinary feature films ... including "Sebastiane," "Jubilee," "The Tempest," "Caravaggio," "The Last Of England," and "Edward II" ... and over three dozen shorts.
This multi-talented artist is also acclaimed for his painting (several major exhibits), stage and film design (for director Ken Russell and for a glorious Pet Shop Boys concert tour), gay and human rights activism, literature (memoirs, social criticism, poetry), and, on a serene note, his exquisite gardens full of "found" art.
Most gay men have seen Sebastiane which, when it came out more than 30 years ago, was the first British film to feature positive images of gay sexuality, not to mention the first film entirely in Latin.
Edward II raised eyebrows among critics for its upfront depiction of the brutal assassination of England's openly gay monarch by means of rectal assault.
The exquisitely beautiful Caravaggio is Saint Derek's best-known film.
We Antinoians remember Saint Derek for his art and we honor him as well for his boundless courage. His death from AIDS was cruelly slow and agonizing. And yet, as AIDS robbed him of his mobility and even of his eyesight, he turned the tables on Death and Dying by turning Death and Dying into an art form.
His last feature-length film, Blue, consists of a single shot of saturated blue color filling the screen as Derek talks about his "vision" of life and art. How very typical of Derek Jarman.
Thumbing his nose at fate right up to the end. A dying man who is blind and yet who talks about his vision.
The light of his eyes faded until all he saw was the darkness where the Night Terrors feed on fear and doubt. And what did Derek do? He turned the darkness into vibrant color. He turned his fear and his worries into artistic energy. The dramatic lighting and brilliant colors of his films were so very dramatic and brilliant because they were always, always set against the inky darkness.
That is why we consecrate Derek Jarman a Saint of Antinous. Just like Saint Caravaggio, also one of our Blessed Saints, Martyrs and Exemplars, his "vision" lay in turning the Darkness into Light and Color. He died February 19, 1994.
Thursday, January 30, 2020
EGYPTIAN archaeologists have discovered another 16 tombs at a large mummy cache across the Nile River from Antinoopolis.
This is the latest big discovery at the ancient necropolis at Tuna el-Gebel near Hermopolis on the west bank of the Nile following two years of similar discoveries of dozens of stone sarcophagi.
In January 2018, officials announced the discovery of the mummy of a priest of Thoth, 1,000 small statues and a necklace charm bearing the hieroglyphic inscription “happy new year” in hieroglyphs.
Then in January 2019 another 40 mummies plus ornate embroidered Roman/Byzantine wrappings and pottery were discovered at the site immediately across the Nile from Antinoopolis.
Among the new treasures presented: 20 sarcophagi made from limestone and etched with hieroglyphic texts, five wooden coffins, hundreds of amulets and 10,000 blue funerary statues, known as ushabti figurines, which are fixtures in the ancient tombs of the area. The sarcophagus lids are molded into mummy-like figures of men.
Waziri said the tombs likely belonged to the high priests of Thoth, the ancient Egyptian god of writing and wisdom, among other senior officials.
Hermopolis, sacred city of Thoth/Hermes, was the last city in Egypt that Antinous visited before his tragic death in October 130 AD. It is the site of many tombs and catacombs.
As background, Dr.Wagdi Ramadan, head of the mission, pointed out that the mission started its work for the first time in Tuna El-Gebel in February 2018 when it DISCOVERED A VAST TOMB comprising a corridor leading to sloping stairs that opened to a rectangular chamber with a number of burials.
Waziri explained that ostraca and fragments of papyri were unearthed in the grave which its studies helped in revealing the date of the grave that could go back to the Ptolemaic, the early Roman and Byzantine periods.
The cache pit, which is more than 2,000 years old, is expected to take another five years to excavate. “It´s only the beginning,” said Enany. “We are very soon going to add a new archaeological attraction to Middle Egypt.
The spectacular priestly mummy discovered in 2018 bore inscriptions identifying it as the body of Djehuty-Irdy-Es, a high priest of Thoth. Hermes/Thoth is the chief deity at Hermopolis, where the mummy was found.
The mummy wears a bronze collar that depicts the goddess Nut.
The mummy case is decorated with blue and red beads as well as a gilded bronze cover, two eyes carved in bronze and ornamented with ivory and crystal beads.
“The goddess Nut is seen stretching her wings to protect the deceased, in accordance with ancient Egyptian belief,” Waziri said. Four amulets of semi-precious stones were also found, decorated with engraved hieroglyphic texts. One says, “Happy New Year.”
Waziri added that four canopic jars made of alabaster with lids that have the faces of the four sons of the god Horus were also unearthed on Saturday.
“They are in a very good state of conservation. They still contain the mummified inner organs of the deceased. The jars are decorated with hieroglyphic texts showing the name and titles of their owner,” Wazizi said.
MENTION the name Livia, who was born on 30 January in 58 or 59 BC, and the image pops to mind of a treacherous and vindictive woman, as beautiful as she was wicked and cruel.
Second wife of the Emperor Augustus and the mother of his successor Tiberius, Livia has been vilified by posterity (most notably by Tacitus and Robert Graves) as the quintessence of the scheming Roman matriarch, poisoning her relatives one by one to smooth her son's path to the imperial throne.
Played by Siân Phillips with viperish glee in the classic BBC TV drama series "I, Claudius", she hissed and writhed through the marble halls of the emperor's palace, leaving corpses in her wake as she ruthlessly intrigued to get her one surviving son, Tiberius, to the Imperial throne ... finally even poisoning Augustus himself and forging his will.
Now a new book says Livia was not evil, she was merely a powerful and ambitious woman ... and as such, she was damned by male historians.
Like Egypt's Hatshepsut, Livia MUST have been a wicked and cruel step-mother who would stop at nothing in her own quest for power. Or so it was claimed by male historians from Tacitus to Robert Graves in the 20th Century.
In recent years, Hatshepsut has been vindicated, most notably by historian Joyce Tyldesley. Dr. Tyldesley says Hatshepsut's name was erased from historical records by male successors who feared a "female pharaoh" was a dangerous precedent — dangerous to male domination.
Now it is Livia's turn to be vindicated in the new historiographical book "Empress of Rome: The Life of Livia" by Matthew Dennison. In this elegant and rigorously researched biography, Dennison rescues the historical Livia from the crudely drawn sexist caricature of the popular imagination.
He depicts a complex, courageous and richly gifted woman whose only true crime was not murder but the exercise of power, and who, in a male-dominated society, had the temerity and chutzpah to create for herself both a prominent public profile and a significant sphere of political influence.
As with the life of Hatshepsut, the challenge facing any biographer of Livia is the lack of recorded facts. To handle this problem, "Empress of Rome" tells her story in a series of thematic chapters in roughly chronological order.
It makes for riveting reading.
All that we can be certain of is that Livia enjoyed a reputation for probity and traditional values. She seems to have taken care not to interfere in politics, although always on hand to give confidential advice to her husband Augustus. And he has gone on record as having valued her advice.
Dennison convincingly demonstrates in his biography of this much put-upon woman that she hardly needed to resort to poisoning anyone in an age when poor hygiene and lack of antibiotics meant that anyone might die at any time.
Reports of poisoning in the Roman empire tended to coincide with epidemics, unrecognised or misunderstood by the unreliable medical science of the day.
In some cases Livia was many hundreds of miles away from her putative victims and would have had to hire agents to do the dirty deed for her — an extraordinarily foolhardy risk.
A line of hopeful young noblemen, one after another, was struck down mysteriously. The first was Marcellus, Augustus's nephew, who (probably) died of typhoid fever at the age of 20.
The whisper spread that Livia had administered poison. Similar rumours blamed her for the deaths of her younger son Drusus, the emperor's grandsons Gaius and Lucius Caesar, and even Augustus himself (supposedly she smeared figs on his favourite tree with venom).
Her alleged motive was love for her eldest boy Tiberius, in whose interest she meant to eliminate all competitors for the imperial succession. She was a Claudian and wanted to ensure a Claudian dynasty, or so the story goes.
The idea of Livia as serial killer was given new life by Robert Graves in his historical novel "I, Claudius", and she reached a mass audience in the television series of the book, memorably interpreted by Siân Phillips.
Where did Graves get his Livia? The key figure is Tacitus, a Roman historian whose "The Annals Of Ancient Rome" is one of the great masterpieces of historical literature.
Tacitus disliked Livia. In fact he loathed her. Writing slightly more than a century after Livia's heyday, he never directly accused the empress of mass murder but slyly insinuated it with a nudge and a wink. Graves simply fleshed out those insinuations in his historical novel — historical fiction which readers accepted as historical fact.
But Dennison points out that at least two historians of the Roman Empire, who were actually writing at the time, made very few criticisms of Livia.
Born in about 58 BC, she came from an upper-class Roman family living under a strict moral code, which was even stricter for women.
They wove a lot. They looked after the household and the education of their children. A contemporary wrote that an ideal wife "can relax with her husband and he can confide all his secrets to her since it is like confiding in himself".
That explains the genuinely close relationship between Liva and Augustus.
This doesn't change the fact that she was a Claudian and family dynasties were what really mattered. Octavian Caesar (who became Augustus) married into Livia's Claudian family because it gave him more power. She conveniently left her husband to marry Augustus because he was rich and powerful.
The problem for Livia was that Augustus wanted to create, in essence, a hereditary monarchy. That would exclude her sons by Claudius Nero, and she could have none by Octavian (now dubbed Augustus).
That meant the end of the line for the Claudians.
The rivals who stood in her way went down like ninepins, although not necessarily by Livia's hand.
Marcellus, Augustus's nephew and the first to go, could well have died of typhoid, says Dennison.
Augustus's daughter Julia was exiled to a rocky islet off the Italian coast after Livia fed the puritanical Augustus stories of her wanton immorality. No proof, says the author.
Lucius and Gaius Caesar, grandsons of Augustus, dying abroad mysteriously? Tacitus suggests Livia's "secret hand" but no other historians mention the rumor.
Postumus, another grandchild of Augustus, murdered, while unarmed, by an unknown hand on the islet to which his mother Julia had been exiled? The identity of the killer is still open to debate, we are told.
However, there is little question about the death of Augustus himself. It is a near contemporary historian who records Livia smearing poison on some figs and offering them to him with her own hand.
And there is no question that Livia, skilled in "medicinal potions", lived to be nearly 90 years old — more than twice the average life span. And she did indeed ensure that the Claudians remained in power through Tiberius, Caligula, Claudius and Nero.
And, of course, it was her grandson Claudius who proclaimed her an immortal goddess, thus absolving her of all earthly misdeeds ... whether factual or only fictional.
Wednesday, January 29, 2020
ON January 29th in the year 131 AD a new star appeared in the constellation Aquila, the Eagle.
The court astrologers declared that it was Antinous taking his place in the heavens. Hadrian ordered them to draw a new constellation embraced by the Eagle, and called it ANTINOUS.
Our Flamen Antinoalis Antonius Subia explains:
"The Roman historian Dio Cassius was skeptical that a new star had appeared in the sky, but simultaneously, the leader of the Jewish revolt named Bar Kochba, which means 'Son of the Star,' was declared the Messiah because a celestial event had proclaimed him the savior of Israel. The mystery of the star is real, a celestial even of great magnitude occurred shortly after the death of Antinous within the constellation of the Eagle for the New God.
"The three sacred stars of the constellation Aquila, named Tarzad, Altair and Alshain, rise above the horizon just after dark on this night and are an allegory of the assumption of Ganymede into heaven. This date is suggested by Chinese Novae observations which have been dated as occurring on the 29th of January 131 AD, and are compared to the Star or Comet of Antinous."
(To be said before a sacred flame of Antinous)
Antinous of the Heavens, God of Eternal Fire
In your name, Uranian Lord, Antinous Phanes,
May this consecrated Lucerna shine forth
With the celestial light of your Sacred Dark Star.
Antinous our God, whose Star has Come into Being
We are the Influence of your holy constellation,
May our devotion ignite the burning embers
Of your flame among the ashes of the world.
Arise Antinous Ganymedes as the Eternal Narcissus,
Your Homotheosis shines from this tongue of fire
Let this Flame commemorate the conflagration
That once consumed the Sacred Sodomites
Purify us in the pain and brilliance of Gay Splendor.
We rise as the Unconquered Sun
Soaring as a falcon among the heroes.
Your Hand turns the everlasting sky.
You pass through Heaven before the Starry Beings
You are the Golden Eagle of the Heavens
In whose wings all Catamites are assumed
Into the glory of Eternal Homotheosis
Antinous Phanes, twofold, egg-born,
Glorying in your golden wings,
Antinous of celestial power, ineffable,
Dark Star, all-shining flower of flame, glory of the sky.
“Hadrian declared that he had seen a star
Which he took to be that of Antinous,
And gladly lent an ear to the fictitious tales woven by his associates
To the effect that the star had really come into being
From the spirit of Antinous
And had then appeared for the first time.”
Behold the Star of Antinous!
(light a fire for Antinous)
We are still trying to figure out exactly what took place in the sky and when, and why it was so important that it confirmed the deification of Antinous, whether it was a comet or a new star, a Nova in what is now the constellation of Aquila. I lean towards the Nova possibility, because of the use of term "new star" by Dio Cassius, with no reference to a comet, or "long-haired" star...and also because some of the most dramatic known Novas have been located in the constellation Aquila, such as the Nova Aql of 1918
Two major novae have been observed in Aquila: the first one was in 389 BC and was recorded as being as bright as Venus; the other (Nova Aquilae 1918) briefly shone brighter than Altair, the brightest star in Aquila.
So it is possible that there was a Nova in the year 131...and by the way, our previous estimate of year 132 is most likely wrong...the year 131 would have been only a few months after Antinous died...and if this is so, then the appearance of the new star would have occurred about six months before the miraculous inundation of the Nile the following summer. I've always wondered about the timing issue, whether or not the constellation Aquila was actually visible in the sky at the time of year...but it seems that it is, for about one hour before sunrise. This is called a Heliacal rising, when the first appears above the horizon just before sunrise, and then on each succeeding night seems to rise higher and higher every night thereafter. This is what they mean by the Rise of the Dog Star, which signaled the beginning of the Egyptian calendar and which signaled the annual flooding of the Nile. The star Sirius and Altair (which is the brightest star in the constellation Aquila, the star traditionally located right above Antinous's head) are on almost exactly opposite of the night sky...yet strangely enough, they are the two brightest stars in relatively close proximity to our Sun, part of the local group.
As an argument for the comet: It was the Chinese who recorded what is said to have been a comet on January 29th 131. It is known that from the point of vie of China the tail of a comet might be visible, but in Europe, the the tail might be hidden...not sure if I understand why, but this is what I've read, so it may be that from Hadrian's point of view, for the brief hour or so before sunrise, all they saw was a single point of new light in the sky. I'm still not sure what I think about this...and also...I keep thinking that I recall reading in Beloved and God a brief mention by Royston Lambert that there had been a comet in the sky in the year 130 which had given rise to foreboding prophesies...but I keep trying to find this reference and come up with nothing...if any of you can take another look at Beloved and God and find this reference, I would be much ingratiated. And then there is the reference that in the year before Antinous died, that a Phoenix had been seen in Egypt, perhaps another allusion to a comet. If a comet did in fact occur in the months before Antinous died then it would indeed perhaps confirm the Chinese reports, though the dates would disagree but the ancients were terrible about recording dates so there is ever possibility that some confusion might have taken place. A comet before his death and a new star (nova) afterward would however be a significant narrative of spiritual significance.
The Star of Antinous was the proof that Antinous had indeed arisen to the heavenly sphere...that he had taken his place among the immortal gods...more than anything else..it was what all the disbelievers would have required to recognize that Antinous was more than just Hadrian's little pretty boy. It would have needed to be a very significant new star in order to make an impact upon the general populace...it would have needed to be an obvious sign in the sky that even an untrained astrologer could look up and seen for themselves..it would have needed to be as bright as Altair...there were a great many people all over the empire who were familiar with the stars...sailors and temple soothsayers...all of whom would have had enough familiarity with the constellations to know if a new star had actually appeared in the night sky for the first time. If there really had appeared a new star for the first time, as Dio Cassius skeptically reports, then the "experts" would have noticed it, and would have confirmed the official reports from Hadrian's court that Antinous had arisen to godliness...and the word of their confirmation would have spread, dispelling whatever doubts the general, uninformed populace might have felt when the Edict of Deification was announced.
The Star of Antinous was the most significant event in the formation of our religion...this is what separates Antinous from other gay demi-gods such as Achilles and Hephaestion...they were deified in the same way and for similar reasons as Antinous, but their cults never assumed world-wide importance or longevity...they never crossed the line from heroism to godliness...for one basic reason...because there was no cosmic confirmation to solidify their deification. I just read a Spanish book about Antinous by De La Maza written in 1969 which emphatically states that the New Star of Antinous was the most important event that elevated Antinous to the immortal state that we recognize him to hold to this day.
The Star of Antinous represents the spirit of Antinous within our heart...the Fire of Homotheosis...this is what I feel when I consider the star of Antinous shining inside of me.
May my light shine upon you all,
May your light shine upon me.
~Antonius Nicius Subia
Monday, January 27, 2020
IN Nazi Germany, on January 28th, 1935, the Ministry of Justice revived and amended "Paragraph 175", the old Prussian statute created in 1871 that made Homosexuality a crime punishable by imprisonment.
The law was increased in severity and became the legal basis for the systematic persecution of male Homosexuals.
The Nazis believed that homosexuality endangered to the purity of the German people, that gay men corrupted the youth, preventing them from living normal married lives, and were therefore a threat to the race.
Homosexuality was denounced as an unnatural lust, and accused of being intrinsically Un-German, a disease imported by Jews and supported by Communists, the enemy of the Aryan People.
Imprisonment and sterilization were the initial penalties, but Heinrich Himmler revealed his true design when he said that the "extermination of degenerates" was in keeping with ancient Nordic principles (an interesting idea considering that many of the Dying-Boy-Gods, to whom we compare Antinous, were killed as ritual human sacrifices.)
They were distinguished by the sign of the pink triangle, and subjected to extreme conditions of abuse.
The Men of the Pink Triangle were beaten regularly, subjected to hard labor, deprived of food and exposed to the elements.
They were abused by the Nazi guards and by other prisoners alike because everyone considered homosexuality the lowest of low, a sin and an aberration, even the homosexuals themselves.
An estimated 60,000 men were legally sentenced under "Paragraph 175," nearly all of them died, and this number only includes those documented in Germany. The number of unrecorded homosexuals, and those outside of German is impossible to know, but may be twice as many.
The Men of the Pink Triangle were so successfully persecuted that even after the Nazi defeat, Paragraph 175 remained law, and many gay inmates were sent to regular prison to complete their sentences. It was not until 1969 that the law was finally repealed.
We sorrowfully remember the legions of Men of the Pink Triangle who died cruel and vicious deaths under the Nazis.
We remember the evil that was perpetrated with the blessing of "Paragraph 175."
These men are our Martyrs, our Holocaust, our Guardian Saints, they suffered so that we would be Free.
We will never forget their painful and miserable deaths, and we pray to Antinous the God of Homosexuality, to watch over their immortal souls and give them rest. On this day we remember the horrors that were raised against us through the Amendment of "Paragraph 175."
We will never forget their painful and miserable deaths, and we pray to Antinous the God of Homosexuality, to watch over their immortal souls and give them rest. On this day we remember the horrors that were raised against us through the Amendment of "Paragraph 175."
Sunday, January 26, 2020
SCIENTISTS have confirmed what the Ancient Egyptians always knew ... that scarab beetles can use the Milky Way to help them navigate at night.
Experts have always known that African dung beetles use the sun and the moon as directional markers when rolling balls of dung containing their precious eggs away from other beetles.
But it had never been scientifically proven that the beetles ... sacred to the Egyptians as symbols of transformation ... used the Milky Way as a directional marker on moonless nights.
Dung beetles are known for rolling up balls of dung for later use as food and a depository for their eggs. Once they collect the dung, the beetles quickly roll the ball away from the dung pile to avoid having it stolen by other beetles. They do this by moving in a straight line.
With the dung ball deposited in a safe place, the eggs hatch into larvae which then metamorphose into winged beetles ... and fly off, soaring towards the warmth-giving sun. Thus, the scarab became associated in Ancient Egyptian mysticism with the transformation of base material into the divine. The Egyptian glyph for scarab beetle ... "kheper" ... means "transform".
The Egyptians also associated the scarab beetle with movements of the sun, moon and stars. While the link to the sun and moon were easily proved, scientists did not have proof of a link to the stars ... until now.
To test whether the beetles were using the stars as a navigational aid, scientists put the beetles into a dung-rolling course and filmed their behavior. The beetles were able to move in a straight line on moonlight nights and also on moonless nights when the Milky Way was visible.
When the sky was overcast, the beetles were unable to roll the dung balls in a straight line. When the beetles had tiny visors taped onto their heads to block their view of the night sky, they spent their time wandering aimlessly.
Next, they tested their speed on a 2 meter platform. On nights when the Milky Way was visible, the beetles were able to cross the platform in as little as 40 seconds. On cloudy nights, it took the beetles nearly 2 minutes to cross the platform.
Lastly, scientists tested the beetles inside of a planetarium. The dung beetles moved more efficiently when the ground was lit by the light of the Milky Way. When the ground was lit by the light of only a few bright stars, the beetles performed worse.
This research is believed to be the first study to document the use of the Milky Way for orientation in the animal kingdom.
Saturday, January 25, 2020
Some have horrendous health problems themselves. Not to mention financial problems. Emotional problems. Addiction problems.
It can all be too much to bear. Oftentimes you think you have been abandoned by the Great and Good God and that you must bear this burden all alone.
But the Great and Good God is there, standing right behind you, and he is making sure that you don't falter.
During their visit to Greece in the winter of 128-129 AD, Antinous and Hadrian saw this famous frieze at the Temple of Zeus in Olympia which illustrates the myth of the day when Herakles stepped in to relieve Atlas of the heavy burden of carrying the weight of the world on his shoulders.
The relief shows Atlas stretching out his hands to grasp the Apples of the Hesperides ... and Herakles struggles to hold the world ... which turns out to be a lot heavier than he had anticipated.
Herakles despairs of being able to hold the world. He strains with all his might and is only just barely able to keep it from tumbling.
But standing behind him is the goddess Athena ... out of Herakles' field of vision.
Athena calmly lifts her left hand and gently steadies the burden with her fingertips.
She's not doing any heavy lifting. She is only using her little finger to steady the load.
There is great Sacred Symbolism in this relief's message. Herakles thinks he is carrying the burden all by himself and he fears he cannot do it.
But in fact he is not carrying it all by himself. Athena is behind him all the time.
The Sacred Symbolism applies to all of us.
You have to strain with all your might and you may despair and you may feel abandoned and all alone. And yet ... the Great and Good God is there behind you, lifting his little finger to help you bear the weight of the whole world!
Friday, January 24, 2020
ON January 24th the Religion of Antinous celebrates the Birth of the Divine Hadrian.
Publius Aelius Hadrianus was born on this day either in Italica, Spain, or else in Rome, in the year 76.
His father was Publius Aelius Afer, his mother was Domitia Paulina. His uncle was the Emperor Trajan who had been adopted by Nerva.
Trajan employed Hadrian as a general in his conquests across the Danube, where Hadrian proved his military prowess, and gained the love and devotion of the Legions.
It is said that the relationship between Hadrian and his uncle was strained, and they are even known to have quarreled over beautiful boys. But Hadrian was very close to the Emperess Plotina, whose intellectual depth he preferred to the military harshness of Trajan.
During the unsuccessful campaign against the Parthians, in modern day Iraq, Trajan suddenly fell ill and died. Plotina is said to have insured that Hadrian be his successor, allegedly even forging the documents of adoption.
The New Emperor Hadrian inherited the largest Empire that the world had ever known, the borders of Rome had reached their greatest extent.
Hadrian is the Father of the Antonines, the bringer of the Golden age of Rome. He put an end military expansion of the Empire and turned instead to improving the interior.
He is the prime deity of the imperial cult as recognized by the Religion of Antinous. He is the representative of Zeus on Earth, emblem of the ruler of the cosmos, the great eagle. Hadrian is the leader of the Archons, the bringer of order out of chaos, founder of our religion.
He is the divine lover of Antinous, our model and God.
Thursday, January 23, 2020
FLAMEN Antonius Subia, as part of his Sacred Pilgrimage to Rome, visited the OBELISK OF ANTINOUS.
As Flamen Antinoalis or "high priest," Antonius is the first practicing and widely recognized modern-day priest of Antinous to bow down in front of the Obelisk since the Fall of Rome and the rise of Christianity.
The Obelisk currently stands on the Pincian Hill in Rome, but no one is quite certain where it originally stood.
We know for certain that Emperor Hadrian commissioned the Obelisk after the tragic death of Antinous. It is thought that the Obelisk originally stood at Hadrian's Villa, but some experts have also speculated that it could originally have been located at the Mausoleum of Hadrian.
The original location is of importance because the Obelisk contains clues as to the whereabouts of the LOST TOMB OF ANTINOUS.
Under the direction of Hadrian, the Obelisk was incised with EGYPTIAN HIEROGLYPHS which provide us with the most important Sacred Text concerning the Sacred Nature of Antinous the Gay God. Alas, the portion of the text which discusses Antinous's earthly life is almost entirely illegible, with only faint references to his family, but not enough to provide any information.
The Obelisk text discusses in some detail His deification and the Sacred Miracles he can work.
But one of the most tantalizing portions of the hieroglyphic inscription refers to the location of the Tomb of Antinous. The text says:
ANTINOUS THE GOD IS HERE!
HE RESTS IN THIS PLACE
WHICH IS IN THE BORDER FIELDS
OF OUR LADY ROME!
ON January 23rd the Religion of Antinous honors the first of the many Christian Martyrs of Antinoe, also known as Antinoopolis. The first of the Egyptian martyrs with whose name and acts we are acquainted was Asclas of Antinoopolis.
This part of Egypt, near the nome sacred to Anubis, has always been a hotbed of religious fervor ever since the days when the "heretic pharaoh" Akhenaten built his capital city here, a scant 20 kms from our Sacred City of Antinoopolis. Christians and Jews constituted a major portion of the population of Antinopoolis.
After all, the city was the flower of Greek civilization deep in the desert of the Thebaid, and it was a haven for dispossessed and exiled thinkers and theological revolutionaries.
There was a period of time in which Antinoopolis fell under the sway of the fear and violence that had swept across the world. The Christian faith was suffering one of the bloodiest persecutions in its history. Diocletian had sought to curb the rising tide of Christianity with brutal violence. He issued decrees that all citizens should be compelled to demonstrate their piety to the Roman Gods by offering sacrifice. It was a direct challenge. Any person who refused was not only insulting the Gods of Rome, but showing disloyalty to the Emperor and to Rome herself.
Such treason was punishable by death. This was a legal way to persecute Christianity, it was not an attack on the Christian doctrine, or its practices, but was an unavoidable line that no Christian would cross.
It is interesting to note that though many of the Christians were executed by beheading or by being shot through with arrows, some were executed by being drowned in the Nile. This similarity between their death and the death of Antinous must have been very moving to the Ancient Priests of Antinous. And it is also interesting that the authorities were not sensitive to the nature of this form of execution in the Sacred City of a boy who had become a god simply by drowning in the Nile.
The first was Asclas, who was arrested and tortured for his faith by order of Arrian, the governor of Antinoopolis who himself would later convert to Christianity. While Asclas was being tortured in prison by hot irons which left his flesh hanging down in strips, Arrian had reason to cross the River Nile to go to Hermopolis on government business.
Antinoopolis lies on the east bank of the Nile (depicted at left in its heyday), and Hermopolis (Sacred City of Hermes) is located diagonally across from Antinoopolis on the west bank of the Nile. But inexplicably, Arrian found he was absolutely unable to leave the water's edge.
Asclas sent word that the governor would never be able to cross the river until he acknowledged Christ in writing. Arrian wrote out the statement, and was promptly able to leave the river bank. He crossed the Nile, and the moment he was on the other side, he ordered that Asclas be thrown into the Nile with a stone tied around his neck, whereupon he drowned.
This story, while odd-sounding to us today, was very clear to Egyptians. Hermopolis is the Sacred City of Hermes/Anubis, or Hermanubis.
This remarkable deity, who lives on in Christianity as St. Christopher, is responsible for conveying souls across the Celestial Nile after death. People in Antinoopolis worshipped both Antinous and Hermanubis.
The miracle of St. Asclan is meant to show that the Christian god is the equal of Hermanubis. Within a few generations, Hermanubis "morphed" into Christopher who, in this early Coptic mural at right, still has canine features. Next time you see a plastic St. Christopher statuette on a taxi dashboard, remember that it is actually Anubis without his doggy ears. He's not carrying the baby Jesus on his shoulders. He's carrying the Boy God Antinous over the celestial Nile to eternal divinity.
Against that background of intermingling spiritual beliefs, the Religion of Antinous acknowledges the suffering of St. Asclas and of all the Christian Martyrs of Antinoopolis out of our Love for Antinous in whose Sacred City they died. Though their faith was in Christ and not in Antinous, we nevertheless honor them and glorify them because they were Antinoopolitans, people of Antinous.
We ask their forgiveness for the murder and persecution of the Christian Martyrs and in their memory ask that we may be free from intolerance and never again partake in the crime of the ancient citizens of Antinoopolis.
The image above left is not Asclas, but is a burial painting of a person whose mummy was buried in the desert of the Fayoum in Egypt, which is the region of Antinoopolis. It is presented here as a contemporary image of what St. Asclas may have looked like.
Wednesday, January 22, 2020
ON January 22nd the religion of Antinous commemorates the brief, shining life of Saint Heath Ledger, the gifted actor whose on-screen portrayals inspired millions of gay people and whose off-screen life paralleled so many more. Not gay himself, Saint Heath nonetheless is a gay icon, like Saint Judy Garland and others.
Saint Heath died on this day in 2008 under mysterious circumstances after taking anti-depressants and sleeping pills at the age of 28.
His body was found lying across the bed of his Manhattan apartment. The manner of his death bore eery parallels to the death of English singer/songwriter Nick Drake, who is also a Saint of Antinous.
Best known for his Oscar-nominated role as a gay cowpoke in "Brokeback Mountain", the acclaimed Australian-born actor also played The Joker in the blockbuster "The Dark Knight", for which role he posthumously was awarded a Golden Globe Award for best supporting actor. On the first anniversary of his death, he posthumously won an Academy Award as best supporting actor for his role as the psychopathic criminal mastermind The Joker.
No one will ever know why Saint Heath overdosed on anti-depressants, as had his idol Nick Drake. No one will ever know why Saint River Phoenix took a fatal cocktail of booze and alcohol, just as no one will ever know why Saint Richey Edwardsjumped off a bridge to his death (if he did), and no one will know why so many talented and overly sensitive young men meet death so tragically and so young.
Just as no one knows for sure what happened to Antinous. Thus they are all Saints of Antinous.
Shortly before his death, Heath Ledger made a video tribute to Nick Drake (photo right), the ambisexual English singer/songwriter who died in 1974 under almost identical circumstances to Saint Heath.
Saying he planned to make a movie about Saint Nick, Heath appeared in a self-made video (about drowning) to the tune of Nick Drake's song Black-Eyed Dog. It was the last song that Nick is believed to have recorded before he died under mysterious circumstances after taking anti-depressants and sleeping pills at the age of 26. His body was found lying across his bed.
The black-eyed dog is thought to be a reference to Winston Churchill's famous "little black dog." Throughout his life Churchill was shadowed by violent mood swings, fits of depression and periods of emotional doubt. He felt that he was followed by this unpredictable darkness and uncertainty. He called it his "little black dog."
Heath seems to have been very well acquainted with the "little black dog" of depression, the black demon which nips at the heels of so many sensitive young souls who cannot find their way in this harsh world.
And thus Antinous is the God of Lost Boys. He knows their suffering. He knows how it is to stand on the shore at the twilight of the world, with one foot on dry land and the other foot in the murky depths of oblivion — and he understands how a beautiful soul can slip off into that oblivion.
Antinous is the God of these very sweet, shy, sensitive and talented artists, young men who agonize over their shortcomings and who can only cope with the harsh realities of showbiz by taking tablets with unpronounceable names in private.
Saint Heath represents so many young men who seek what Nick Drake called the fruit of the tree of fame. "Fame is but a fruit tree, so very unsound", Nick sings in a song which Heath loved. It is a song about sensitive souls who reach for the fruit of fame and then, when it is within their grasp, they discover that its taste is very bitter.
Tuesday, January 21, 2020
OUR Father Jupiter descended upon the slopes of Mt. Ida in the form of an eagle and carried away Ganymede, the beautiful young prince of Troy, ravaging him, and elevating him to live among the immortals.
At the table of the Olympian gods, Jupiter installed his Ganymede as the divine cup-bearer who pours out nectar-wine from the cup of eternal life.
This love affair between the Phrygian prince and the Father of the Gods is a divine parallel of the love between Antinous and Hadrian.
Ganymede is the emblem of the coming Age of Aquarius, when peace and love will rule the hearts of all men.
On this day, the beginning of the sign of Aquarius, we observe the deification of Antinous as having made union with the Thunderbird-Phoenix-Eagle, and having been elevated to reign among the immortals in the manner of Ganymede. And we pray for the hastening of the coming age.
Monday, January 20, 2020
ON January 20th the Religion of Antinous honors SAINT SEBASTIAN who, despite being a Christian martyr, has been identified by homosexuals of all beliefs over the centuries as a symbol of our persecution and suffering.
Sebastian was an officer in the Imperial Guard of Emperor Diocletian, and he was a Christian.
In 302 A.D. Diocletian subjected the Christians to a brutal persecution, and it was during this period that Sebastian was "outed" to the Emperor as a practicing Christian.
When asked to sacrifice before a pagan altar, Sebastian refused and was sentenced to death. He was tied to a column before Mauritanian archers, who shot him with arrows...but to no effect.
Sebastian was strengthened by his faith, and did not die. He was finally clubbed to death in front of Emperor.
Homosexuals over the centuries have looked to Sebastian as a patron saint. His manner of death, which is like an affliction of Eros, and the sight of the beautiful young soldier plumed with arrows, has moved our hearts over the ages more than all other Christian saints.
In the Middle Ages, he was said to have power over the plague. And during the Black Death, his popularity grew among the penitent flagellants.
His image was a favorite subject of homosexual artists during the Renaissance who were fascinated by the erotic charge of his death.
During the early 19th Century he was taken up as the model for homosexual suffering and persecution, some writers even claiming that he was the young lover of Diocletian and that his martyrdom had a jealous, sexual subtext.
In our time, the power of St. Sebastian over the Plague has made him a spiritual force in the fight against AIDS. And so we recognize his sanctity as the patron saint of homosexuals and as a protector from our modern plague.
We consecrate him to the Religion of Antinous and offer our own quivering-hearts as a target for his thousand arrows of love.
Sunday, January 19, 2020
ON January 20th is the Ancient Egyptian Feast of "The Going Forth of Anubis" (Yinepu) when his statues are carried through the streets for worshipers to honor ... in hopes that Anubis will convey them through the darkness of death to eternal light and life.
This feast occurs between the completion of the mummification of Antinous on January 11th and the birthday of Hadrian on January 24th.
Anubis leads the new god Antinous to the Home of the Gods amongst the Imperishable Stars.
Anubis leads the new god Antinous to the Home of the Gods amongst the Imperishable Stars.
Saturday, January 18, 2020
IN America and Europe right-wing conservatives are seeking to roll back gains made by LGBTI people and even want to tighten censorship.
With tongue planted firmly in cheek, we suggest that museums might consider dressing Classical statues as hipsters.
French photographer Léo Caillard and art director Alexis Persani have created a tongue-in-cheek photo series that depicts ancient Louvre’s sculptures wearing modern day clothing.
With the power of a camera and photoshop, these guys show how hilarious two worlds of old and new look combined.
They call the series STREET STONE and the crackdown on social media nudity shows how timely it is.
We wonder what the sculptors would think if they saw their creations donning hipster chic clothing and accessories. We'd say either rolling in their graves or laughing hysterically.
It's actually quite amazing how the addition of the clothing instantly gives these guys and girls a personality very separate from the one they had before.
They gain a bit of edge mixed with some androgynous sex appeal.
This idea could spawn an entire new clothing line. Stone Stylings: Extremely uncomfortable clothing for those who don't move.
This idea could spawn an entire new clothing line. Stone Stylings: Extremely uncomfortable clothing for those who don't move.
Friday, January 17, 2020
THIS statue of Antinous from Eleusis - Ἐλευσίς - is the only one that seems to refer back to an incident in his life, his initiation into the Eleusinian Mysteries of death and resurrection in September 128 AD.
The sculpture was erected after his death in the outer courtyard of Eleusis and captures this instant of his life, though officially it depicts him as the god Dionysos Zagreus, a divinity of suffering abd resurrection associated with the Eleusinian Mysteries.
Technically it is not one of the best of the depictions of Antinous, but it evokes a mood and a moment.
The sulptor clearly envisaged the young lad draped in his himation, standing in the darkened Telesterion (the initiation hall) and confronted with the Eleusinian Mysteries of death and resurrection.
He clutches at the folds of his himation anxiously, insecure, staring wide-eyed, his mouth pursed in awe, with an expression of apprehension, intent rapture and awareness of the tremendous significance of what was being revealed to him.
Even though it is a mediocre statue in workmanship and details it is redeemed by its expressiveness and pathos.
This statue is now housed in the Archaeological Museum of Eleusis: Antinous as Dionysus Zagreus, Inv. 5092, 1.83 m, in marble of Thasos.
Thursday, January 16, 2020
THE "Maritime theater" as they call it was definitely one of the most spectacular parts of Hadrian's Villa, and I am very pleased to have seen it with Priest Hernestus ...
Even in ruins you can see that it must have been an absolutely beautiful and enchanting building...almost insanely beautiful...a perfect circle surrounded by a high wall, with an inner colonnaded moat, with a little island and a little round Roman house on the inside...
That was Hadrian's private retreat from his grandiose world that surrounded him...in that magnificent, marble and gold encrusted Villa of sprawling palaces, the Emperor's private chambers were at once quaintly charming as they were wonderfully eccentric.
His private chambers, the little open-air office where he attended to the business of running the whole world, the private baths, the little lavatories...four lavatories in that tiny little house...but most intriguing of all are the two little bedchambers towards the back of the house...identical little rooms just big enough for a queen-size bed and maybe a table...
In one of the two rooms, Hadrian spent his nights with Antinous...and the other room...well, that must have been where Empress Sabina slept.
I just think it's the most wonderful thing...no grand huge master bedroom with a splendid view of Tibur...just two identical, "his & hers" rooms for the rulers of the world.
One thing I noticed is that they were at the rear of the little house, facing south, and must have had a big windows that let in the morning sun at all times of the year.
The sun would have poured in and sparkled over the water of the fountain-moat.
The constant clamor of the Imperial court outside would have been drowned out by the murmur of gurgling fountains.
It was a tiny little house, but it must have been beautifully decorated...walls covered in inlaid marble of exquisite color, draperies and columns and golden lamps and the finest of furniture from all over the Roman world ... and works of art by the very best ancient Greek artists...and a personal little library of Hadrian's most treasured books.
One thing I fail to locate is the closet space...I'm in the apartment business, so floor plans are everything to me ... there were no closets because servants brought Hadrian's daily robes from somewhere else!
The entrance caught my eye....if you include the colonnaded walkway between the outer wall and the fountain-moat, and also the little oval vestibule...then it was all about the entrance, which was pronouncedly about disbarment...
And then if you were so honored as to have been admitted into the Emperor's private chambers...which almost no one ever was, we can be sure...then you would find yourself in the beautiful little oval drawing room...where you would be asked to sit and wait for Emperor to summon you...
From there, you would be led into the Atrium...the center of the house, Hadrian's own private little garden, with its little fountain open to the air.
There you would find Hadrian's closest inner circle...members of his family perhaps, Sabina's handmaidens, the Emperor's personal assistants and house servants...perhaps Phlegon, his most trusted freedman, an officer of the guard standing at duty, and a musician playing soft chords on the cithara....
And there in a corner...playing with a new hunting puppy...would be Antinous himself...attended by an old Greek tutor trying in vain to teach Antinous the correct declension for his Latin verbs...
And there at the far end of the house, in the room they call he Tablinarium...obviously the most important room in the house..situated between the two main bed chambers...was Hadrian's office.
You might have found him sitting at a table reading personal wax tablets of private concerns...this was not where Hadrian conducted the official business of running his Empire...this was his private office...where he only attended to his private communications. There must have been a more formal office somewhere else in the villa where Hadrian conducted his official business of the Empire...
This was his private study, and I'm sure by the moat that he made a clear division between his private business and his personal space...
This was Hadrian's private office...and so to have been given admittance to proceed so far into his private space, you would have needed to have been considered family.
The biggest space in the house is he atrium...that's the living room...then there's the three bedrooms...and then there are the two rooms that are described as tricliniums..or dining rooms...these were for very private dinners....just you, the Emperor and one other person...probably Antinous...and the other dining room was probably for Sabina.
The last fifth of the little house was Hadrian's private baths...a full scale Roman bath on a tiny scale...which probably provided heat for the little house in the colder months.
I would assume that, in the summer months, Hadrian would have used the grand bath not far away rather than over-heat his private chambers.
This is where Antinous spent his time when he lived in the Villa...and what an Isle of the Blessed it must have been...like a tiny island paradise...when Antinous was alive...and then...when Hadrian returned from Egypt...and the war in Israel had broken out...the beautiful island must have become rather like a customized chamber of Hell...
Marguerite Yourcenar describes a sickly old Hadrian dictating his memoirs beneath an austere Osirian statue of Antinous overlooking his bedchamber...this is where these lost memoirs were dictated...
It is no wonder that Hadrian couldn't live there any more and eventually fled to Baie south of Rome where he died...
The Isle of the Blessed held too many memories...and Hadrian wanted to live forever and he knew that if stayed even one more night in the Villa that he would die...He should have stayed.
When Hernestus and I were there...I gathered a little handful of dirt from there, in the hope that perhaps Antinous might have stepped upon at least one grains of the sand of the rubble that remains...
And amongst the sand I found a chunk of brick that had fallen from the wall..and quite honestly...this little piece of Roman brick has become one of the most important and sacred "rocks" (crystals) that I have ever touched...because this is a wall that Antinous once looked upon..
Sure, there were layers of marble between Antinous and my little chunk of brick..
But that's pretty close. I've been so, so much further away from Antinous....