Wednesday, May 23, 2018
HERE is something very special from the Vindolanda Roman Fort excavations at Hadrian's Wall.
"We usually show our new finds on a hand, this time we have found a hand!" the archaeologist at the VINDOLANDA TRUST said.
This is a lead weighted bronze right hand, measuring 10 cm long and dates to the Severan period (208- 212 AD).
The artefact is thought to be a cult object of the god Jupiter Dolichenus. Romans believed that such a "hand of power" would give them protection.
Above is a photo (front and back) of the artefact after the initial clean. We will post more images after it has been through the full conservation process.
One of the most popular Roman talismans is the "Hand of Power" or Mano Panthea.
The defining quality of the Hand of Power in its many forms is that it invariably is shown standing upright upon its severed wrist and is adorned with various zoomorphic and utensil forms.
Usually (but not always) it is a right hand making a sign of benediction, the thumb and first two fingers upraised and the last two fingers curled down.
Often a small pine cone is balanced on the tip of the thumb and a large crowned snake crawls up the back of the hand and arches over the bent ring finger and little fingers.
Other animals and objects covering the rear of the hand in high relief include a lizard, a worm, a salamander, a frog, a caduceus, a fasces, a turtle, and a group of urns.
Sometimes a ram's head is in the palm of the hand, along with a sprig of mistletoe, a woman nursing a baby, and a strange table with human legs upon which rest three disks (possibly votive food offerings).
Tuesday, May 22, 2018
ON May 22nd the world honors Harvey Milk ... his birthday (22 May 1930) is commemorated as Harvey Milk Day around the world.
Champion of the early gay rights movement, in 1977 Harvey Milk became the first openly Gay person to be elected to the Board of Supervisors in San Francisco.
He advocated the liberation of homosexuality for the benefit of society in general, and jokingly claimed to be a gay recruiter. He was instrumental in passing the Gay Civil Rights Bill in San Francisco, which was to be his undoing.
On November 27, of 1978, Milk was murdered City Hall along with Mayor George Moscone by former City Supervisor Danny White who had resigned his office after the enactment of the bill. Dan White was acquitted of murder but sentenced to only seven years on manslaughter charges.
Following his acquittal on May 21st, 1979, riots broke during a demonstration in front of City Hall, and later, 100,000 people marched on Washington in support of Gay Rights chanting "Harvey Milk Lives!" He became the first gay saint and martyr following the movement that began at the Stonewall.
In a tape recording made one year before his assassination, as if in prophecy, Harvey Milk said, "If a bullet should enter my brain, let that bullet destroy every closet door."
For his actions, for his life, for the changes that he effected, and for the love that continues to burn for him in the memory of his gay, lesbian and transgender children, we priests of Antinous recognize and sanctify Harvey Milk as a Heroic Saint and Martyr.
Monday, May 21, 2018
ON May 21st the Religion of Antinous honors Plato, Saint of Antinous, because May 21st is Plato's birthday, and no worshipper of Antinous could possibly forget HIS birthday.
The greatest of all western mystics and philosophers was born on this day in the year 427 BC. He was originally named Aristocles, but was called Plato by one of his teachers because of the breadth of his shoulders and of his speech, and we might also say because of the magnitude of his legacy of wisdom.
He was a follower of Socrates and the majority of his works are written as Dialogues of Socrates, wherein Plato elaborates his vision of the Universe, the inner workings of mankind, the complexities of human relationships, and the virtues of civilization.
All we know about Socrates is in reality only what Plato has told us of his teacher. Out of loyalty, Plato gave all personal credit to the wisdom of his divine teacher.
Plato founded the Academy in Athens that was dedicated to the love of wisdom and to the perfection of the minds and souls of young men. The image above is a mosaic from Pompeii showing Plato and his academy assembled under his famous olive tree.
Plato studied Pythagoreanism in Italy and made further speculation into the mathematical mysticism of the first philosopher thereby creating the model upon which western monotheism is based. The Platonic system was essentially a unification of the social inquiry of Socrates with the cosmic ramifications of the teachings of Pythagoras.
Here is how Flamen Antinoalis Antonius Subia explain's the significance of Saint Plato:
"In the vision of Love that Plato expounded, Venus Urania, Celestial Love, is glorified as highest form of human affection, above the earthly requirements of procreation. The love between two men, what is innocently called Platonic Love, was considered by Plato to be the most divine form of relationship.
"Hadrian, in all ways the most Platonic of all Emperors, the veritable manifestation of the Philosopher King as glorified by Plato in The Republic, was demonstrating the meaning of Venus Urania, for all the world to see, in his passion for Antinous.
"For the beautiful light in which Plato illuminated the inner nature of homosexual love, he is venerated as a divine Saint of the Religion of Antinous."
TODAY the Sun enters the Sign of Gemini — the sign of the Twins Castor and Pollux, Gods of Homosexuality. This is the zodiac sign which ushers in a special sacred time in the Religion of Antinous, for this is the time of year when the STAR OF ANTINOUS rises, after having been hidden below the horizon since the Death of Antinous at the end of October.
We honor the Dioscuri who were born as triplets with the beautiful Helen as their sister. The mother of the three was Leda who was seduced by Zeus who came to her in the form of a swan. Leda gave birth to an egg from which emerged Castor, Pollux and Helen.
The photo above shows the Prado's Ildefonso Group, twin statue of Castor and Pollux, with a marble head of Antinous "restored" to the left figure.
The identical brothers were inseparable, and had a deep affection for one another, for which reason they were often worshipped as gods of homosexuality. Helen was constantly being abducted and in need of rescue, which the brothers were usually successful in accomplishing, however, her beauty was eventually to lead to the Trojan War.
Later in the voyage, Castor was killed. Pollux was so overwhelmed that he begged Zeus to accept his life in exchange for his brother's.
Out of compassion, Zeus immortalized Castor and proclaimed that Pollux would spend half the year in the underworld and half the year in heaven with his brother.
Together they were placed in the sky as the sign of Gemini.
The Divine Twins miraculously appeared in Rome to announce the victory of the Republic over the allies of the last king by watering their horses in the Fountain of Juturna in the Forum.
Flamen Antonius has this further insight into Castor and Pollux:
"The sacredness of the Twin Gods, with their third twin sister Helen is found in Norse Mythology as the Alcis and as the twins Frey and Skirnir with their third twin sister Freya.
"The symbolism of brotherly love, and of sacrificing one's life for the immortality of a brother is at the heart of the Religion of Antinous, and is an example of the sacrifice that Antinous is said to have committed for the prolongation of the life of Hadrian. The Dioscuri are Antinous and his "rival" Aelius Caesar, and they are also seen in the two brothers of Hadrian's court, Macedo and Statianus Caesernius, who were servants, protectors, confidants, lovers, friends, witnesses and first priests of Antinous.
"The Sacred Star of Antinous rises during the sign of the brothers Castor and Pollux."
Sunday, May 20, 2018
IN celebration of the end of Taurus, tonight the Hollywood Temple of Antinous celebrated (along with followers in other nations via Skype) a new Sacred Hunt of Antinous.
We inaugurated May 20th as The Sacred Bull Hunt of Antinous.
May 20th is of course the end of Taurus, the death of the Bull of Heaven...and the coming of Gemini, the Divine Twins...or shall we say The Lovers...Hadrian and Antinous.
The Cycle of the Sacred Hunts are of course a recognition that Antinous was a God of the Hunt, that in his life-time, he is recorded in verse to have participated in a Lion Hunt, and in stone relief, his image has been identified as one of the participants, along with Hadrian in the hunt of the Bear and the Boar, and also the Lion on the tondos of the Arch of Constantine.
We might call this cycle "Hunt Spirituality," an awareness of the active element of Antinous.
From his images we are given to understand him as a melancholy, day-dreaming, slightly self-involved, yet gentle and radiantly peaceful boy...but this is only part of the beautiful story.
Another part, which is in the ancient record and therefore can be regarded as biographical, is that he was a hunter...on horseback...and perhaps on foot...able to chase down wild animals, and kill them with a spear.
The Sacred Hunts commemorate the nature of the animals which then become part of who Antinous is, and by extension, who we may become, or find ourselves to be.
Whether we see ourselves as the Hunter Antinous, or the Hunted Animal...or a mingling of the two...the significance is always through our own personal essence...animalistic...the Sacred Hunts, therefore are one of the significant forms that Animalism has taken up in the New Religion of Antinous.
Antinous was never historically said to have hunted a Bull...so for historical accuracy, this is not a Sacred Hunt with historical precedence...this would be my own invention....but I will try to explain the essence of what I feel it means, and perhaps will you understand and even add your own meaning..or detract from it, or have no opinion at all.
But as I feel now...the Bull Hunt is probably one of the more meaningful and powerful understandings of Antinous that I have discovered.
There is an ancient connection between Antinous and the Bull that has remained unexplained, or unobserved because the meaning is unclear.
If there is no historical precedent to prove that Antinous participated in the bullfights, there is evidence to show that the bull was sacred to Antinous.
There are a number of coins from Asia Minor, that portray Antinous standing by the side of a bull, or have a Bull on the reverse. A coin from Antinous's home town Bithynium-Claudiopolis is among this type.
The majority are of the type that read "Fatherland of Antinous the God"...they were minted in cities where the Religion of Antinous was strongest and most heart-felt, where he was openly proclaimed to be a God of the Country...and so from the coins, we can know that the bull, among other animals, was considered to be a sacred symbol of Antinous.
The Bull, therefore, is an ancient, stone-age and early Bronze age symbol for a King, and it is from this connection that the notion of the Bull of Heaven is derived.
The Egyptians believed that the Ka of Osiris would take the form of a perfect young Bullock...when one of these perfect bulls was discovered, it was treated with deep reverance, and allowed to live in splendor like a living god...because it was a living god...it was Osiris.
When the bull reached the age of 28, the age when Osiris was murdered, the bull was sacrificed.
Certain parts were eaten by the Pharaoh, while the body of the bull was mummified and given a tomb at Saqqara.
Plutarch said "The Apis should ever to be regarded by us, as a fair and beautiful image of the soul of Osiris."
The Apis Bull was the Spirit of Osiris in living form...eternal and ever-present. Antinous was of course first compared to Osiris because he drowned in the Nile. In ancient antiquity when a King died, his Ka and his Ba...soul and spirit, were said to join and take form as Osiris in the underworld, so as to circle the cosmos in the Boat of Millions of Years.
In later history, any person who could afford to have the elaborate ceremonies associated with mummification and the recitation of the Book of the Dead could also join Osiris.
It would seem to be highly probable to suppose that Antinous may have undergone the most elaborate Egyptian burial that Hadrian could arrange....that Antinous was very likely mummified and entombed in or near his temple in Antinoopolis...if he was not bought home and entombed at Hadrian's Villa.
Mummification seems very likely, though there is no proof or evidence that it occurred...but that he was first and very closely identified with Osiris seems to hint that perhaps his association with Osiris would have been elaborated, and not merely allegorical.
Antinous and Osiris were united in one being...known as Osarantinous.
Our sacred Obelisk Text repeatedly mentions him as "The God, Osiris-Antinous the Justified"...because among several other gods, one of the most important elements of the divinity of Antinous was his connection to Osiris.
The living symbol of Osiris was the Apis Bull...therefore, as the Coins of Bithynia seem to suggest...the Bull was likewise, the living symbol of Antinous...the Ka of Antinous...the Spirit of Antinous in living form.
The Bull can therefore be viewed as a symbol of our spiritual connection to Antinous...the living spirit of Antinous, the consumption of which, like the flesh of the sacred Apis Bull is in essence the consumption of the Spirit of Antinous.
There is a strong likelihood that Antinous and Hadrian may have hunted Bulls.
We must therefore wonder what the Bull Hunt means to us, in what of so many contexts we may choose to view the brutal combat between a man and a bull...which is in a sense, a parable of man against nature...against the world (earthquakes for example)...the ferocious forces that are greater and able to destroy us, over which we can only triumph with excessive courage, at the risk of our very existence.
The Bull Hunt, therefore, is a sacred observance of how with intensities of inner strength, we can overcome all those forces that would destroy us.
And so it is, in the Name of Antinous, that I offer you the Sacred Bull Hunt, in observance of which I recommend that you take a moment to think upon the obstacles of your life, those which seem overwhelming, or on the verge of destroying you, or breaking you down, those from which you seek to flee...that you may find the courage to face them, even at the cost of everything that you count as dear and of value.
It is these wild forces that we must face, if we are ever to regard ourselves as Men.
It is these wild forces that we must face, if we are ever to regard ourselves as Men.
In Commemoration of the End of Taurus,
May Antinous, the Spirit of Osiris give you strength.
ON Sunday, 20 May 2018, red rose petals will cascade through the oculus of Hadrian's Pantheon in Rome.
The event commemorates the ancient Roman spring festival as well as Christian Pentecost.
Rome firefighters scaled the 43-meter-high dome to pour the rose petals through the 9-meter-wide oculus "eye opening" at the top of the historic building.
The ceremony, suspended for many years, was revived in 1995. It dates back to the earliest days of Christianity when the falling rose petals symbolized flames of Pentecostal enlightenment showering down on the faithful.
Saturday, May 19, 2018
ON May 19th, the Religion of Antinous honors our Saint Peter Wildeblood, a British journalist, novelist, playwright and gay-rights campaigner, who was born on this day in 1923.
He became one of the first men in Britain to declare publicly that he was gay, when he was arrested and put on trial in a headline-making case in 1954.
He was sent to prison on a conviction of "conspiring to incite acts of gross indecency and buggery."
His case created such an uproar that it helped to lead to the 1960s reform of anti-gay laws in the UK.
In the uptight post-war years of the early '50s, Wildeblood had made something of a name for himself in the theatre and as a roving reporter for a major newspaper, London's Daily Mail, when he happened to meet a 23-year-old RAF corporal named Eddie McNally in Piccadilly Circus.
Although Eddie McNally was not Peter Wildeblood's type, they developed a relationship over time. In the summer of 1952 they arranged to go on holiday together at Edward Montagu's beach hut on the English coast. John Reynolds, who was also an airman and a friend of Eddie McNally, also joined them.
About 18 months later, on Saturday, January 9, 1954, Peter Wildeblood was arrested at his home and his house was searched. He was charged with conspiring with Edward Montagu and Michael Pitt-Rivers to incite Eddie McNally and John Reynolds to commit indecent acts.
The police tipped off the press and the story was headlined in all the Sunday newspapers the next day. Eddie McNally and John Reynolds became witnesses for the prosecution.
The media went on a feeding frenzy and his picture was plastered all over the front pages for weeks. One paper retouched his photos to make it appear that he was wearing lipstick. He was vilified in public. He later described one incident when a woman recognized him being driven past in a vehicle.
"That night, a woman spat at me," Wildeblood wrote later. "She was a respectable looking, middle-aged, tweedy person wearing a sensible felt hat. She was standing on the pavement as the car went by. I saw her suck in her cheeks, and the next moment a big blob of spit was running down the windscreen.
"This shocked me very much. The woman did not look eccentric or evil; in fact she looked very much like the country gentlewomen with whom my mother used to take coffee when she has finished her shopping on Saturday mornings. She looked thoroughly ordinary, to me. But what did I look like to her? Evidently, I was a monster."
What so troubled the decent people of the day was not that homosexual practices went on — everybody knew they always had and always would — but that anybody would openly declare himself to be "a homosexual."
He was in the news constantly until his conviction and sentencing to 18 months in prison. Because he was (understandably) depressed, he was considered suicidal and was transferred to a dire hospital for the criminally insane where the squalid conditions affected not only his mental health but also his physical health.
He was released after 12 months and immediately launched a personal crusade to overturn anti-gay sex laws in Britain. He lobbied in Parliament and wrote articles and a book entitled Against the Law which outlined how gay people can be entrapped and harassed in their own homes for consensual activity among adults which does not affect anyone else.
His three main points were: homosexuality between consenting adults in private should not be illegal, that prison only encourages homosexuality, and that prison hospitals were inhumane.
While writing this he bought a small drinking club in Soho which attracted a mixture of types on the fringes of society. This provided material for his fictional autobiography about the club, A Way Of Life.
It was a surprise success and encouraged him to write more novels and plays which were hits on stage in London's West End in the late 1950s. In the '60s he became a well-known TV scriptwriter and producer. In the '70s he was lured by Canadian television with a lucrative contract, and emigrated to Canada, where he adopted Canadian citizenship and was responsible for numerous hit productions over the next 16 years.
When he retired in the 1980s, he went to live in a wooden Edwardian cottage in Victoria on the western coast of Canada which had a stunning view over the Juan de Fuca Straits to the Olympic Mountains above Seattle. He suffered a series of debilitating strokes in the mid-'90s which left him speechless and quadriplegic. He learned to communicate via a computer using movements of his chin. He suffered a final stroke and died November 13, 1999, at the age of 76.
In saluting Saint Peter Wildeblood, the Religion of Antinous honors the beacon of courage and hope which he represented in an age of darkness and despair for gay men everywhere. Everyone advised him to remain quiet, and yet he chose to speak out. He did not choose to be exposed but, placed at the mercy of events, he chose to become their master.
His book was a courageous act of defiance against the kind of injustice which the straight world called justice.
"Very faintly," he wrote, "as though at the end of a tunnel, I could see what I must do. I would make a statement ... I would simply tell the truth about myself ... I would be the first homosexual to tell what it felt like to be an exile in one's own country. I might destroy myself, but perhaps I could help others."