Posted by: aediculaantinoi | March 29, 2015

August 24-25, 79 C.E.

So, the big event of the day for me is something I’ve been looking forward to for several months: the Pompeii exhibit at the Pacific Science Center in Seattle (the same place where a few years ago I also saw the King Tut exhibit).

In a few words: while I’m glad I got to see it, I am a bit disappointed in the curation of the overall effort in a variety of ways. In not-so-few words, I shall explain why.

But first, let me tell you who I did actually see, deities-wise.

Extremely well-represented throughout was Dionysos/Bacchus (we’ll assume they’re more or less the same for present purposes–at no point did anything I saw in the exhibit explain why one was used over the other, nor that they were the same, but I didn’t read every plaque carefully, nor did I get the audio tour). There were some smaller pieces, but in the first room, there was a fresco–the actual fresco–which I had not known of before, which is shown here.

Wall painting of the enthroned Roman deity Dionysus from the ruins of Pompeii

For me, at least, the first room had some of the most important and impressive artifacts on display, since it was the only place where a specific section on “Religion” existed. There was one display case with a small clay altar (probably about 8-10″ tall), a terra cotta Aesculapius, and metal statuettes of what was labelled as a “Genius” (but may have been a Iuno), along with further metal depictions of a Lar, Mercury, Jupiter, Hercules, and Isis-Fortuna (with “syncretism” not really properly explained). In that same room there was also a large fresco of Herakles and Omphale, which was quite interesting given that it was a depiction of him in his “transvestite” role:

omphale hercules pompei

Likewise, there was a fresco of Achilleus in one of the other rooms likewise depicting him in that fashion, when he was discovered by Odysseus on Skyros:


Other actual frescoes on display included this small one of Dionysos and Ariadne (or possibly just a maenad):


And this one, of the Three Graces:


There were also many famous frescoes either recreated or reproduced on the bottoms of incidental parts of the exhibit (e.g. information plaques, etc.) that will be familiar to many of you, like the Dionysos in the “Fruit of the Loom” grape get-up, and this one of Venus, Cupid, and Portunus (or, if you’d prefer, Aphrodite, Eros, and Palaimon/Melikertes):

It was treated little better than a stock photo in the exhibit…and given it was just a HUGE reproduction, that may or may not have been appropriate...

It was treated little better than a stock photo in the exhibit…and given it was just a HUGE reproduction, that may or may not have been appropriate…

There was also the following Venus statue–the “Lovatelli Venus”–in one of the later rooms of the exhibit:


Religiously, there was little else in the exhibit of interest; a lot of room was given to objects from everyday life, and while that is interesting to an extent, I have my own biases in this regard…so many things there were selected, I think, to show how similar to modern people the Romans were.

There were a variety of disappointments information-wise (apart from a general lack of good information on religion and mythology). For example, the very first image of the exhibit proper which was seen–and staged very dramatically, as the doors opened automatically, the lighting was done for maximum effect, and the theme song of Rome was playing (!?!), was of “a Roman Emperor,” portrayed with the characteristics of Neptune (in fact, probably a Neptune statue with a re-fashioned face or head)…but, which one?!? To my eyes, it could have been…well, possibly any of the Julio-Claudians (the hair was not quite right for Octavian/Augustus; the face not quite right for Tiberius or Caligula…but it could have been either of them). There was also a youthful portrait head of Caligula later in the exhibit, which was labelled as the “Emperor Gaius.” Yes, that is his “official” name, but why not go with the name by which he’s known infamously?

For as much as they were forward about Hercules’ and Achilleus’ transvestism, there was a bit of shying away from any mention whatsoever of homoeroticism, and likewise sexuality was quite downplayed. There was one room with “erotic” things, where there were many signs telling parents not to let their children in and so forth…and it was a couple of tiny frescoes of coitus a tergo, more or less…given what has been found in Pompeii, that was rather disappointing.

There were some interesting lamps and other instruments of daily life. There was also the impressive Ephebe of Pompeii statue:

(And, this is exactly as it appeared in the exhibit, though this photo was taken by someone when it was elsewhere in the U.S.)

(And, this is exactly as it appeared in the exhibit, though this photo was taken by someone when it was elsewhere in the U.S.)

But, there were a lot of things I had hoped to see that weren’t on display. For example, there were a number of mosaic pieces, but the Cave Canem was not among them; nor was the Lakshmi statue part of the exhibit, either. There were some nice dog-related other objects, though, including a small dog-shaped jug and a round sculpture of puppies laying on each other.

We watched a 45 minute IMAX film on Greece before going to the exhibit, which was narrated by Nia Vardalos (of My Big Fat Greek Wedding fame), and which mainly featured Athens and Thera/Santorini, with heavy emphasis on Atlantis with the latter…which I think was the tie-in to the Pompeii exhibit, since both were destroyed by volcanoes. At the very end of the exhibit, after the gift shop, there was a short bit done by our local science center on volcanic dangers in Washington, and volcano event readiness; anyone who remembers Mt. St. Helens knows how important that is (and it’s one of the reasons I am glad I don’t live near Tacoma!). The film had some beautiful panoramic photography, and I have to say I was rather deeply moved by all of the Greek music used in it; it was speaking to me on a rather deeper level than the film producers likely intended. I think they rather over-stated the case on how Greece is the most important civilization to have ever existed, and pervasively shaped the West and all the world–yes, it did and it has, but given that I’m a bit of a critic of the idea of “Western Civilization” (a textbook for which is what this sounded like), even though I teach that course, that might be why. Yes, they did make a nod toward Egypt at one point, but that was about it.

I also have to say, I was very disappointed in the gift shop, not only with what was on offer (lots of chintzy reproductions of things made in China…and not even stuff that was seen in the exhibit necessarily, nor of any of the more striking pieces!) and the prices (for a full-color program of probably about 24-30 pages, which didn’t have any information on the actual pieces and was more or less just the main sectional placards in a book was $15!), but there was no proper exhibit book/guide/catalogue. There were small metal statues of Venus, Jupiter, and Cupid (all WAY too modest!), which didn’t remotely resemble anything in the exhibit itself; nonetheless, I got a Venus, since I did not have any images of her to use devotionally before visiting the exhibit, and the Veneralia is coming up in a few days.

But, I’ll say that one other part of the exhibit was pretty good, and yet at the same time, left me with a bit of a strange sense…I’m not sure of what, though. Before being herded through the gift shop, the last part of the exhibit was a short audio-visual/sensual experience of seeing a view of Pompeii and Vesuvius, recreated by computer animation (and very well done, too!) over the hours of August 24th and 25th, 79 C.E. There were strobe lights, rumbling in the ground (not as much as the actual earthquake, of course!), and there was a fog effect released into the room as well, and then the screen raised up and showed our first glimpse of the last room, where the casts of six of the bodies were located.


Most of the ones on display–at least three of the six–were youths or children.

To be honest, I don’t know why the whole thing didn’t seem to resonate as deeply with me as it could have done. One of my students this past quarter had been to it in another location in the U.S., and was very annoyed that the exhibit seemed to be “following” her here; she had said she wasn’t impressed with it, and it could have/should have been better, and she cautioned me that I’ll be disappointed in how little heed they pay to religion throughout it. Perhaps that spoiled it for me. Perhaps it was the attempt at desexualizing and “normalizing” the ancients for a modern, (post-)Protestant and monotheist audience that also impacted me negatively. Perhaps the fact that the emphasis was placed so heavily on everyday implements and such to give a sense of the “daily life” of people in Pompeii, and yet then the climax of the exhibit was seeing casts of some of their bodies…and yet, it still felt a bit too impersonal and perhaps even disrespectful to these actual individuals. Or, perhaps, like the film Pompeii (which I think might have also been on sale in the gift shop–!?!), I simply can’t see things like this any longer with a great deal of enjoyment because I know a bit too much about them, and presenting it in a decontextualized setting where religiosity is entirely divorced and even actively marginalized from the sense of daily life portrayed to the viewer is never going to work for me.

I am happy I saw it, and was able to know of the existence of several of the depictions of the deities and heroes given above, and to have seen them up-close without having to go to Italy (though I’d still like to!). But, unless you have a good bit of money and time to spend, and think nothing of doing so, and can get to Seattle before the end of May (when it leaves the U.S. for good), I don’t know if I’d recommend it or not.

Posted by: aediculaantinoi | March 29, 2015

Oh, I almost forgot…MEGALA ANTINOEIA AGON!

On April 21st, as we do every year on the Megala Antinoeia, we shall be having another agon in honor of Antinous!

Now, while “any ol’ thing” can certainly be done for this agon, what I really would like is to have several categories, among them the following: poetry; fiction; drama; non-fiction/essays; visual arts (broken down even further into 2D and 3D, even!); music; dance; games (i.e. create a game–card game, board game, computer game, etc.–that is Antinous-themed!); divination systems; rituals; athletic accomplishments…all of that and so forth! GET CREATIVE!

And, while Antinous has to be in it somewhere, also remember that he has a very large pantheon attached to him, including deities from a variety of cultures to whom he is devotionally or mythically related (e.g. Selene, Diana/Artemis, etc.) or syncretized, deified emperors and empresses, Sancta/e/i, heroes (the Trophimoi [Polydeukion, Achilles, and Memnon] and their family, Memnon son of Eos and Tithonos, etc.), the Tetrad++ Group, and many other divine beings. So, as long as it includes him somewhere, it can be about or include any of these other beings, too, and many more besides…

So, with all that in mind, here are the rules:

1) Create what you will between now and April 21st.
2) On April 21st, there will be a post about “Submissions” for the agon on this blog; comment on it with a link to where your work can be found (preferably online somewhere, i.e. a blog); or if you must, e-mail it to me and I will post it in that blog entry, and will edit it throughout the day as I get more submissions.
3) You must submit it between 12:00 AM and 11:59 PM Pacific Daylight Time on April 21st–not before, and not after!
4) Don’t submit this…


Or this…


And ESPECIALLY not this…


[Sorry, Sannion–I know you were itching to do the latter, but you’ll have to wait for some other agon.]

5) Also, include in your submission how you are grounding the work in a physical activity–this is to fulfill the “athletic” portion of the contest. So, if you work out that morning, carry a copy of your poem in your pocket; take a walk around your neighborhood to your favorite beauty spot and sing your song; bring your painting to the swimming pool so it can watch you do laps; and so forth. ;)

Then, once the works are submitted, ten days will pass, and on the festival of the Boar Hunt (May 1st), I’ll announce the winner! Depending on how many entries there are, there may be prizes for everyone; but the “Grand Prize” will be one copy of each of the books I’ve written and a set of Ephesia Grammata that I will make for you!

So, there we are, folks! Start getting to work right now!

How can you resist this face…

Posted by: aediculaantinoi | March 28, 2015

A Review of S. J. Tucker’s Stolen Season (Spoiler: I LOVE IT!)

My reading rate for the last year or so has not been what I”d prefer it to be; I’ve got loads of books that I want to read, and several of which I was hoping to review, but given my health issues, and specifically the deterioration of my vision, it’s been difficult to do much of that. Yes, I’ve been writing a fair amount, but that’s what it has come down to for me: my visual spoons, so to speak, are better used to write things that will otherwise not exist rather than to read things that already do. (And, if I go blind eventually, people can always read those things to me–and won’t that be fun!) As I improve a bit, I am hoping to get more reading done, but that means not as many reviews will be happening.

Unless, of course, it is of music, and so I’m happy to be sharing a review of a lovely new album by S.J. Tucker–in fact, her latest, fresh off the presses–called Stolen Season.

The Album Cover!

The Album Cover!

Avid readers of this blog know that I quite like S00j (as her fans call her), have enjoyed her music a great deal, have seen her in concert (sometimes along with Tricky Pixie, sometimes along with Betsy Tinney), was able to hang out with her outside of musical events one fun time a few years ago…and, at PantheaCon 2010, she was also a Luperca in the Ekklesía Antínoou’s Lupercalia ritual. One could accurately say that she’s a part of my religion, and one wouldn’t be exaggerating! ;) Thus, knowing that, you’ll know what I say below is going to have that as a backdrop, and thus, Yes, I am biased; but that doesn’t mean my opinion isn’t relevant, and given that my opinion is this is a great and very enjoyable album, and it is my duty as a fili to give praise to those who deserve it, S00j certainly does for this latest effort.

Interestingly, you might recall that I’ve already written something about this album, way back in October of 2013 (I can’t believe it was that long ago!), when I wrote a theological commentary on the song “Little Bird.” It happened so long ago, I’m afraid, that when I first heard the song, I was going “Gosh, I know I’ve heard these words somewhere before…but where?” (And that’s not any critique of how long this album has taken to emerge, it just dumbfounds me that it was a year and a half ago rather than only six months ago…what happened to the year in between?!? Someone seems to have stolen FOUR of my seasons, dammit!) The final studio version of the song is a fun one, and the music suggests to me (and I say this with great respect and admiration, so take note!) a scene from a film featuring The Muppets in which there is a montage of some sort going on–something worthy of Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem, perhaps! It is a song that makes one smile and cheers one up, certainly–and I’ve had great need of that recently, Gods know! ;)

An undertone of S.J.’s music that is present throughout her corpus is a Southern jazz/blues style, and in several numbers off this latest album, it comes fully to the fore in prominent ways. As much as I enjoy Irish music, as many people know, one of my favorite bands to come out of Ireland in the last few decades is not a trad group, nor even a rock group or singer (though I have those as well!), but instead the group Jerry Fish and the Mudbug Club, who I was able to see once there in 2005 (and if you’re interested, I have a funny story to tell about that gig–but not now, I’m busy!); they are a New Orleans jazz/blues type band, who also incorporate various other styles into their music. I suspect that S00j and Jerry would get along quite well together! Various parts of Stolen Season seem to me to fit a setting like True Blood–and indeed, as a random outro to a song I heard S00j do a few years ago, she did a few bars from the theme song to that show, which was interesting since I watched that show after the concert!

Album art by Chaz Kemp–lovely, innit?

That distinctive style is present in many of the songs (“Black Swan Blues,” with collaborative lyrics by Satyros Phil Brucato–another Seattle-area denizen!–and S.J., “Sultry Summer Night,” “Believe in Lullabies,” “Wild River Child,” “Temptress”), but I have to say the song that may seem aurally a bit less in that particular vein and yet, at least as far as my own understanding is concerned, somewhat lays out the modus operandi and ars poetica of this album is “Dream of Mississippi,” which (as several of the other songs on the album) features the beautifully brooding cello work of Betsy Tinney (over which I also swoon!).

Magic finds us kicking up the dust along the road
Silence travels farther than a story often told
Vagabond I’ve been, and vagabond I’ll always be,
running down the devil at every crossroads that I see.
I never thought to be called back to a home that I outgrew,
but the summer’s gone, the call is strong and there’s something I must do.
Thought I knew all of the stories that a Southern girl could know
but there’s a dream of Mississippi that I never tell a soul.

The supernatural element of S00j’s work–full of fairies, dryads, shape-shifters, and many other beings–then comes in for the remainder of “Dream of Mississippi.” There is an element to this song, and many others on the album, that makes it quintessentially localized in its landscape, and thus also (and in a very good way!) distinctively American. Songs about rivers seem to do this quite well (and “Wild River Child” does it too–on which more in a moment!), and on other occasions, Alexander James Adams’ songs done at Tricky Pixie concerts have also done this quite well with the Columbia River. The focus on how the spirits of place, and spirit of places, impact one’s art and spirituality is something that can only be applauded, and is part of the ongoing maturation of the polytheist and pagan communities, I think, and thus in that respect I also highly recommend this album as a beautiful example of that positive trend. Of the eleven tracks on the album (though one is reprised–“Believe in Lullabies”), this song has to rate as one of my top three or four.

“Wild River Child” is another favorite. I imagine it is what Antinous would have heard in the final moments of his life, if he had drowned in the Mississippi in the 1930s rather than in the Nile in 130. Alternatively, you could imagine it is Hapi in Southern Lady drag or a jazz/blues act by Anoukis. The theme of drowning is one that S.J.’s music (and that of Tricky Pixie) has referenced on several other occasions as well, which is superlatively interesting to me for all kinds of reasons. One could wish for such sweet songs upon one’s death in that fashion, in any case, as S.J. sings here and elsewhere.

While I could write a paragraph (or twelve!) on every song on the album, I’ll save my last longer discussion of particular tracks for the title track, “Stolen Season.” This is a song on a theme that comes up in many of S.J.’s songs: a supernatural, faerie Otherworld romance, with many of the recognizable tropes of that genre of literature and music present, and yet a mystery underlying it that I’ll still be probing for a while. It’s a very understated epic, a sweeping romance (in all of the senses of that term), and deserves its status as the title track not only because of the memorable phrase giving the title of the song and the album, but also because it is (or at least it was and is for me) the emotional heart of the work, singing and drinking deeply of a well of lost love, of unexpected adventures and outcomes, of worlds that cannot be integrated easily (or often at all). As much as it is in the long line of mythic compositions on such similar themes, there’s also something about it that I suspect will resonate with many devotional polytheists quite impactfully. I actually found myself crying at hearing it the second time I heard it, and I have been tearing up when I have heard it since. I don’t entirely know to what this should be attributed, but whatever it’s from or why, S.J. has found the frequency here to play on my own heart-strings, and that’s not an easy task! ;)

P.S.V.L.:  "You are too lovely for words, in voice and so many other ways!" S.J.:  "Well…!" (She's so modest!)* {*Note:  This conversation didn't actually take place.  Oops.  I guess it just kind of did!} {Okay, P.S.V.L., that was probably too much, knock it off…} {Is this the opening credits of Monty Python and the Holy Grail?} {Yes, and the person responsible for the above has just been sacked.} {How about that--I thought I was the only one employed here!} {Speaking of which:  shouldn't I be better-paid, then?}

P.S.V.L.: “You are too lovely for words, in voice and so many other ways!”
S.J.: “Well…!”
(She’s so modest!)*
{*Note: This conversation didn’t actually take place. Oops. I guess it just kind of did!}
{Okay, P.S.V.L., that was probably too much, knock it off…}
{Is this the opening credits of Monty Python and the Holy Grail?}
{Yes, and the person responsible for the above has just been sacked.}
{How about that–I thought I was the only one employed here!}
{Speaking of which: shouldn’t I be better-paid, then?}

There are treasures to be found on the entire album, though, and I don’t want to spoil the surprises on the other songs by giving my own reading of them too much further and tainting your own unbiased listening experience. Instead, if any of what I’ve said above resonates with you and intrigues you, and you like SteamPunk, fairies, folk, and traditional music done American-style, go and get the album post-haste! And with any luck, I shall have an interview with her soon as well (if the captions above don’t send her running back to the Mississippi, and get me drowned by it all the way over here in Washington…stranger things have happened, folks!?!)! ;)

In the near future, we shall see S.J. doing a huge amount of other work on her own and in collaboration with others, including with Sharon Knight’s Portals project (with many other awesome folks!), and I hope to get to one of her shows in the area this calendar year, too, as it has been way too long since I have (over a year, since Betsy Tinney’s album launch show in mid-January of 2014–WAY TOO LONG!).

Beautiful work, S00j! Thanks so much for being the awesome person you are, and bringing more beauty into the world with your music! :)

Posted by: aediculaantinoi | March 27, 2015

Looking Ahead to PantheaCon 2016

So, after my most recent post, I think I’m done with the PantheaCon posts proper for this year. Here’s a recap of them, in case anyone is interested:

The Con’ Proper
February 12th (Arrival)
February 13th (Friday, Roving Hero Cultus, etc.)
February 14th (Saturday, Bringing Race to the Table Panel, Teenage Gods and Heroes, etc.)
February 15th (Sunday, Lupercalia, etc.)
February 16th (Monday, Discussion of Race, etc.)
A Certain Thing That Happened

Further Reflections Afterwards
Is Antinous a Person of Color? (and other matters)
Teenage Pagans and Polytheists: READ THIS! WE NEED YOU!!!
What Is Satire?
Cú Chulainn and The Morrígan


Now, all of that being said and done, so to speak, I would like to move on and start thinking about what might be done next year.

As ever, these are only some of the possible ideas that the Ekklesía Antínoou might do which I’d like to develop…but it is all very tentative, not only because we don’t know which (if any) of the suggestions I make here might be accepted next year, but also because other things may come up meanwhile, and my own attendance is not by any means assured at this stage.

The actual dates of the gathering next year appear to be February 12th through 15th; that means Lupercalia will fall on the last day of the con’, which it did in 2010 (when S. J. Tucker was among the Luperci–more on her in the coming days!). Thus, we will propose it once again; and if it doesn’t make it on the main program, we may do it guerrilla-style either after everything has finished (in the period often known as “dead-dogs”–appropriately enough!), or outside while the proceedings are still occurring. So, we shall see.

As far as other events go, I have in mind proposing a very large and important ritual, a rather involved dramatic performance, and also a session that will be equal parts discussion, presentation, and just plain fun (while also being quite serious). In that respective order:

Tetrad++ Gender Recognition/Affirmation Ritual (I still don’t have a catchy title for this one, but perhaps those reading can help me out with it after you hear what I have in mind!) So, not unlike the Trans* Deities For All: Meeting the Tetrad++ Ritual at PantheaCon 2013 (still the most amazing ritual I’ve ever had a part in, in my opinion!), this would involve six people (as opposed to only four–there were five then, but Paneris wasn’t quite ready for the public yet!) taking the roles of Panpsyche, Panhyle, Paneros, Pancrates, Paneris, and Panprosdexia, and me being the convener/”priest”/M.C., so to speak, as well as being the first recipient of the blessing that occurs. Each member of the Tetrad++ group would be invoked with a prayer and would make a grand entrance (probably with short clips of recorded music/song intros that I associate with each of them); then, their ancestors/foster-parents and allies will be honored and praised in a litany-like prayer once they are present (with them leading it, actually!). Following this, the Tetrad++’s representatives will take up a position in the center of the room, arranged in their sigil’s positions, and a brief invocation of them along with the Ephesia Grammata will take place to protect the space and what will next occur. People will come forward and line up behind the different members of the Tetrad++, and will then go to the center when it is their turn. They will say what their gender identity is, and then the Tetrad++’s representatives will say, in turn (in a variation on what was said at the Pagans of Color discussion of race on the Monday of PantheaCon 2015), “I see you, I hear you, I feel you, I know you, I love you, I am you,” with the one saying “I am you” being the Tetrad++ member who represents their gender. They’d then be given a card from that member of the Tetrad++ with the blessing on it, and a particular blessing from that member. Once everyone has been blessed in that way, then people would be encouraged to go around the room to all of those present and exchange the same blessings and greetings with each other. It is relatively simple, but also really quite important to have a ritual of this sort for trans* and gender-diverse people; but, cisgendered people will also be able to come and receive a blessing, either from Panpsyche (if they are female) or Panhyle (if they are male), so this would not exclude anyone.

We will need one of the big rooms to do this properly, I think, and I suspect we might end up with a whole load of people…it might also be wise to have it later at night, in case it goes over the time and thus we don’t get rushed out before everyone gets their blessing.

I have people in mind to ask about being the various members of the Tetrad++; but, we’ll also need helpers of other sorts. I suspect Come As You Are Coven and their Beyond the Binary group will be very much involved with this, which will be wonderful!

Transformations of Memnon (Again, the title there is not set in stone, it’s only a working title.) For this, I really want to get as many People of Color (any and all Colors!) involved, but especially Black/African-Americans, particularly for the first part of the performance, but for several other parts as well. There will be some preliminary (and short!) prayers to Antinous and Polydeukion under whose direction and patronage this ritual/performance will be done. Depending on who we get for this, and what their thoughts and feelings are, I think it might be interesting to have the people assigned the various parts create their own dialogue, with direction on he theme/plots, which might be kind of experimental, but really quite wonderful if it all comes together. (Collaborative ritual and dramatic creation is a fantastic thing, when it can happen!) It will be in at least four, and possibly five, scenes: 1) the Nubian gods assembled together, about to be overtaken by Egypt, and then an Egyptian deity coming in and taking almost all of the originally-Nubian deities that Egypt later worshipped from them, leaving only Amesemi behind, who has a painful parting with her husband Apedemak, and then Amesemi comes up with an idea for how to make her legacy survive into the future–and following this scene, we will all praise Amesemi with the short hymn we used in the Roving Hero/ine Cultus Ritual this past PantheaCon; 2) Eos and Tithonus watching from Ethiopia as their son Memnon departs from them, and then (because it is “god-time”!) moments later ends up being killed, whereupon they receive his body and mourn him; 3) the Empress Sabina and Julia Balbilla at the Colossoi of Memnon, about to hear the cry of Memnon for the first time; 4) Herodes Attikos and Memnon, after the rest of his family and the Trophimoi have died, and then soon after Memnon also dies; 5) something modern, which I think will have to be generated in collaboration with everyone else involved, probably having to do with the situation as it stands now in the U.S., with police violence and the prison-industrial complex.

On the one hand, this is an important theme and cultic connection that I’d like to see get out there much more; on the other, I don’t want to be the asshole white person who dictates the discourse on these matters and then asks for participation by People of Color. So, I would really value the ideas and input of any People of Color who are reading this and may be at PantheaCon; I will be contacting several as well to see if they are interested at all in helping to generate this material.

Getting Shit Done With Sterculinus! (While they may require it to be “Sh*t” in the final program, nonetheless, I think this title is good!) This will be a combination of a discussion, short presentation, and perhaps even a short ritual, all focusing on Sterculinus, the erstwhile Roman god of manure-based fertilizer, and modern “god of doing useful things with shit.” His history and connection with certain types of plants that can be used as offerings (cola and chocolate!) will be presented, followed by a discussion, quite plainly, of shit and who is allowed to create it publicly. Now, that might sound rather icky to some folks, but let’s face it: both People of Color (in the past–mostly) and trans* and gender-variant people (now) have had difficulty being allowed legally to “use the facilities” in public quite often in U.S. history. So, how do we deal with it when society hands us shit? Make fertilizer! It should be an interesting and fruitful, I think, discussion, and may perhaps get Sterculinus some additional needed attention, not to mention bringing a useful deity to know to many people who may not have otherwise known of him before.

I know there will be various panel discussions and such going on which may involve me; also, it is possible, there may be a trans* and gender-variant hospitality suite, too, which I might have some hand in helping with as well. (And if an overflow needs to occur with the Tetrad++ ritual, perhaps it can occur there…?!?) So, lots of possibilities…

Is there anything you, my readership, and the membership of the Ekklesía Antínoou would like to see at PantheaCon next year that I have not outlined above? Have ideas or contributions or suggestions on the above that you might like to float? Want to participate in any of the above? Please feel free to comment below! I look forward to hearing/reading your ideas in the near future!

Posted by: aediculaantinoi | March 27, 2015

Cú Chulainn and The Morrígan

This will be one of the last directly-PantheaCon 2015-related posts I do this year; I have yet to do one on my projections and plans for next year, but that may come in the next few days, with any luck.

I had meant to post this a while back, but got side-tracked, as I often do; and had I not, then this never would have happened, which is kind of fortuitous. ;)

At the Roving Hero/ine Cultus Ritual on Friday night at PantheaCon this year, the final installment of it took place in the Coru Cathubodua suite (and many thanks again to them for their hospitality!), and in addition to the various prayers (which, if people are interested, I can provide in a further entry), there were also hymns/songs/etc. done at the end of each one–generally a short, one-line thing (in another language usually!) that could be repeated endlessly as the procession proceeded onwards. The one for this final part of the ritual was the longest, and had the most words (in English, apart from the chorus in Old Irish), and told a story. I think you’ll be able to follow along pretty easily without me having to say much more about it. And, if you need a tune to sing it along with (though this particular version has many more verses than the original song), you’ll have some assistance in that regard at the end of the post.

Perhaps, since the Coru and Morpheus Ravenna (and Amelia Hogan?) will be at Many Gods West, we can do an encore of this then and there? We shall see. ;)

Enjoy! ;)


C: A single log
Can never blaze up;
It takes a big pile
To make a fire…
So here in this ford
I fight the good fight
For the land of the Ulaid
Since last Samain eve…

Don’t know what’s coming now,
But the driving of the cows
Has left the province scorched
And dead men everywhere…
And Lug’s not coming
Since Solstice stunning—
I guess I’ll fight them all
In single combat fair.

M: I am king Búan’s daughter,
So come out of the water
And sport with me now
on the river’s green banks;

You’ll have riches and cattle
And in every last battle
You’ll have victory spoils
And my ever-great thanks!

C: What was that?
M: Yeah, you heard me,
And, sure, it won’t disturb me…
C & M: But this time and this place
Is a strange one for trysts

This raid has been raging
Since Fedelm’s presaging
The blood of the dead
Will be red names in lists!

Chorus (All): Ol An Morrígan, “Maith sin, Chon Culainn!”
Ol Cúán, “Ad-rae
buaid ocus bendachta
Dé o’s An-Dé!”

[“The Morrígan said, “Nice one, Cú Chulainn!”
The Little Hound said, “Win victory and blessings of the Gods and Non-Gods!”]

C: You’re a slag, you’re a slut,
You’re not anything but—
For it’s not for your cunt
That I’ve come on the Táin!

M: You scumbag, you maggot,
You cheap lousy faggot!
I’ll kick your arse now
From right here to the Boyne!

Ol An Morrígan, “Maith sin, Chon Culainn!”
Ol Cúán, “Ad-rae
buaid ocus bendachta
Dé o’s An-Dé!”

C: Well say it, well try it!
I just do not buy it—
You can try to defeat me;
It simply won’t work!

M: You’ll be sorry you said it,
And it’s not to your credit
To turn down my help
And stand there like a jerk!

Ol An Morrígan, “Maith sin, Chon Culainn!”
Ol Cúán, “Ad-rae
buaid ocus bendachta
Dé o’s An-Dé!”

M: As a squirming black eel
I’ll make your legs to feel
What the binding of hero
By Goddess can do!

C: As a wolf or a heifer,
Or whatever might please her
I’ll break all your bones
And boil them up for stew!

Ol An Morrígan, “Maith sin, Chon Culainn!”
Ol Cúán, “Ad-rae
buaid ocus bendachta
Dé o’s An-Dé!”

C: I had to kill Lóch…
M: So much for all your talk!
A drink of milk for you,
If blessings you give me.

C: The Gods and Non-Gods,
Then, bless you, old crone,
And victory to you,
And my strength back to me…

M: I tricked you, Little Hound!
Now healing I have found!
And no more favors here
When said in one breath…

C: Then fare you well, my Queen;
You’ll one day sing my keen
And land on my shoulder
When you will guard my death.

Ol An Morrígan, “Maith sin, Chon Culainn!”
Ol Cúán, “Ad-rae
buaid ocus bendachta
Dé o’s An-Dé!”

Posted by: aediculaantinoi | March 26, 2015

A Point…-ed? -ful?…In Any Case, A Post With A Point!!!

In contrast to my last post, which was more speculative and humorous–if, indeed, it had any point at all (!?!)–the present post is quite serious, and features several links on matters that are not happy nor pleasant where the LGBTQIA+ communities in the U.S. are concerned.

[As Merri-Todd was commenting on that last more pointless post, this might be the “Hulk” version of PSVL emerging in the next few paragraphs…that version of me is not green and with bulging muscles, but instead blue; and with spiked tentacles and extra eyes. You don’t want to know what sorts of death-rays emit from those eyes…]

First, some fucking idiot in California has actually condoned legalization of murder against “sodomites” and has proposed a bill ALLOWING FOR THE SAME. Remember the “Spell Against Homophobia”? How about we do a coordinated version of it where every single name is replaced with the fucker who proposed this bill?

[And for those of you who think that me referring to this fuckface as a fucking idiot and a fucker is in some way disrespectful and hurts my message here: fuck that. When someone advocates legal murder of queer people, respectability politics can kiss my feckin’ arse, and then lick it after I’ve eaten a shit-ton of fiber until it’s clean. I hope this fucking shit-mouthed fuckbag chokes on his own bile and that his fucking dick splits the next time he’s wanking in his own homophobic guilt…and if he’s lucky, that’s the least horrible thing that will happen to him.]

Almost equally upsetting, annoying, and fucking stupid is this pile of shit from Missouri trying to outlaw pangendered restrooms, because, you know, trans* and gender-variant folks should not be able to have safe spaces to excrete their bodily wastes because gender-essentialist binarists (who are cis het white men, mostly) worry that they might “try and get up to something” when they probably just want to urinate in peace. Fuck that fucker…and perhaps another go-through of the “Spell Against Homophobia” only naming this fuckbag would be appropriate there.

On the not-as-bad side of things, hijacking (in a good way!) a homophobic politician’s website by a gay nerd is awesome!

And, on a not-entirely-pleasant note, but a touching one, have a look at this spoken word poetry piece by Patrick Roche.


With the above in mind, and likewise remembering what I reported a few weeks ago about a number of trans* youth suicides, perhaps we should have a scheduled and coordinated effort on, let’s say, this coming Tuesday, March 31st, where we sanctify those individuals, and likewise do the Spell Against Homophobia on the other individuals linked to above. What do you all say? If that date doesn’t work for you, then simply do them when you can…more often than once if you like, because every little bit helps.

Posted by: aediculaantinoi | March 26, 2015

Another Pointless Post…!?!

Sometimes, you just need to laugh. (I try to every day, and we did earlier as well as part of the house purification, too.)

But, this is not just a funny video–although it is that, too!

Of course, Mock the Week is hosted by Dara O Briain–one of my favorite Irish comedians–and this episode also has Ed Byrne–another Irish favorite of mine–and so it is worth watching anyway. Add in Milton Jones, the wacky Robin Williams-resembling crazy-haired Brit punster, who makes a joke about Pythagoras, and you’ve got television gold right there. However, Hugh Dennis is also very funny, as he usually is. Chris Ramsey is apparently a bit of a jerk, but he’s pleasant enough to look at, too; and, he’s from Arbeia (or, at least, it was called that when Septimius Severus was there and Brigantia was worshipped there–I’ve been there!).

But–and just go with me on this!–the other two panelists are Chris Addison (a regular) and Josh Widdicombe. Both are cute in their own way (for straight guys), and one is a few years older than me while the other is a few years younger. However, the part you need to go with me on is this: if one were to take Antinous, isolate a few of his physical characteristics (particularly facially), and separate them into two groups that then become people, Addison and Widdicombe (which sounds like it ought to be a comedy team anyway–!?!) are kind of the results.

See if you think so…

One certainly doesn’t have to see Antinous everywhere, but it is somewhat amusing to me to think of him with these varying senses of humor represented by these two individuals, and many others. If Hadrian was interested in him, he had to have been intelligent, spiritual, and also funny, or else I don’t think he would have kept the Emperor’s attention.

Posted by: aediculaantinoi | March 26, 2015

That Was An Interesting Evening…!?!

I was not sure if a particular thing was going to occur today (meaning Wednesday night) or not, but it did: a house cleansing/purification.

It was probably the most thorough such ritual I’ve ever done in my life, and it really needed to be, considering the situation involved and the miasmic person who had vacated it recently. I won’t (and in many cases can’t) go into details on the specifics of the situation, but the purification was very much needed and highly desired by those who asked me.

First, we brought in the gods, especially Hekate, Polydeukion, and Antinous, but several others as well (among them Kotys, Apollon, Hathor, the ancestors in the land, and several others too that I won’t mention because they were specific to the individuals involved and it isn’t my place to mention them).

Then, using nine different ritual technologies, we went from the center of the house to each of the rooms in turn using the different techniques. They were:

1) Light/fire
2) Sound
3) Water
4) Sage
5) Salt
6) Flogging
7) Cutting
8) Ephesia Grammata
9) Soybeans

Some of those might require a bit further description, though.

The “flogging” involved using the goatskin flogger we use at Lupercalia for blessing and purification; given that is the nature of that ritual, it was appropriate to use it here, I think.

The “cutting” involved using edged instruments (a sword, some knives, and a sickle) to make two diagonal cuts in the air: one from left to right to cut away what was negative, and one from right to left to draw and establish a boundary. (No actual blood was spilled; though, in the right circumstances and for the right purposes, it may not be off the table…just not on this occasion or for this particular end.)

The “soybeans” were some Setsubun soybeans left over from the Shinto ritual; I have several small bags of them, and have sometimes given them away to others. We used them to do what is done at the Shrine for that particular festival: to purify the areas of misfortune by saying Oni Wa Soto! and to draw in blessings and good fortune by saying Fuku Wa Uchi!

Then, after all of that, a dog was lead around into each room to make sure that everything was as it should be. Divination was done at many points to make sure we weren’t leaving anything out or doing anything wrong.

Finally, some offerings were made in thanks to all of the divine beings who were present for the ritual, and they were all thanked. Further offerings will be given over the next few days in a grand bonfire which will be occurring as well. There were many fortuitous things that happened along the way that made it very clear that the deities were involved and were inspiring everyone there in appropriate and recognizable ways. (The number “7” came up at one point in relation to a part of the ritual involving both Hathor and Apollon, and since there are the “Seven Hathors” as well as Apollon’s sacred number being “7,” and the people who suggested the number “7” at that stage did not know this…well!) ;)

All in all, the ritual was over two hours long…and, very tiring, but also very fulfilling.

And yet again, when Antinous came in during the “Frankensteinian Hymn” in Greek, it was palpable to everyone in the room, and the dog started to scratch himself in such a way that it pretty much provided a continuous bell-ringing sound for almost the entirety of the rest of the hymn! Antinous is a “Master of Hounds” (kynegetikos), after all! ;)

While I don’t think the same miasmic situation is going to apply to wherever I end up moving in the future, nonetheless this has given me a good template of what I’ll likely do when I first occupy a space of my own–hopefully before too much longer (all dependent on finances and jobs, of course, unfortunately, but anyway).

So, that was that! It looks as if the principal occupant of the house is going to have an ongoing devotion to Hekate in the future out of this, too, and she was very essential to the proceedings at many points.

I get a lot out of observing various holy days; but, these incidental, task-specific, somewhat impromptu rituals are also their own kind of fulfillment and enjoyment, and I’m happy to be able to do this for others.

Thanks to all of the deities, land spirits, and ancestors for their involvement in this ritual, for their blessings and presence, their purification and protection, their warmth and wisdom!
Dua Hethert!
Khaire Kottyto!
Khaire Apollon!
Khaire Hekate Soteira!
Khaire Polydeukion!
Khaire Khaire Khaire Antinoe!

Posted by: aediculaantinoi | March 25, 2015

Snakes for Sabazios 2015


It always amazed the Baptai how prevalent snakes were in the religious iconography of the Greeks and the Romans, and yet so many of them were also as deathly afraid of snakes as they were of almost anything. Certainly, some snakes were to be avoided, but it only took a discerning eye to know which were which.

Many had come for oracles before, and yet when the oracular serpent was taken out and draped over the Baptai‘s shoulders, more than one person had stood up and fled from the room. Those who paid beforehand tended to stay longer, but often they would freeze up and become silent in their petrification at the coiled creature before them. These same people might stand for days waiting for an oracle at Delphi, not knowing it was a serpent that helped to provide them; but, what they did not see could not frighten them. Perhaps there was something in that.

When the woman who had come to see about a purification came back again, the Baptai was not entirely surprised.

“I seek the blessings of your Gods and Goddesses,” she said as she entered the room.

“May Sabazios and Kotys and Bendis and Gebeleizis fulfill your desires, Lady.”

“I seek your advice, and that of your Gods and Goddesses.”

“What is it?”

“I have done as you suggested, and much seems to have been improved by it. But, I feel there is something else.”

“Another foul presence?”

“Perhaps…or perhaps not. I don’t know what has compelled me to come back here, but I feel it is the right course of action to take.”

The Baptai could see the woman was worried–not distressed, simply confused and not certain how these strange and foreign gods might be speaking to her.

“Then divination is the key.” The Baptai paused for a moment, thinking through what would occur next. “Lady, the form of divination we use amongst my people involves serpents.”

“Reading their entrails?”

“No, not at all!” She must have been Etruscan, the Baptai thought–though their practices were ancient and powerful, the fact that they could not imagine anything without examining the entrails of a being seemed a misplaced notion.

“Then seeing how it moves in sand? The tracks that it makes?”

“No, not that either.” However, the Baptai liked that idea, and thought for a few moments on how it might be adapted in the future. “The serpents are holy, and allow me to communicate with our Goddesses and Gods. I only act as the voice for the divine serpents; the rest is their own power.”

“Very well.”

“I have them here, and will take one upon my shoulders in order to do this work.” The Baptai had never asked the question which followed to anyone who had come before. “Will this make you uncomfortable?”

“No, not at all.” The Baptai could tell the woman was not afraid of snakes, and so what had been outlined proceeded.

The Baptai brought the largest female serpent from her enclosure. If this had been Thrace, the Baptai thought, she would have been better fed, but in Rome, it was rats that she ate. Luckily, Roman rats were fat off the refuse of the too-large city. She was taken upon the Baptai‘s shoulders, and the Baptai began sawing back and forth for a few moments before sitting down.


The voice of the serpent had never been so forceful or clear in the Baptai‘s senses, nor had an answer to any query been given so immeidately–without the question even being voiced, in fact.

“It seems I am meant to take this serpent with me, and we are to go to your residence, Lady.”

“Oh!” She seemed genuinely surprised, but at the same time, not reluctant. That was a good sign, the Baptai thought. “Will this…cost me extra?”

The Baptai smiled. “I cannot say at the moment.” The Baptai‘s answer did not put her off, and so he grabbed a cloak to place around his shoulders, and they went to her house.

It was nicer than the Baptai had expected, but still rather humble. Upon their arrival, the Baptai looked around, and tried to figure out where to place the serpent on the ground.


Without hesitating, the Baptai placed the serpent on the ground. The Baptai and the woman moved out of the way of it, and it slowly moved across the floor to a space beneath a bench along one wall. There was a small crevice in the wall, large enough for a rat to come through, and the serpent was headed right for it.

“Do you suppose there is some sort of ensorcelled rat that the serpent is going to kill?”

Amusing, the Baptai thought–too many people did not understand the difference between the things of the Gods and mere tales of wonder and magic.

“I was given no information on rats or sorcery of any sort,” the Baptai reported flatly.

In a moment, both the woman and the Baptai were surprised, because another serpent of the same species emerged from the crevice. It was smaller, and obviously male, and the two serpents began to coil together. The Baptai and the woman laughed somewhat at this.

“Perhaps you can place a baculum between them, and you might become a woman…or a man…or something.”

The Baptai didn’t think it was particularly funny, but he politely laughed all the same. “No–I wish to retain my sight, and my life. My Goddesses and Gods are far more fierce and far less forgiving than your Zeus and Hera. I need no curses nor blessings from them to practice these oracular arts.”

And yet, in that moment, even the great Tiresias could not have predicted what would happen.


The voice of the serpent–any of them– had never been heard when they were not draped across the Baptai‘s shoulders previously.

“It appears I am to take both of them back to the insula when they have finished their coupling.”

“That is…splendid! And what of this place?”

“The presence of the serpents has not only cleansed this house, they have blessed it. You shall have an end to all of your troubles now.”

“Beautiful! And now, what are your Goddesses and Gods owed for this?”

The Baptai stopped for a moment to try and calculate what might be an appropriate fee.


“I have been instructed that this service is one granted happily by the Goddesses and the Gods.”

“But you must take something!”

“I have my instructions.”

“If you will not take silver or bronze, then will you take some bread and wine, at least?”


“Yes, we will. Thank you.”

sabazios hand

Posted by: aediculaantinoi | March 25, 2015

Middle Irish Queer Women’s Day 2015

“Mother, who is my father?”

“You don’t have one.”

“But all of the other children do.”

“Well, you don’t.”

Máire wasn’t exactly telling him the truth. Yes, technically, Merbán did have a father, but she never knew him personally. Luckily enough, he was a man of some standing, and when he died, a portion of his legacy did pass to Merbán, which she now held in trust for him. And luckily, Máire was good at managing a small herd of cattle, and they were multiplying quickly under her care.

It would soon be time for Merbán to be fostered out, and likewise for her to receive another child in fosterage. Her friend Darlugdach would be arriving soon to discuss the terms. Darlugdach was rather unlucky. She had a lover when she was younger, but he died, and while she was given a pittance for the recognition of their relationship, the majority of his estate went to his wife and their children. Darlugdach had since been married herself, and had a child of her own, slightly younger than Merbán, whose name was Bríd. Though Máire herself had never been married, and had resisted all attempts to change that on the part of her family, she was a woman of respect in her túath, and was at the pinnacle of her art as a banfhili. If she had been born male, she’d have been the ollam flatha by now.

“Welcome in, Darlugdach!”

“Good that, Máire, and thanks be to the Gods for it!”

Máire shot a glance over her shoulder to make sure no one was passing by when Darlugdach spoke of the Gods.

“Bríd, greet your new foster-mother like I taught you.”

“Good that, Mommy. May the Gods and the Non-Gods bless you!”

“That’s very good, Bríd! But when there are people outside of our families around, you must be careful to say ‘God and Colum Cille be with you’ instead.”

“Where’s Merbán?”

“He’s outside. He’s your foster-brother now, so take care not to be too harsh with him, Bríd!”

Darlugdach waited for her daughter to be out of sight and earshot to continue speaking.

“You know, they’re not just foster-brother and foster-sister; they do have the same father.”

“You’ve always been sure of that, Darlugdach, but I don’t know if I believe it or not.”

“Believe what you like; I know she was quickened within me before my husband came into me, and thank the gods he is not one for counting months and thought the child his own.”

“No matter. Bríd is too active a girl, and though her and Merbán will be fast friends and foster-siblings, I don’t think she is to his liking, nor he to hers.”

“She has a sharp tongue. She should have been your daughter!”

“But Merbán is my own, and he’s a strange one, that’s for certain.”

“What do you mean?”

“He mutters in his sleep–when he does sleep, which is rarely–and he often knows my thoughts as well as I do, and before I can speak them. Three times now he has asked for it to stop raining and it has stopped raining. And the dogs and the cattle all follow him as if he is one of their own.”

“Then he’ll be well-suited to helping with our own herds and flocks in his fosterage!”

“True enough. But, that will never satisfy him. He needs something else.”

“He cannot become a fili, he’d be at best a bard for his lack of paternal poetic lineage.”

“And though the Abbot would love to have another acolyte, and he would go far in the church, that would not suit him either.”

“Nor us!” Darlugdach added, and Máire nodded in agreement before continuing.

“Do you know Muiredach, that druid from Alba?”

“Yes, his house is on the edge of the land where we usually graze our cattle.”

“Perhaps we should speak with him. When Merbán tends to your flocks, perhaps Muiredach can teach him the ways of druidecht.”

“It would have to be done in secret. My husband’s brother is a priest, and he comes around unexpectedly quite often, and we have no cause to refuse him hospitality.”

“Yes. I will speak with him and tell him what must be done.”

“Good that. Now, I wish to speak other words with you.”

Máire had not seen that expression on Darlugdach’s face since the time Merbán was conceived.

“Have you coupled with your husband lately?”

“It has been three days.”

“I do not wish to risk a second occurrence of what happened the last time.”

“Then we shall not put the vessels together. I shall swallow your seed, and you may do as you like with me.”

“In that case, close the door and bar it. I shall fetch the echfhlesc.”


Older Posts »



Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 342 other followers