Posted by: aediculaantinoi | February 13, 2016

A Sanctus at Parentalia, and other things…

Today is February 13th, which means that the Parentalia begins–the Roman festival for honoring one’s Ancestors. Thus, it is a time when in the Ekklesía Antínoou we might also remember and honor our groups’s Ancestors, namely the Sancta/e/i.

And it is that specific subject that I wish to address here primarily, as there is another addition to their ranks recently.

At the age of 63, Dr. Ibrahim Abdurrahman Farajajé just died on February 9th. I mentioned him in a post a few years ago, but I will say more about him now as well. There were several things which occurred in the matrix between 1998 and 2002 that lead me to get involved with Antinous, and Dr. Farajajé was part of several of them. When I was working on my M.A., via various different things, I was reading about, and then happened by chance to speak with, Joseph Kramer on the phone, and then via e-mail. He gave me two bits of advice: join the ANDROGYNE list, and join the Queer Theology_BEYOND list. The former is what put me in touch with one of the people with whom we would co-found the original Antinous group; the latter helped me to sharpen my queer theological skills, and (amongst other things) taught me that there must be much more than “coming out theology” if anything of a queer theological nature is to be effective, not only for queer people but for the wider world. It was on that list that I was virtually acquainted with Dr. Farajajé initially.

In August of 2001, I attended the North American Conference on Bisexuality, Gender, and Sexual Diversity up in Vancouver, B.C. There were several keynote speakers at the event, including Kate Bornstein. The final keynote speaker, who spoke at the last session on the final day, was Dr. Farajajé (who was going by the first name of Eliyahou at the time), and he said many memorable things in his address, including giving a Black queer midrash on Adam, Eve, and the serpent. It was funny, poignant, and a thoroughly enjoyable way to have the conference end, and I was only able to meet and speak with him afterwards for a brief few moments (and I have a photo of us together somewhere, too…not in digital form at present, but perhaps I can fix that before too long), but it was also very funny because he said something similar to what T. Thorn Coyle said to me in October at the World Parliament of Religions when I was attending Wande Abimbola’s session. Dr. Farajajé knew I would be there because all of us who were on the Queer Theology_BEYOND list who would be attending made note of such, and he said he knew who I was in the audience because of how I was nodding and smiling at what he was saying. (Thorn said that the tassel on my fez was shaking wildly throughout Wande’s presentation because of the same thing!) It was one of those interesting moments where we only really had that moment in which we were directly speaking with one another person-to-person (rather than online), but there was a deep recognition there, and one that I have never forgotten.

Now that his spirit has left our immediate presence, it seems fitting that he be brought into the ranks of the Sancta/e/i, where he would be most welcome and honored. I suspect that we’ll do this together, on April 1st, at the ritual we have in Seattle during which David Bowie and several others will all be sanctified ritually with a big group of us, as should be the case every time something of this nature occurs. He deserves no less.

*****

In other news, a new book has been released by Oxford University Press that (if I am not mistaken) is an edited collection that resulted from a conference I heard about a few years back, and would have loved to attend, on the Roman contribution to and influence on modern ideas of homosexuality. The editor of the book, Jennifer Ingleheart, has written this short article on the subject, mentioning Oscar Wilde and Teleny (which I wrote about previously), and of course, Antinous and Hadrian. The book looks very interesting, and I hope to be able to obtain it within the next few months and read it to see what it might have to say about our two favorite people–they’re on the front cover, after all–and much else and many others (e.g. Orpheus, John Addington Symonds, etc.) of interest besides!

Posted by: aediculaantinoi | February 11, 2016

Expect the Miraculous…

I was wondering what–and if–I might be able to post today, and wasn’t entirely sure. Today is Fornacalia, and I might end up doing something both ritual AND practical for that day later on this evening when I’m home from work–I’ll update on that as (and if) it occurs. I’ve been given a fair amount of stuff in the last 20 minutes, literally, none of which I’ve digested yet, but I’ll focus on one particular thing, which happened a few hours ago, and which is nothing short of miraculous.

The first thing of note I did today was see a student production of “Prometheus Bound” (attributed to Aeschylus but possibly later), which was very interesting, because it utilized mixed Greek-like costumes with Northwest Coast Native American masks for almost all characters except Prometheus himself, and for Okeanos (who had a trident–which is of course Poseidonian, not Okeanic as such, but oh well); Io was portrayed as a deer, Hephaistos as a wolf, and Hermes (most intriguingly!) as a great blue heron. It worked pretty well, and was a fairly decent student drama production; it has been going since last quarter, but I had not been able to see it previously because all the showings were in Mount Vernon, but they have been taking it on the road to high schools and such lately, and so they did it here in one of our foyers, which worked really well because Okeanos came up from the lower floor, and Hermes came down from the upper one. Unfortunately, myself and one of my colleagues who teaches English (and is teaching a Shakespeare class at present) were the only ones in the audience initially, and a few others came late and stood in the back, so it was that much more important that we clapped loudly (!?!).

It was a nice way to start off the day, and the drama was effective–I kind of had to hold back not to weep at Prometheus’ sufferings at the start of the play, especially since I had to teach a class afterwards! ;) And, I think I’ll read the play properly now, as I have not done so previously…

But then, the real miracle happened.

Lou came a bit late because a student detained him–he had wanted to attend–and was standing in the back, so I went to talk with him afterwards. He said “Did you lose a little crystal thing in my jeep?”

Oh. My. Actual. Gods.

Let me tell you a story…which I have not shared here, but which has been an issue for me for an unknown amount of time…!?!

At some point in the last two or three months–it could have been as early as November, or as recent as January, I’m not sure–I looked into getting some things that are “more appropriate” for Paneros in terms of items I can carry with me daily as Eir tokens, as I do with all of the main Deities to whom I am devoted. What I had from either last year (2015) or the previous year (2014) from PantheaCon was the only amethyst pendant I could get at one of the retailers, which is a little vaguely angel-shaped figure in a deep and pure purple amethyst, with a silver ring joining it to a point that is clear white quartz. It isn’t “perfect” as far as Paneros actually goes, but it was close enough, and I’d been using it daily for a long time. And then, at some point in the last few months, I was wearing some new, slightly-different trousers whose pockets were more easily accessible than the ones I usually wear, and it must have fallen out at some stage. I could not remember where I had been or what I had done that day in which I might have lost it, but I didn’t notice I had lost it until the evening, when I was doing my nightly before-bed devotions. I thought it might have fallen out of my pocket when I took a nap on the couch, so I searched through the couch and around it, and didn’t find it…and since then, I have left the couch cushions messed up and not-quite right since, because I should literally not *sit comfortably* with this condition of having lost the pendant. I did divination immediately, and of course Paneros was *not happy* with me, but also wasn’t being vindictive about it. I had been thinking of obtaining some other amethyst pendants, and so ended up having to start using those instead, and/or acquiring them…they weren’t as expensive as this original one (luckily!), but I figured it was the price I had to pay, literally, for my negligence.

Since then, I have kept all of my tokens of various sorts, even if they are in their own little pouches, in two larger pouches that I often use when traveling, and I have not lost anything since (obviously!).

Today was odd, because I wore trousers that I have not worn for a while, and the two pouches did not fit easily or comfortably in the cargo pocket, so I have one pouch in there, and the other in my sweatshirt pocket.

Last night, I had a feeling I might find it soon, and was going to mount another search of the couch, and move the couch if necessary (and thus have to move everything else in the room!) in order to find it; but I was also expecting, as some omikuji revealed at the beginning of the year, that I would not find it. I imagined someone on the bus may have found it, or at a bus stop where I had inadvertently crossed my legs and it perhaps slipped out of the pocket without me noticing.

But, instead, Lou had it, and it had fallen out in his jeep, and he figured it was mine! And he not only gave that back to me, but he also gave me a 4,000-year old spear point (he’s got bags of them!), and said he is going to make me a necklace at some point. That is awesome in itself, but coming on the heels of this literal miracle…I had not even remembered I had been in his jeep that day…is just amazing!

[On further consideration: this is interesting, because he’s shown me the spear points before. These are what people commonly call “arrow-heads.” Arrows = Eros, not only because He shoots them, but also because it kind of sounds like His name, and Eros is 2/3 of Paneros’ name…!?!]

So, thanks-offerings will be given to the Tetrad++ and others tonight on Lou’s behalf, in addition to what else gets done. And now, the adapted Tetrad++ic and Panerotic practices I’ve done since then will be modified again in a particular fashion, possibly to-be-determined by divination–we shall see!

A thousand thanks to the Tetrad++, to Paneros, to Antinous for always being my guide and comforter in these things…and, today, especially to Lou!

Posted by: aediculaantinoi | February 8, 2016

Coming Full Circle

In December, Circle Sanctuary announced they were discontinuing the publication of Circle Magazine after more than thirty years of publication. The loss of print publications for pagans is understandable for many reasons, but lamentable all the same.

I felt a bit ambivalent about this, because I’ve published with them before, and in fact had an article that was yet forthcoming in their magazine, and thus thought it might be one of several to go up on the blog here (like this and this) from recent months that were, for various reasons, not suited to the publications they were intended for, or the publications themselves were not going to be produced. But, *A LOT* had changed in my personal spiritual life and with my own identifications since early August when I submitted that article, to the point that I no longer consider myself “pagan” (other than adjectivally and in absence of a better and more descriptive term, of which there are several to be had based on context).

When this periodical’s publication staff then decided it was going to fold, I was a bit worried: in the words of Steve Erkel, did I do that? And while that sort of “magical thinking” is frowned upon these days, even by proponents of magical thinking, nonetheless, the thought crossed my mind.

No matter what the reality may be there, here we are…and perhaps appropriately, they decided the final issue, for which I had submitted an article, would be on death and afterlives.

The article, as I submitted it, was called “Eschatology, Then and Now.” However, they published it under the far-less elegant (or correctly punctuated) title “Eschatology, the Afterlife Then and Now,” about which I’m not particularly pleased, but oh well. It can be found on pp. 17-18 of Circle Magazine #122 (2016), which is available here.

As of yesterday (Sunday) morning, with the Setsubun ceremony at the Tsubaki Grand Shrine of America, we have entered the new year fully and completely, at least as far as the Shinto tradition is concerned. As Sannion pointed out yesterday, a Greek way to think of the Year of the Monkey might be via the Kerkopes, who I’m sure used to sing this song…

Or, one could just go with Hanuman, too (which is never a bad idea!).

[You know, there might be a connection here in some distant fashion: Ram and Herakles are similar in terms of being great heroes and archers, though one met his apotheosis by fire and the other by water…hmm!]

Posted by: aediculaantinoi | February 5, 2016

A Calendrical Addition…?!?

Something which I suspect a great many people who are affiliated with the Ekklesía Antínoou find difficult–and occasionally impossible–to do is to observe, in however small or low-key a fashion, as many of the festivals, events, and holy days that are listed on our Calendar as possible. Take it from me, I know it’s not easy! ;) (And, in any case, that particular version of the Calendar is pretty much mine, which incorporates various aspects of my Celtic Reconstructionist-based practices and other things as well, and not just strictly Antinoan and/or Graeco-Roman-Egyptian things.)

So, it is probably an occasion viewed with some degree of fear, trepidation, and even resentment for me to say “Guess what? There’s a new holiday we should be celebrating!” based on either a new emergence in the collective or personal realms of spiritual engagement, or as a result of new research.

What I am about to propose falls into the latter category. I extend great and especial thanks to Khonsumes for pointing the article containing this new information (at least “new-to-me”!) out to me.

Antinous Serapis coin

[Pictured above, incidentally, is a lead tessera that is from Egypt, believed to show on the obverse, at right, Antinous on horseback, as is the case with many of the Alexandrian coins that depict him, and on the reverse is a head of Serapis. You’ll see why I’ve chosen to illustrate the present post with this in a moment…!]

The article in question is by Dr. Youssri Abdelwahed, and is called “Two Festivals of the God Serapis in Greek Papyri,” published in Rosetta vol. 18 (2016), pp. 1-15 (which can be accessed here). It indicates that in papyri from the Ptolemaic period onward in Egypt, there are two festivals that go under the name of the “Serapeia,” which are celebrated at different times of the year. There is one–which seems to be the later innovation of the two–which is celebrated on April 25th, and is also found in Rome and elsewhere, which is the one we’ve been marking on our Calendar for the last eight years or more. There is another, however, which took place on December 22nd, and seems to have been especially celebrated at the Serapeum of Canopus, near Alexandria, which has all sorts of relevance for us, not least among such possibilities being the “Canopus Room” at Hadrian’s Villa, and the importance of Serapis to Hadrian in various ways. The December festival seems to be the more long-standing, and is based on an earlier festival of Osiris; the April festival seems to derive from Serapis’ syncretism to Zeus, though, which explains why it is also found elsewhere outside of Egypt.

What really clinches it, though, and what I think makes the most compelling argument for why we should add the December festival to our Calendar is that we have record of the following (p. 3 of the article):

Sarapion alias Isidoros, a priest of Antinous at Antinoöpolis, dedicated an altar to the temple of Serapis at Canopus, which was famous for its healing abilities and oracles, implying that the temple exceeded its local importance. [Emphasis added.]

I currently do not have access to the inscription detailing this, which is noted in the article, but this does two important things for us: 1) it indicates that there was a definite priest of Antinous from Antinoöpolis who was named for both Serapis and Isis who participated in this other important Graeco-Egyptian cultus elsewhere in Egypt (which also, thus demonstrates the interconnection of these super-syncretistic Graeco-Roman-Egyptian cults!), who should now be added to the Sancti since he is a known and named figure who was a priest of Antinous and thus one of his dedicated sacred functionaries in His sacred city; and 2) it indicates something that would have occurred for some practitioners in the ancient cultus, which we should at very least take note of, if not actively seek to emulate and continue.

I know that the vicinity of December 22nd is a pretty busy time for us here in the Ekklesía Antínoou, what with Saturnalia, the syncretism festival of Antinous and Harpocrates (and several others!) the day before and all else that the 21st signifies and has in terms of celebrations, and so forth; but, the more, the merrier, eh? And given that one of the syncretisms of Serapis that is mentioned in the article that is often not discussed is to Kronos (syncretized to Saturn in Roman practice), this would make all the more sense to mark, therefore, during the penultimate day of Saturnalia each year.

So, there it is. I will be adding this to the Calendar, with the April 25th event being designated–for lack of a better term–“Roman” while this one will be “Egyptian,” even though neither one is strictly one or the other.

What do you all think?

Posted by: aediculaantinoi | February 4, 2016

Gimme That Ol’ Starry Wisdom…

Gimme That Ol’ Starry Wisdom
Gimme That Ol’ Starry Wisdom
Gimme That Ol’ Starry Wisdom…
‘Cause it’s good enough for me!

Let us venerate Orion–
who is drinkin’ if you’re buyin’
and looks nothin’ like a lion!–
‘Cause he’s good enough for me!

Gimme That Ol’ Starry Wisdom
Gimme That Ol’ Starry Wisdom
Gimme That Ol’ Starry Wisdom…
‘Cause it’s good enough for me!

Let us venerate ol’ Taurus
with a dancing Bacchic chorus–
and his flesh is very porous!–
‘Cause he’s good enough for me!

Gimme That Ol’ Starry Wisdom
Gimme That Ol’ Starry Wisdom
Gimme That Ol’ Starry Wisdom…
‘Cause it’s good enough for me!

Let us venerate Inanna
who will fuck whene’er you wanna–
known from here to ol’ Gondwana–
‘Cause she’s good enough for me!

Gimme That Ol’ Starry Wisdom
Gimme That Ol’ Starry Wisdom
Gimme That Ol’ Starry Wisdom…
‘Cause it’s good enough for me!

Let us worship Utnapishtim
(though his name he had once wished ‘Tim’)
and the ark in which they shipped ‘im…
‘Cause he’s good enough for me!

Gimme That Ol’ Starry Wisdom
Gimme That Ol’ Starry Wisdom
Gimme That Ol’ Starry Wisdom…
‘Cause it’s good enough for me!

(But let’s not worship Cthulhu–
for his tentacles’ll drool you
and his madness? It’ll fool you!
He’s no good for you or me!)

Gimme That Ol’ Starry Wisdom
Gimme That Ol’ Starry Wisdom
Gimme That Ol’ Starry Wisdom…
‘Cause it’s good enough for me!

*****

You might wonder what all that was about…and if you do, join the club, because I’m wondering what it was all about myself now…sort of. ;)

In actuality, I got the idea for the title of this post, and the song which followed it, last night after I read a good bit of the book I just finished a short while ago, which is Gordon White’s Star-Ships, just published by Scarlet Imprint.

Not unlike my not-exactly-“review” of Peter Grey’s Lucifer from a few months back, this is also not exactly a review either, it’s more praise for the book followed by what it made me think of that might be of further relevance to the readers of this blog and the primary interests that are always at the forefront here (i.e. Antinous and friends).

It was a fast and enjoyable read, and one that many of you might read the synopses of and go “No, that’s not for me.” Let me attempt to re-assure you, it’s not like that. Yes, he talks about ancient civilizations, visitors from the stars, floods destroying advanced societies on longer scales of time than we often imagine, and the descendants of such civilizations going on to found the great civilizations of Sumer, Egypt, and India…and while “ancient aliens” and Atlantis are certainly mentioned, they’re dismissed entirely (and rightly so!), and instead some of the emerging theories on worldwide mythology in relation to Pan-Gaean, Gondwana, and Laurasian phases are instead examined, as well as geological and archaeological evidence for where some of these ideas may have originated. It’s also one of very few books to take seriously the findings at Göbekli Tepe, and to see that particular site and how it has been interpreted not as the “beginning” of Civilization, but instead as the end product of a series of civilizations that had already existed for a long time before that. And, along the way, a serious and astute critique of academia’s approaches to many of these questions–fraught though they often are with useful and even well-intentioned caveats on racialist theories and so forth–accompanies the entirety, and forces the reader to question what is passed off as useful and viable knowledge or interpretive theories that are often unquestioningly accepted as “Truth” by modern occultists, polytheists, pagans, and so forth. Since so much of modern magical practice and occultism comes from ostensibly Egyptian and Near Eastern sources, and White (convincingly, I think) demonstrates these have a basis in the far older Laurasian (and occasionally Gondwanan) strata of human cultures, which is the basis for a comparative mythological theory recently outlined by E.J. Michael Witzel’s monumental study The Origins of the World’s Mythologies (2013), this alone makes it an important source for those involved in any fashion with those cultures or their practices in the modern period. White also praises Bauval and Brophy’s Imhoptep the African (which I reviewed a few years ago), and the findings on the stellar alignments of Nabta Playa (though White says nothing, and I am still skeptical, on the idea of the “Nubian” origins of Imhotep and of Egyptian civilization), which deserve much further study and consideration for modern polytheists as well as occultists.

If any of the above sounds like it might be of interest to you, then I’d highly suggest checking out White’s book, as it will be worth your while.

So, the question for present purposes becomes: is Antinous in it, and what relevance does this have to Him?

The first question is simply answered–no.

The second, however, could have easily been served with a short section–something that White does frequently in his chapters, and very effectively, in terms of summarizing a particular piece of evidence and its interpretation’s relevance for his wider discussion–examining how the emergence of the cultus of Antinous is essentially a natural and almost expectable fit with so much of the “Laurasian novel” and many of its characteristics that are discussed, including flooding (the Nile’s most excessive inundation that occurred after Antinous’ death), an astral afterlife (the katasterism of Antinous after he died, which we just celebrated a week ago), and the idea of astral immortality achieved through a ritual of going up to and back down from the stars, with Sirius, Orion, and other familiar astral bodies and constellations being a large part of the picture in White’s examination, each of which has its relevance to Antinous as well in various ways.

One of White’s frequently stated points is that identifying where or when an early myth emerged or took place doesn’t necessarily then historicize the events of the myth (especially where flood myths are concerned), but the pre-existence of such myths might in fact explain how certain versions of the myth get localized and fleshed out with particular cultural features in a given instance, e.g. Gilgamesh and Utnapishtim. Thus, with all of these things which can demonstrably be said to have occurred on a literal historical level in Antinous’ case–his death by drowning in the Nile, the appearance of a star about 90 days after his death, and then the excessive flooding of the Nile–and the pre-existence of mythic elements as precedents for the cosmic and eschatological (in personal rather than cosmic terms) significance all of these events might have, would make it nigh impossible that Antinous’ death and deification was not a matter of supreme significance and import for those who were steeped in these post-Laurasian cultural mythologies, as everyone in Greece, Rome, and Egypt (and many places besides) would have been.

It’s often asked why and how Antinous’ cultus appealed to so many different people and seemed to last for so long in certain places, and was taken up so readily by many. The Christians suggested it was by coercion from a mad and tragedy-addled bereaved Emperor Hadrian; modern historians have suggested it was a friendlier and more approachable adjunct to the imperial cultus. What both of these fail to take into account is what White demonstrates amply, plausibly, and entertainingly in his book: the reality of spiritual experiences and of particular interpretations of them based in astral myths and rituals that were tens of millennia old at the point when their instantiation in Antinous’ case occurred, and the essentially irresistible allure of such interpretations and their power to impel others to further engage in cultus to become a part of such experiences.

While so much of Antinous’ cultus is–and probably always will be–shrouded in mystery (and Mystery), this aspect of its obvious and apparent appeal (invisible and inconsequential though it might be deemed by materialist positive atheo-scientistic academics in many disciplines) is most assuredly not, and White’s book is a demonstration of how the mythic mechanisms behind that situation came about and were furthered in various locations. The groundwork for the cultus of Antinous, thus, was not laid in Greek, Roman, or Egyptian cultures alone, but long ago in antediluvian cultures predating and responding to the great melt after the Ice Age, and their astral orientations.

The Boat of Millions of Years had been at sea for at least twenty thousand years before Antinous set foot on it.

So, if any of that interests you, I’d highly and enthusiastically recommend obtaining, reading, and re-reading and studying Gordon White’s Star-Ships.

Posted by: aediculaantinoi | February 1, 2016

Imbolc 2016; And, Other Things Elsewhere…!

First, a prayer for the day’s occasion…

Imbolc of Bríg Ambue

Bríg Ambue, I am without cows
even in this month without white snows;
there are none to be had in night’s raids,
heroic deeds’ potential now fades.

Wife of Celtchair, I have no lapdog,
no joy of the feast out of the fog,
no laughter at assemblies I find,
no gathering of kin or my kind.

Daughter of Judgements, who judges now?
The owners of all–both lands and cows–
who think not of people, or of fír
instead they’re blind to downtrodden tears.

Granddaughter of Hosteler, landlords
are the ones who own both rooms and boards,
who squeeze the stipends of clients’ work…
yet fixing leaks–their duties–they shirk.

And I am no warrior, only
a poet in a college lonely
where laws of Féne are yet unknown–
under such a yoke many now groan!

So today, Bríg Ambue, become
the Wolf-Mother who sounds out her drum,
who calls to muster the Fíanna
and break the tyrants’ rich gríanán.

Feed us on fine butter, and sweet milk
that is gift to all, not for fees bilked;
if poor in silver and sét we be,
then in virtue’s riches set us free.

If Cú Chulainn must fight Fer Diad–
has the horror of watching him bleed–
there is no justice for folks or land…
without cows, Bríg Ambue, I am.

Ad-rae buaidh ocus bennacht, a Bhríg Ambue!
Victory and blessings, Bríg Ambue!

*****

That’s cheerful, isn’t it?

Well, besides that, I have two things involving me to link to from elsewhere.

First, last night I was on the Pagan Musings Podcast, which had as its topic “the gender binary.” Given that I’m not “pagan,” on certain questions I was pretty reserved or entirely silent (that’s a change for me!), and on others I held back as well because I didn’t want to dominate the conversation. I can’t say I agreed with a lot of what was said and how some things were phrased, and I would have preferred talking more about the Tetrad++, but given it’s a pagan podcast, there wasn’t as much interest in that topic than a polytheist would have wished anyway. Nonetheless, Jaina Bee and a few others from CAYA were also on the panel. So, if you have a few spare hours, and want to give it a listen, go ahead!

Also, my latest “Speaking of Syncretism” column at Polytheist.com is up, which is called “Syncretism and Bricolage.” The discussion there owes itself to not only the class on the Toys of Dionysos I’m taking with Sannion, but also to some of my further readings/research and general thoughts about Orphism/Orphic traditions (and mysteries) in general. So, if you find that of great appeal, give it a read!

[I already have my next column for that planned, and maybe I’ll even write it up this week, and it could appear as early as next week, thus–who knows?]

And if you want a really great read–and not just because it has poems about and featuring (amongst other divine beings of interest!) Antinous, Hadrian, Polydeukion, and the Tetrad++, may I recommend Sannion’s This Is Not An Exit: Strange Spirits Volume II? Of course I can–this is my blog, and I make the rules! ;) But, it’s a tremendous book, and I’d highly recommend: 1) getting a copy and reading it in one sitting; 2) getting another copy to give to someone; and 3) getting four more copies and leaving them at the bus stop, being sure to fold up the copies of The Watchtower that are probably laying there already, so that they can be used as bookmarks before they’re recycled.

Posted by: aediculaantinoi | January 29, 2016

Antinous the Navigator 2016

I’m going to be very cryptic today–on purpose.

But first, I give thanks to Antinous the Navigator, for doing exactly what I thought would happen, without me having to ask Him (or anyone else!) for it, or prompt it, or encourage it, and which I’ve been hoping would happen every year since I’ve started in Antinoan devotion.

Read Merri-Todd of the Magisterium’s TWO hymns for today (hurrah!) here and here. They’re lovely and powerful, and you’ll enjoy them…and should use them, especially if you haven’t written anything yourselves for the occasion, or haven’t found anything that I’ve written that you’d like to use on this day!

In that regard, though, you an use this hymn here (from 2015), or here (from 2014), or this one here (from 2012), or even an old Coptic Manichean text we used to use as well–so many options, folks! ;) There’s even one (from 2013) that you can use if you’re not feeling very wordy and want to keep the theme of your observances rather apophatic (which would be appropriate for those suited to that temperament!).

As for me, what will I be doing? I’m glad you asked (even if you didn’t), but my cryptic declaration above will result in further allusions below.

To put it simply, I’m going to start the most complex Antinous-related ritual working (which is Serpent Path-related) I’ve ever done, which will be a part of my regular practice for some length of time–it may be for the full period of Antinous the Navigator’s tenure with us this calendar year, or it might be for many more months than that…who knows? Depending on how certain things go, it might even be a year-long (or longer!), but I’m not certain. Divination, how it all goes, and what ends up happening will often determine, step-by-step, what is going to be occurring in the future. It’s exciting, it’s daunting, it’s by no means certain in its outcomes (not unlike practically everything!), and it is the *right* thing for me to be doing at present. I expect that small miracles will occur all along the way, for which I’ll simply have to retain sharp senses and keen discernment, and I hope it not only leads to new insights, but to a variety of other possibilities that my mind, personally, cannot fully conceive at present.

And if it doesn’t–oh well, at least I tried, and it will have proven to be useful and beneficial to Antinous, to myself, and hopefully to the wider community in other ways as well in the meantime.

We shall see!

Hail, Hail, Antinous the Navigator!

Posted by: aediculaantinoi | January 27, 2016

Sadness…

I just found out yesterday that one month ago today, Andy M. Stewart–a great Scottish folk musician, who was a member of the group Silly Wizard, and likewise did a lot of collaborations with the Irish musician Manus Lunny–died at the age of 63.

Andrew "Andy" MacGregor Stewart, September 8, 1952 – December 27, 2015

Andrew “Andy” MacGregor Stewart, September 8, 1952 – December 27, 2015

While I’m sure far more people (and even far more pagans and polytheists) are still lamenting the death of David Bowie, there’s a way in which Andy M.’s death is even more personally impactful for me. Let me try to explain.

Simply put, if Andy M. Stewart had not been a part of my life when I was in undergraduate college from late 1994 onwards, I would literally not be doing a great deal of what I am now, including singing. A friend that I met on the second or third day of college and became very close with over the years shared many interests of mine, including many things Celtic, and music especially. While I went far deeper into religious territory than he did, and likewise into academic inquiries into these things, he was always and ever the better artist in every possible medium, and music was one such pursuit. However, he didn’t like to sing, so that left the matter to me to either step up or shut up, and I decided to step up. He introduced me to Andy M. Stewart’s (and Manus Lunny’s) music very soon after we met, and it was love at first sound. My second year in college, I took voice lessons specifically so I could sing some of his songs better, and I obtained a number of his CDs over a memorable Thanksgiving weekend in the surrounds of Boston with my friend, going further with knowledge of Andy M.’s music than my friend did. I sang both “Land o’ the Leal” and “A Red, Red Rose” for my final in voice class that year (this would have been in May of 1996). I was never able to see Andy M. perform live, but a friend of mine from home who knew of my enthusiasm for him happened to catch a show with him in Bellingham, WA, and got her ticket stub autographed to me by him–I’m sure it is in one of the boxes I have somewhere, and will now have to seek it out purposefully.

I was just thinking on Monday, when I posted the Robert Burns songs that he did, that I’d love to see him in concert one day. Now, that will never be…but, his recordings are a great legacy.

The near-obligatory response to the death of a great musician is to do a “top ten” list of one’s most favorite songs/recordings by them, and so I’m going to do that here…but…!?! It’s honestly hard for me not to put down every song from Dublin Lady and At It Again (two of his albums with Manus Lunny), or from Man in the Moon (one of his solo albums), nor from Silly Wizard and the whole Robert Burns album, either, so I’ll just try and keep the following to my very most favorite songs that he did–and I can’t get it down any smaller than thirteen such songs (though I could also easily increase it to fifteen or sixteen, or even twenty!–but I don’t want to try your patience, either).

And I’ll start with the one I posted on Monday that is my favorite: “Rantin’ Rovin’ Robin,” which I once sang in the elevator of the library at my undergraduate college to a few friends in late 1995.

_____

“Take Her In Your Arms”: Some great advice in this song all around–but particularly “Now depression’s not a million laughs, but suicide’s too dangerous”…words, indeed, to take to heart. (Some of the other advice in it, though, is questionable at best…on purpose…!)

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“The Gold Claddagh Ring”: One of the best lines in a song ever: “Why is it that women are smarter than men?” A question for the ages, folks.

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“My Heart, It Belongs To She”: And another sad (failed) love song…one of my favorites, though, and one I’ve sung many times.

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“Dinny the Piper”: And here’s a song about a carnivorous cow. (!?!) Or, at least, a case of mistaken identity involving the possibility of a carnivorous cow, contextualized in a very difficult period of British and Irish (and American, for that matter!) history. You’ve gotta have a sense of humor, after all…

_____

“Freedom is Like Gold”: Andy M. Stewart–like many trad and folk musicians–did not shy away from political songs. His political songs were not subtle, but they didn’t need to be. This one may seem somewhat dated, but it’s also pretty rockin’ and much is just as true now as it was in the 80s.

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“The Gaberlunzieman”: If you don’t know Scots (and that’s Scots, not Scottish Gaelic), this one might be one of the most difficult to understand. It’s called “The Gaberlunzieman,” which is basically a traveling fix-it guy, but in this case, the gaberlunzieman in question is actually a king in disguise who went to woo a young girl he fancied. On the one hand, hospitality and its customs and their violation is very much at stake; on the other, the daughter of the woman who let him in got to be a queen, so how bad, like?

_____

“Island of Sorrows”: Though this next one is based on an Irish or Scottish historical situation (I can’t now recall what, though), it could almost be about Ariadne, or Penelope, for reasons I’m sure you’ll figure out.

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“The Man In The Moon”: This one could be Antinous singing to Hadrian after his apotheosis…I always found it mysterious when I first heard it in ’95 (and still do), but perhaps in its own way it paved the way for what came later. (It lends itself easily to polytheist and/or pagan interpretation, in any case.)

_____

“The Errant Apprentice”: This song used to be one of my “party pieces” in Ireland and elsewhere, and I’ve sung it around fires and in pubs and elsewhere on many occasions (in two different pubs in Rosscarberry, West Cork after visiting Drombeg Stone Circle on Winter Solstice in 2000 and 2001, for example); though it takes the form of a folksong, and is set in the era of the Boer Wars, it was written in the 1990s and has some very modern elements…though it is quite hilarious if you listen closely to the very intricate rhymes.

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“The Haughs of Cromdale”: This next one is the ultimate battle song, about a band of 2,000 Scots who killed all but 500 of Cromwell’s Roundheads, and is also the first Andy M. song I ever heard when my friend played it for me in the first week or so we knew each other:

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“Monday Morning”: No matter whether you know anything about Scotland, or about the labor strikes there (and elsewhere in the U.K.) in the 1970s and 1980s, anyone who has ever worked a job can sympathize with parts of this song. I sang this for one of my favorite high school teachers at her retirement party, and she loved it!

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“Land O’ the Leal”: And, the one many of you have seen before, which not only is a damn good version of the song, but also has the witty and hilarious banter of some crazy Scots in Silly Wizard before it, too…

That last one is a fitting one to end with, I think.

You can find other recordings and live performances of all of these on YouTube, as well as the other songs off his various albums, and if you like any of the above, I cannot recommend highly enough that you go and have a listen.

Rest well, Andy M.–you’ll need to, because the requests for songs will be comin’ in hard and strong as soon as you’re up for it in the Otherworld.

Posted by: aediculaantinoi | January 25, 2016

A Bunch of Stuff…!

It never fails: I’m such an inveterate procrastinator that on the first day of the quarter in which papers are coming in from my students, I suddenly HAVE TO do a post about almost nothing to waste a few minutes before diving in with grading them (and even then, I likely won’t until tomorrow, because I slept awfully due to the full moon over the weekend). As I’m hoping to start on a major devotional project that is non-writing related and non-“shareable” at this point through this medium on Friday, that will also be a way that I can justify taking 30 minutes to several hours daily to not grade papers, too…!?! But more on that in a few days…

In the meantime, a few minor matters that I think you should know about.

Today being Robert Burns Day and all (the only option for Scottish food in my town at present is McDonald’s, unfortunately, where I did NOT go for dinner tonight…breakfast tomorrow, though…!), I am obliged to share the following, in the renditions of Andy M. Stewart so beloved of my days as an undergraduate, and which I shared with one of my classes today as well.

Pride of place goes to his birth/autobiographical work. And, I think it’s just my favorite Burns song–I mean, it’s about doing divination for the future life of a baby…what’s not to like? ;)

And, this one is de rigeur for Burns Day, an’ a’ that. ;) (And earlier, certainly, on “hamely fare” I did dine!) I suspect there’s a verse in this that a certain pseudo-red-haired presidential candidate demagogue should take to heart:

Ya see yon birkie ca’d a laird
Wha’ struts an’ stares, an’ a’ that–
Tho’ hundreds worship at his word
He’s but a cuif for a’ that!

It’s like Burns knows the guy…!

And why not one that many people might know at least one line of, but may not know where it’s from? Well, now you know! Some might say “But that’s so cliché!” Well, if it’s where the cliché originated, then it can’t be, can it? That’s what I think, anyway…

So, happy birthday to the Bard of Caledonia!

*****

Now, on to something Antinoan–or, rather, from the Antinoan (Heroic) pantheon.

I was looking at the banner of the Trophimos Achilles earlier, and noticed something.

It wasn’t Achilles himself that I was noticing, it’s that person in the lower right corner. Notice anything in particular about him? This is a very grainy view, but let’s take a closer look:

Achilles helper

While I could be over-reading it, I wonder: is that curly-haired helper handing him his heroic helmet (!?!–got a bit carried away there, sorry!) Antinous? Perhaps? Maybe…who knows?

In any case, it’s something to think about…or perhaps foreshadowing. You shall have to be the judge of that yourselves!

*****

I might have a short post again tomorrow or the next day, but otherwise, expect to hear from me again on Friday, most likely!

Posted by: aediculaantinoi | January 24, 2016

Birthday of Hadrian 2016

Felix Dies Natalis Dive Hadriane Auguste!

Hadrian as child

The present post goes back in its origins several months…and, it is going to go forward as well for at least a day, and possibly more.

Let me try to explain.

On Foundation Day of 2015, I posted “The Orphic Hymn to Hadrian”, which is something that was in the works for many months last year (since mid-February, actually). There is another poem I’ve been trying to work out for several months–since early August, in fact. And it had its roots here:

On the night of the Bakcheion ritual, during various parts of it, I found myself over near the communal shrine for the conference. After going up to the specifically Dionysos and Ariadne shrine and paying my respects, I went over to the communal shrine, and looked at the various icons of Antinous. I felt I should pray something, and so I quickly defaulted to the most frequent prayer I do for Antinous, which is one verse of “Ave Ave Antinoe” that kind of has an interesting history (if you’re interested, let me know in the comments and I’ll say more about it), and which I pray more than any other verbal prayer I use because I say it every day when I arrive in my office at work before my icon of Antinous in my office. That verse goes:

Ave Ave Antinoe Liberator
Homo Deus Victor Pacis Imperator
Ave Antinoe Ave Navigator
Veni, Veni Antinoe Amator

When I got done with that, I kind of got the spiritual stink-eye from Hadrian, and so I inquired on that. Imagine if you will the great Emperor saying the following:

He’s just a Neos Iakkhos, but am I not a Neos Dionysos?

In other words, “Am I bag of oats?” This was a Dionysian ritual, and while Antinous is syncretized with Dionysos in various ways, he’s also not that special variety of person known as a Neos Dionysos, but Hadrian was. So, he deserved something. Being slightly inebriated, and without writing utensils, I thought I’d try my hand at dichetal do chennaib, and got the first verse of what follows.

Ave Ave Hadriane Liberator
Neos Dionysos Mundi Imperator
Ave Hadriane Ave Navigator
Peregrine Perite Poeta Amator

Ave Ave Hadriane Navigator
Nove Bacche Soter Mundi Liberator
Ave Hadriane Ave Ave Amator
Pontifex Maxime Romae Imperator

Ave Ave Hadriane Imperator
Dux Musarum Gratiarum Amator
Ave Hadriane Ave Liberator
Disciplinae Inventor Navigator

Ave Hadriane Ave Ave Amator
Mysteriae Vates Cereris Navigator
Ave Hadriane Ave Imperator
Martis et Veneris Hostis Liberator

However, there’s more, but I just don’t have it right now…and Hadrian himself is not satisfied with what is above, but wants there to be more…just not today. (This is according to the divination I did earlier, which was very specific!) So, this will be an ongoing project in the next few weeks or months, and might end up being as long as “Ave Ave Antinoe” by the time it’s done, but I suspect it will be a bit more involved in various ways. We shall see. I suspect I’ll split up the verses above and have 3-5 verses in between each…but I have my orders, and no more need be done on it tonight. He is a particular Emperor, that’s for sure, but at least a tolerant one!

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