Saturday, June 24, 2017
GAY PRIDE is always a big event in Madrid, with thousands of people joining the street parade in the city’s center to celebrate the LGBTQ community and advocate for equal rights. But this year will be the biggest yet, as the Spanish capital will host WorldPride, becoming the international hub for the 2017 celebrations.
The festival … which takes place from June 23 to July 2, and coincides with the 40th anniversary of the first Gay Pride protest in Spain ... encompasses a broad program of cultural activities.
Among them is a particularly beguiling exhibition at the Museo del Prado titled “The Other’s Gaze. Spaces of Difference” … a rehang of some 30 paintings, sculptures, and drawings from the museum’s permanent collection that focuses on same-sex relationships.
The show, co-curated by the Prado’s Álvaro Perdices and Carlos G. Navarro, explores how understanding and tolerance towards these stories of love and friendship have changed throughout the centuries.
It features artworks ranging from the Greek sculpture of Orestes and Pylades by the School of Praxiteles, to Caravaggio’s David with the Head of Goliath and El Maricón de la Tía Gila by Goya.
At the museum, the issues of of same-sex relationships, the artists’ identity politics, and the persecution that they suffered in some cases hadn’t been properly explored or teased out across the collection, except in some specific examples, like Matteo Bonuccelli’s Sleeping Hermaphrodite or José de Ribera’s Maddalena Ventura,” the exhibition’s curators told artnet News.
This is the latest in a series of high-profile institutional exhibition and events around the world exploring LGTBQ issues, including, most notably, the recent show at London’s Tate Britain “Queer British Art (1861-1967).”
But in terms of classical art, it seems that the Prado might be truly breaking ground since, according to the curators, other key art historical museums like Paris’s Louvre, New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, St Petersburg’s Hermitage, or London’s National Gallery have yet to implement such readings of their collections.
“The response has been incredibly positive,” Perdices and Navarro added. “The art world at large has praised this initiative and, at the museum, conservators and other staff have been extremely collaborative and enthusiastic.
In fact, the Prado has asked that this reading of the collection become available on a permanent basis, through audio guides and on the website. And the catalog is almost sold out already!”
Friday, June 23, 2017
A horse bone unearthed at Britain's only Roman hippodrome horse-race track suggests that chariots could have been pulled by Shetland ponies, according to archaeologists.
The find was made in Colchester, England, when a large entrance gate was uncovered.
The "well preserved" gate was thought to be one of 12 that gave 8,000 spectators access to the site for 150 years.
It was the fifth to be discovered by archaeologists from the Colchester Archaeological Trust (CAT) since the excavation work at the 450m-long circus started in 2004.
Experts have also been examining the "ambiguous" hoof which appeared to belong to a large Shetland Pony which was used for chariot racing.
CAT Director Philip Crummy said: "This is our most interesting find for a long time at the Roman circus in Colchester.
"Also, as the bone of a Roman horse from the site of a Roman circus, it is very rare.
"It is another exciting find but quite ambiguous as to what it means.
"There has been a long-running debate about the size of the horses which would have been used to race the chariots and this discovery suggests they would have been quite small.
"It suggests it would have been about nine hands quite is small but the bone has not been looked at properly yet.
"It also looks like the bone is showing signs of arthritis which can be common in horses which work too hard and it can be made worse by them doing sharp turns.
"Of course, we are not certain why it was in the circus bit it is a very exciting to see it.
"If we could do more excavating and then found some more horse bones of a similar size it would help us to be more confident about what it was used for."
Thursday, June 22, 2017
AT THE height of summer, during the cycle of the June Solstice, the Ancient Spartans noticed that the hyacinth flower began to wilt in the intense heat ... which reminded them of the untimely death of Hyacinthus, lover of Apollo.
The Ancient Spartans celebrated a three-day festival called the Hyacinthia, which began with mourning for Hyacinthus and ended with rejoicing for the majesty of Apollo.
This solar cycle is sacred to Antinous in the form of Apollo-Hyacinthus. ... Antinous being the beautiful flower boy Hyacinthus who dies, just as the sun begins to die, but who was raised from the dead and deified by the love of the God of Light, who forbade Dis Pater from taking his beloved boy to the place of Death....
Hyacinthus arose as Apollo, to live forever within the rays of the Unconquered Sun, an allegory of ourselves awakening to the light of reason, truth and sacred Homotheosis.
The beautiful boy from Sparta known as Hyacinthus, whose astonishing beauty and long, flowing blonde hair, was first noticed by Zephyrus, the God of the West Wind.
The moisture laden Zephyrus fell madly in love with the boy, and attempted many times to seduce Hyacinth, but every time the boy rejected the wind god whose breeze is the most lovely and most arousing.
It was then that Apollo noticed Hyacinthus and fell completely in love with him also, however when Apollo revealed his love to Hyacinth, he was not rejected, but his shining love was returned many fold.
The two, who were like twins, whose long, blonde curls, rustled together in the jealous wind of Zephyrus, enjoined a passionate love affair, until one day, the sight of their happiness proved too much for Zephyrus to endure.
While Apollo and Hyacinthus were throwing the discus together, the wind god sent a gust of air, when Apollo threw the golden disk, causing it to fall directly on the perfect head of Hyacinthus who died instantly from the blow.
It was all an accident, and a tragedy, but Apollo was beside himself with grief, like Hadrian holding the body of his beloved Antinous.
The Sun God turned the blood that flowed through the soft curls into the flower that we call the Hyacinth.
The Death of Hyacinthus is the divine metaphor for the beauty and tragedy of life taken from the young in their full vigor, falling victim to the accidents of youth.
It is also a warning to those who would approach the majesty of the great god Apollo, who is rightfully called the Far-Shooter, and the falling of the golden discus is a sign that the powers of the sun at this time of the year, though at their greatest, are slowly fading. The disk strikes Hyacinth on the head and the days grow shorter.
Wednesday, June 21, 2017
Hadrian's Pantheon brings tears to your eyes. Imagine being with ANTONIUS SUBIA as he describes the monolithic columns each carved from a single stone from Egypt ... "as if he could snap his fingers and have such columns appear here" ... and the marble in the interior coming from every corner of Hadrian's vast empire.
Then you stand under the oculus ... the eye of the cosmos ... the most spiritual architectural element anywhere.
Tuesday, June 20, 2017
THE JUNE SOLSTICE is one of the most sacred days in the Liturgical Calendar of the Religion of Antinous.
It is the day when Ra Herakhte, the heavenly father of Antinous, stands still for a moment. In the Northern Hemisphere it is the longest day and from now on the days become shorter and shorter. For our brothers in the Southern Hemisphere, this is the Shortest Day and from now on the days become longer and longer.
That is an important aspect to remember about the Religion of Antinous. The Blessed Boy is beyond such constraints as Summer and Winter or even Life and Death. For Antinous, the days are ALWAYS getting longer and the they are ALWAYS getting shorter.
For HE lives in our hearts — wherever we are.
Antinous would be associated with many deities in the generations to come. Among his many names, the Beauteous Boy was adored as Antinous-Apollo (image above).
The Delphinea is the celebration of the beautiful, golden-haired god of light, Apollo, and of his triumph over the great and monstrous Python which was wrapped around holy mount Parnassus. The Python was the creation of Juno, a creature of jealousy whose coils were meant only to stifle and constrict the grace of that which was to proceed from the Sacred Way of the holy city of Delphi.
shot the Python and destroyed it, when he was only three days old,
which is like the brilliance of the Sun dispelling the covering of
night. He set the black stone which had fallen from the sky, called the Omphalos,
over the navel of the Earth, and charged a Sibyl, a priestess of the
Great Mother to watch over the stone and to convey his wisdom to
Flamen Antinoalis Antonius Subia explains the significance for us Antinoians:
Oracle of Delphi, called a Pythoness, was overtaken while seated atop a
golden tripod, by a fire that is the breath of the God. Apollo is the
Flower Prince reborn, he is the Twin brother of Dionysus, the Twin
brother of Diana. He is the Son of Zeus, and the inheritor of his
Kingdom, just as Aelius Caesar was the chosen son of Hadrian.
is the God of wisdom and art, the speaker of truth, the deliverer of
radiance, reason and beauty. Apollo is the God of Socrates and Plato,
and he is the God of Pythagoras who claimed to be his son, exhibiting a
golden thigh as proof. Apollo is the unconquered light, the full
manifested brilliance, power and wisdom of Orpheus.
all the gods, Apollo is the most boy-loving, though the touch of his
heart was invariably fatal. He is the genius of the dying boy-gods. We
pray to Apollo, the great god of homosexuality, and seek his guidance on
this day, the longest day of the year."
Also on the Solstice we celebrate the day that Hadrian and Antinous met and fell in love ... "Incipit Amor".
In the year 123, Hadrian toured the Danube region and Asia Minor. It was on this occasion that he met and fell in love with Antinous, in the ancient Bithynian capital city of Nicomedia, according to current research. One portrayal of the event has Hadrian in a garden, surrounded by the youth of the city, hearing a poetry recital.
Antonius tells it this way:
"Towards the back of the crowd, Hadrian notices a boy of extraordinary beauty who did not bring a stylus and tablet for taking notes, but sat removed from the others, silently gazing into the fountain, contemplating the words of the reader, as if in a dream. Hadrian was captivated, and is said to have gained the blessing of the boy's parents to have Antinous join the court, where there were already other boys of Hadrian's interest. Antinous would have been twelve years old. He was then sent to Rome to attend the Paedagogium, a finishing school for boys. This day marks the beginning of the love upon which our religion is based."The relief sculpture at right shows Hadrian addressing a crowd with a boy who bears a striking resemblance to Antinous foremost in the crowd, touching the robe of the Emperor.
Monday, June 19, 2017
ON JUNE 19th the Religion of Antinous commemorates the birth of SAINT NICK DRAKE, the sexually ambivalent English singer who died under very mysterious, Antinous-like circumstances at a young age and who became an artistic icon for future generations of dreamers and artists.
Nicholas Rodney Drake was born on June 19th, 1948, to an upper middle class English family living in Burma. His father was an industrialist and there was never much question about Nick's financial future. Indeed, he would have been a wealthy middle-aged man today had he done nothing at all.
But Nick never ceased to wonder and worry about his spiritual future. Despite or perhaps precisely because of his admission to Cambridge University, Nick Drake was convinced that he should shun a financially certain future and pursue a future as a musician.
Nick Drake learned to play piano at an early age, and began to compose his own songs, which he would record on a reel-to-reel tape recorder he kept in the family drawing room in rural England.
In 1966 he spent some time in the South of France where he purportedly became acquainted with "the best sort of pot" and perhaps experimented with LSD — and possibly sex with both females and males.
Returning to England, he realized he was not suited to receive a degree from Cambridge University. Nick abruptly and shockingly (as far as his family was concerned) ended his studies at Cambridge nine months before graduation, and in autumn 1969 moved to London to concentrate on a career in music.
Nick signed to Island Records when he was 20 years old and released his debut album, Five Leaves Left, in 1969. By 1972, he had recorded his second album — Bryter Layter and part of his third, Pink Moon. Neither of the first two albums sold more than 5,000 copies on their initial release in Britain, much less abroad. He never made an American breakthrough, unlike other major British artists of the era.
Nick was devastated and depressed. His excruciating shyness to perform live or be interviewed further contributed to his lack of commercial success. Despite this, he was able to gather a loyal following.
He managed to complete his third album, Pink Moon, recorded in midnight sessions in the winter of 1971, immediately after which he withdrew from both live performance and recording, retreating to his parents' home in rural England. Once again, it did not sell well. He felt he was a failure. On November 25th, 1974, Nick Drake retired to his upstairs bedroom where he took a cocktail anti-depressants which killed him. He was found stretched over his bed next morning by his mother.
The Religion of Antinous honors Nick Drake as a prophet of Homoeros. He was a man who saw through the transparent barriers between sexuality to see the spiritual truth of reality. He was one of those many men who are never sure of their sexuality. But it is unimportant whether he was "gay" or not.
Nick Drake is a symbol of these sorts of dreamy and shy men who live existences of quiet despair. Nick Drake could play better riffs on the guitar than almost anybody of his generation. He had a beautiful voice. He was a gifted song-writer. He knew he had more talent in his little finger than most well-paid artists would ever possess. But his career never took off. The big break never happened. Nobody appreciated him. He was broke and disillusioned.
His sister says she believes he took an overdose of anti-depressants thinking he wanted it to either cure him or kill him, because he couldn't go on living in such despair of being an artistic failure. How many people in the economic meltdown of the early 21st Century don't feel the same despair? And yet ....
Nick Drake could scarcely have dreamt as he swallowed a handful of pills on a dreary November evening in his parents' house in the English Midlands that he would become a major recording star with fans around the world — 30 years after his death. His three albums now are cult chart-busters around the world.
When we remember Saint Nick Drake, we must remember too that Antinous is the patron of these sensitive souls who die untimely and tragic deaths at an early age. Antinous is the River Man who drowned in the Nile ....
Sunday, June 18, 2017
THE Ancient Egyptians invented sumo wrestling, according to a modern Egyptian man who has become a champion in the ancient Japanese art of one-on-one combat.
Abdel Rahman Shaalan recently won the title of world champion in sumo wrestling despite suffering an injury to his knees which threatened his performance in the world championship held in Japan.
Shaalan also received the title of "ambassador of Egyptian tourism in Japan" and completed a documentary about Egyptian monuments, which will be screened in Japan this August.
He started the sport eight years ago when I was 16 and went professional player at age 19.
His most significant victory was winning the Professional Sumo League as the first Egyptian and Arab to do so.
Despite a knee injury, he managed to win 13 matches, losing only two.
He is now one of the top 40 sumo wrestlers internationally.
He is something of a celebrity in Japan, where he has been given the nickname "Osana Arashi" (Great Sandstorm) and has even been named an honorary police chief in one Japanese province.
His study of sumo took him back to ancient Egypt.
He was led to tomb wall art in cliff tombs at Beni Hassan a few kilometers north of Antinoopolis on the Nile which shows Ancient Egyptians engaged in ceremonial wrestling.
"Although sumo is a Japanese sport, it actually has Egyptian origins," he says. "Pharaohs were the ones who first practiced the sport. In Beni-Hassan, Minya, hieroglyphics and drawings on the walls of cemeteries show Ancient Egyptians practising sumo wrestling."