Wednesday, January 31, 2024

DEREK JARMAN
SAINT OF ANTINOUS


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.

Tuesday, January 30, 2024

THIS BIOGRAPHY SAYS LIVIA WAS NOT
THE WICKED WITCH OF ANCIENT ROME


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.

Monday, January 29, 2024

THE DISCOVERY
OF THE STAR OF ANTINOUS



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."

Sunday, January 28, 2024

THE SACRED STAR 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 flame for Antinous)

Saturday, January 27, 2024

ANTONIUS SUBIA ON THE DISCOVERY
OF THE STAR OF ANTINOUS



MAY the Light of the New Star of Antinous shine into all our hearts and illuminate our souls!

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 Nicias Subia
Flamen Antinoalis

Friday, January 26, 2024

ANTINOUS IN TRIPOLIS



 

WE believe Hadrian may have celebrated his birthday on January 24th, 130 AD, in the city of Tripolis in what is now Lebanon during his tour of the Eastern Provinces with Antinous at his side.


Tripolis was an important Phoenician trading city founded in the 8th Century BC. it was where the three major Phoenician city-states of Aradus, Tyre and Sidon came together to form a trading alliance.


The Greeks called it Tripolis, or "Three-Cities" because it was composed of three separate, walled communities for each of the three city-states.


The patron gods of the city were probably the three Baals of the separate quarters, but during the Hellenistic and Roman eras, the Dioscuri twin gods became prominent and appear on the coins of Tripolis.


It should be noted that the Dioscuri were actually Triplets according to some traditions.  The twin brother gods Castor and Pollux had a twin sister, Hellen of Troy. The two brother gods, together with their mysterious sister were therefore a symbol of city-states coming together.


Hadrian may have celebrated his birthday there as he inspected the many building projects that he had initiated, as Tripolis was one of the most Hellenized cities of Syria, being connected with the Greeks from an early age and not being under the full control of any one Phoenician state. It was therefore an open port that embraced modernization and would have welcomed the Greek-loving Emperor Hadrian.


The city was a Byzantine stronghold until it fell to the Muslims, only to be conquered by the Crusaders and then later by the Ottoman Turks.


Tripolis was famous for its luxurious bathhouses, which the Ottomans called Hammams.


Some of these bathhouses date to the Roman era and may have been visited by Antinous, for whom bathing was a sacred ritual and which later became part of his religion.


We celebrate the bathing ritual of Antinous and the spirit of cooperation between different people and cultures which made Tripolis so strong and prosperous.  The Twin Gods are equated to Gemini and are also said to represent lovers, such as Hadrian and Antinous, who share a close spiritual bond known as twin flames.


We pray to the Twin gods to watch over us as we unite with Antinous and Hadrian in our hearts.


Thursday, January 25, 2024

WORSHIPERS ON BOTH SIDES OF ATLANTIC
CELEBRATE HADRIAN'S BIRTHDAY



WORSHIPERS on both sides of the Atlantic joined hands via Zoom in ceremonies celebrating Emperor Hadrian's birthday at the Hollywood Temple of Antinous.

Flamen Antonius Subia had issued a global invitation via social networks for participation in the evening's ceremonies commemorating the 1,948th anniversary of the birth of Hadrian.

"We honor Hadrian because without him there would be no Religion of Antinous," Flamen ANTONIUS SUBIA told the worshipers in North and South America and Europe. 


"Hadrian loved Antinous with all his heart and with all his soul. And yet, when Antinous died he could have kept Antinous in his heart to treasure alone for all eternity," Antonius said.

"But instead, he shared Antinous with the world," he added, raising his hands toward images of Hadrian and Antinous on the temple's sacred altar.

"He issued an imperial command that temples to Antinous be erected throughout the Empire," the Hollywood high priest explained, "and that statues, busts and sacred images of Antinous be created to perpetuate his memory."

Even in the darkest times after the Fall of Rome, Antinous continued to serve as a beacon for homosexuals through the centuries.

"Antinous was revered by gay people throughout the centuries, even in the Killing Times when gays were burned and persecuted, even during the Gay Holocaust at the hands of the Nazis ... and also as gay people continue to suffer today," he said.


"Instead of keeping Antinous locked in his heart, Hadrian shared a portion of Antinous with us," Antonius added. 

"He permitted us to share in his loving relationship with Antinous, and in doing so, he forever changed the way gay people have seen themselves," he told the congregants.

Officiating at the Hollywood Temple as others took part via Zoom, Antonius lighted incense and offered libations in celebration of the birth and life of Hadrian and his unprecedented step to deify his gay lover ... the ultimate Classical deity.

"He was the most powerful man in the world, who loved Antinous so much that he declared him a god," Antonius told worshipers.

"He did that as representative of Zeus on Earth, emblem of the ruler of the Cosmos, the great eagle," Antonius added. 

"Hadrian is the bringer of order out of chaos, founder of our religion," he went on. "He is the divine lover of Antinous ... our model ... and our God."

Wednesday, January 24, 2024

THE BIRTH OF HADRIAN


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.

Tuesday, January 23, 2024

THE MARTYRS OF ANTINOOPOLIS


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.
 

Monday, January 22, 2024

HEATH LEDGER
SAINT OF ANTINOUS


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.

Sunday, January 21, 2024

THE ASSUMPTION OF GANYMEDE


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.

Saturday, January 20, 2024

SAINT SEBASTIAN


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.

Friday, January 19, 2024

THE GOING FORTH OF ANUBIS


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.

FEATURED ANTINOUS STATUE OF THE DAY
THE ANTINOUS OF ELEUSIS


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 18, 2024

MARTIN CAMPBELL'S HISTORICAL NOVEL
'QUEEN JULIUS CAESAR' IS A TRIUMPH



LOOKING for a holiday book tip? We can most assuredly say that, if you loved THE LOVE GOD, Martin Campbell's historical novel about the life of Antinous ... now you must read his new novel about the early life of Julius Caesar entitled "Queen Julius Caesar" ... now available in Kindle and paperback. ORDER HERE

This meticulously researched book (with 40 pages of glossary and appendices) is a fast-paced page-turner with swashbuckling pirates, orgies and political intrigue. And it has already spawned pre-publication controversy with its provocative title and the tag-line "Rome's greatest ruler was bisexual." 

But far more interestingly, Campbell shows how a cocky, privileged young Patrician, accustomed to getting his way, is forced through adversity and deprivation ... and the intervention of Eastern potentates ... to develop the qualities of character that will make him a great leader.

Along the way, he parlays physical and emotional disabilities (epilepsy, obsessive-compulsive tendencies and self-injury to allay emotional pain) into strengths which will enable him to outwit and outmaneuver his adversaries.

His lessons begin at sea on a galley loaded with gold when pirates commandeer his vessel and hold him for ransom. Cunningly, he informs his captors the ransom is too low, and he finagles and entraps the pirates.

Another man in such a hopeless and helpless situation would give up. But Campbell skillfully shows how Caesar used his wits and his obsessive-compulsive discipline and determination not only to save himself and his adjutants, but also to emerge victorious and to exact cruel vengeance which would earn Caesar a place in the history books as a man not to be trifled with. 

In addition, in Campbell's brilliant historical novel, 20-year-old Caesar's education in leadership comes in the arms (literally) of Nicomedes IV, king of Bithynia, and his consort Nysa. 

Prudish Victorian historians quibbled over the three-way relationship. But Julius Caesar's own troops lustily chanted: "Gallias Caesar subegit, Caesarem Nicomedes," (Caesar laid the Gauls low, Nicomedes laid Caesar low). Hence, the title of this book!

Campbell shows how young Julius Caesar observed the way Nicomedes charmed and coaxed and coerced his courtiers and his naval and land forces into doing his will ... without having to resort to blunt force in the traditional Roman way.

By the end of this at once charming and illuminating book, the reader has accompanied Julius Caesar from bumptious adolescence to manhood as a mature leader who can meet ... and defeat ... anything or anybody who gets in his way.

Through it all, the goddess Minerva provides off-stage asides to the reader in the tradition of the chorus in a Classical stage comedy.

Campbell is working on two more novels ... and we can't wait!

Wednesday, January 17, 2024

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, January 16, 2024

SEEK THE LOST TOMB OF ANTINOUS
WITH BEN PASTOR'S 'THE WATER THIEF'


IT's summer vacation time ... for our many thousands of Antinous devotees in the Southern Hemisphere ... and anyone who is interested in historical fiction in general and Antinous in particular should read this book by Ben Pastor, the award-winning Italian-American historian and author. 


She knows more about Hadrian and Antinous than almost any other living expert. 

Her historical novel THE WATER THIEF is an example of fine scholarly research, as are indeed all of her books.

This novel traces the efforts of Aelius Spartianus to discover the fabled LOST TOMB OF ANTINOUS

Aelius Spartianus is a true-life figure who did in fact write a biography of Hadrian nearly 200 years after the death of Antinous.

Set in the year 304 AD, it tells of this very literate Roman army officer who is commissioned by Emperor Diocletian to do research on his predecessor the Divine Hadrian, who had died nearly two centuries earlier. 

It is while delving into the mystery of the death of Antinous and while trying to learn the whereabouts of the Boy's tomb that the officer stumbles onto evidence of a letter penned by Hadrian uncovering a covert conspiracy to bring down the Empire ... a conspiracy that is still very much at work in 4th Century Rome. 

As Spartianus comes ever closer to finding the answer to the death of Antinous, the conspirators' efforts to thwart him become ever more violent, resulting in numerous brutal murders and attempts on the officer's life.

Pastor's descriptions of Rome in the year 304 AD are superb. You get a real feel for the teeming city in mid-summer, with all the odors and noise, colors and steamy heat that that implies. 

Best of all, for those of us who love and worship Antinous, are the chapters in which Spartianus ensconces himself in Hadrian's derelict villa outside Rome. 

It is there, as he stares up into the stars at night, that he makes a startling connection between the layout of the villa and the eight visible constellations in the nighttime sky in late October when Antinous died ... indicating that Hadrian's obsession with horoscopes and astrology led him to create an earthly universe where time stood still at the death of Antinous.

Did Hadrian's belief in astrological fate compel him to have Antinous killed? Or did Antinous take his own life in a bid to fulfill his astrological fate? 

Or was it more mundane? Did he and Hadrian have a lovers' tiff that ended tragically? Was he done in by young male rivals intent on gaining Hadrian's affections for themselves? 

Or was something even more sinister at work? And why is someone desperate to preventing the officer from finding out what happened to Antinous all those years ago?

For those of us who love Antinous, this book is a joy to read. Pastor works in many small and obscure details which are well known to his modern-day followers. 

To give just one example, the Roman officer expends a great deal of effort trying to locate and decipher the OBELISK OF ANTINOUS which today stands in a park in Rome and is the focus of much current research in the 21st Century.

The obelisk's key inscription, which is the focus of modern experts seeking his tomb, says that Antinous "rests within the garden bounds of the great lord of Rome". 

Just as today's researchers have puzzled over the meaning of that phrase, Ben Pastor's protagonist must also make sense of it ... and he arrives at a startling answer that almost costs him his life and jeopardizes future of the Empire.

The novel's characters are well drawn and the reader identifies with Spartianus as he attempts to unravel this Gordian Knot while at the same time pulling together the strands of his own personal life.

There are numerous gay characters and they emerge as well-rounded and believable characters, especially the flamboyant Egyptian gays who find themselves unwittingly the target of unscrupulous killers in their very midst.

The tales of Antinous and Hadrian which unfold as the investigation progresses are a true pleasure to read, if only because they are all so contradictory and often far-fetched ... precisely as they are to today's researchers. 

Spartianus must work his way through this thicket of tall tales and outright lies and defamations in order to determine precisely what sort of persons Hadrian and Antinous were ... in order to save the Empire two centuries after their deaths.

One of the more outlandish tall tales is told to Aelius by a Roman transgender hustler named Cleopatra Minor who claims to have frequented a notorious whorehouse which specializes in boys for aristocratic customers whose villas line the Bay of Naples. 

Cleo claims it is "well-known there" that Antinous was a boy prostitute who had just arrived from Bythinia and "had barely become accustomed to his little bed" when Hadrian stopped by the whorehouse and took a fancy to him.

There are lots of other, equally intriguing characters in this book. But the most intriguing character of all, of course, is the one character who cannot take active part in the plot but whose presence is felt at every turn of the plot:

Antinous himself.

Though the 4th Century murders take center stage in the story, this book actually is more concerned with telling the story of Antinous and Hadrian and their abiding love affair which spans the gulf of the centuries.

As you read the novel, you get a growing awareness of Antinous as the living, breathing, three-dimensional human being that he must have been in life. 

The more Spartianus looks into the life of Antinous, the more he becomes obsessed with the Blessed Boy. He simply has to find that tomb, even if it means his death and the downfall of Rome.

We won't give away the thrilling ending, except to say that, when Spartianus finally "exchanges glances" with Antinous (in a manner of speaking), Spartianus is overcome with emotion ... and the reader finds it hard to hold back the tears.

CLICK HERE to order, but don't wait too long ... or the Water Thief will catch up with you.

Monday, January 15, 2024

ANTINOUS MARVELED AT THESE MEGALITHS
NOTICE THE OUTLINE OF ONE STILL BURIED



SEE that absurdly massive stone block? Well, that's not the one we're talking about. Look over to the right to see the outline of an even larger megalith … still buried in the ground at a site which Antinous and Hadrian visited. 

German archaeologists working at the Baalbek site in Lebanon have uncovered the largest known ancient megalith ... or single block of stone.

The fully exposed block, which dates back to around 27 B.C., is the well known Hajjar al-Hibla. It's located in a stone quarry at Baalbek, site of the ancient Heliopolis in Lebanon. 

Similar stone blocks measuring up to 20 meters (65 feet) in length and a diameter of 4 x 4 meters (13 x 13 feet) were used for the foundation of the Temple of Jupiter in the Roman sanctuary of Baalbek.

Hadrian and Antinous visited the temple on their fateful tour of the Eastern Provinces.

Baalbek is famous for the colossal stones used in the construction of the Temple of Jupiter which had a colossal statue of Hadrian on a horse.

Antonius Subia explains why the triumphal arrival of Antinous at Baalbek is significant to us:

"The city of Baalbek-Heliopolis was an immensely important sacred site, with highly erotic, religious, solar significance. But it is these gigantic stones that are our spiritual focus, because it is in this season that we prepare ourselves to be as living stones in the Temple of Antinous.

"Antinous and Hadrian, always interested in architecture would have been shown the miraculous stones, would have touched them and stood amazed by their size. 

"Let us direct our attention to the image which shows a man inspecting the mysterious foundation stones, and let this be a metaphor for the immensity of our task as the Stones of the Temple of Antinous."

A few months ago, a team from the German Archaeological Institute conducted excavations at the quarry, and to their amazement they found an ever bigger stone just off to the side and underneath it. 

It measures 19.6 meters (64 feet) in length, 6 meters (19.6 feet) wide, and is at least 5.5 meters (18 feet) high. Its weight is estimated at a daunting 1,650 tons (that's 3,300,000 pounds, or 1,496,850 kg). Future excavations will confirm its precise dimensions.

The archaeologists concluded that because of the stone's configuration and level of smoothness, the block was meant to be transported without being cut. It's thus the biggest stone block known from antiquity. 

They're now investigating why the stone was not completed and remained in the quarry — and by what means the Roman builders had to transport it.

Photo credit: Deutsches Archäologisches Institut.