This is my (long-awaited!) 900th post. So, without further ado…
80. Making Transformation Into A God And Giving Light And Darkness
I am he who donned the white and bright fringed cloak of Nun which is on his breast, which gives light in darkness, which unites the two companion-goddesses who are in my body by means of the great magic which is on my mouth. My fallen enemy who was with me in the valley of Abydos will not be raised up, and I am content. The remembrance of him is mine, I have taken authority in my city, for I found him in it, I have brought darkness by means of my power, I have rescued the Eye from its nonexistence before the festival of the fifteenth day had come, I have separated Seth from the houses of the Above because of the Elder who was with him, I equipped Thoth in the Mansion of the Moon before the festival of the fifteenth day had come, I have taken possession of the Wereret-crown, and right is in my body, also the turquoise and faience of its monthly festival, and my field of lapis-lazuli is there on my riverbank. I am the Woman who lightens darkness, and it is bright. I have lightened the darkness, I have felled the evil spirits, those who were in darkness have given praise to me, I have made the mourners whose faces were hidden to stand up, even though they were languid when they saw me. As for you, I am the Woman of whom I do not permit you to hear.
–Egyptian Book of the Dead, trans. Faulkner
As I type this, the sun is coming up after one of the shortest nights of the year. Last year at this time, I had a particular experience with Antinous in my dreams that revealed to me “the dark night is over” in reference to the dark night spiritual process in which I was engulfed at the time. It was not the first time I had such a dark night experience, and it will no doubt not be the last time. Ten years ago, in mid-June of 2002, I also came out of a dark night experience of wanting to find a practice and a deity that I could connect with in many different ways–queerly, syncretistically, devotionally, humanly, divinely, and anciently–and almost like a perfect answer to my prayers, Antinous appeared to me. But, as I was thinking of this matter earlier this month, I found that my ability to celebrate the exact day of my finding of Antinous as a deity had disappeared, and again I entered a kind of darkness, a “cloud of unknowing” if you will, on the matter.
Then I decided: why not commemorate this day that I found Antinous (not that he found me–for I suspect he knew about me before that) on the more recent day on which I came out of the dark night? Are not all religions a process of renewal and regeneration and an entry into such a cycle? And though the days will shortly be getting less light-filled, on this particular day, just before the usual date of the Summer Solstice (and on this particular day I noticed that the sky to the north never really got fully dark!), one can truly say that the “dark night is over,” at least for the moment. So, here I am…
Aidan Kelly recently wrote a piece on how all religions are new religions at some point, and that the emergence of new religions or religious movements is a totally natural and expectable human process. With this I certainly agree. He goes on to talk about the foundational myths of religions, as opposed to their actual history, and how the former does not necessarily reflect fact but instead enshrines values, whereas the latter is based in a factual account but does not have anything to contribute to an assessment of the religion’s values. While I cannot say that my own experience with having found, and founded, a religious practice devoted to Antinous is more a foundational myth or an historical account–and, indeed, in years into the future it may not be my choice which is which!–I can say that the bare facts of my involvement with Antinous are likewise value-laden, even though they might be somewhat particular to my own experience. They are interesting all the same, I think, and I hope that those of you who have been reading my blog, whether from way back or more recently, have found the unfolding of this modern path of Antinoan spirituality to be useful to you, and that it satisfies both your need for a documented and factual history (on my own part as well as that of Hadrian and the ancient cultists of Antinous, and those who followed them into more recent centuries) as well as a way to discuss, engage with, and live your own particular spiritual values in community with others.
May there be 900 more posts (and even greater numbers than that!) like this one, and may all of you be there to read as many of them as possible!
Ave Ave Antinoe! Haec est unde, Haec est unde, Haec est unde vita venit!