Wednesday, July 26, 2017

THE BIRTHPLACE OF ANTINOUS
IS THE HOME OF 'MAD HONEY'




TURKEY's hallucinogenic "Mad Honey" is produced when bees pollinate rhododendron flowers in the remote mountainside towns of the Black Sea region ... where Antinous was born and spent his childhood.

After his death and deification, Antinous was identified with ARISTAEUS (below right), the inventor of beekeeping, so it is likely that he knew about the effects of Bithynian "Mad Honey."

He must have seen beekeepers hauling their hives up the slopes of the mountains of his homeland until they reach vast fields of cream and magenta rhododendron flowers. 

Here, they unleashed their bees, which pollinated the blossoms and made a kind of honey from them so potent, it has been used as a weapon of war.

The dark, reddish "Mad Honey," known as "deli bal" in Turkey, contains an ingredient from rhododendron nectar called grayanotoxin ... a natural neurotoxin that, even in small quantities, brings on light-headedness and sometimes, hallucinations. 

Throughout the ages, Bithynia has traded this potent produce with Greece and Rome and (in later centuries) Western Europe, where the honey was infused with drinks to give boozers a greater high than alcohol could deliver.

When over-imbibed, however, the honey can cause low blood pressure and irregularities in the heartbeat that bring on nausea, numbness, blurred vision, fainting, potent hallucinations, seizures, and even death, in rare cases. 

Nowadays, cases of mad honey poisoning crop up every few years ... oftentimes in travelers who have visited Turkey.

Rhododendron flowers occur all over the world, and yet mad honey is most common in the Bithynia region ... the biggest honey-producing region in Turkey.

"There are more than 700 different species (of rhododendron) in the world, but according to our knowledge just two or three include grayanotoxin in their nectars," says Süleyman Turedi, a doctor at the Karadeniz Technical University School of Medicine in Trabzon, Turkey, who studies deli bal's effects and has witnessed more than 200 cases of mad honey poisoning.

In Turkey, not only do the poisonous rhododendrons abound, but the humid, mountainous slopes where Antinous grew up provide the perfect habitat for these flowers to grow in monocrop-like swaths. 

When bees make honey in these fields, no other nectars get mixed in ... and the result is deli bal, potent and pure.

Although the product makes up only a tiny percentage of Bithynia's honey production, it has long held a strong Turkish following.

"People believe that this honey is a kind of medicine," Turedi says. “They use it to treat hypertension, diabetes mellitus and some different stomach diseases. And also, some people use deli bal to improve their sexual performance."

The honey is taken in small amounts, sometimes boiled in milk, and consumed typically just before breakfast, he adds ... not slathered on toast or stirred generously into tea the way normal honey would be.

Its value to customers has given beekeepers an incentive to keep visiting those rhododendron fields and producing it alongside their normal honey products.

Johnny Morris, a travel journalist from the United Kingdom, puts its Turkish predominance partly down to history, too. In 2003, for his popular travel column called "Grail Trail," he went to taste mad honey in Trabzon, a Turkish city that’s backed by mountains and faces the Black Sea.

"It’s got a long history in Turkey," he says. "It was used as a weapon of mass destruction for invading armies."

Indeed, in 67 B.C. Roman soldiers invaded the Black Sea region under General Pompey's command, and those loyal to the reigning King Mithridates secretly lined the Romans' path with enticing chunks of mad honeycomb. 

The unwitting army ate these with gusto, as the story goes.

Driven into an intoxicated stupor by the hallucinogenic honey, many of the flailing soldiers became easy prey, and were slain.

Mad Honey is still sold under the counter at shops in the area today. Turedi explains that Turks in the region have the know-how to consume it responsibly.

"Local people are able to distinguish mad honey from other honeys. It causes a sharp burning sensation in the throat and thus it’s also referred to as bitter honey," he says.

People who have tried is say that even a drop or two of it on the tongue has a numbing effect. Experts say deli bal retains its numbing, head-spinning traits because it is untreated, unprocessed, and essentially pure.

"We know that if you eat more than one spoonful of honey including grayanotoxin, you are at risk of Mad-Honey poisoning," Turedi says.

"In spring and summer, the honeys are fresh and may include more grayanotoxin than in other seasons." 

If that doesn’t dissuade the adventurous foodie, then Turedi says to limit intake to less than a teaspoon, "and if you feel some symptoms associated with mad honey, you should get medical care as soon as possible."

For adherents of Antinous on pilgrimages to the land of his birth, the dangerously sweet syrup retains its ancient mystery, tucked away in shops that are difficult to find.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

THE INUNDATION OF THE NILE
WAS SEEN AS THE FIRST MIRACLE
OF ANTINOUS THE GOD


ON JULY 25 the Religion of Antinous joyfully commemorates the First Miracle of Antinous — the Bountiful Inundation of the Nile which ended a drought which had caused food shortages throughout the Empire.

The famine had overshadowed the tour of Egypt by the Imperial entourage in the year 130. The half-starved Egyptians looked to Hadrian, whom they worshipped as pharaoh, to perform a miracle which would end their misery.

But as Hadrian and Antinous traveled up the Nile during the summer and autumn of 130, the Nile once again failed to rise sufficiently to water the fields of Egypt — Rome's "Bread Basket" and chief source of grain and other staple foodstuffs.

It was a humiliating disappointment for the Emperor following the jubilant welcome by peoples during the earlier part of his tour through the Eastern Empire. In Ephesus and other cities he had been welcomed as a living god.

But the Egyptians had given him and his coterie what little they had in the way of food and wine — and he had failed to convince the Inundation Deity Hapi to bless them with bounty. Hapi is one of the most extraordinary deities in the history of religion.

Hapi is special to us especially because Hapi is hermaphroditic. With many other such deities, the gender division is down the middle of the body (like some Hindu deities) or the top half is one gender and the bottom half is the other.

But Hapi is very complex and the genders are mixed throughout his/her body. Male deities invariably have reddish-orange skin in Egyptian Art and female deities have yellowish skin. Hapi has bluish-green skin. Hapi has long hair like a female deity but has a square jaw and a beard. Hapi has broad shoulders yet has pendulous breasts like a nursing mother. Hapi has narrow hips and masculine thighs, but has a pregnant belly. Nobody knows what sort of genitals Hapi has, since they are covered by a strange garment reminiscent of a sumo wrestler's belt.

Hapi is both father and mother to the Egyptians. Hapi provides them with everything necessary for life. As Herodotus wrote, "Egypt is the gift of the Nile". Hapi wears a fabulous headdress of towering water plants and she/he carries enormous offering trays laden with foodstuffs.

The Ancient Egyptians had no problem worshipping a mixed-gender deity. I think it is very important to draw the connection between Hapi and Antinous, especially since the First Miracle that Antinous performed as a god involved Hapi. The Egyptians accepted Antinous into their own belief system immediately and were among the most ardent followers of Antinous.

They had no problem worshipping a gay deity who had united himself with a hermaphroditic deity. It must have seemed very logical and credible to them.

It made sense to them and enriched their belief system, made it more personal since they could identify more easily with a handsome young man than with a hermaphrodite wearing a sumo belt (Hapi forgive me!).

Herodotus also said he once asked a very learned religious man in Egypt what the true source of the Nile was.

The learned man (speaking through an interpreter, since most Greeks never bothered to learn Egyptian) paused and finally told him the true source of the Nile is the thigh of Osiris.

We think of it as a strange answer. We think of the Nile as an "it" and the source as a "geographical location". But the Egyptians thought of the Nile as "us" and its true source as "heka" — the magical semen of the creator.

So, a learned Egyptian would have assumed that a learned Greek would understand what was meant: That Hapi is the equivalent of Dionysus, who was "incubated" in the inner thigh of Zeus after his pregnant mortal mother Semele perished when she could not bear the searing sight of her lover Zeus in all his divine panoply.

It's a very poetic way (a very Egyptian way) of saying that the "true source" of the Nile, which is to say Egypt itself, is the magical heka/semen from the loins of the original creator.

We will never know what happened during that journey up the Nile along the drought-parched fields with anxious Egyptian farmers looking to Hadrian for a miracle. All we know is that Antinous "plunged into the Nile" and into the arms of Hapi in late October of the year 130.

And then the following summer, Hapi the Inundation Deity provided a bountiful Nile flood which replenished the food stocks of Egypt — and the Roman Empire.

Our own Flamen Antinoalis Antonius Subia explains the more esoteric aspects of this special Religious Holy Day:

"The Dog Star Sirius appears, and the sacred Star of Antinous begins to approach its zenith in the night sky of the northern hemisphere. The appearance of the Dog Star once announced the rise of the Inundation of the Nile, though it no longer does due to the precession of the Equinox, which is the slight alteration of the position of the stars.
"After the Death and Deification of Antinous, the Nile responded by rising miraculously after two successive years of severe drought. It was on this day, July 25th, in the year 131 that the ancient Egyptians recognized that Antinous was a god, nine months after his death, following their custom of deifying those who drowned in the Nile, whose sacrifice insured the life-giving flood.

"Sirius is the brightest star in the sky, it is part of the constellation Canis Major, or the big dog, which is the hunting dog of Orion. Mystically, Sirius and the constellation Canis Major is Antinous Master of Hounds and Orion is Hadrian the Hunter.

"The position of Orion, along the banks of the Milky Way, our galaxy in relation to Sirius is a mirror image of Pyramids along the bank of the Nile, which is the same relationship as Antinoopolis to the Nile, with the Via Hadriani, the road which Hadrian built across the desert to the East, linking the Nile with the Red Sea — Rome to India.

"We consecrate the beginning of the Dog Days of Summer to the advent of the Egyptian deification of Antinous and the miracle of the Inundation of the Nile."

The First Miracle of Antinous the Gay God is enshrined in the hieroglyphic inscription on the OBELISK OF ANTINOUS which stands in Rome.

The East Face of the Obelisk, which is aligned to the rising sun Ra-Herakhte, speaks of the joy that fills the heart of Antinous since having been summoned to meet his heavenly father Ra-Herakhte and to become a god himself.

Then the inscription tells how Antinous intercedes with Ra-Herakhte to shower blessings upon Hadrian and the Empress Sabina Augusta.

And Antinous immediately calls upon Hapi ...

Hapi, progenitor of the gods,
On behalf of Hadrian and Sabina,
Arrange the inundation in fortuitous time
To make fertile and bountiful, the fields
Of Both Upper and Lower Egypt!
We joyfully celebrate this, the First Miracle of Antinous!

Monday, July 24, 2017

WE CELEBRATE THE FIESTA OF XOCHIPILLI
GAYEST OF ALL THE AZTEC GODS


JULY 24th is the festival of Xochipilli, the Aztec god of pleasure. His name means "Flower Prince" or even "Flower Child". He is a deity of creativity, the arts, music, dance, celebration and pleasure. His main aim is to help us relax, chill out and step back from taking life too seriously. 

Xochipili is also the protector and patron of homosexuals and male prostitutes.

His statues were carved with psychoactive flowers and plants. His offerings are flowers and his symbol is a teardrop shaped pendant crafted from Mother of Pearl.

24 de julho é a festa de Xochipilli , deus asteca do prazer. Seu nome significa " flor Príncipe " ou mesmo " Criança de flor " . Ele é uma divindade da criatividade , das artes , música, dança , celebração e prazer. O seu principal objectivo é o de nos ajudar a relaxar , relaxar e voltar de tirar a vida muito a sério. Xochipilli também é o protetor e padroeiro dos homossexuais e prostitutas do sexo masculino e suas estátuas foram esculpidas com flores e plantas psicoativas. Suas ofertas são flores e seu símbolo é um pingente em forma de lágrima trabalhada a partir de madrepérola.

24 de julio es la fiesta de Xochipilli , dios azteca de placer. Su nombre significa " Príncipe de la flor" o incluso " Niño de flor " . Él es una deidad de la creatividad , las artes , la música , la danza , la celebración y el placer. Su objetivo principal es ayudar a relajarse , descansar y un paso atrás de tomar la vida demasiado en serio . Xochipili es también el protector y patrono de los homosexuales y prostitutas masculinas y sus estatuas fueron talladas con flores y plantas psicoactivas . Sus ofertas son las flores y su símbolo es un colgante en forma de lágrima elaborado a partir de Nácar .


Sunday, July 23, 2017

A TURNING POINT OF CIVILIZATION
WHEN HADRIAN BANNED CIRCUMCISION



A turning point in Western Civilization was when Emperor Hadrian banned circumcision in a crackdown on radical Jews … in effect, banning Judaism.

As far as we know from the historical record, the land of the pharaohs pioneered circumcision … which is where the Hebrew slaves first encountered the practice and where they presumably adopted it. 

The earliest reference to the procedure dates back to around 2400 BC. A bas-relief in the ancient tomb of the nobleman Ankhmahon at Saqqara depicts a series of medical scenes, including a flint-knife circumcision and a surgeon explaining, "The ointment is to make it painless," likely referring to some form of topical analeptic.

Ancient Egyptian circumcisions were not done in infancy, but instead marked the transition from boyhood to adulthood, just as they do in Islam.

The Greeks saw the Egyptian tradition as rather bizarre. 

In the 5th Century BC, Herodotus made his opinion known in his work "The History of Herodotus."

"They practice circumcision for the sake of cleanliness," he wrote of the Egyptians, "considering it better to be cleanly than comely."


However, Egyptologists believe circumcision had a ritual meaning to promote virility instead of being a hygienic practice as traditionally has been thought.

This explains better the meaning of the presence of this scene in the dignitary’s tomb, if it refers to himself or to his children, but doesn’t explain the meaning of the dialogue written in hieroglyphs.

The practitioner squatting on the floor on the left tells his assistant, who’s holding the patient’s arms: “Hold him firm, fast, don’t let him fall.”

He answers: “I’ll do as you want.”

On the right, instead, the patient says: “Rub it well, to make it efficacious,” and the physician answers: “I’ll make it painless, pleasant.”

These last sentences let us suppose that the object in the physician’s hands, on the right, had an anesthetic use. Perhaps it was a tube of ointment.

Others say it looks more like a knife or other tool for removing the foreskin.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

HADRIAN ALIGNED TEMPLE OF ANTINOUS
TO CATCH DAWN RAYS ON THIS DATE



HADRIAN designed the Antinous Mortuary Temple at his Villa outside Rome so that the rays of the rising sun would illuminate the inner sanctum on the Egyptian festival of the Nile Inundation, according to a US research team.

The new findings come on the heels of studies by other researchers showing that Emperor Hadrian, a skilled architect and astronomer/astrologer in his own right, aligned the Pantheon and the observatory at his Villa to the Solstices.

The new findings are the first indicating a celestial configuration for the Mortuary Temple of Antinous at Hadrian's Villa.

Archaeo-astronomers at Ball State University in the United States say the mystery-shrouded temple, called the ANTINOEION, was aligned so that the first rays of the rising sun would illuminate the East Face of the OBELISK OF ANTINOUS, which would then cast a shadow across a monolithic statue of Antinous-Osiris deep in the inner sanctum of the temple.

Using "solar tracking" technology and highly sophisticated 3-D computer imaging, the Ball State experts say that this sunrise configuration only occurs on July 20th each year.

July 20th was when the Egyptians, at that point in their long history, celebrated the annual Inundation of the Nile, the flood waters which brought nutrient-rich sediment down the river to Egypt to ensure bountiful crops for the coming year.

At other points in Egyptian history, that "Egyptian New Year" festival was celebrated on other dates, owing to vagaries of ancient calendars. But according to Roman writer Censorinus, the Egyptian New Year's Day fell on July 20th in the Julian Calendar in 139 AD, which was a heliacal rising of Sirius in Egypt.

The Ball State University findings are all the more interesting because the First Miracle of Antinous, the July after his death in October 130 AD, was the NILE INUNDATION MIRACLEwhich ended a years-long drought which had threatened the entire empire with famine since Egypt was Rome's "breadbasket" for grain and produce.



The Obelisk is now located atop the Pincian Hill in Rome, but it almost certainly originally stood at the Antinoeion within the Hadrian's Villa compound. The plinth for the obelisk is still visible.

The Obelisk is covered in Egyptian hieroglyphs which constitute a prayer of praise for Antinous the God, describing his blessings.

The Egyptian hieroglyphs on the East Face of the Obelisk quote Antinous the God as asking Ra-Herakhte the sun god for blessings on Hadrian, and also asking Hapy, the Nile Inundation deity, to bring about a bountiful inundation on his behalf.

In effect, the rays (or "hands") of the sun god "activate" the Egyptian hieroglyphs, bringing this divine prayer to religio-magical life, as the shadow of the Obelisk covers the statue of Antinous-Osiris, master of death and transfiguration.

The Ball State University findings have yet to be verified independently, and the researchers said further studies are underway.


It is possible, of course, that the date July 20th had another significance of a more personal nature involving Hadrian and Antinous. 

On the final leg of a three-year tour of the Eastern Empire, Hadrian and his Imperial entourage arrived in Egypt in the summer of the year 130 AD. 

It is known that Hadrian and Antinous spent time in Alexandria, as well as in the coastal resort of Canopus. And they also slew a man-eating lion in Egypt in the summer of 130 AD.

So July 20th could refer to one of those events. It could, of course, also refer to something of a more intimate nature between the two men which transpired on that date.


Perhaps Hadrian and Antinous took part in celebrations for the Nile Inundation on July 20th of 130 AD in Egypt at which drought-weary Egyptians looked to Emperor Hadrian, as their pharaoh, to provide a miracle. 

Ancient writers speculated that Antinous may have been eager to find a religio-magical way to help his beloved Hadrian, possibly sacrificing his life in return for blessings on the Emperor.

Whatever the date may signify, we know that, barely three months later, Antinous drowned in the Nile, and that grief-stricken Hadrian proclaimed him a God, the last Classical Deity before the Fall of Rome.
 

He died under mysterious circumstances, with Hadrian saying only that he "fell into the Nile." The Inundation Deity Hapy ensured that the Nile overflowed its banks generously the following July 20th.

A walk-through of the Ball State University computer model of the Antinoeion and explanation of the July 20th solar alignment is provided in this YouTube video:


Friday, July 21, 2017

WE REMEMBER HEROSTRATUS
THE ULTIMATE NOTORIETY SEEKER



ON 21 July we remember Herostratus, whose name is synonymous with all persons who commit heinous crimes for the sole purpose of making their names notorious ... the eternally aggrieved ego ... the call for damnatio memoriae ... destroyer of beauty, youth and success perceived as insults to the entitled outsider.


Herostratus was a 4th Century BC Greek arsonist who sought notoriety by destroying one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, prompting a law forbidding anyone to mention his name.

His name has become a metonym for someone who commits a criminal act in order to become famous.

On 21 July 356 BC, seeking notoriety, he burned down the Temple of Artemis at Ephesus in Asia Minor (now Turkey).

Antinous and Hadrian visited TEMPLE OF ARTEMIS in June of 129 AD.

The temple honoured a local goddess, called Artemis by the Greeks, their version of Diana goddess of the hunt, the wild, and childbirth. 

The temple was constructed of marble and was built by King Croesus of Lydia to replace an older site destroyed during a flood. Measuring 130 meters long (425 feet) and supported by columns 18 meters high (60 feet), it was one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.

Far from attempting to evade responsibility for his act of arson, Herostratus proudly claimed credit in an attempt to immortalise his name. 

To dissuade those of a similar mind, the Ephesian authorities not only executed him, but attempted to condemn him to a legacy of obscurity by forbidding mention of his name under penalty of death. However, this did not stop Herostratus from achieving his goal because the ancient historian Theopompus recorded the event and its perpetrator in his Hellenics.

Herostratus' name lived on in classical literature and has passed into modern languages as a term for someone who commits a criminal act in order to bask in the resultant notoriety.

HART CRANE
SAINT OF ANTINOUS


ON JULY 21 the Religion of Antinous honors St. Hart Crane (July 21, 1899 — April 27, 1932) a great and openly gay American poet whose poetry was considered "beyond comprehension" by straight readers but which is easily understood by gays.

He was one of the most influential poets of his generation, but — like so many gay men — was plagued by doubts and low self-esteem and feelings of failure.

Crane was gay and he considered his sexuality to be an integral part of his life's mission as a poet. Raised in the Christian Science tradition of his mother, he was never able to shake off the feeling that he was an outcast and a sinner.

However, as poems such as "Repose of Rivers" make clear, he felt that this sense of alienation was necessary in order for him to attain the visionary insight that formed the basis for his poetic work.

Throughout the early 1920s, small but well-respected literary magazines published some of Crane's lyrics, gaining him, among the avant-garde, a respect that White Buildings (1926), his first volume, ratified and strengthened. White Buildings contains many of Crane's best lyrics, including "For the Marriage of Faustus and Helen", and a powerful sequence of erotic poems called "Voyages", written while he was falling in love with Emil Opffer, a Danish merchant marineman.

He wanted to write the great American epic poem. This ambition would finally issue in The Bridge (1930), where the Brooklyn Bridge is both the poem's central symbol and its poetic starting point.

The Bridge got mostly bad reviews, but much worse than that was Crane's sense that he had not succeeded in his goal. It was during the late '20s, while he was finishing The Bridge, that his heavy drinking got notably heavier. The partial failure of the poem perhaps had something to do with his increasing escape into booze.

While on a Guggenheim Fellowship in Mexico in 1931-32, his drinking continued while he suffered from bouts of alternating depression and elation. His only heterosexual affair, with Peggy Cowley, the wife of his friend Malcolm Cowley, was one of the few bright spots. And "The Broken Tower", his last great lyric poem (maybe his greatest lyric poem), emerges from that affair. But in his own eyes, he was still a failure.

Crane was returning to New York by steamship when, on the morning of April 26, 1932, he made advances to a male crewmember and was beaten up. Just before noon he jumped overboard into the Gulf of Mexico. His body was never found.

 Here is a poem which straight people found inscrutable and obscure, but which gay readers understood was about anonymous gay sex:


INTERIOR
It sheds a shy solemnity,
This lamp in our poor room.
O grey and gold amenity, --
Silence and gentle gloom!
Wide from the world, a stolen hour
We claim, and none may know
How love blooms like a tardy flower
Here in the day's after-glow.
And even should the world break in
With jealous threat and guile,
The world, at last, must bow and win
Our pity and a smile.