Sunday, February 28, 2021


ON our last day in Egypt I was determined to see the one last place on my list of sacred sites ... Heliopolis.

It was there that Hadrian, according to historian Royston Lambert, may have cast a magical spell that rebounded and resulted in the death of his beloved Antinous. 

During that fateful final trip up the Nile, just weeks before Antinous died, it was said that Hadrian and Antinous stopped at Heliopolis.

That is the town near Mennefer (Memphis/Cairo) where the Egyptian magician/priest Pancrates gave to Hadrian (or rather sold to him for an exorbitant sum) a magical spell which could bind another man's affections to him forever ... when the spell was cast properly.

If cast wrong, the spell would result in the death of the other man.

There was some speculation in ancient times as to whether the death of Antinous may have be related to this strange Egyptian spell. 

From the day we arrived I was trying to get there but it kept getting pushed back for another day. Finally the last day came and I was not going to be dissuaded from seeing Heliopolis.

It turned out to be an arduous ordeal across the worst parts of Cairo ... In the Rain and at rush hour ... all of which turned what I thought would be a short solo excursion ... into a four-hour journey.

I decided just to take a taxi ... made arrangements to meet everyone later at the Dervish dancers at 6:30 (actually I was supposed to go back to the hotel first then we would all go together).

The taxi driver didn't speak a word of English but when I showed him where I wanted to go he said okay ... as we left I realized that he thought I wanted to go to a Hotel called Heliopolis ... and he had no idea where to go. 

Eventually he called a guy from the sidewalk who spoke a little English to translate ... and then he said he knew and off we went. 

I had no idea how far it actually was ... and in a rough industrial area full of burning garbage (and I have been in some extremely rough parts of Egypt ... but this was the worst. 

The taxi driver and I eventually could chat using the "translate conversation" function on my phone ... even he said that it was in a Bad Neighborhood.

Suddenly in the distance I see it ... The Giant Obelisk! ... one of the only Obelisks still standing in its original location.

There was a lovely little park surrounding it with what little remains of the once glorious city of Ra, where the Great Temple once stood, which is said to have been larger, older and more spectacular than Karnak.

The Great Temple of Ra at Heliopolis was where the creation story involving the god Atum masturbating the universe into being took place. (Illustration above: "Israel In Egypt" by Edward John Poynter)

The city where Orpheus, Pythagoras, Homer and Plato all came to study with the priests of The Temple of Ra-Atum.

It is also where Antinous and Hadrian came during their visit a few months before Antinous drowned, the place where the event in which Antinous said he would be willing to give his life for Hadrian occurred.

I needed to see Heliopolis

I needed to stand where Antinous once stood,

Where he willingly dedicated his life to Hadrian

So many obstacles tried to prevent me from getting there. 

I went all by myself into the wild worst parts of Cairo, and paid a heavy fare to get there and back. 

I spent as long as I could, absorbing the presence and power beneath what could be seen around me ... and thanked Antinous for making it possible for me to have this magical moment.

My last adventure in Egypt.

The way back was worse than getting there, I barely made it on-time to see the dervish dancers ... which was surreal in its self.

Then back to the Hotel to pack and head to the airport where I am now.

Heliopolis was wonderful ... and heart-breaking.

Egypt was wonderful and heart-breaking.

It has been the most powerful experience of my life so far and it will take a while to go through all that I have experienced.

The Obelisk of Heliopolis will stand as my final pilgrimage station in Egypt. Although so many obstacles endeavored to prevent me from getting there...I overcame all that came before me and stood in the footsteps of Antinous.

Ave Antinous!


Saturday, February 27, 2021


AS my sacred pilgrimage drew to a close I wanted to go to Saqqara, the plateau a short distance south of Cairo ... upriver on the Nile ... which once overlooked the ancient Egyptian capital city of Memphis/Mennefer which Hadrian and Antinous visited in 130 AD.

It turned out to be way more fabulous than I expected.

The Serapeum was amazing with the giant sarcophagi of the the Apis Bulls.

The pyramid of Djoser was breath-taking though in typical Egyptian fashion after advertising that it would be open for the first time to was closed.

The Serapeium was very far from the entrance so very I reluctantly rode a horse back, though a little kid led the horse up the hill because I was sure I was gonna fall face first into the rocks.

After Saqqara which was a fabulous dream come true, to my great surprise we continued on to the Dashur Pyramids.

It had started to rain ... RAIN in Egypt!

As we arrived the rain stopped, just got a little wet.

We had the Entire site to ourselves.

Not a single person was there not even a guard.

But the site is immense ... we only explored the nearest Pyramid which was the Famous Broken Pyramid.

But just to the West could be seen The Bent Pyramid, and to the North was the Red Pyramid.

We climbed as far as you could onto The Broken Pyramid and surveyed the beautiful landscape.

It was an unexpected marvel to be there.

One so so many incredible experiences we have had on this pilgrimage to Egypt.



Friday, February 26, 2021


IT had long been a dream of mine to one day see these two monumental statues, because of their connection to Hadrian.

After Antinous died at Antinoopolis, the entourage continued south and at some point were here at Luxor probably in the late fall or early winter of 130 AD.

One of the members of the entourage named Julia Balbilla had three poems inscribed on the leg of one of the Colossi ... the one that spoke. It is said that in ancient times at dawn the statue would emit a sound of some kind. 

Hadrian came and heard the sound. 

The next day Sabina came but did not hear anything, so she returned the next morning and according to Julia Balbilla, Hadrian commanded the statue to speak and out of fear it spoke to Sabina.

It was a wonder and honor to see the Colossi for myself, to stand where Hadrian once stood and experience his presence and see his name inscribed on the leg of the statue.

I wasn’t able to take a good picture because the sun was casting a shadow over the text, but I could read his name from where I stood.

It was a tremendous moment to be in their presence. I had never imagined that I would stand before them. They had always seemed like those phantom shapes that float into our dreams but remain separated by vast mountains of foggy mist and impassable time. 

Yet, I was standing where Hadrian had stood in the weeks just after Antinous had left his life, when he must have been trying to deal with the pain but carrying on with his duties, and making the arrangements for The Religion of Antinous. 

It was yet another of the most important moments of my life.

I have added a well-lit picture of the text taken from the internet, and this is the three texts she had inscribed.

When the August Hadrian Heard Memnon

Memnon the Egyptian I learnt, when warmed by the rays of the sun,
speaks from Theban stone.
When he saw Hadrian, the king of all, before rays of the sun,
he greeted him - as far as he was able.

But when the Titan driving through the heavens with his steeds of white,
brought into shadow the second measure of hours,
like ringing bronze Memnon again sent out his voice.

Sharp-toned, he sent out his greeting and for a third time a mighty roar.

The emperor Hadrian then himself bid welcome to
Memnon and left on stone for generations to come.

This inscription recounting all that he saw and all that he heard.
It was clear to all that the gods love him.

When with the August Sabina I Stood Before Memnon

Memnon, son of Aurora and holy Tithon,
seated before Thebes, city of Zeus,
or Amenoth, Egyptian King, as learned.

Priests recount from ancient stories,
greetings, and singing, welcome her kindly,
the August wife of the emperor Hadrian.

A barbarian man cut off your tongue and ears:
Impious Cambyses; but he paid the penalty,
with a wretched death struck by the same sword point
with which pitiless he slew the divine Apis.

But I do not believe that this statue of yours will perish,
I saved your immortal spirit forever with my mind.
For my parents were noble, and my grandfathers,
the wise Balbillus and Antiochus the king.

When on the first day
We didn't hear Memnon

Yesterday Memnon received [Hadrian's] wife in silence,
so that the beautiful Sabina might come back here again.

For the lovely form of our queen pleases you.

When she arrives, send forth a divine shout,
so the king won't be angry with you. As it is now,
you've fearlessly detained for too long his noble wedded wife.

And Memnon, trembling at the power of Hadrian,
suddenly spoke, and she rejoiced to hear it.

Ave Antinous!


                        MORE PHOTOS BELOW:

Thursday, February 25, 2021


AT the end of February and beginning of March the Religion of Antinous marks Three Holy Days involving the Divine Antoninus Pius.

On February 25th we celebrate the Adoption of Antoninus Pius by Hadrian. And on March 7th we commemorate the Apotheosis of Antoninus Pius . Also on March th, we celebrate the Ascension of Marcus Aurelius and Lucius Verus.

After the death of Aelius Caesar, Hadrian adopted Antoninus, imposing on him the condition that he adopt two sons, Lucius Verus and Marcus Antoninus to be his successors. Antoninus supported the dying Hadrian for the remainder of his years, and obeyed his commands even after his death. For this Antoninus is called Pius.

As the Fates would have it, March 1st is the date when Antoninus Pius died in 161 AD after 23 years as Emperor. His rule is marked by an almost unbroken period of peace and tranquility. The golden era of Rome, known as the Age of the Antonines, takes its name from Antoninus, because every emperor afterward took up his name as an emblem of glory. Antoninus is the emperor most responsible for the perpetuation of the Religion of Antinous.

He had served as Proconsul of Asia Minor under Hadrian from 130 to 135, while the Religion of Antinous was being formed, and it was during his reign that construction of the Sacred City of Antinoopolis was completed.

The Senate deified Antoninus Pius shortly after his death. The base of the column erected in his honor, shows Antoninus Pius and his wife Faustina the elder, rising up to heaven. They are ascending upon the wings of an Aeon, with Mother Rome on one side, and a beautiful reclining male figure on the other who grasps an obelisk. We believe this figure to be Antinous, guardian spirit of the Age of the Antonines.

Upon the occasion of the Death and Apotheosis of Antoninus Pius, Marcus Aurelius and Lucius Verus became co-Emperors, both surnamed Antoninus, a name which the ancient Romans equate with inestimable glory.

Marcus being the elder and wiser, was given the title Augustus, while Lucius took the name Caesar. They remained cordial to one another though their vastly different characters were always a cause of discord, though never of rivalry or outright animosity. They were a harmonious and cooperative pair of rulers, the only example of effective imperial brotherhood in the long history of Rome.


OUR spiritual leader Antonius Subia got a surprise during his sacred pilgrimage to Egypt when ... unexpectedly and purely by chance ... he saw an inscription dedicated to Antinous in Alexandria.

It was an inscription on a plinth for a statue of Antinous commissioned by one of the first priests of Antinous, Julius Fidus Aquila, who was appointed by Emperor Hadrian to build the city of Antinoopolis in Egypt and to serve as Epistrategos of that city as its first priest of Antinous.

Here is what Antonius says:

We arrived this morning in Alexandria and went to see the catacombs, the very first thing I see as walked through the entrance was the granite base of what was once a monumental statue of Antinous Epiphanios from Antinoopolis dedicated by Phidios Aquileios (Julius Fidus Aquila). 

I did not expect to see this at all, but as we walked in the gate the very first thing I read from a distance was ANTINOOI.

I placed a little paper ivy leaf as an offering in the depression where Antinous's right foot was attached to the stone.


Wednesday, February 24, 2021


A highlight of my pilgrimage to Egypt

Was the Philae Island Temple 

On the Upper Nile

Last stand of the Pagan religion.

Long after Theodosius outlawed the old religions,

The priests of Isis continued their devotions.

It was a great honor to visit that beautiful little island

And there is a corridor called Hadrian's gate

In my photo at the top of this entry!

Ave Antinous!


                        MORE PHOTOS BELOW:

Tuesday, February 23, 2021


Medinet Habu Temple is Magnificent ... the scale is almost as breathtaking as Karnak.

And it is there that I came face to face with the First Miracle of Antinous ... the bountiful Inundation of the Nile which ended a famine throughout the Empire ... Antinous died in the Nile in October 130 AD ... After he was deified, Antinous asked intersex Nile inundation deity HAPI to end the drought. 

In July 131 AD, Egyptians waited a prayed to see if the annual flood would return ... and it did return ... and the drought ended ... it was the First Miracle of Antinous.

At Medinet Habu there was a tiny little room no bigger than a walk-in closet that was beautifully decorated with images of Hapi the Nile god which was my favorite part of the huge enormous Temple, the colors are almost completely intact.

There were almost no tourists there compared to the other sites, I had much of the Temple to explore completely by myself ... which was great ... gave me the chance to pray unobserved in peace.

As we were leaving I noticed a woman sitting quietly meditating before the monumental pylon ... so I wasn’t the only one there who was NOT a tourist but a religious pilgrim.

Ave Antinous!


                        MORE PHOTOS BELOW: