It’s that time of year again, dear friends; and, given the state of the U.S.’s climate these days, I don’t think I need to tell you what all of this means, especially considering that across the nation, record-breaking temperatures have already been witnessed in many places. While it is bright and sunny where I am today, it’s nowhere near as hot as many places are–and thus, my thoughts go out to everyone in the country who is now suffering due to the extreme heat, whether physically, financially, or both.
I’ve written poems dealing with the gods/heroes of this day in The Phillupic Hymns and Devotio Antinoo: The Doctor’s Notes, Volume One, but it didn’t really seem appropriate, given both that the world is in the state it is, and that I’m a fili who should never rest on my laurels, as it were, that I should simply give what has already been given elsewhere to honor these gods on this day. Thus, I shall give Aristaios (not to be confused with Aristeas of Proconnesus, who will be the subject of some future blog entries!) and Adonis, who have their syncretism festivals with Antinous today, as well as Hermanubis, and Antinous Kynegetikos himself, poems on this occasion. (My first post for Honor Loki Month will follow after this!) Thus, without further ado…
Sing to me, O Muses, of the days when the dog-star,
Maira, the faithful hound of Ikarios and Erigone,
rages across the sky in fire for the death of her masters!
Dionysos, angry, appeared to the murderers
in a youthful form so irresistibly intoxicating
it left every last one a herm able to move about.
Zeus, in anger at these transgressions of men,
made Helios to flame more fiercely for a few days,
becoming like the lion of Nemea slain by Herakles.
But the son of Apollon and the fair nymph Cyrene,
Aristaios, the giver of sweet things to humanity,
propitiated Zeus to avert his wrath in time.
While we upon the earth wait, however, for the sun
to slow his burning, urged on by Maira’s barking chase,
the flowers of the field wilt and the corn dies.
We are reminded of the Cyprian Golden Mother’s loss,
fair Adonis, plucked too early from the earthly garden
to be a flower over the meadow-plains of asphodel.
O boar of Ares, the goring creature of sparks,
turn aside to cooler springs flowing from Helikon,
and do not destroy the youths nor uproot the shoots!
For all the great gods and heroes, named and unnamed,
I sing these praises that you may favor
the children of the earth in this sizzling season!
Favor me with words, Twice-Great Thoth,
and guide my pen truly, Seshat, Lady of the House of Life,
that the ink may flow as freely and without fault
as the stream of inspiration from the mouths of the gods!
I sing the praises of the son of Isis and Serapis,
Hermanubis, friend of the bereaved,
guardian of the gates between the Two Lands
and the fair realms of Amenti and the Amduat.
It is under the light of your star in the heavens
that Neilos brings his bounty to the beautiful valley,
the lands of the offspring of Horus and the children of Set,
when the Apis Bull roars and the people rejoice.
Guide us, o god sublime, upon the bordering mountain,
when our feet are tired from walking righteous paths
and the roads stretch ahead too far to see,
when a world of sorrows wearies our spirits.
With shouting and dancing and laughing play
you bring joy to the hearts of all who see you,
and like the most skilled herd-dog of every animal
you make sure not a one is lost nor reaved.
Where your brother Harpocrates is silent on his throne
of the lotus flower sprung from the Nile’s waters,
you are the speaker and guide for those who hear you
in the hum and crackle of the hearth fire’s embers.
May you be praised by the Greeks of Egypt
and the Egyptians of Greece and Rome alike,
as well as others in their own lands–
praise to Thoth and Seshat, and to Hermanubis, my song is done!
Antinous the Hunter
O you nymphs who dance around Artemis: favor me in my hunting song today–
Of wild hares, I’ll sing you one
for which ensnaring nets are spun.
Of peaceful deer, I’ll sing you two
which hide in wooded paths from view.
Of spiders weaving, I’ll sing three
that fearful drop from branch of tree.
Of wild goats, I’ll sing you four
that stride ‘cross’d mountain falls that roar.
Of feral oxen, I’ll sing five
the sacred beasts for which gods strive.
Of fierce she-bears, I’ll sing you six
whose might withstands all hunters’ tricks.
Of foaming boars, I’ll sing you seven
whose strife streams up from earth to heaven.
Of deadly lions, I’ll sing eight
whose claws and fangs mete out our fate.
Of hunting hounds, I’ll sing you nine
that bring down quarry swift and fine.
Of charging horses, I’ll sing ten
who make sound centaurs of strong men.
Praise to Artemis and her nymphs today,
my song, now sung, makes spear-points slay!
Praise to the many gods of this day! May the wrath of the dog-star Sirius and the heat of the dog-days be averted from the face of the earth!