Posted by: aediculaantinoi | October 24, 2016

Sacred Nights of Antinous 2016: Festival of Osiris

For today’s poem, I’m making good my (long-overdue!) vow to Brett Buffalo (from early 2015!) for a poem which is related to Antinoan Egyptian subjects. Here goes…

Hymn to the Antinoöpolitan Sunrise

Sing, O Muses, for the shining city on the Nile’s fertile plain,
the reaches of the river in which Upper and Lower Egypt meet–
the Two Lands of Set’s offspring and Horus’ children
which mingle in the surrounds of Memphis and what flows both ways from it–
as Eos makes Her rose and golden way into the sky
and Her son, Memnon, cries out for her in the same way
that Her own flesh cried out for Tithonos, immortal but aged…
and may the fate of that shining city’s Hero not be as Tithonos’.


And sing as well for the city which is its neighbor across the Nile,
the great city of Twice-Great Thoth, whom the Greeks call Hermes Logios,
and His city Hermopolis Magna, where the great writings are made
and the Houses of Life store the words of the Gods in each Triad, Ogdoad, and Ennead;
it was by the words of Thoth that the Ba of the shining city’s Hero
took on the form of a God and rose from the Nile in triumph and glory,
and though words etched in stone proclaim Him the son of Re-Harakhte,
He is equally the son of Argus-slaying Hermes, and son of ibis-headed Thoth.

Bes winged

Sing, Terpsichore and Her sisters, for the dance which is done by Bes
when He swirls about above sleeping children in their beds,
His arms wielding every sort of weapon against the marauding of bad dreams,
and when it comes time to ask questions from the Gods, it is Bes again
Who dances a step of questioning and of conveying messages to and fro–
in that shining city, before its foundation stones were raised
and its beautiful streets and sturdy gates took shape from stone
Bes did His dances, and dance He shall continue in the Boy-God’s honor.


And sing again, She of the plectrum and the lyre, for beer-sated Hathor,
Whose dances put Muses and Graces and even Aphrodite and Apollon to reddening,
Who is the cow well able to contend with Dionysos’ wine-drenched bull,
the Two equal in revels and in raving under the spirit of strong drink–
and as the Muses sing and pour forth libations for the other Gods,
let another libation be poured for the God of the shining city
of marble columns and stately arches Who welcomes all into the dance,
the new child of Hathor, nymph-nurse like for thunder-born Dionysos.


The Muses have not yet sung their songs nor given their due to the great Emperor,
the Ruler of the Two Lands who unites the world regions under his feet–
Hadrian the Greekling of Rome, seed of Herakles in Hispania–
so let them sing their poems now, their lyrics of his great virtues and deeds,
their epics of his slaying of lions, bears, and boars,
and the histories of the wonders he saw in Egypt when he approached
Re-Harakhte and asked for his favor upon the newborn God,
the God of the shining city upon the fair Nile’s sunrise shores.


From the sleep of the God Osiris, just brother and husband to Isis great-of-Heka,
Who alone of the Gods is just enough to oversee the scales of Ma’at,
the new God arises from the dream of death by drowning–or is, indeed, this life
of toil and suffering upon the earth in the parched deserts in search of meaning
instead the sleep, the waking from which is death and the dawning of the sun
brought by the barque through the night-lands of the Amduat?
The new God in His peace, His justice, and His benevolence only smiles enigmatically
for He has come to know the secret of the ways of Morpheus, Hypnos, and Thanatos.


And when He has awoken, risen from the sleep of death to the promise of the sun,
like the sweet-smelling Nefertem His petals open to the sky and the sun above,
touched with red rather than blue in honor of Eos and Her son Memnon,
and being fragrant before the Gods like an offering of the ankh and Ma’at
in bread and beer, in water, and in the finest perfumes which Bast’s jars can contain;
the child of Ptah and Sekhmet comes forth in His splendor at Hermopolis Magna
to welcome the new God in His crown and mantle of red, and the Two Gods together
sing the hymn of the morning to the ascending of the stars at the inundation.


The shining city of upon the Nile’s sunrise shore so celebrated by the Muses
is called Antinoöpolis, with buildings of good white stone and sphinx-lined streets
where the Gods are given temples and the people of the Two Lands and of Greece and Rome
are given homes and measures of grain in abundance, in the justice of the Gods;
and the new God Whose seat is there, Who drowned upon the shore where the island came forth
is called by name Antnus, in the Greek tongue Antinoös, and in the Latin Antinous–
and may His name be repeated and refrained upon a thousand tunes in the throats of millions,
for it is the name which brings joy and peace to those who are in awe of Him.

Sing, O Muses, for the new God Antinous in His beautiful city as the sun rises,
and as it persists in the sky through the day into the noontide hours,
and in its descent into the West and the darkness of night, and again through its passage
in the realms of shadow; and for the beauty of the city and its God–once human,
Who came under the lily-breasts of Hera in His deification–may Iris, handmaiden of Hera,
bring Her tidings of jubilation in Her many-colored raiment across the sky
to frame the shining city upon the sunrise shore of the Nile’s fertile valley
with an arch fit for a God as beautiful and bright as the Boy-God, Antinous.


[Iris has made an unexpected guest appearance herein for two reasons: earlier today, one of my students had the unfortunate typographical error of writing “Iris” instead of “Isis,” and I had to correct him on that; but, apparently doing so caused Her to appear, as on the bus trip home tonight, I saw one of the brightest full-bow rainbows I’ve ever seen, which framed my apartment–or, more likely, my Shrine–beautifully as I approached it, and it wasn’t only a bright full-bow rainbow, but there was a fainter second rainbow surrounding it! So, cue DOUBLE RAINBOW feels…!?!]


And, in other news, Pete Burns, lead singer of the group Dead or Alive, died. You might recognize this song, which was their biggest hit of the 1980s…

[Gods…that hair, and that purple jacket…I’D LOVE TO HAVE BOTH! And so Dionysian…!?!]

Pete was gorgeous, and stylish, and at the forefront of the androgyny movement/look in the 1980s–always flaunting convention, saying things that pretty much are the same things modern gender-variant and genderqueer folks say today. Pete was also historically bisexual, with a long-term marriage to a woman and more recently a marriage to a man.

Just as David Bowie earlier this year, I think Pete Burns qualifies eminently to be honored as one of the Sanctum of the Tetrad++…but, what do you reckon?

In any case, I know Pete is singing and dancing and entertaining many with that same inimitable style and grace now in the realms beyond, and will never be forgotten!

Ignis Corporis Infirmat; Ignis sed Animae Perstat!

Posted by: aediculaantinoi | October 23, 2016

Not Ready…Already…!?!

The Sacred Nights of Antinous for 2016 begin tomorrow…and, I’m nowhere near as ready as I’d like to be.

I was hoping to have about four to seven publications ready by now, amongst other things, but they’re not…which is a HUGE disappointment to me.

My energy levels, and the amount of things I’ve had to do over the past few months, have both conspired against me to the ends of being able to get all of these things in order, and it looks like that might continue through this week as well.

If all goes well, in a week I’ll have some folks over for a ritual in my Shrine on the evening on Sunday the 30th (Foundation Day), which will be slightly altered from what it used to be…and whether I’m referring to the ritual or the Shrine there, or both, or something else entirely, you’ll just have to guess (!?!). Beyond that, I can guarantee nothing.

But, what I might try to do over these coming days is post a poem on some of the days, particularly the first four…maybe not always for Antinous (which is one of the great pluses of polytheism–one can honor many Deities!), but something in fulfillment of one of the devotional poetic debts I owe to various folks that can be interpreted as in some way connected to the themes for each date in this cycle of nine nights (a novena, in the truest sense!).

For those of you not familiar with the order and themes of the dates in the Sacred Nights of Antinous in my own calendar, here’s a refresher:

October 24 Osiris and Antinous
October 25 Panthea
October 26 Ophidia
October 27 Ananke Antínoou
October 28 Death of Antinous
October 29 Antinous in the Underworld
October 30 Foundation Day
October 31 Antinous Triumphantus
November 1 Antinous the Liberator

[While all of these dates are important for Antinoan practitioners, the date of Foundation Day is in both bold and underline because it is essentially The “holy day of obligation,” to use Catholic phraseology, of the Antinoan tradition, no matter upon what day it happens to fall. Luckily, this year it is on a Sunday, so I don’t have to take an unpaid holiday off from work for it.]

We’ll see how it all goes from there…

What are all of you planning for these dates? Feel free to share in the comments below!

Posted by: aediculaantinoi | October 20, 2016

Spirit Day 2016

Whether the wider culture recognizes it as such or not, today is the date in my Calendar in which I mark Spirit Day, which began a few years back during a particularly bad spate of youthful suicides of people who were, or were accused of being, queer and were bullied for such. While some of these sorts of deaths are not as highly publicized now as they were a few years ago, these kinds of death do occur all the time. We were especially painfully reminded of this recently with the death of Seb Barnett on October 8th of this year, and even though their death was not directly from bullying, it is important and timely to recall those who have lost their life to suicide who have been queer of all varieties on this particular occasion.

It is, thus, with some relief (though not necessarily joy) that I heard today that the government of Britain may now be (often posthumously) pardoning of those convicted of “gross indecency,” including individuals such as Oscar Wilde and Alan Turing (both Sancti of Antinous), and Turing in particular was yet another individual who died from suicide. His loss, and the loss of so many others, to suicide is unconscionable, and the ways in which societies around the world have provoked and abetted this in their citizens is likewise entirely inexcusable. As much as we can be grateful for recognition that mistakes have been made in the past, it’s “too little too late” in the case of many of these individuals in Britain–tens of thousands of them who were charged, and who-knows-how-many lost their lives to suicide–and it’s never enough to entirely dispel the scourge of general homophobia, transphobia, and queer-phobia which allows some people to think it’s their right and duty to torment others about their identities, even to the point of death, self-inflicted or otherwise.

There is not much else to say beyond this, other than it is good and right on a day like this to recall those who have lost their lives by suicide over anti-queer bullying and psychological torments, but also over other such pressures that come with living in cultures that do not accept our full humanity, divine potentials, or even our rights to exist.

Ignis Corporis Infirmat; Ignis sed Animae Perstat.

Posted by: aediculaantinoi | October 19, 2016

Armilustrium 2016: All The Best Oldies…

I was hoping I’d have the time, the energy, and the inspiration today to write something new for Armilustrium. Alas, I don’t have any of those things right now…

So, instead, I’ll share a few poems I’ve written for this occasion in the past few years instead (with the original Carmen Saliare fragments given at the bottom, because one should!), with one addition I have never shared publicly as of yet (but which should be published in a Bibliotheca Alexandrina anthology in the near future), which is the last poem given below. It’s quite literally the least I could do…

Armilustrium Novum

Go to your rest now, Mars of the bloody sword,
for the season of war has passed for the year,
though I cannot dance the dances of the Salii;
I entreat you to hear my prayers, O Mavors.

I will sing of you, and your praises, to father Jupiter,
who has thundered, god of light, over all the gods
who, beneath him, have heard his thunder and seen his lightning;
I entreat you to hear my prayers, O Mamers.

Go to the embrace of sweetest Venus, great god,
and to your well-earned rest on a bed in Thrace
from which you grant gold, abundance, and healing;
I entreat you to hear my prayers, O Candaon.

Your lying shall be as a kiss to grief
to quell the ires of citizen and barbarian alike
from land to land, Gaul to Syria to Tripolitania;
I entreat you to hear my prayers, O Teutates.

Extinguish the firebrands of war and the funeral pyre,
for the time of immortalized heroes is passed for a space,
through your arts have been acquired all lands spreading out;
I entreat you to hear my prayers, O Ares.

Your shields shall be washed in Juturna’s spring,
wife of Ianus, whose temple doors are closed,
and the good gifts of Ceres may benefit all under your aegis;
I entreat you to hear my prayers, O Marmar.

WIth your friend Quirinus, who began your rites
when he founded the city as Romulus, your son, fosterling of the Lupa,
be pleased with the Salii as Apollo with the Hirpi Sorani;
I entreat you to hear my prayers, O Ultor.

I have not come dancing for you today, nor do I carry shields,
but for Minerva and for Hercules of the Salic dances as well
I give you a dance of words upon pens as spear-points, ink as blood, and sword-tongues;
I entreat you to hear my prayers, O Mars.

Why Aren’t You Dancing?

I cannot dance, for there is no peace in the land.

There have always been dances for war,
with Mars and with Minerva and with others
as much as with Bacchus and with Liber.

I cannot dance, for I am not a warrior.

No trade is without its own dance,
no vocation does not have steps appropriate–
whether teacher or herder, senator or sweeper.

I cannot dance, for my feet are not well.

The fish dance in the streams without feet,
the snake dances without legs or feet,
and the birds dance upon the winds.

I cannot dance, for I have no partner.

Then dance by yourself–
for there is no necessity for mating
in every dance that is performed.

I cannot dance, because I don’t dance.

Then refuse to breathe or eat,
refuse your heart its rhythm of beats
for if it did not dance, you would die.

Why aren’t YOU dancing?


Take Up Arms

The shields are purified and stored away,
the doors of Ianus’ temple are shut,
and Mars is sated in love of strife for another year.

But, this is not a day to go off guard,
to lay down one’s arms,
to no longer be vigilant in the struggle.

The fight is not a bloody one
waged on battlefields with ranks of soldiers,
it is a fight around the hearth fire,

the struggle inside the hearts and minds
enacted in front of shrines in homes
and before the altars of the gods

(for true temples have been a casualty
in the long war, and few remain)
for the prize of the soul of devotion.

Disciplina will need to stand with us
as much as Mars, Minerva, or Hercules,
the Hirpi, the Salii, or the Luperci.

It is not the fast-footed dance of war
but a slow dance, even when steps falter,
that is never ended nor begun,

but only paused and resumed from time to time–
though none are excused from the floor
to sit one out for any length of time.

The shields are raised, the pikes at the ready,
the long lines of warriors arranged in ranks–
you are not to join them,

you are to give the signal for their advance
when you kneel and bow in prayer
and offer to the gods in sacrifice of yourself.

The holy tides are approaching:
they will wash over and defeat you
if you do not stand ready for them.


divum +empta+ cante, divum deo supplicate
cume tonas, Leucesie, prae tet tremonti
+quot+ ibet etinei de is cum tonarem
Omnia vero adpatula coemisse.
Ian cusianes duonus ceruses dunus Ianusve
vet pom melios eum recum.


Herodes Attikos’ Commentary on the Carmen Saliare

I have heard the Salii sing their song
on the Quinquatrus and the Armilustrium;
not Varro, nor Cicero, nor Scaurus knows,
nor even the dancing priests themselves,
what it is they are saying to the Gods.

I, who have never raised a sword in hand,
who have never hoisted a shield on arm,
will illuminate what the ancient prayer means,
for divine insight has been given to me
and what has been hidden may be made clear and plain.

When they entreat the crowds, “Sing to Him,
the Father of the Gods! Appeal to the God of Gods!”
they do not, as the fools think, sing to Jupiter,
but instead to Mars himself, their patron,
who is called Mars Pater and Marspiter.

For even kings amongst Gods and men
fall when the scourge of battle comes
and the hot wave of warfare crashed
upon their courts and their enthroned bodies,
as it did to Saturn and to Caelus before him.

It is not the lightning of Jupiter Fulgur,
whose temple is on the Campus Martius,
nor of Summanus whose forks light the sky at night,
that they hymn when they say “When thou thunderest,
O God of light, they tremble before thee!”

It is, again, Mars Invictus, the conqueror,
whose sword and spear crack open Nox’s face,
revealing the purity of the white light
behind it, a mystery even to the Gods,
and a fearful sight for all men of good sense.

It is true that “All Gods beneath thee
have heard thee thunder,” for who among Them
has not known defeat, or will not know it,
in time by force, with Mars like a Legion’s horses
driving on relentlessly that very defeat?

And what can the words mean,
“I shall be as a kiss to grief,”
which begins the next verse of the Salii
other than the sweet taste of victory
spoken by Mars to radiant Venus?

There can be no doubt, for the joy of warfare
yields to the greater joy of peace,
and what follows from peace and calm
other than fertility in the fields
and in the beds of the returned warriors?

True, further, that the ancient song continues
the victor has “acquired all that is spread out,”
the fields no longer burdened with blood
and with the stamping feet of soldiers,
and the bounties of flesh in their rightful wives.

It is truly the case that “now the good of Ceres”
comes next, and “the good of Ianus” follows
when the doors of His temple are closed
and the season of war has ended.
They sing and leap as the doors are closed yearly.

And even so, “the sweetest fruits return to them,”
those who are victorious, whether Gods or men.
We know of victories upon the earth,
the keenest exultation of the returned troops;
but imagine what victory is like for the Gods!

The words of a knower of the Mysteries
are not vain before the ears of the Gods,
nor do the fruits of learning rot in harvest
when they are brought in; so, may these words
be my own victory song and sweet kiss to Mars!


Hail to Mars, Minerva, Hercules, and Ianus!
Hail to Disciplina!
Hail to all of the Gods, Goddesses, and Divine Beings!

Posted by: aediculaantinoi | October 17, 2016

Quickly, Queerly…

Things are extremely busy right now, not only with college, but also with devotional writing and such…not to mention other preparations for the events that are following in the next two weeks ritually.

So, here’s a quick note on two stories I saw recently that I thought I’d share.

First, we’ve got a biographical portrait of someone I had not heard of before: Richard Hunt, one of the puppeteers behind some of your favorite Muppets, who worked with Jim Henson back in the 1970s and 1980s. Little might you have known that Elmo was first operated and voiced by Hunt, and he would not be the first gay man who was at Elmo’s helm, so to speak. Hunt died in the early 1990s of HIV/AIDS, but I was glad to know of him and his existence behind several of my favorite Sesame Street characters.

And last (for now), when I think of queerness and the American Civil War, I think of Walt Whitman, and I think of Abraham Lincoln (who, according to some, might have been “gay”–which presumably means bisexual, but anyway…!?!). However, though it is obvious to say so, these are far from the only possibilities, as reflected in this short article and the book referred to therein.

That’s all–I hope everyone has a good week!

Posted by: aediculaantinoi | October 16, 2016

The Dance, The Eagle, and The Moon

So, something totally unexpected happened on Saturday night that was rather awesome (as in the actual meaning of that word, rather than the colloquial meaning…though it could be that, too, from various perspectives), at least for me.

There was/is a supermoon over this weekend, which made me wonder what might happen at various points. There were also several major storms predicted, and we’ve been getting messages since Wednesday via various means that there would be lots of potential damage from them.

This was rather unfortunate timing, of course, in terms of everyone then hunkering down in the possible storms because this weekend was the second pow wow at the main branch of my college. I attended the first evening (Friday), after a day of mostly pointless meetings, and we were lucky to get there due to various car troubles and such. Lou was the Whip Man again for this, so I went with him and he drove. When we arrived–and they had not started yet (thankfully!)–there weren’t a lot of spectators there, but they also wouldn’t let Lou smudge the dance arena or the dancers, as happened last year, nor could anyone do it themselves, at least indoors…and they also wouldn’t allow anyone to smoke pipes right outside the venue, they had to go to a designated smoking area which was far away. This kind of made a few people upset, disappointed, or angry, and understandably so, because it was in contravention to what the organizers had been told, i.e. if this event was going to happen, then it had to happen properly, and smudging with sage and so forth is an important part of it.

There were more dancers this year, which was great, but not as many members of the public watching, and most of those present were the parents and relatives of the dancers and drummers, it seemed. I had some really good smoked salmon, and a “rez dog” (like a corn dog only in fry bread batter) which was also wonderfully good. And, I calculated the proper insulin for all of these things very accurately, so I had quite amazing blood sugar results (i.e. did not go high!) all weekend I was there, too!

There would be a grand entry to start off the proceedings at several points. The first one was Friday evening, which was later than advertised, and luckily they hadn’t started without us. There was another Saturday afternoon, and then Saturday evening, and the last one was Sunday afternoon (but we did not get to attend that one…I was pretty under-the-weather earlier today, and I had expected to be at the Shinto Great Fall Ceremony, but wasn’t able to make that, either). There would be an invocation between the grand entry song and then the flag song and victory song, and for the three I was present for, none of them were overtly Christian, or even slightly Christian, as they had been last year on a few occasions, and all of them had the invoker speaking at least part of it in their indigenous language. On Friday and Saturday afternoon, I danced in the intertribal dances that followed this, where everyone–Native and non-Native–are encouraged to dance, and that was fun. It was especially fun on Saturday afternoon, because I had a friend who is “the other kind” of Indian with me, and also a Muslim, who is a colleague from that campus’ faculty, and she had a blast…and then talked about how she thinks she might have been Native American in a previous life (yes, she believes in reincarnation despite being a Muslim!) and also, later, we talked about gender identity and pronouns and how best to refer to people if one doesn’t know how they identify (yes, despite her being a Muslim!–and she’s not the only “good one” there is by any stretch of the imagination, it ought not need to be said but nonetheless…!). There were some really amazing dancers this year, which was a lot of fun to watch.

But the big and awesome thing that happened in the last grand entry on Saturday night was the thing I’d like to talk about.

I think there were more dancers and people in regalia in the grand entry that night than at the previous two earlier in the day and the night before, and then during the invocation, the invoker–who was an elder with one of the drum groups from the Cree nation–did not only pray, but also took a few moments and talked about the meaning of everything, where it all comes from, what the symbolism of it is, and how there are protocols and customs and expectations with all of it, and that the dancers and everyone should know those things because this is not just dress-up, and it’s not about the competition and winning money and everything, it’s all meant to be spiritual–and that was really excellent to hear him say that, and I think it had an effect on some of the people there that night…while it had absolutely none on some others, unfortunately. Many people, including the emcee, referred back to his remarks throughout the night after that.

After the invocation and his words, the host drum did the flag song and the victory song, and then there was a presentation of a newly-made eagle staff for the pow wow, given to the committee who put it on, and to the president of our college, which was quite beautiful. Then, there was the first (and only) intertribal dance of the night after that, and myself and another faculty member got out there, and there had not been one of those opening intertribals with as many people in regalia out doing it earlier; there weren’t many non-Natives in it (nor present at all at that stage, sadly), and it seemed to go on for a lot longer than they usually were…

Suddenly, there was this high-pitched whistle that could be heard with the drumming and the singing, and then the emcee came on the microphone and said “No photography or recordings of any kind right now,” and then repeated this message. What happened? What was different? I could tell something was different, but I wasn’t sure what. Once the dance ended, we were asked to clear the dance floor as quickly as possible, and an elder from the host drum group spoke for a moment, but didn’t really say what had happened, he just expressed his thanks and how grateful he was, and referred back to the invocation speech earlier.

After all this, I went and asked Lou what had happened, and it turned out that the host drum was presented with an eagle whistle, which is a very high honor, and that it was really strange that this took place not only out of the public eye or with any public acknowledgement, but also in the middle of a song. Once it was played, then that meant that what had been going on was no longer just a dance (though there is never “just a dance,” either, which the invocation speaker was trying to make clear), and thus the announcement occurred as it had.

So, that was totally unexpected, and rather awesome to be a very small part of and participant in, as I said earlier.

At various points later I spoke with Lou, and he was not happy that the people who were most flagrantly ignoring protocols present were not stupid white people, but instead Natives who did not want to stand for their elders, or take their hats off when certain things (often eagle-feather-related) occurred, and so forth, and his job as Whip Man was to tell them to do otherwise, and he would, and they would tell him “no” and ignore him. In the old days, he said, he’d be able to throw them out if they did that, but one can’t do that any longer.

As much as we talk about how our own polytheist traditions have been lost, it’s important to realize that some indigenous traditions that have been continued in the modern world have not been unimpacted by the religious and cultural changes that have been inflicted upon them–the modern pow wow culture is one that has been the result of just as much reconstructionism as any of the polytheistic traditions that are attempting to re-emerge now. The pow wow culture that is most prevalent is from the Northern Plains, but not everyone who practices it is from the Northern Plains cultures, and thus they don’t follow all of the rules or even know what they’re doing or what it means in some cases. There is something about belief and practice to be learned in this, too, I think. It isn’t just about the “practice” side of things, although that’s important, it’s also about the meaning behind all of it, which would be in the “belief” category for many peoples’ thought and in their estimation. There are all kinds of politics around this, certainly (and in the “cultural” sense, i.e. of people simply relating amongst one another, and not in the governmental or ideological sense, as that term often gets used these days), and there are also questions of identity at play (i.e. “it doesn’t matter if I stand up during the eagle staff presentation or take my hat off for our elders dancing, I’m Native and that’s all that matters,” which is much to the chagrin of and contrary to what the elders tend to say, think, and model behaviorally), which mirror those in our own nascent polytheist communities.

I could perhaps make some larger points about this, and about how a post-monotheistic existence is responsible for all of this ultimately (and it is, I think, it’s entirely fair to say), but I’d rather just emphasize how parallel our situations are in this specific dimension of life (i.e. ritual and spiritual practice, particularly on a public level).

And, more than anything, I am humbled by having been present for something that was so meaningful and powerful, at least for those who were willing to realize how meaningful and powerful it was. And that willingness and the humility to acknowledge it, I think, is what is at the roots of devotion.

Posted by: aediculaantinoi | October 14, 2016

Visual Reminders…

Just a quick one today, folks, with photos of Dusti, which I did not have before now…


Yes, that’s pretty much what she looked like for her entire life.


And though the perspective there makes it look like she’s mostly her head, that’s often what one saw of her, because she liked to sit close, and sometimes right in one’s lap.

Definitely one of the cutest dogs ever, though. And now that there’s photographic evidence, I’m sure you all can agree!

Posted by: aediculaantinoi | October 13, 2016

“The Winemakers,” Act One…

I’ve wanted to write this play for over three years now…I had the idea for it in 2013 sometime, and had even thought it might be played at PantheaCon in 2014, but the event in which I had proposed it never came to pass, so it wasn’t written then. That event was going to be a devotional ritual for the Trophimoi, and it was going to be called “The Passion of Polydeukion,” and would have had a short liturgical drama showing his death.

Earlier this year, I decided it should instead be the first act in a three-act play I was going to write, of which the second act was already given on the Megala Antinoeia earlier this year. Sannion’s “Toys of Dionysos” class, book, and work on that subject have largely inspired and shaped the structure of the various plays; and of course the story of Polydeukion as well; but, other events recently have also had their influence, and can be seen within the play if one knows where to look.

If all goes well, Act III will be done later this month, perhaps to be posted at some stage during the Sacred Nights of Antinous–you’ll just have to see, eh?

So, without further ado, I present to you the first act of the three-act sacred drama, “The Winemakers.”

The Winemakers: A Dionysian Drama in Three Acts

by P. Sufenas Virius Lupus

Tragedy: “The Vine-Dresser”

Dramatis Personae

Thracian (a vine-dresser)
Herodes Attikos
Attikos Bradua

(Non-Speaking Role)

[Enter the THRACIAN, with a bundle containing the dead POLYDEUKION slung over one of his shoulders, and a ball in his other hand.]

THRACIAN: It is unfortunate that everything in this life is heavy, even death.

[THRACIAN rings a bell at the gates of HERODES ATTIKOS’ house. He waits for a moment, and then a SLAVE comes to the gate.]

SLAVE: What is it?

THRACIAN: I have found a dead body, and a place is needed for it until someone can find the child’s family. I hear the owner of this estate is a pious man, and thought I would come here for this assistance.

SLAVE: The master is very busy. Can it wait?

THRACIAN: Death does not wait for anyone; we would do well to follow suit for those who have already died.

SLAVE: Very well, wait here.

[The SLAVE exits. The THRACIAN tosses the ball up and down a few times. A moment later, the SLAVE returns with MEMNON.]

SLAVE: This is the Thracian who has brought the dead child.

MEMNON: A dead child, you say?

THRACIAN: Are you the master of this house?

MEMNON: I am one of the foster-sons of the master, who is very busy.

THRACIAN: Your father is a pious man, is he not?

MEMNON: No one honors the Gods and Heroes more than him.

THRACIAN: Then he will be a good caretaker of a dead boy, for decency’s sake.

MEMNON: A dead boy? Oh…

[MEMNON exits.]

THRACIAN: What is it?

SLAVE: The master has lost sons before, and a foster-son as well.

THRACIAN: Is he in mourning now?

SLAVE: He has been in mourning continuously, it seems, for he also lost his wife—

THRACIAN: What an unfortunate!

SLAVE: —and one of his two daughters.

THRACIAN: Is the man cursed?

SLAVE: Many may have cursed him from jealousy or spite, but he is in many ways blessed as well.


MEMNON: This is the Thracian, father.

HERODES: A Thracian? And what do you in these parts, Thracian?

THRACIAN: I am a vinedresser. I have been sent for to help tend the vines of a great vineyard, and when I passed by your estate, I found a child washed up in the creek, drowned. I have heard you are a pious man, and thought you might give a resting place for the body until the parents of the child can be found.

HERODES: If they can be found…so many unfortunates today have none. Unburden yourself, then, and set him down. We shall look after him.

MEMNON: And when our brother returns?

HERODES: Polydeukion will be at play for another few hours, I think. He never returns early on such days as this, when the Anthesteria approaches and the Dionysian spirit takes him.

MEMNON: He does love Dionysos.

HERODES: Indeed! It is as if that bright son has the heart of a Maenad within him.

THRACIAN: We know of Dionysos, too, in my homeland.

HERODES: Yes, though you call him by a different name.

THRACIAN: What are names where the Gods are concerned?

[HERODES looks thoughtful for a moment and pauses.]

HERODES: Hmm, true, very true. Memnon!

MEMNON: Yes, father?

HERODES: What of Bradua, that no-good son of mine?

MEMNON: He has gone hunting for rabbits, father.

HERODES: A fool’s errand for a proper fool, then.

MEMNON: He only wants to please you, father.

HERODES: Then he would do better to be like you and like Polydeukion, and like the third of you who died…

MEMNON: Achilles, father.

HERODES: I will not say his name until I know that he has been received among the Heroes, son. Your people have a different way of speaking of the dead. But, Bradua will never be the hunter that even the dead boy was. If he brings back half a rabbit’s whelp, he’ll impress me with new depths of scorn.

MEMNON: Do not speak of him such, father. He is a good brother.

HERODES: He should be a better one. Now, to you, Thracian. I apologize for taking up so much of your time. Can we offer you some water and food on your journey?

THRACIAN: I would not wish to be an inconvenience for you, friend…

HERODES: Nonsense! Guest-friends are never an inconvenience. Wait—

[HERODES is suddenly transfixed by the ball the Thracian is carrying.]

HERODES: Where did you get that?

THRACIAN: Floating in the water near the dead boy.

HERODES: But that’s…

THRACIAN: A child’s toy, no more.

MEMNON: That’s my brother’s ball.

HERODES: Open the shroud, I must see this boy.

[The THRACIAN moves to unwrap the boy’s body, but does so too slowly, and is pushed out of the way by HERODES, who finishes unwrapping it, finding the feet first, and then slowly the rest of the body, eventually reaching the head, which is revealed to be POLYDEUKION.]

HERODES: NOOO! My boy, my beautiful boy!

MEMNON: Gods above us, not again!

THRACIAN: Is it the master’s son?

SLAVE: No, it is the master’s foster-son and maternal kinsman, Vibullius Polydeukion.

HERODES: I have lost the sons of my own flesh, and the sweetest of foster-sons before now, but never did I think to outlive my shining boy!

MEMNON: When did this happen? And how?

HERODES: It was YOU! You dirty Thracian pervert! You saw him at play, had your way with him, and then drowned him to cover your crime! I will have you flayed for this!

[HERODES goes to strike the Thracian, who recoils slightly, but MEMNON stops HERODES.]

MEMNON: No, father—no such criminal would come himself with the body of the slain one!

THRACIAN: You are right, though, sir: the boy was beautiful. I am sorry for your loss, and for his loss to the world.

[HERODES, regaining his senses somewhat, approaches the THRACIAN madly, his hands poised as if to strangle him, but then collapses against him in tears, weeping loudly. The THRACIAN tries to console him.]

THRACIAN: You were lucky to know him. Even in death, he looked peaceful when I found him, a quiet serenity that shows how wise he must have been.

[MEMNON sits by POLYDEUKION’s side, stroking his face.]

MEMNON: Wise, and kind.

[HERODES catches his breath and recovers somewhat.]

HERODES: You have seen the essence of him, friend! When we used to hunt in the woods, Achilles would go in front of him like a loyal hound, and Polydeukion would follow behind. No green-shaded stag in the hollows of the forest would be safe from them, and Memnon would carry the slain beast home…

MEMNON: We were the best of friends…

HERODES: You were the best of hunters! And now, Memnon, you are all I have left!

SLAVE: Not all.


BRADUA: What is happening, father?

HERODES: Can’t you see? You are a greater fool than I could have imagined!

BRADUA: Who is this? Why is my friend Polydeukion dead?

HERODES: This Thracian found him dead by the river. “Thracian” starts with theta—perhaps you know your alphabet by now?

MEMNON: Father, you need not—

HERODES: Were it not for his idiocy, I would not have had you and the other Trophimoi in my life, Memnon. I thank the Gods he was such a fool, so that I would find those who were truly wise in his stead!

BRADUA: Father!

THRACIAN: Now, sir, even I can see that the boy means no harm. Whatever his faults might be, your grief speaks now instead of your reason.

HERODES: Look here! A Thracian comes to teach me of Stoicism!

MEMNON: Father, do not be rude to our guests.

HERODES: No! You…you’re right, Memnon. I have had too much of grief for one life, and it seems that Nemesis—for all that I have honored Her—will not allow me to evade the cruel turn of the wheel and the strike of the rudder yet again.

MEMNON: What is this?

[MEMNON sees that POLYDEUKION is holding some object in his hand.]

THRACIAN: His hand would not release it, even in death.

MEMNON: It’s a bronze mirror.

HERODES: Did you give it to him as a gift?

MEMNON: It’s a fine one, I have never seen it before.

BRADUA: I had a mirror like that once, but I lost it.

HERODES: Fool! You lose everything!

MEMNON: When did you lose it?

BRADUA: When we all went out hunting, before the death of—

HERODES: Do not speak his name!

BRADUA: When our other foster-brother died.

MEMNON: But, if you lost it then…

[HERODES seems to come to a realization, rises, and moves menacingly toward ATTIKOS BRADUA.]

HERODES: If your foolishness caused the youth to lose his attention and fall to his injury and death, and likewise your loss of that bauble in the river then caused our bright beloved boy to find it again in the river, only to drown, then I’ll have you—

MEMNON: Father, don’t!

HERODES: You should be dragged behind a chariot!

MEMNON: It did not befit the Hero Achilleus to do such to Hektor, and it would not befit you to do it to your own son.

THRACIAN: This is a prodigy.

MEMNON: What do you mean?

THRACIAN: In my land, we have a story of the Divine Boy who was a Great Hunter, how he was brought to his first death when he was distracted by a mirror.

HERODES: I know the story…It is the story the Orpheotelestai tell when they ply their trades at my door.

THRACIAN: If this boy died in the same way…

HERODES: Then, like his beloved Dionysos, he too came to his death in reflection.

MEMNON: And he drowned in a river, like the other divine boy—

HERODES: Antinous, the Bithynian who was beloved of my friend, the Divine Hadrian!

THRACIAN: I have heard of your Bithynian. We call him the son of the Horse Mother where I come from.

HERODES: Can you see it, then? A prodigious tragedy, a Hero’s death, the mold of a God…and the Gods have received him into their company!

MEMNON: It would be a gesture appropriate to his wisdom and decency.

BRADUA: It would be a fitting tribute to a loyal friend and brother.

HERODES: And a better son than I ever had in the flesh.

MEMNON: Father!

THRACIAN: I am sure it is his grief, my boy, that speaks, not his reason.

BRADUA: His reason has been grief for too long, and it speaks true.

MEMNON: The slave will look after the body, father. Come, we must make arrangements for his funeral…

HERODES: For his heroization!

[Exit MEMNON and HERODES ATTIKOS. The SLAVE moves toward POLYDEUKION, but is stopped by ATTIKOS BRADUA.]

BRADUA: No, let me. Go and assist father; perhaps I can be more useful to him than he realizes.

THRACIAN: Would you like me to help?

BRADUA: No, you have done enough in bringing him here. We owe you a debt for this.

THRACIAN: Really, it’s nothing. Any man of Thrace would have done the same.

BRADUA: Are you certain you won’t even stay for a meal with us?

THRACIAN: I would gladly accept under any other circumstances, but I do not want to impose on your great father any further given what has occurred. Besides, the vines do not wait for anyone, and must be tended. I will take your leave, friend.

BRADUA: Wait—before you go, take this.

[BRADUA pulls an apple from his tunic, and throws it to the THRACIAN.]

BRADUA: I found it in the woods, beautiful, ripe, as if it had fallen from heaven. I had no luck in even seeing a rabbit, but thought the apple a gift from the Gods, or perhaps even a Goddess, and wanted to give it to father.

THRACIAN: You should, then! I would not deprive him of such a boon!

BRADUA: No, he will think nothing of apples now, or of gifts from sons he thinks of so lowly. Have it with my thanks, in honor of my brother.

THRACIAN: You are kind and wise, friend.

BRADUA: If only father thought so.

THRACIAN: One day he will, friend, when you dine on apples and ambrosia together with your foster-sons in isles free of care and sorrow.

BRADUA: Is that where you come from, then?

THRACIAN: No, my friend. Where I come from, we are kids fallen into milk.

BRADUA: Just as Polydeukion was, and Achilles as well.

[Exit the THRACIAN. ATTIKOS BRADUA picks up POLYDEUKION, and exits followed by the slave.]

Posted by: aediculaantinoi | October 12, 2016

And, More Death…

In an ordinary year, we would mark the death of one of our most famous Sancti today, Matthew Shepard, which occurred in 1998.

This isn’t an ordinary year, for so many reasons, it appears…

One of my mom’s dogs, who was especially attached to me, just died. Her name is Dusti. She was a miniature schnauzer, who did not have the usual Schnauzer haircut at any point in her life–thankfully. (Her brother, Gus, did, which was one way to tell them apart easily, apart from him being larger and also grayer, whereas she was mostly black with grew and white around the edges.)

We had a dog that was called Dusty (a male rescue dog, half-miniature Schnauzer and half Scottie) before her, and we had picked out Dusti when she was a puppy just a few days before Dusty died in early July of 2005. He was not well after our other dog, Data, died in December of 2004 (the same year my stepfather died, but at the other end of it, as he had died in January), and then one night, when I was awake for much of the night, he died in his sleep on the couch and one of our other dogs, Rufus (who is female), was the first to discover him. She was very paranoid after that, and was extremely attached to Dusti. It was when I had to punish Dusti by putting her in her kennel one afternoon in 2005 that I learned dogs have a sense of fairness, because Rufus would not leave me alone until I locked her in her kennel next to Dusti as well–if one was punished, both of them had to be!

Dusti was one of the sweetest dogs anyone could ever hope for. In that same time period, I was taking care of her and Rufus during the day while I was finishing up with writing my doctoral dissertation, so I spent a lot of time with books and in front of the computer writing about dogs, and that was punctuated by taking care of two actual dogs. I think Dusti got the idea that I must be interested in books, and one day I heard a “thump!” from the hallway. I went out there and Dusti had moved a few books that were sitting on the edge of one of the low shelves in the hall off the shelf. The one on top was The Da Vinci Code (no, it wasn’t mine and I didn’t buy it–in any way that phrase can be taken!), and I laughed and said to her, “Dusti, you have horrible taste in literature!” I put the book back, and a few minutes later, she did the same thing with another book. I then played with the dogs for a while and took a break from writing, and she never did anything with books on or off the shelf ever again.

There was one morning/early afternoon in which I was not feeling up to working, and was thinking of taking a nap. I had the dogs with me, and I tried to get them to settle down enough that they might try and sleep in the bed with me. Rufus would go for that, but Dusti generally never did (as I came to find out), so while Rufus and I were laying there and moving toward sleeping, Dusti kept getting up and moving around on the bed. The bed was next to the wall, and then there was a window that butted up against the foot of the bed as well, which had a decent-sized windowsill. Dusti, who would sometimes jump off the arm of the couch and such, decided she would go exploring, and tried to walk on the windowsill, before I could stop her. She began to fall off, and though it was not a long fall and she wasn’t hurt, she made this sound of “canine disappointment” that I had never heard before or since which was both heartbreaking and hilarious under the circumstances. On another occasion during that timeframe, I heard her from somewhere in the house, but wasn’t sure where, and Rufus came to alert me. Rufus loved to go under my mom’s bed, and still likes to go under beds or behind things and hide out and just sit for hours, so she would do that under my mom’s bed pretty regularly. Dusti tried to do the same on this occasion, but being taller and bigger, she had got herself stuck halfway underneath the bed, and then couldn’t figure out how to get herself back out again, and so was calling from under the bed because she couldn’t do whatever-it-is she did again that got her under there in the first place! I reached in as well as I could, and kind of lead her toward me and pulled on her a little bit, and she figured it out and got out without anything hurt other than her canine pride.

Though it should have been obvious to all of us, it wasn’t until I had to move out for a few years that we all noticed how attached Dusti was to me. The first time I came back for a visit, a few weeks after I moved out, she gave me her “lecture bark” a particular set of barks she would make when I had been gone for any length of time) and then, when I sat down, she sat on my lap and was a “canine paperweight,” as I called it, not wanting me to get up or move after that. Generally, when I lived with her again from mid-2010 into July of 2015, she’d do something similar every time I came and went, and I’d have to sit with her on the couch (she knew the phrase “sit on the couch”) and pet her and talk with her for a few minutes every time I came home, especially if it had been a day or two since I had been there.

One of the funniest things that ever happened with her was one night when I was with all three dogs (Dusti, Rufus, and Dusti’s brother and elder littermate, Gus), and Rufus and Gus–who were the only ones who were ever very interested in playing with dog toys–were bothering me to play with them. I finally said “Do you want to play?” and they indicated they did, and so I said, “Okay, go get a toy!” They knew what that meant, and went to the basket where all the toys were in the other room, but all of them had been played with and were scattered around the house in different places, so only the “dregs” of the toys were left. What they brought back was a “dog dress” that had been given to Rufus by my brother’s stepdaughter a few years before, which Rufus never really liked (for some reason, various people kept getting her dog clothes and costumes of various sorts, and she’d kind of put up with them for a little while, but it was clear she didn’t really like them). There was always a fight for dominance between Rufus and Gus, and it was anyone’s guess as to who would win–she was much smaller (a dachshund/Yorkie mix) in comparison to his miniature schnauzer self, but he would act more dominant until she got an advantage in some fashion (e.g. she figured out the citronella bark collars they all had didn’t bother her, but really bothered Gus, so she’d wear hers and bark near him, or if he had his on she’d bark to make it go off, and it horrified him!)–whereas Dusti pretty well stayed out of all of that, and was more attached to Rufus than to her brother. So, out the two of them come with the dog dress as their chosen toy for the moment, and that was funny enough in itself. I picked it up and threw it for them to fetch and bring back, but as soon as Gus went for it, Dusti started growling, and Gus stopped, and then Dusti went and grabbed it and brought it to me and wouldn’t let them play with it any more…and they paid attention to that directive and didn’t try to get around it.

In 2014, a friend of mine from high school came over with his wife and two kids–one was 4, the other about 1 1/2–and visited for a few minutes at the house before we all went to our 20-year high school reunion. The kids were a little bit afraid of dogs, and of course all of our dogs would get very excited and bark a lot when any new people came over to the house, at least initially. So, not wanting to have two very rambunctious dogs–and Dusti–disturb the kids, I put them in their kennels and got them to go into them in the usual way (i.e. the promise of treats), which Rufus and Gus did, but Dusti would not. I thought that given how docile she was, she’d probably be okay, and she essentially sat on my lap for almost the entire time they were over. At one point, she growled a bit at the 1 1/2 year old as she came over, but otherwise she was okay. And then, for some reason or other, the 1 1/2 year old fell down or something and started crying, and Dusti let out this shrill and plaintive howl that I had never heard her do before…she had been around crying babies previously (e.g. my niece, who was about the same age), but had never joined in the crying, so to speak, before that.

I’m always pleased and amused to learn about canine behavior from actual canines, but these and so much more are things that I am especially grateful for having learned and seen by having Dusti in my life for these last eleven years.

Dusti had not been doing well over the last few months, and in fact had a very bad infection which ultimately resulted in her losing her tail a few months ago. While it took her a little time to recover after that, she was back to her regular self afterwards–not as active as she had been earlier in life, and with some difficulties in getting on and off the couch more than she had before that, but she was generally okay. I had worried a bit that when I moved out again she might not have been very happy, and may have not done too well in her health afterwards…and, unfortunately, I was right.

I’ll be praying in the Shrine for her for a while before I go to work…and fuck it, I’m not doing anything else today.

May Cú Chulainn place her in the ranks of the all the loyal hounds.
May Wepwawet and Anubis and Hermanubis guide her on her way.
May Herakles, Hekate, and Hermes train her well.
May Artemis receive her into Her pack.
And may Antinous assist her, as she will come to assist Him in turn.

Thank you so much, Dusti, for all the joy and love you brought to our lives. I love you.

[I’ve closed comments on this entry–and please, don’t do anything other than send us your good wishes, as the ritual end of things is being taken care of amply and aptly, so no prayers or other actions on anyone else’s part are needed to get her to where she’s going. As for her humans, we’ll do fine eventually, but we appreciate your good wishes.]

Posted by: aediculaantinoi | October 11, 2016

International Coming Out (to Ancestors?) Day 2016

October 11th arrives–the first date on the yearly Calendar for October which is of significance for those who might practice Antinoan spirituality. In a month filled with wonders in terms of polytheism, the possibility of human apotheosis, and so much else, we begin our observances with a matter that I have always placed first in my definition of the form of Antinoan spirituality that I have practiced for the last 14+ years: queer.

What does it mean to be “queer,” and what does it mean to “come out”?

I wrote the above a few hours ago, and then had some things to do before coming back to finish the draft of this post, only to have found out in between now and then that Seb Barnett, a gender-diverse artist and polytheist shaman in the Seattle area who was well beloved by a large group of people, lost their life to suicide a few days ago.

I did not know them well, other than from their presentation at MGW in 2015 (which I attended–and now will never forget), and the slight bit we were able to talk outside of that. I gave them a copy of the Tetrad++ book on that occasion.

I wish, horribly, in situations like this (as occurred with Eddy Gutiérrez, a.k.a. Dr. E. and Rev. Hyperion of the Unnamed Path) that I had been able to see these wonderful people in other times and places apart from the short time we had at gatherings, conferences, and such…

If you have any money to spare, no matter how small, please, consider donating to Seb’s memorial fund. I don’t know when or if there will be a memorial service, but if I can make it, I will.

There’s a lot one can come out about–today is especially about gender and sexuality for many folks. Polytheism is something else people come out about. I’ve advocated using this day not only for that, but also for doing Ancestor work, not only with one’s own Ancestors and “coming out” to them in various ways, but also helping some of them to “come out” themselves if that’s what they might have needed to do.

And now one of our spiritual colleagues has gone to join the Sancta/e/i, which is a coming out beyond which most never go.

Whatever else I might have had planned to talk about today seems quite trite and insignificant in comparison to how our dead, and our queer Ancestors, should be honored, so I am going to leave it at that for now. Again, please, support Seb’s memorial fund, and if you can’t do so yourself, share it with others and hopefully they will be able to.

Though I did not know you well, I miss you already, Seb. Good journeys in what is to come, and when you are ready, you shall always be welcome in my Shrine amongst the Deities and the Sancta/e/i, and especially with Antinous and the Tetrad++.

Ignis Corporis Infirmat, Ignis sed Animae Perstat.

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