TODAY is your lucky day for a new start. Remember the birth of Dionysus!
In Classical Mythology Zeus/Jupiter often visited mortals in disguise, for his radiance was too dazzling for mortals to behold ... rather like the Sun in a profound configuration with Jupiter, Pluto and the STAR OF ANTINOUS as it is this week.
In the story of the birth of Dionysus, we see that Semele Princess of Thebes had been made pregnant by Jupiter in disguise.
Semele later became curious about his true appearance.
So, Semele decided to ask Zeus to grant her a wish, and he took an oath on the river Styx that he would give her anything.
She asked that he appear to her in all his glory. Jupiter was forced to comply.
However, mortals could not look upon Jupiter without bursting into flames, which is what happened to Semele.
Jupiter managed to save the unborn baby by sewing it inside his thigh.
A few months later, god Dionysus was born, who managed to save his mother from the Underworld and brought her to Mount Olympus, where she became the goddess Thyone.
Antinous traditionally has been identified with Dionysus "Twice Born" of mortal woman and divine radiance.
Antinous/Dionysus reminds you that you are HOMOTHEOSIS ... Gay Man Godliness Becoming the Same in Divine Radiance.
Tuesday, May 11, 2021
Monday, May 10, 2021
ON MAY 10th the Religion of Antinous honors two men we call the Two Lovers of Antinoopolis who lived in the Sacred City of Antinoopolis and who worshiped the Beauteous Boy and whose joint portrait is one of the great mysteries of Egyptology.
This round portrait, called a "tondo" because of its circular format, was used as a face plate on a mummy. The vicinity of Antinoopolis and the Fayoum Oasis region is famous for hundreds of such mummy portraits which give us a priceless look at how the residents of the Sacred City actually looked. It is believed these were portraits which had hung in people's homes and which were interred with the deceased, as a reminder to their Ka about who they were in mortal life.
The tondo is unique, though, because it shows two faces. Archaeologists have no explanation as to why anyone would want the face plate on a mummy to show two men's faces. The conventional explanation is that they were perhaps brothers and when one of them died, his surviving brother insisted on burying him with their joint portrait to show his fraternal love.
But one glance at the portrait shows that the two men bear little resemblance to each other.
Even more striking is the difference in skin coloring. Throughout Egyptian art, males were portrayed as having typically ruddy-brown skin and girls and women as having creamy colored skin ... that was the iconic rule in Ancient Egyptian art. The skin colors do not represent the ACTUAL skin tones of the people, just as the idealized features of pharaohs don't reflect how they actually looked.
In Ancient Egyptian art, even if two individuals appear to be identically dressed with wigs and flowing robes, you can distinguish gender roles by skin color.
Ruddy skin means male. Creamy skin means female.
That makes it all the more interesting to look at the Tondo of the Two Lovers, because one man has dark "male type" skin coloring and the other man has very light "female type" skin coloring. Such contrasting skin coloring traditionally was used only for married male-female couples in Ancient Egyptian art.
Even when the hairstyles and clothing are barely indistinguishable in Egyptian art, the difference in skin tones is a gender-role clue. Any Egyptian would instantly register the visual "pun" and would think it no accident.The artist who painted the Tondo of the Two Lovers appears to have been giving us a clue as to the relationship between the two men.
The Tondo has been dated between 130-150 AD which would place them as nearly contemporaries of Antinous, living in His Sacred City in the first bloom of the Religion of Antinous. French architectural historian Jean-Claude Golvin painted this stunning rendering of Antinoopolis at its height.
But of even more significance are the small images of Greco-Egyptian gods placed above their shoulders. The darker man is guarded by a figure which some experts identify as Hermanubis, a god of the underworld adored in the nearby city of Hermopolis. His name is variously interpreted as "Hermes/Anubis" or "Horus-as-Anubis", depending on whether you read the Latin or the Egyptian spellings.
The cult of Hermanubis was on the rise in Rome at this time and he was interpreted as a solar deity who (like Hermes/Mercury and Horus) led the dead through the darkness to everlasting sunlight. A crack runs through the figure, however, making its identity somewhat unsure. At one point Hermanubis had a large cult following in Rome itself and his face graced Imperial coins. But his cult was suppressed almost as quickly as it rose, for moralistic reasons which are hard to reconstruct.
The lighter skinned and more beautifully dressed boy is watched over by Antinous, the patron god of Antinoopolis, who grasps a Dionysiac scepter and who wears the SWTY (Two Feathers) crown of divinity symbolic of his many-faceted Sacred Powers. It is ironic that the Christians later suppressed the cult of Antinous for moralistic reasons, just as the cult of Hermanubis had been suppressed by the Romans. Was there a sexual/moral connection between the two cults?
At any rate, this makes the Tondo of the Two Lovers the only portrait painting of Antinous to have survived, and the only image of two probable followers of HIS religion.
The faint inscription beneath the image of Antinous reads 15 Pachon, which is a date in the Greek calendar that corresponds to the 10th of May. No one knows what the significance of this date might be. An anniversary, perhaps.
The younger figure is wearing a splendid red wrap held in place by an impressive amethyst brooch in a gold setting ... a family heirloom perhaps. The artist has gone to pains to render it perfectly. The embroidery on his white tunic is very fine. An oriental swastika good-luck charm is stitched into his right sleeve.
Perhaps the portrait was commissioned for the day (May 10th) when he donned his manly robes for the first time on his 16th birthday, as was the Roman custom. The peach-fuzz on his face gives him the appearance of an adolescent.
The older man (who could 30-something) stands behind him, as if symbolically showing his love and support of his young companion. He could be an older brother or uncle. He could even be the youth's father ... life expectancy was shorter then, and people married early in those days and were grandparents by their mid-30s.
But just perhaps the composition and skin-tone nuances are subtle clues by the artist that these two men shared an older-man, younger-man relationship ... a Classical Greek-style erastes/eromenos relationship ... similar to that of Hadrian and Antinous. After all, this city was founded on Hadrian's love for Antinous.
The Temple of Antinous honors these two men on May 10th ... the day which was so special to them, for reasons known only to them and to the gods they worshiped ... Hermanubis and Antinous!
Sunday, May 9, 2021
Little is known of the origins of Antinous except that he was from the Bithynian city of Claudiopolis modern-day Bolu, Turkey.
It has been speculated that he was a slave ... or even a provincial prince.
The OBELISK OF ANTINOUS, which now stands atop the Pincian Hill in Rome, is covered in Egyptian hieroglyphs which tell us much about Antinous the Gay God. But sadly, there are huge gaps where the text has been worn away.
There is, for example, an intriguing reference to the mother of Antinous which is incomplete. Did a missing portion of the text talk about his biological family back in Bithynia? We'll never know.
We wonder how many brothers and sisters Antinous had? He must have had cousins and other "ephebe" male relatives. How on earth could the mother of Antinous ever have parted from him?
For that matter, no one knows what happened to the earthly remains of Antinous after his tragic death in the Nile in October 130 AD. Were they returned to his family in Bithynia? Did his mother weep over them? Were they interred in a family crypt ... and were the ashes of his mother interred beside his after she died?
This Mother's Day prayer was written by our beloved WARREN WILLIAMSON before his untimely death a couple of years ago. We join Warren in praising the Mother of Antinous the Gay God:
O most glorious Mother of Antinous our God, accept our prayers and present them to thy son our God, that He may, for thy sake, enlighten and bring our souls unto the most holy city of Antinoopolis where we shall dwell with thee and the Imperator God Hadrian forever and ever. Be it so now and forever.
Saturday, May 8, 2021
WE honor Manuel Acosta (May 9, 1921-October 25, 1989) as a blessed Saint of Antinous for being a Texican artist from El Paso who lived and died for his art.
Sadly, he is only known in the English-speaking world for having painted the iconic portrait of César Chávez for a 1969 Time magazine cover.
He was brutally murdered by a 20-year-old boy who was living with him, who had been his model...and more.
Flamen Antonius says of Acosta:
He is a very meaningful Saint of Antinous because he opened whole new world of art for me when I was very young. I always thought of art as something people did far away in Paris or somewhere. In my neighborhood they painted the Virgin Mary and low-riders and Aztec warriors...but that wasn't art...right there next to the gang graffiti and a crudely drawn penis squirting sperm on some breasts. Art was something that people in Europe painted on canvases. Manuel Acosta changed my perspective...because he lived about a quarter mile away.
Right when he was murdered, they released prints of his work, and my mother bought the full set for me,
it was my first real introduction to art...my walls were covered with Manuel Acosta paintings,
I had no idea that it would mean so much to me later.
Manuel Acosta always used to wear a paper-bag hat. Father Arturo Banuelas, who led the prayers at Manuel’s funeral said, "Today his paper hat is a crown of glory."
He was buried with what he called his Mexican-Italian-Pajama shirt, wearing his trademark paper hat, with a can of Budweiser beer in his hand (his nephew placed it there).
Friday, May 7, 2021
THE early Christians "demonized" Antinous and all other deities. In essence, we are all demon worshipers in the eyes of fundamentalist Christians.
In a perverse reversal of polarities, fanatical seekers of righteousness often become the very force of darkness and evil that they profess to fight. By identifying too strongly with one pole ("Good", "Righteousness") they call into being its opposite pole. They conjure up a "demon."
We call these demonized individuals "Anti-Saints" ... people who, through no fault of their own, are demonized by self-righteous fanatics because they are outsiders.
The Religion of Antinous has one special "Anti-Saint" ... JAKOB "ZAUBERJACKL" KOLLER, the shape-shifting gay sorcerer of Salzburg.
In one of the most horrific witch hunts of the 17th Century, 139 youths and pre-adolescent boys were put to death as werewolves and witches ... at the hands of religious fanatics determined to rid Salzburg of demons.
Orphans were common in the aftermath of the 30 Years War, and their begging and thievery became a nuisance to upstanding people of Salzburg, who "demonized" them as the apprentices of evil sorcerers ....
Zauberjackl (Magic Jake) was a 20-year-old man with red hair in the Salzburg area of Austria in the late 17th Century who "fancied the lads" and who had a reputation for hanging out with adolescents and teaching them the black arts.
Growing up in the chaos after the war, he lived on the streets under a cloud of suspicion after his mother (under torture for stealing) told investigators he was a sorcerer skilled in the black arts. But she claimed he was dead ... the authorities heaved a sigh of relief.
Then a few years later, in 1677, routine questioning of a 12-year-old crippled street urchin named Dionysus Feldner spawned a witch hunt.
Whether out of spite or fear or for whatever reason, little Dionysus claimed that the "Zauberer Jackl" (Sorcerer Jake) was very much alive. (Interrogation scene re-enacted in an Austrian TV documentary film about Zauberjackl.)
Dionysus said he had spent the previous three weeks in the company of Zauberjackl, who he claimed was engaged in very active instruction of scores of boys and young men in the arts of black magic.
Dionysus said Zauberjackl had a black cap which made him invisible. He said Zauberjackl could transform himself into a fox, wolf or any other animal at will.
He said Zauberjackl could conjure up an infestation of mice, rats and other vermin to wipe out the crops and grain storage warehouses of anybody who crossed him.
News of Dionysus's testimony swept Salzburg like wildfire, creating a frenzy of hysteria in a town that was just beginning to recover from the ravages of the 30 Years War.
Authorities began rounding up every homeless boy and young man for interrogation -- there were a lot of homeless war orphan refugees.
Any adolescent street waif or roustabout lad was immediately suspected of membership in the Zauberjackl gang.
The illustration shows boys and young men being interrogated for witchcraft in Salzburg.
In particular, those who were physically or mentally disabled were thought to be in league with "demons" -- whose mark they bore on their bodies, if not on their souls.
Under torture, and given leading questions, sobbing boys gave their interrogators the most hair-raising stories of Zauberjackl' s occult exploits.
In all, over the next 15 years, 139 young people were rounded up and executed. Of that total, 113 were males. All but 21 were under age 21. And 39 of them were under the age of 10. One-third were classified as "infirm of mind or body". Most were garrotted and their bodies burned.
The youngest, in a show of mercy, were given a quick death: Rather than slowly strangling to death, they were beheaded and then their bodies were burned.
Zauberjackl himself was never apprehended. There were in fact no reported sightings of him. Ever. People from his village insisted he had died of natural causes years earlier, but the authorities assumed they were under his magical spell.
The fact that nobody had ever seen him only added to the phantom mystique surrounding Zauberjackl.
Those high-minded officials in Salzburg evoked the gay werewolf/wizard demon named Zauberjackl. And in doing so, he got out of their control and took on a life of his own.
This woodcut shows popular methods of executing witches in Salzburg.
It's unimportant whether a 20-year-old, red-haired guy named Jakob Koller was ever actually a shape-shifting gay wizard who inculcated bad boys with the secrets of the black arts.
The sad fact is that great evil was carried out and that scores of young lives were lost. The terrible irony is that this evil was done in the name of righteousness and in pursuit of a demonic force.
A demon did indeed stalk the streets of Salzburg in the last quarter of the 17th Century ... it murdered 139 homeless street boys.
Similarly, various horrific demons are still on the loose today, all of them inadvertently evoked by self-righteous people who are grimly convinced they are carrying out the will of Allah or Jesus.
Thursday, May 6, 2021
ON May 6th, the Religion of Antinous commemorates the book burnings and the ransacking of the world's first gay scientific institution — foreshadowing the Gay Holocaust.
On this day in 1933, the Nazis stormed and shut down the Institute for Sexual Science which had been founded by Dr. Magnus Hirschfeld in Berlin in 1919.
In collaboration with the Scientific Humanitarian Committee, the institute was founded for the research of human sexology, primarily for the purpose of repealing "Paragraph 175", which was the German Law that made homosexual acts illegal.
The work of the institute was a reflection of the widespread gay liberation that prevaled in Germany after World War I. It was specifically targeted by Adolf Hitler as one of the foremost "degenerate depravities of the Weimar Republic" which the Führer vowed to eradicate.
Next week, on May 14th, the Religion of Antinous celebrates the feast day of Saint Magnus Hirschfeld. The man called the Father of Gay Liberation died on May 14, 1935, in exile in Nice, France, an embittered and broken man.
He died on his 63rd birthday. A life that had started out with such lofty ambitions ended in disillusionment. He was of Jewish ancestry and began his career as a medical doctor but very soon devoted his life to the study of homosexuality.
In 1897 he founded the Scientific Humanitarian Committee, which was an organization whose publication, called The Yearbook of Intermediate Sexual Types, was devoted to the repeal of "Paragraph 175", a law passed by the Reichstag in 1869.
The work of the committee included ongoing lobbying supported by the scientific studies of Dr. Hirschfeld into human sexuality. This study culminated in the formation of the Institute for Sexual Science in 1919.
Dr. Hirschfeld spent the majority of his career writing and lecturing around the world on the nature of homosexuality and other "intermediate" sexual types, including cross dressers.
The word "transsexual" was coined by Dr. Hirschfeld to describe the phenomenon that he argued was a natural extension of human sexuality.
His philosophy centered on the contention that there was a third sex, called the Uranian, which was neither male nor female, but a combination of both that was manifested in homosexuality, which was not to be considered an impure deviation, or even as an illness, but as a natural and phenomenal component of human nature.
For his work, the Nazis targeted Dr. Hirschfeld as an example of decadent Bolshevistic/Jewish influence infecting the purity of the German people, luring the Aryan race into impure and destructive perversity. He was ultimately driven into exile and burned in effigy as an emblem of evil.
His institute was ransacked May 6th and his books were publicly burned in a bonfire on May 10th, 1933.
The exquisite replica frieze of Antinous was ripped off the wall and smashed to pieces.
In another ironic twist, homosexual members of Ernst Roehm's SA Stormtroopers (shown above) hurled these books to the flames in 1933 — and would themselves face persecution and death when Hitler turned against Roehm only a scant year later during the "Night of Long Knives" in June 1934 when Hitler decided that Roehm had become a liability.
The storming of the Institute for Sexual Science was the first step in the persecution of homosexuals, who were later sentenced to labor in the concentration camps, the extreme cruelty of which usually resulted in death.
The symbol of the Pink Triangle, the homosexual form of the yellow star of the Jews, was born after the fall of the forward-thinking Institute. It is the symbol of our repression, just as the rainbow flag is the symbol of our freedom. The storming of the Institute was the beginning of the dark ages which were to last until the riot at the Stonewall in 1969.
Wednesday, May 5, 2021
ON May 5th the Religion of Antinous celebrates the life of Napoleon Bonaparte, who died on this day in 1821.
Napoleon is a saint primarily because he was the first European ruler to "decriminalize" homosexual acts. It had once been a crime punishable by burning at the stake...but Napoleon, under the advice of his top legal adviser, who was a homosexual...chose to legalize homosexuality.
He may seem a very unlikely person to be a champion of gay rights...but that's what he is...he didn't care...he saw no reason to persecute men for being homosexual...one of the greatest military commanders the world has ever known...and he accepted gay people...he would laugh at "Don't Ask, Don't Tell....he would laugh as his gay army invaded America and set things right.
Napoleon was trying to restore the Roman Empire...that's what all his imagery and symbolism were about...the fashions of the day were inspired by Rome...the Empire waist dress...women were styling their hair to look like Sabina...men combed their hair forward like Hadrian.
For gay people, one of the most disastrous turning points in world history was the defeat of Napoleon at Waterloo. We've been led to believe that the British are heroes and Napoleon was a tyrant. But he was the best "tyrant" the world has known since Hadrian.
Napoleon would have set the world forward decades or even centuries. But that didn't happen...instead of tremendous social progress...the opposite occurred.
Another reason why we Consecrate Emperor Napoleon as a Saint of Antinous is because, in 1799-1801, when Napoleon tried and nearly succeeded in conquering the entire Middle East, it was French scientists who were the last to see and the first to record and depict the remains of our Sacred City of Antinoopolis. Those ruins have vanished beneath the sands of Egypt since then.
Had Napoleon not invaded, had he not defeated the Mamluk army at the Battle of the Pyramids, then the expedition to Antinoopolis would not have occurred and the fragments of Antinoopolis would never have been recorded.
Tuesday, May 4, 2021
ANTINOUS is a God of Healing! In ancient times his believers asked Antinous for health and to heal them and He is credited with miraculous acts of healing.
Antinous is no stranger to epidemics. Many of his ancient believers endured devastating epidemics and must have asked Antinous for protection and healing during such terrible outbreaks of sicknesses.
As a God he is aware of our fears and suffering during the current outbreak of the Corona virus.
To be our healing God is perhaps one his primary divine roles, if not the very first and most eminent, to be a close companion especially to us in times of sickness when we are confined and alone or reduced to lying in a bed anxiously hoping our bodies would withstand illnesses, heal and endure, knowing not if we will survive.
He is right there by our bedside, keeping vigil. Even if it comes to the worst, it happens in his arms.
That is because power was conferred unto him by the Creator God (the Obelisk of Antinous states that Antinous was filled with the semen of the Creator) and there are indications the gods Thoth and others inveighed him with special powers.
Because of all of this and because Antinous died to work the power of good from beyond and especially wanted to let his lover Hadrian remain healthy and live longer, Antinous is an especially potent God of healing and good health.
Our faith's concept of HOMOTHEOSIS can also mean a healing invigorating oneness with Antinous. It is a state of meditation and prayer and of transcendental awareness of Antinous' presence and of uniting with Him, being filled by Him which can make homotheosis a healing experience and a state returning you to health, of increasing your life force, of allowing yourself to be filled with vigour and vitality.
Seek homotheosis, read more on it at the online TEMPLE OF ANTINOUS, practice it yourself as a spiritual component to your attempts to live a healthy life and to remain so amidst the current pandemic.
See the posts of our priests on FACEBOOK and TWITTER and INSTAGRAM and receive fabulous daily posts on the faith, and LGBTGQI history and matters.
But there will also be links you can use to blogs and the Temple of Antinous website at www.antinopolis.org where a wealth of information awaits anyone just interested in our faith or any new believers who want to worship Antinous with us and join the Temple of Antinous and where the amazing lists of Saints of Antinous can also be found.
ADRIAAN VAN DEN BERG
Monday, May 3, 2021
ON May 3rd the Religion of Antinous celebrates the life of Christine Jorgensen, the first widely-known individual to have sex reassignment surgery. She was born May 30th, 1926, and she died on May 3rd, 1989.
Perhaps the most recognizable transsexual in the world even today, Saint Christine Jorgensen underwent male-to-female sex reassignment surgery in 1952. She went from obscurity to an onslaught of media attention, enduring many bad jokes at her expense.
But entertaining and educating, Saint Christine was a class act. Susan Stryker noted that, "Given a very narrow path to walk through life, she found a way to walk it with style."
She was banned in Boston and named Woman of The Year in New York. Interviewed later in life if she had any regrets, she replied without hesitation, "None at all."
Sunday, May 2, 2021
ON May 2nd, we honor Leonardo da Vinci, who died on this day in 1519, who was one of the greatest painters and most versatile geniuses in history.
He was one of the key figures of the Renaissance, a great cultural movement that had begun in Italy in the 1300s.
Leonardo, as he is almost always called, was trained to be a painter. But his interests and achievements spread into an astonishing variety of fields that are now considered scientific specialties. Leonardo studied anatomy, astronomy, botany, geology, geometry, and optics, and he designed machines and drew plans for hundreds of inventions.
Because Leonardo excelled in such an amazing number of areas of human knowledge, he is often called a universal genius. However, he had little interest in literature, history, or religion.
He formulated a few scientific laws, but he never developed his ideas systematically. Leonardo was most of all an excellent observer. He concerned himself with what the eye could see, rather than with purely abstract concepts.
When he was 24 years old, Leonardo was arrested, along with several young companions, on the charge of sodomy.
No witnesses appeared against them and eventually the charges were dropped, probably due to pressure brought to bear by Leonardo's wealthy supporters.
Leonardo had no relationships with women, never married, had no children, but raised many young protégés, including one nicknamed "Salai" which means "offspring of Satan."
Salai stole things, broke things, lied, and was generally a, well, devil; if he were a mere student or servant he would have been fired. It's not hard to see how this imp would be attractive to Leonardo. He stayed with Leonardo for over 20 years, and appears many times in Leonardo's works ... including the painting of Bacchus above.
Saturday, May 1, 2021
ONE of the more obscure Innocent Gay Martyr Saints of Antinous is Louvernios of Lindow ... a 2,000-year-old bog mummy in England who was a homosexual Druid who most likely offered himself as a human sacrifice against invading Romans to keep them (successfully) out of Ireland.
Also called the Lovernios the Lindow Bog Man, his mummified body was found in 1984.
That was when a peat cutter in Lindow Moss, on the Mersey River of western England, found the well-preserved body of a man, believed by some scholars to be the sacrificed body of a Celtic Druid from Ireland who had probably come to England to be ritually prepared and sacrificed on May Day, 60 AD to keep the advancing Roman army away from Ireland.
Indeed, the Roman legions stopped just five miles short of Lindow Moss, and never invaded Ireland. The exact date ... 1 May 60 AD ... was ascertained by contents of his stomach which included "scorched bread" of the sort used in Druidic Beltane or May Day festivities.
And historian CONNELL O'DONOVAN presents compelling evidence to prove that this Druid was also a homosexual. the Lindow Bog Man had suffered a quadruple execution of garroting, bludgeoning, slit throat, and drowning in the bog, naked except for an armband of arctic fox fur on his left arm.
Some Celtic historians interpret the fox arm band as meaning "My name is Fox" or Louvernios, an attested ancient Celtic name meaning fox.
However, others suggest the fox armband of Lindow Man (reconstructed face left) signifies not 'My name is Fox', but 'I am a sacrifice', and in particular, a communal scapegoat.
The fox is regarded in many societies, including the Celtic, as an outlaw animal.
The fox lives on the periphery of human society, neither domesticated nor fully wild.
On one hand it is despised by farmers for its depredations on their livestock...while on the other hand it is grudgingly admired for its wiliness ... hence its role as a Trickster figure, such as Reynard the Fox.
O'Donnell says: "This peripheral and outlaw existence of the fox in the Celtic imagination fits nicely with the probability of Lindow Man's cultic-based homosexuality."
Scholars tend to agree that Tollund Man’s killing was some kind of ritual sacrifice to the gods ... perhaps a fertility offering. To the people who put him there, a bog was a special place. While most of Northern Europe lay under a thick canopy of forest, bogs did not. Half earth, half water and open to the heavens, they were borderlands to the beyond.
To these people, will-o’-the-wisps ... flickering ghostly lights that recede when approached ... weren't the effects of swamp gas caused by rotting vegetation. They were fairies. The thinking goes that Lindow Man's tomb may have been meant to ensure a kind of soggy immortality for the sacrificial object.
Louvernios is the best-looking and best-known member of an elite club of preserved cadavers that have come to be known as "bog bodies."
These are men and women (also some adolescents and a few children) who were laid down long ago in the raised peat bogs of Northern Europe ... mostly Denmark, Germany, England, Ireland and the Netherlands.
They can keep speaking to us from beyond the grave because of the environment’s singular chemistry. A body placed here decomposes extremely slowly. Soon after burial, the acid starts tanning the body’s skin, hair and nails.
As the sphagnum moss dies, it releases a carbohydrate polymer called sphagnan. It binds nitrogen, halting growth of bacteria and further mummifying the corpse. But sphagnan also extracts calcium, leached out of the body’s bones.
This helps to explain why, after a thousand or so years of this treatment, a corpse ends up looking like a squished rubber doll.
Nobody can say for sure whether the people who buried the body in the bog knew that the sphagnum moss would keep him intact. It appears highly unlikely ... how would they? Still, it is tempting to think so, since it fits so perfectly the ritualistic function of Louvernios, perhaps regarded as an emissary to the afterworld.