Ave Ave Antinoe Liberator
Homo Deus, Victor, Pacis Imperator…
With today’s arrival and its passing, we mark the 11th time in modern history that some (or all) of the Sacred Nights of Antinous have been celebrated by a number of invididuals; though I suspect (and hope) that in the intervening 1500 years or so, at least a few people worldwide every year may have remembered Antinous at some point, and that even some of them may have held a celebration in his honor around or on Foundation Day, nonetheless, we cannot reckon this with any certainty until 2002, when the first modern Foundation Day was celebrated in a form similar to the one it is now by a much larger group of people.
Ten years is a long time, and eleven of these celebrations in that period…
Modern pagan groups come and go, and their membership varies greatly; an individual’s beliefs about their gods and the greater universe and the ideal relations between themselves and each of these vary over time. But, what often persists is practice and all of the elements of spiritual technology which “work” for a given individual. The same is true of cultures and religions more widely speaking: belief systems change, as do the construction of groups of worshippers, devotees, or participants, but what often persists across time and space are the practical spiritual technologies that have been developed and which prove effective for spiritual and devotional purposes in the lives of individuals. From the first Foundation Day in the modern period in 2002 to the second in 2003, profound changes occurred in terms of the availability of certain Antinous-specific technologies (e.g. the Obelisk of Antinous), and particularly from 2007 to 2009, the use and working of that particular technology had further shifts, developments, and innovations added to it to enhance its effectiveness. But, the sacred dramas that were first performed on that day in 2002 are still performed by many, and have been in most years since 2002. I suspect that many technologies we’ve developed in our modern practice and which are specific to our modern group will continue to be used, and to be added to and modified in various ways, long after our own group is gone and I’m no longer living. And while I somewhat shudder to imagine that–not that I’ll be dead (there isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t imagine that and know that it will occur sooner or later), but that something I do and that I had a large hand in building and teaching, will live on after me–at the same time, it fills me with some small measure of accomplishment. The fact that, because of my work, some deities who were not that well known previously (including Antinous and Polydeukion, but ranging to figures like Disciplina and Sterculinus as well!) not only have gained in attention in the scholarly world (and not due to my own involvement, at least directly!) over that decade, but also that they have a visible and identifiable practical and devotional profile within the panoply of modern polytheism.
Today, thus, we sound the bells and blow the horns that announce the work of Antinous the Liberator to have started for this season. Whether this heralds a difference in political regime (even if the same officials are elected again, their tactics will no doubt shift as a result of a variety of things), the new granting of rights to particular individuals who did not have them before, the decriminalization of certain substances, or–most importantly–our own liberation from everything within and without that constrains and inhibits us, this is the season of liberation, and there is never any time better than the present to feel that liberation and to work toward making it more apparent and actual in our lives and the lives of others.
As this year wanes, may our commitments to the continual liberation of the human spirit never cease and never decrease!
Hail, Hail Antinous the Liberator,
Human-God, Victorious One, Emperor of Peace!