Posted by: aediculaantinoi | October 5, 2015

Infinite Beliefs Podcast–With Some P.S.V.L. In’t!

A few weeks ago, Michelle Stephens recorded episode 4 of her Infinite Beliefs podcast with me,, and it just went live earlier today!

In the hour-plus that we spoke, we talked about Antinous, metagender, and how cats are great! ;)

Go and have a listen, support Michelle’s podcast and work in whatever way you can (i.e. sharing, leaving reviews on iTunes, etc.), perhaps suggest others as guests or volunteer yourself, and let me know what you thought of it here, or comment over there. ;)

Posted by: aediculaantinoi | October 4, 2015

The Blemmyae, and Thoughts On Them…

Here’s a short(ish!) post I’ve wanted to do for a while, but which has taken much more preparation to do, even in this highly abbreviated form, than I had initially expected.

Some of you might be familiar with the Blemmyae from a variety of contexts. They are most frequently known as one of the “Plinian (monstrous) races” that are known from the ancient and medieval worlds, who appear in Isidore of Seville and a variety of other sources, and who are pictured as having faces in their chests and being headless otherwise.


I had heard somewhere–perhaps in John Block Friedman’s The Monstrous Races in Medieval Art and Thought–that the Blemmyae might have been inspired by an African tribe who used large rectangular shields with painted faces on them, which they held in front of their heads and bodies, thus looking from a distance like they may not have had heads and instead their torsos had faces on them. But whatever the inspiration for their acephalous nature (and they are merely one of the most well-known of the Acephaloi, as explained by EsoterX!), and apart from the existence of such beings amongst the Deities–often connected to Bes–invoked in certain PGM spells (connected to the Ephesia Grammata, perhaps, in PGM V!), their name was one given to an actual African population, and their particular nature is interesting, to say the least, given my own varied interests…

You see, these Blemmyae lived in the region known to the Greeks and Romans as Nubia in late antiquity, and were enlisted by one of the attempted usurpers to fight against the eventual Roman Emperor Septimius Severus. They existed in Nubia for well over a millennium, and were especially active in the area of Philae, where they had a temple to Mandoulis that was patronized by the Roman Emperors Augustus and Trajan.

There was also a Blemmyomachia epic in late antiquity, probably written by Olympiodorus of Thebes (likely a pagan) in the early fifth-centruy CE; this poem is referenced/alluded to by, and the works of Olympiodorus generally were probably highly influential on, Dioscorus of Aphrodito, the 6th c. Christian jurist and poet who refers to Antinous and Hadrian approvingly in his extant poetic fragments, and who worked in Antinoöpolis for part of his career. With any luck, a translation of this poem will be available in the next year in a forthcoming volume of Greek epics from imperial (Roman) periods. When that comes out and I’m able to get my hands on it, I’ll let everyone know. While apparently mythologized, the actual Blemmyae people did attack places in Egypt on other occasions in late antiquity, including during the time Dioscorus was writing.

So, given my interest in Memnon (both the hero and the Trophimos), the Nubian Deities (and Bes as one potential example of such), and all of the connections of these with Antinous, as well as with the Plinian races generally and so much else here, you can see why the Blemmyae would be a subject for major curiosity and continued fascination for me! ;)

Posted by: aediculaantinoi | October 3, 2015

A Truce?

I didn’t really think I’d be making this present post now…or ever, for that matter…but nonetheless, here we are.

For a very long time, I’ve held the position that religions which feel the need to proselytize are inherently insecure. If they are so utterly convinced of the “rightness” of their own path, why must they spend so much time and energy trying to convince others of it? While it may be a good training-ground to root out the potential doubts one might be having by giving something to “face off” against for its people–and nothing makes one more entrenched in one’s position than to feel that there is an enemy to lock horns with–it’s also a good technique to distract from whatever the real purposes of the religion are, both positive and negative. I think more often than not, it gets used as a tactic to deflect the possibility of people thinking about their own doubts about their religion too much, as equally as often as it can also become a distraction from doing the works of justice, mercy, and compassion that oftentimes these same religions call their adherents to uphold.

So, that all seems relatively reasonable, I think, and is a great argument for why one shouldn’t proselytize.

But, what about less direct ways of trying to assert that one’s religion is the “best” option? What about criticizing other religions or their viewpoints, their leaders’ actions, or other such things?

On the one hand, if one is representing a new or different religious viewpoint, in understanding it people often want to know how it differs from another religion, which is what we get asked a lot as polytheists in terms of more widespread forms of paganism. I think it is possible to phrase such matters of practical and theological difference in ways that do not denigrate the viewpoints which are different from one’s own, but I think it’s been rare–and I’ll speak for myself in this–that such a lack of negativity has always accompanied such expressions of contrast. We can and should do better than this in delineating differences in the future, and I would like to commit to that now. Likewise, if someone delineates a difference between their own religions viewpoint and one’s own religion, we should try our hardest not to hear or read such delineations of difference as attacks. Too often that is the gut-level reaction, which is understandable when one’s viewpoints (or other aspects of one’s life or identity) are not mainstream and have been deprived of privilege. Those without privilege are often forced into a position of insecurity as a default, and while it is understandable and something that I think all of us can and should have compassion for, we should also try not to be automatons in the face of such reactions and simply lash out or be hostile as a default whenever possible. When genuine and actual attacks, slights, or disrespect are involved, confronting such actions and statements should be done with courage and can be done rightly and morally; but where no offense is either intended or expressed, and nothing other than pointing out a difference occurs, then it should simply be left at that.

The Polytheist movement has been gaining momentum over the last few years, and a large part of that has been to clearly distinguish itself from mainstream paganism. Not unlike the often adversarial relationship which paganism has had in the past with Christianity, likewise in some discussions of polytheism there has been an adversarial relationship with more mainstream forms of paganism (like Wicca) as well as with recently emergent varieties of paganism (like atheopaganism and humanistic paganism). I am certainly not outside of the group of polytheists who have often vehemently and viciously attacked those viewpoints, and often my intent has not been to attack at all, but instead to simply delineate the differences between my own viewpoints on religious matters and theirs. I’ve failed very badly in that, I realize, on many occasions, and I am very sorry for the difficulties and offenses which I’ve caused in that regard. I’ve tried to maintain respect for the individual persons involved, even when their viewpoints are diametrically opposed to my own, and even when I think I’ve been able to achieve an understanding of their positions, I have not likewise extended the hand of compassion to them as individuals with human dignity and respect in the process. That’s a serious violation of my own personal standards of conduct, which are inspired by my Deities and in Whose service I have been deeply committed. Because They have much higher demands of me than I’ve been able to attain on many occasions, it’s necessary that I apologize and make this statement now.

And, to be blatantly honest, I am very sick of the arguments that have been going on. It’s no secret that I like a good argument, and that I can in many cases be an argumentative person. I am not in any way interested in living in an echo chamber, and even if I don’t agree with someone, have a conversation with them and come to an understanding of their viewpoint, but still don’t agree with them (which happens with me and pretty much EVERYONE I’ve ever met, not only on religious matters but on any number of other things as well!), I hope to be able to maintain respect for them. I do find ideas and systems that are different from my own interesting; I am a student and a scholar of world religions, and even when I find things disagreeable to the point of being repulsive to me, nonetheless it’s interesting to me that such things exist. I may argue until my dying breath about the injustice or in some cases stupidity of some things that exist religiously–including and especially those which result in violence toward others, discrimination against entire groups of humans, and so forth–and if it comes down to it, I’d likely even do more than argue in many cases. But if it is simply a matter of disagreeing on basic theological premises, and there is no possibility of harm resulting from either my particular viewpoint or the other person’s, there’s no need to result to hyperbolae or any kind of venomous attacks and endless debates when there’s a lot more useful things that could be going on.

Now to the point of the “truce” that I’ve alluded to in the subject line of this post. It doesn’t get very much more different in terms of theological opinion than myself and John Halstead–yes, indeed, I said/wrote his name…it’s not like he’s Volemort or something, after all (!?!)–and over the years, we’ve had many disagreements. We are quite different people in almost every respect, and yet we also have many similarities, and our viewpoints on certain issues outside of theology are relatively parallel. While I am not changing my viewpoint on my own theology anytime soon, nor is he, it’s rather lamentable that we have not spent more time having nice discussions as humans with one another rather than arguing, or using “wanting to understand better” as a pretext for arguing while appearing to be civil (something I’m guilty of quite often, I readily admit, to my detriment). I could debate on the utility of spending more time discussing common human interests with him (or anyone else), but given that I come into virtual and actual contact with him more than I do with other people who I have less in common with and yet have been far more civil towards is an appalling stain on my own character, I think. Especially since John assisted me in my campaign to attend the World Parliament of Religions, I’ve been questioning my overall approach to him and to atheopagans in general.

Much of the present post was inspired due to his discussion of the header image on his blog. As a child of Qadesh, I am personally offended by the image he uses, and even despite the explanation of it he has given–which I understand falls into the realm of sacredness for him–and me understanding and sympathizing with that explanation, nonetheless it remains offensive to me. I do not think that those who have particular connections to certain Deities should be silent when their Deities are degraded, and I do find the idea that “my Deities don’t need me to fight their battles for them” to be rather cowardly and gutless, as I’ve said elsewhere. But, as someone who is also dedicated to freedom of speech, and who knows that it goes every-which-way, I have to learn to be comfortable with the fact that not everyone is going to be as respectful toward my Deities, or toward me, as I would hope. Indeed, in the long history of Antinous in the Western world, there has almost been more written about him that has been negative in the ancient world (by Christians as well as by other polytheists) than there was positive. I’ve often quoted Adam Phillips on the necessity of granting others the freedom to hate oneself if one dedicates oneself to being as authentic as possible, and this is true in religious matters as much as anything. I would not have any polity of which I’m a part adopt a viewpoint in which others are prevented from expressing whatever-the-fuck-they-want. I do not have to like what I see as disrespectful statements, or even sacrilege and blasphemy on the part of others (and a good deal of what is being done to the earth, to indigenous peoples, and to sacred sites worldwide by corporations, corrupt colonizing governments, and fanatical religions is blasphemy to me), and I can say whatever I like against such actions, but I would be no better than the adherents of those fanatical religions if I wished that all such individuals were silenced or wiped off the face of the earth. (In some cases, where horrific violence and injustices are proliferating due to the actions of such individuals, then yes, my opinion will be stronger and my support of actions to remove them from the biosphere would be definite–but John Halstead and friends are clearly not in that category, and to place them in it by inference is unnecessary and inappropriate.)

I had a post in my drafts folder that I was debating when I’d complete, which was called “Atheopagans and Cultural Appropriation.” Given that cultural appropriation has been a hot topic of debate elsewhere in the pagan blogosphere recently, it would have been a *really bad idea* to have written that one now, needless to say. I discussed this matter, briefly, but in exactly those terms, with several people at Many Gods West, and all of them pretty much agreed that it was an important thing to talk about. I also heard a great deal of outright hatred expressed for John Halstead, which somewhat disappointed and disturbed me, and in some cases surprised me: while I can understand finding someone who expresses viewpoints different from one’s own in a hostile manner being distasteful to oneself, “hatred” is another matter entirely, and is not something to be spread around casually, nor is the word to be used lightly, I think. So, while it still confuses the fuck out of me why many atheists are interested in being a part of paganism–something that, whether anyone else agrees with me on this or not, I’ve always thought of as a religious marker and identity more than anything else–and it also has often dumbfounded me that some parts of paganism that are not explicitly humanist or atheist (etc.) in orientation seem to be utterly welcoming of atheists, and infinitely further matters of theology, of practice, and of discourse around these issues…my confusion is *my problem* and no one else’s, and I should try my best to make sure it stays my problem and no one else’s. As a result of that admission, I’ve ditched that post, and will not be writing it: now, in the near future, or ever.

Polytheism and mainstream paganism are different religions, and as much as realizing this might hurt many people, it’s a dawning reality for many more of us that can no longer be denied. The “divorce,” so to speak, is going to hurt, and has hurt many folks in various ways and for various reasons, myself included. But, acting like it doesn’t exist or hasn’t happened only prolongs the hurt, I think, and not in any way that is useful or productive of anything other than further resentment, misunderstanding, and vicious argument. Over the last few years, I’ve tried–as a result of the above realization–to talk less and less about general paganism, and likewise not to speak of it in any way that indicates I have any investment with it. Doing so is as useless as talking about all of the internal theological and practical problems in, let’s say, the Methodist church, because I’m not a part of that organization and never will be, and thus while its struggles may be of intellectual interest to me at some point or another, it’s not of any great personal relevance, and thus shouldn’t rank as high in my own priorities of things that must be discussed. I’ve failed in this regard with general paganism (and with other religions, too, including recently–e.g. Catholicism!), but I’m going to try harder with that in the future.

But that’s not the main “point” of the truce I’m proposing here.

As I think will be more and more apparent in the future, atheopaganism and humanistic paganism (whether they are two names for the same thing or are entirely different movements) are going have to be differentiated from the larger “pagan umbrella” to a much greater extent as well, not because general paganism is not welcoming toward them (although sometimes it isn’t, I think–which means it has something in common with polytheism in that regard!), but because it will no longer be useful to have there be any confusion between the more mainstream loosely theistic forms of paganism and those which have no theistic outlooks. These are different religions, not only to polytheism but to each other as well, and thus having arguments with atheopagans over matters of theology and practice is pretty useless, and a waste of both of our factions’ time, energy, and attention. We all have movements to be building, and any time spent that is a distraction from that purpose (no matter how much any of us may like a good scrap!) is wasted time.

If any of us are to have mature religious viewpoints which are not inherently insecure, and can trust that people will seek and find our particular viewpoints of their own accord because they have had thoughts or experiences consonant with them, then it would be better for all of us to have our public presences on the internet be full of messages that are good and positive and that build up our own viewpoints rather than tearing those of others down.

So, here’s the truce I’m proposing:

1) In my own blog and my polytheist writings elsewhere, I won’t argue or disagree with things that atheopagans, humanist pagans, and so forth have written or said; I won’t refer to their writings directly with links or obliquely and by inference simply to critique them.

2) If I do read their blogs or other writings, I won’t comment on them to start arguments or to prolong them. Beyond “that’s interesting” or agreeing with things that are not of an explicitly theological nature, I won’t comment at all.

3) Studies in contrast might be useful on occasion, but sparingly so, and only if they are not personal attacks, and do not denigrate or disrespect the viewpoints of the others involved.

If anyone else would like to agree to this truce, which I hope is permanent (though open for re-negotiation and revision), feel free to do so; if anyone in the atheopagan and humanist pagan groups, and John Halstead himself, would like to agree as well, or come up with their own alternatives worded to better suit their views, they’re free to do so as well. If they don’t, that’s also fine–it’s not my job to regulate their conduct.

And, if you have any thoughts on these matters, I’m interested in hearing/reading them, most certainly, so go on and comment below to your hearts’ content. :)

Posted by: aediculaantinoi | October 3, 2015

An Important Post on Disability and Justice

I have not quite had the spoons for an extended post recently, which is why there have been so many short ones over the last few days. That may continue for the next few days, alas…but, occasionally, verbal brevity is a virtue, I suppose. ;)

A recent post on Gods & Radicals has been an exceptionally important one to consider, and I suggest everyone go and read it.

It is by Naomi Jacobs (Léithin Cluan), and concerns disability and the issue of justice. In a great deal of paganism, there are ableist assumptions all over the place, and even when they are not outright stated, they cannot be ignored by those who are in various ways unable to fully participate under the terms and conditions that have been deliberately created by those creating events. While I cannot claim that I’ve been “perfect” in this regard, nonetheless I try my damnedest to be responsive when a ritual, procedure, or presentation doesn’t accommodate everyone who might wish to be present.

The matter of “well, we’ll make accommodations for the disabled when they decide to show up” where planning events and such is concerned is really a poor approach to the matter; often, what should be asked is “what about how we’re doing things currently makes disabled people less likely to want to show up?” Getting people to understand this has been an uphill battle in my experience, including recently. It’s a similar issue to “why aren’t there any People of Color at our events?” that I think a lot of people are just uncomfortable having to ask themselves under many circumstances.

So, go and read it and really take on board what Léithin Cluan is saying. It’s important stuff, and thank you to her for making it that much clearer to those who may not have received the message thus far.

Posted by: aediculaantinoi | October 2, 2015

And, in Other Religious Text’s Translational News…!

While this is not directly relevant to polytheism or to Antinous, nonetheless, because this particular myth is so important in several other dominant religions and their mythologies, which have been pervasively influential on American culture (and other Western cultures), this might be of great interest to some readers of this blog.

We all know the story of Adam and Eve, and how the Iao (for it was him, not the Elohim of Genesis 1) created Eve from Adam’s rib, right? That may not be correct, after all…

No, Iao made Eve out of a different bone that Adam used to have. And when I say “bone,” I mean bone in both the literal and the figuratively vulgar sense.

Yes, Adam–like most mammals–used to have a baculum, a “penis bone.” Jewish tradition has always been clear that the biological reality is that male and female humans have the same number of ribs, and always have. The bone that seems to be “missing” in male humans, unlike other male animals they were familiar with, is the baculum. And, it is that theorized “missing” bone that they suggested Eve was made from by Iao.

That Iao: what a dick, right? ;)

In any case, this is the cover story in the September/October issue of Biblical Archaeology Review, which may still be available on some newsstands and in bookstores near you. It also appears in a book by the same author. It’s kind of a wacky idea, and has all sorts of things to say about what the Jewish tradition thinks about gender (however flawed and even ridiculous it might be), but it’s also just superlatively *weird*, don’t you think?

Posted by: aediculaantinoi | October 1, 2015

And speaking of the Calendar…

…I’ve been meaning to share this for a week or two, but just haven’t had the right angle, so to speak, to make it relevant.

Well, I mentioned the Calendar earlier, so that slight and silly thought is what will have to suffice. ;)

The Digital Hadrian’s Villa Project has been doing some interesting things for the last few years, but here’s a video I saw on YouTube that shows what the interactive version of the project can do, and some of what results from it, which can entail actual archaeological discoveries!

I am really looking forward to the opportunity to engage with this project directly, which I understand (from comments on YouTube videos) will be a possibility for the general public in the next couple of months!

Now, that having been said, there are a few methodological problems here, too.

The Antinoeion at Hadrian’s Villa was not built until c. 134 CE, and yet the dates they have for the sunrise/sunset position tracker is for the year 130 CE. While that is probably “close enough” in certain respects, it likely doesn’t approximate things as closely as they might prefer. Thus, the July 20th date they suggest might not be *quite right* for that particular alignment of the Obelisk with the central shrine area…but, who knows?

On our current Calendar, July 20th is the date of Alexander the Great’s birth (and the burning of Artemis of Ephesus’ temple), but it isn’t a major event, so to speak; July 25th is more of what they’re talking about, however, as the “new year” according to Egyptian tradition.

All of that taken into account, though, I wonder: would it be good to have an Antinoeion and Obelisk of Antinous festival on that particular day, perhaps? What do those of you who are devoted to Antinous, and who would be likely to mark such a day with a ritual of some sort or other, think about that suggestion?

Posted by: aediculaantinoi | October 1, 2015

Welcome, October!

For those who are ardent followers of our Calendar, October is one of the most important months that we have, as the bulk of the Sacred Nights of Antinous take place within it. However, things don’t really start kicking off in a major way until the 11th, which means there may be time for some topical matters to be addressed as well. That’s good, as I am still catching my breath on certain matters, and have a great deal to prepare for in the coming weeks…

I have over 10 post drafts still in the bin, which I hope to make at least some dent in by the 11th. With any luck, all will be done by no later than December 31st. It’s nice to go into the new calendrical year with a clean slate, at least in that regard! ;)

I am hoping the (mostly) final bits of my shrine room will be coming together before the Sacred Nights officially begin on the 24th, and I think that is very do-able. Some major bits might even be done by the end of this weekend, with any luck…

One thing I’m dreading somewhat is the fact that for the Sacred Nights of Antinous, I only have one piece of fiction that I can think of off the top of my head, and it’s a *weird* one. I also don’t have any major definite plans at present for a *big* bit of devotional writing for Foundation Day itself; there are a few potential candidates, but I don’t know if they’re quite right, either…divination is going to have to be done on many of these things.

And, in the meantime, there’s the World Parliament of Religions to prepare for. My thoughts for that have been relatively set for months, but it’s just a matter of getting them on PowerPoint and trying to make them take less than a half hour to forty minutes to present orally. We shall see…

October isn’t off to the best start for me, though, I must admit. I didn’t feel like getting up as early as I set my alarm today (despite getting close to eight hours of sleep when it did go off), and then after re-setting it multiple times, I then overslept, and had about 25 minutes to get ready and get the last possible bus before I’d be late for college. While I made that with some time to spare, because they were late and going very slow today, I missed the connection (even though I tried to get the driver to call the other bus), but luckily he got the other one to stop and drove us down the road to meet it…three other people on my bus also wanted that connecting bus, but didn’t speak up, and as a result we all got to catch it, which saved them a two-hour wait or a long walk. In the less-than-half-hour that remained, I was able to do some quick e-mail checking, revise and print out the week’s quiz for one of my classes, and get a caffeinated beverage so that I could actually be conscious for the class period to follow! And, nearly everyone did very well on this first quiz, so that’s good. I then was able to collect a prescription that I ordered a few days ago from the pharmacy. But, there are various other errands that are way overdue that I need to try and get done tomorrow, and since I don’t have to go into college at all, that’s good…I still have online grading to do, though.

With any luck, some writing projects will also take place this weekend. If I can get 2-4 of them done, I’ll be in good shape, and I think that I can get at least 2 done. I have five that are due by the end of the month.

But at the moment, I still haven’t had dinner! Ugh! I’m going to have to go shopping this weekend, too…but, if things work out really well, I might also go see a musical. Who knows?

I won’t say definitively that October is the “Most Wonderful Time of the Year” when you’re an Antinoan, but it kind of ranks pretty high up there! ;)

Posted by: aediculaantinoi | September 30, 2015

A Straw Further…

While it pales in comparison to the disrespect and injustice of this, guess what I just found out the Fope did while he was here last week, too?

The Fope met with Kim Davis, the “I won’t do my duly elected duties because I don’t believe I have to” woman.

Fuck you, Fope Prancis, for throwing your hat in with Mike Fuckabee and all of the other bigots.

Supplement (10-3-15): No, I am still not happy with the Fope. However, this clarification helps a lot, and should be acknowledged.

Posted by: aediculaantinoi | September 29, 2015

Esoteric Book Conference (and Stuff!) 2015

My experiences this last weekend at the Esoteric Book Conference are not going to be recounted here in as in-depth a fashion as I have been accustomed to doing in the past several years, for the simple reason that a) I don’t have as much time to spend with this today as I’d like (nor will I have time later in the week), and b) some parts of it I just don’t have a lot to say about. I enjoyed attending the entirety of the conference, though I found a great deal more relevance in the second day’s presentations than the first overall. I didn’t do much of the “outside” stuff that was affiliated with the conference (e.g. the after-party on Sunday or the entertainment on Saturday night, or any of the formal or informal pre-events on Friday), but on both Saturday and Sunday nights, rituals happened that I attended, and in many respects these–in particular the second one, on Sunday night–were especially important.

I must begin by expressing my deepest and utmost heartfelt thanks to my host, Michael Sebastian Lvx, for allowing me to stay at his apartment for the duration of the weekend; to TurningTides, for hanging out with me and giving me a ride back up the hill on Saturday; and also to Jay, for giving me a ride on Sunday, and likewise getting me to the ferry on Monday morning–thus saving me bus fares and needlessly lost time and walking and inconvenience! Many thanks to all of you, without whom my legs and my spirits would have been in much greater pain, not to mention I’d have been awfully cold sleeping outside! ;)

Travel down and back wasn’t bad, but having to carry an air mattress is a bit of a burden; I also had an umbrella, which I didn’t need while in Seattle, but was necessary to keep me somewhat more dry on my walk from my apartment to various errands on Friday morning in Oak Harbor before departing. I found myself having to go directly from a meeting at college to the bus on Friday, and then on Monday, I only had a short while to return home after arriving back in the morning before I had to be at college to teach for the afternoon. (Something similar will be occurring when I go to the World Parliament of Religions next month…or, really, in sixteen days!) The older I get, the less I enjoy travel; but, little enough is occurring these days in terms of organized conferences of great interest to me in my immediate locality, so it’s what is necessary, alas.

One of the only major disappointments–which was ultimately a blessing in disguise, it turns out–was that after I obtained my registration for the conference (for which I pre-paid several months back), I went to buy my first book for the event, only to find that my credit card didn’t work. I suspect this is because they sent out new ones, but I had not activated a new one meanwhile, and thus wasn’t aware that they’d be de-activating this one at some unknown date. This was a major disappointment, needless to say, since one of the great perks of attending this event is all of the wonderful books on offer. But, on further reflection, I realized that I can obtain paperback copies of some of the books for cheaper later, and as much as I enjoy the fine hardback editions of some books, if they are available in paperback, it is a bit easier on the pocketbook. I had hoped to perhaps use what little cash I had on one book in particular from the Inner Traditions table, which always offers a 50% discount on all their books…but they, too, had problems, because according to UPS, Fope Prancis’ visit caused some delays in shipping, and so the books that were meant to arrive for sales at the conference were in Portland, and would not show up until Monday…which would be too late. So, no books there, either. There was one table that had a number of books for free, and I considered taking one of them overnight on Saturday, only to find that they were all gone by Sunday morning. There were a couple of paperbacks on the table in the middle of the room in small stacks that were marked “free” on Sunday morning, though, so I availed myself of two of those…and that was my book haul for this year. Oh well…considering I’m still having trouble finding enough shelves, and space for shelves, in my new apartment, getting more books (no matter how important or desired they are) is probably not in my best interests at present. However, considering how much space and how many words I’ve spent telling you here the essentially short message of “I didn’t really get any books,” it’s probably kind of obvious how hard and upsetting, though important, this particular circumstance and the lessons that come with it happened to be for me on the occasion. :(

The first day’s presentations were interesting. Especially good was the first, which was by Oksana Marafioti, and it was on magical realism in Russia, and how house cults (i.e. ancestor and land/house-spirit cultus), shamanism, and Christianity have all played a role in Russian culture, and have influenced Russian literature a great deal, despite apparent attempts of Christianity and Communism to destroy the pre-Christian (and all religious) traditions in that culture. I learned that in Russian culture and in the household cultus, werewolves are essentially ancestor figures, which is good to know (!?!). I also some terms for a few sacred roles in the culture, which might be useful in trying to deepen my own ancestor veneration practices, since my dad’s side of the family came more directly from there.

Presentations by Jeff Lavoie on Christian theosophy and Emily Pothast on sacred geometry in art of the (Christian) Apocalypse were also interesting, but rounding out the day on Saturday were talks by Stephanie Spoto and Jeffrey Erwin on Lilith in the works of John Dee, John Selden, and other 16th century writers, as well as an amulet of Catherine de Medici (fun fact: the Medici family traced their ancestry to Medea!), and then finally one by Eric Purdue on Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa’s work. Spoto and Erwin’s talk was intriguing, though it leaned in the direction of monism–understandably, given that Selden and others seemed to lean in that direction where the interpretation of different Goddesses are concerned, but they decided to adopt that monistic hermeneutic themselves in discussing the material (which I don’t think was necessary, but oh well…it’s not my presentation!). Purdue’s presentation gave me a lot of information on what to expect when I at last get to reading Agrippa–which I’ve only had occasion to briefly dip into previously–and I look forward to the preparation of his translation of the text in preference to the only one easily available at present; I also know that despite the ongoing relevance of Agrippa and his importance in the overall tradition of magic and grimoires in the European tradition (and indeed, the repeated references to him in the presentations the following day!), nonetheless his work isn’t as essential to what I hope to be doing in the years to come as some other things might be.

That night, after getting a ride back, I had a quick dinner before a small group of people, including the merry band of pirates! last three presenters from the following day, came to attend a gnostic liturgy in honor of the feast-day of Sts. Cyprian and Justina at my host’s apartment. MSL is a deacon of the Apostolic Johannite Church (amongst many other things!), and I have been interested in attending one of their liturgies for a while, and have been invited to them previously but have not been able to make it. Given the occasion, though, my staying there, and the fact that St. Cyprian–not unlike Agrippa–would be mentioned frequently the following day, it seemed like a very good idea to be there. The liturgy wasn’t that different than what I have experienced previously in Catholicism, with some noteworthy and positive differences at a number of points. In any case, it was a good thing to have done! We were given the opportunity to ask St. Cyprian for something at the appropriate time, and perhaps part of what I asked for came about later that night…

The various guests, as well as my host, went out to party, while I stayed in, wrote this short post and checked my e-mail, and then decided to try and sleep a bit. After learning later that my host would not be returning home that night, I took advantage of his absence by borrowing his duvet, as I was extremely cold for some strange reason…it was as if the heat of the entire apartment dissipated. It didn’t feel like a “natural” departure of the heat, either, I think something might have been afoot, if not in the larger apartment and surroundings than perhaps simply in my own process at that moment. I ended up having a dream later in the morning (though I had several over the course of the night) in which I was in a rather unpleasant medical situation, and was being asked a lot of questions by the medical personnel who were causing me all the discomfort, and one of them–in an attempt to try and seem more personable–asked me about what I was working on at the moment, and my answer was “I’m writing a book about Polydeukion,” and then I had to explain who he is. I woke up soon after that…but here’s the thing: I have no current plans to write a book about Polydeukion (though he certainly comes into several other books I have in the works), but perhaps I should be. I’m going to be exploring some options in that regard over the coming weeks, amidst working on the various other things I have in process, but this dream also had some relevance to what followed the next day, as you’ll see. ;)

First up on the second day was Ezra Sandzer-Bell and Cassandra Johns, who presented on plant music medicine. Sandzer-Bell’s books look interesting, and he discussed how he arrived at the system which he uses to develop music for the plants he has worked with; likewise, Cassandra talked about her role in their overall project, being much more trained herbalist focused. While I don’t think I have any future as an herbalist, I was interested in how Sandzer-Bell developed this system, and I think I might try it, but I’m going to have to adjust, because his system is based on Hebrew letter musical note and color correspondences, whereas I think I’m going to try and do it based on Greek (which, having 24 letters, more easily lends itself to a two-octave chromatic scale than would the 22 Hebrew letters, particularly since I will be using many Greek words and names). I may see if I can obtain those books at some stage, though given how deeply they go into things like Golden Dawn and Rosicrucian symbolism, I don’t know if they’ll be as relevant to what I hope to do as simply the ideas he was presenting and the variations he was suggesting people explore is stimulating to the possibilities I might experiment with in the future.

Next up in the morning before lunch was our old friend Amy Hale, who presented on shape and color as entities. She started with the premise that iconography of Divine Beings that is representational and often anthropomorphic is wonderful and beautiful, and among some of her favorite artistic pieces are such depictions; but, there is a long tradition in the ancient world of aniconic or less representational divine images, like Aphrodite of Paphos’ sacred stone, which while there are aspects of it that might suggest a “Goddess”-esque presence or form, nonetheless is a natural stone that was venerated for centuries. (Indeed, Artemis of Ephesus/Upis’ depiction originated in this fashion as well, as did Cybele, the divine namesake of Elagabulus, and many other such images.) What followed this discussion was a quick summary of the color theory systems of a number of different people over the last several centuries, and then a discussion of very modernist artists like Piet Mondrian (as was discussed a few years ago by Pam Grossman) and Ithell Colquhoun, and how the purpose of many of these artists was to give some sense of the “fourth dimension” in their work. At the end of the presentation, Hale asked the audience to consider why and what qualifies something as “esoteric art,” and as an example, she showed us a stele by Austin Osman Spare, which included “a naked chick” (her exact words!), a snake, some arcane-looking symbols and writing, and a number of other things, all of which elicited the opinion that this is, indeed, “esoteric art.” Then she showed us a Mondrian painting, with its quadrilaterals outlined in black and with a few primary colored examples amongst the mostly white shapes, and she asked, “Why not this?” While this is a question and an issue I’ve heard before, on this occasion it landed a bit more impactfully for me, and perhaps the reason it did not the last time (in 2012 when Pam Grossman presented on it) is because she presented before I did, and my presentation on that occasion was on the Serpent Path.

Do you see where I’m going with this? Let me illustrate with a few examples, then.

When most people think of Antinous (though, admittedly, most people NEVER DO THINK OF ANTINOUS!!!), they think of something like this:

And, let’s be honest: why wouldn’t you? I mean, that hair, that face, that ass!–what’s not to like? ;)

Then, there’s the Serpent Path version of Antinous, which looks like this:


It is linear, schematic, abstract in the extreme, minimalistic…and also, when its various movements and iterations and permutations are taken into account, it is not only fourth-dimensional, it is infinitely-dimensional in its implications.

It is no surprise that a very limited number of people are interested in the latter, or understand it; whereas there is a section of modern Antinoan devotion that is entirely based on the former (and on modern Tijuana-Bible-gay-comic versions of the same), and which has a ton of members who are paying a full-time salary to a priesthood based on it, and on their messages of gay male cisgendered spiritual essentialism that goes little beyond “coming out” theology.

And, what is the main difference between the two approaches?

Whatever one might be able to say about them theologically or methodologically, and on one being more esoteric than the other, what is definitely true is that, unless one has particular fetishes (which I do not, personally, have, nor do I know anyone who does), you can only masturbate to one of the above images effectively. So much esoteric art does seem to be fantasy-feeding, wish-fulfilling, sexy-in-a-smutty-way imagery for its own sake, in my estimation, and the same goes for a fair bit of devotional imagery in paganism and polytheism. Now, don’t get me wrong, I like beautiful and sexy imagery probably even more than the next person, and in fact my devotion to some Deities has been stunted for lack of sexy imagery that I like; but, I do understand that there is a difference between alluring and erotically-charged devotional imagery and porn, and as much as the former is nice and enjoyable, and as much as beauty and pleasant stimulation of the human sensorium is always enjoyable and worthwhile to pursue, nonetheless for some things getting too caught up in the physical is an impediment. Indeed, this is exactly what Mondrian said, in a rather Platonic fashion (and Amy Hale’s presentation made frequent reference to Plato!), and so even despite me writing things like this from time to time, nonetheless it’s an important point. This presentation was an excellent reminder of why it is important to be doing the work that I am with the Serpent Path and other such processes, and reaffirmed the utility of being able to give a sense of the fourth dimension and multidimensionality in this work, rather than getting stuck with static images, no matter how beautiful they might be.

After lunch, the first of three presentations by one of the merry band of pirates! Jesse Hathaway Diaz occurred, and his presentation is in many respects the hardest to quantify; after a while, I stopped taking notes on it and just sat back and enjoyed it. Amongst other topics, he discussed how in certain Afro-Diasporic traditions, not merely St. Cyprian, but St. Cyprian’s grimoire can be a lwa, and how simple possession of particular books can be seen as a kind of initiation, or even as a guarantee of authority for the work one is doing magically, even if one isn’t using the book to read and learn out of. He also discussed the rabbinic idea of “theft of mind,” and how it not only applies to not crediting one’s sources (“not citing your sources delays the coming of the Messiah!”), but also to being both too effusive in crediting other people and over-citing (and thus denying one’s own authority), as well as under-citing. There was an interesting tension that he drew out between writing a book and not writing it, between making it very accessible widely and making it a limited-run and expensive printing. A phrase that he started with and ended with was “burn all the books; consume the ashes; like the palimpsests clean,” and this is a very interesting viewpoint. Bibliomancy, which had been mentioned by Oksana Marafioti the day before as something that oftentimes was seen as the only use for the Bible in Russian contexts (even by parish priests!), also seemed to be implied in the usages discussed by Jesse here. He also mentioned how “Agrippa” is not just the Three (or Four) Books of Occult Philosophy in some cultures, but can in fact refer to any or all types of magical book; he gave us an example of a Basque woman he interviewed, who had books chained above her mantel, and he asked her what they were, and she said “Agrippas,” and he followed up “which ones?” to which she replied “all fourteen of them.” He also discussed how he had a dream of a magical book when he was younger, and his grandmother explained to him that it was “the Cyprian,” and that because he had dreamed of it, he already had the authority of it to some extent. This got me thinking about the apparent Polydeukion book I may now have to write…!?! In any case, it was an energetic and entertaining presentation, as well as informative and great to think with, and I informed him afterwards that he is one of my new favorite people. ;)

Next up was Dan Harms, second of the merry band of pirates! who was presenting on fairy magic, and on the work he did in co-editing the recent edition of The Book of Oberon. The fairy magic rituals he described, and how they are similar to but differ in important ways from the typical ceremonial magic procedures and approaches, was very interesting. One of the rituals discussed from the book involved the invoking of King Arthur along with various other being to compel the appearance and compliance of the fairies who were being summoned, which has all sorts of interesting implications. I might end up doing some experiments with this material in the future, not only in furtherance of my own Celtic-related practices, but also to see if I can bridge some of my Antinoan and Celtic work, given that Oberon himself is a kind of transitional figure–sometimes said to have been the child of Morgan le Fay and Julius Caesar, so stick that in your pipe and smoke it, anti-syncretists! ;)

The final presentation of the conference was by Al Cummins the final of the merry band of pirates! (and it isn’t struck-through here because I actually did say to him that I thought he and the other two were like a merry band of pirates!) It turns out I’d forgotten that I met Al at the Polytheist Leadership Conference in 2014, which then made that much more sense as to why his name and photo seemed familiar (!?!), and he knows so many people in common with me. His presentation was on a particular English magical manuscript of the sixteenth century, and the record of a few months of visions which accompanies it. The edition of the manuscript will be interesting to see when it is finished, but the details were especially curious on a variety of points. The magicians who used it were given it on the authority of a variety of figures, including the biblical Adam and Job, and even (here’s that name again) Agrippa! As they were doing the operations and were having experiences, in their early visions they saw visions of themselves as advanced magicians commanding hosts of spirits successfully; and in a later vision, they were told that the result of them doing this work would be that they would become saints. In essence, these visionary and divinatory actions on their part were also in a sense initiatory, and they became “self-fulfilling prophets” through the work. While this is yet another interesting manuscript that I look forward to being able to consult one day, the inspirational quality of the presentation was what really caught and enthralled me–if some of my magical and spiritual work ends up going in a similar fashion, then I think we’ll be on the right track with it, and indeed the Serpent Path thus far (in my experience) had indicated as much.

After all of that enjoyment occurred, and I said my goodbyes to several people, the very fortuitous occasion of the arrival of Jay occurred–he was not at the conference, and was instead at an event elsewhere over the weekend, but he came at the end to see who was about. He parked right across the street, and agreed to drive me back to MSL’s for the night, but upon arrival (as he had no other plans immediately), we got to talking, and decided that because the lunar eclipse was occurring at that very moment, perhaps what we’d do was a short Antinoan devotion–I had considered doing that either the night before or that night, and given the eclipse’s timing that night, it seemed like a better idea to do it then and not crowd out Sts. Cyprian and Justina the night before. Jay and MSL have been doing regular devotional rituals for the last number of months, and have worked out a system, and are developing their own particular local cultus customs with it, and I have been curious about this. Thus, what was presented to me was a rare opportunity to see someone else run an Antinoan devotional ritual from start to finish, with me only contributing a small portion to it. I’m happy for these sorts of things to be occurring, and to see that others can do (and are doing!) these things without me. They performed purifications and preparations for the ritual as they typically do; but, the usual bust of Antinous that is installed and adorned as part of their rituals was not present (as Jay didn’t know they’d be needing it!), and thus what I spoke about at length above in relation to Amy Hale’s presentation was tested on this occasion, and the “square side” Serpent Path glyph on papyrus (which I had given to Jay after my presentation at the 2012 EBC) was used as an icon of Antinous; usually, that glyph on papyrus is what the bust of Antinous would be set on top of, but this time it served as the main icon…and it worked wonderfully, for all of us. (That’s how I know I’m in the right crowd these days!) After their usual procedures, in the “miscellaneous” section, I was able to contribute “Antinous of the Moon” in the psalmic fashion that I premiered at PantheaCon 2013, which I had not entirely remembered until we sang the refrain a few times, and then it clicked back into place…and during it, we went outside and actually sang directly to the moon, which was bright and beautiful overhead after having completed its eclipse phase. (I did see it earlier in the evening when I went out to get some food.) This was quite a wonderful thing; it’s yet another thing I might have to add to the list of “things people might want a recording of in relation to Antinoan practice,” which I hope to produce at some stage. Later on, I also did the short Greek hymn to Sabazios and the Thracian deities, which they had never heard before. And after a great deal more and a bit of discussion and other things, we all retired for the night much later than expected, and in the morning went to our various destinations.

One of the things that I think is the most important about events like the Esoteric Book Conference is not the books that you can get at them (though that’s nice, if it can happen!), or the presentations one attends (though they are often very interesting and useful), or even the wonderful people one meets and interacts with (though they are the actual highlight), but instead the ideas one gets in that environment, and only in that environment, which can then inspire and guide one’s own work for months and years to come in all sorts of large and small ways. I was also happy to attend and be a participant in, rather than leader of, several rituals, including an Antinoan one, and I hope that such will occur on other occasions in the not-too-distant future as well.

But it is late now, and I have a few more things I must do before getting to bed, so I shall draw it to a close there. Thanks to everyone who attended the EBC this year, and especially to the organizers and everyone who made it a success! I hope it lasts many more years into the future! :)

Posted by: aediculaantinoi | September 28, 2015

Identity vs. Identification: An Interesting Problem

I have returned (as of about 11:35 this morning) from my adventures in Seattle at the Esoteric Book Conference, and hope to write a full update on its events later/soon/in the next day or so. Suffice it to say for now that the second day of the conference was even better than the first in terms of the quality of the presentations. Not a single one of them did not have major potential relevance for my work with Antinous, despite the fact that likewise not a single one of them mentioned the name of Antinous (which is rather typical, but oh well…!?!). There’s so much potentially exciting work to be done in the future, one’s mind reels, verily! ;)

However, in the meantime, another subject to write about has come up, despite the continued backlog of posts I’d like to get to soon, and I thought I could knock it out relatively easily today, so here I am.

While various different kinds of “-mania” are not inherently wrong, disordered, and are certainly not evil–so long as they occur only in isolation, and are not part of some overlying psychological problem–there is one sort of mania that I have very little patience for these days, and likewise for the last eight years (and more). I’d like to coin the term “Antinomania” for this particular phenomenon, and thus the people who exhibit it would be known as “Antinomaniacs.” These are not people with an excessive devotion to Antinous, mind you–there aren’t enough of those in the world, in my opinion (!?!), and I’d have to count myself amongst that number if indeed I were making such a diagnosis (!?!–again!?!). What I think is characteristic of “Antinomania” is not the tendency to seek out Antinous wherever he may be found, not only in ancient literature and sculpture but also in modern film and fiction, in spiritual accounts, and so forth, but instead to find Antinous in places that he does not exist, which essentially involves misinterpreting certain things as Antinous when they are not, or were not intended to be portrayals of him. There are occasions where there might be a literary reference that is vague, and which can then be interpreted in an Antinoan fashion, and if this occurs in certain cases (e.g. in a poem by Oscar Wilde, for example) in which an author or a genre has a penchant for referring to Antinous, and knowledge of Antinous in the person who produced the writing is certain, then it can be relatively viable as a hermeneutic. This particularly exists, however, in the tendency to see any and all statuary of the late antique periods which depicts a young and attractive male as Antinous, as well as a great deal of neoclassical statuary produced over the last several centuries. Indeed, in the latter category, many statues are certainly based on existing Antinous sculpture, and if the likeness is good, then they can be understood as Antinous, even if they are understood as someone else, or are intended to depict another figure–the example of Raphael’s Jonah comes to mind as a positive example of such). But what if it isn’t Antinous, wasn’t intended to be Antinous, and wasn’t based with any certainty on an existing sculpture of Antinous? Can such a sculpture be “Antinous for me” without descending into the depths of negative Antinomania?

The answers to that might vary considerably, but I would like to suggest that if one is a polytheist, it’s not really a viable nor laudable tendency. While one can look at a particularly beautiful image of the biblical David or St. Michael the Archangel, perhaps, and decide to use it as a depiction of Apollon, which might be acceptable in certain situations for a variety of reasons, the difference there is that there is no singular and definitive iconography of Apollon (though there are certainly tendencies and patterns in his classical depictions) which says that “these images are only ever Apollon” and “these ones can never be.” Most Deities do not have standard portraits whose features must be copied, and thus their divine attributes are what come to the fore. If this image has higher cheekbones, a different-shaped nose, seems taller and thinner or shorter and more stout, has more or less defined musculature, has a larger or smaller penis, has straight or curly or variously styled hair, and so on and so forth, it may still be of a particular Deity simply due to the presence of those defining attributes. With Antinous, though, we know what he looked like (or, at least, there is an established facial type for him), and it is how we know that a particular image is him despite all of the syncretism that prevails in his imagery. Otherwise, one would never be able to extract the notion that this is Antinous across the attributes of Hermes, Dionysos, Apollon, Silvanus, and many others; instead, it would be as if one singular attractive person–let’s say for the sake of argument Nicholas Hoult–sat as a model for many different Deities in various poses and with a variety of props, but we would not say afterwards “This is the Divine Nicholas Hoult,” we’d say “This one is Apollon; this one is Poseidon; this one is Ares,” and so forth, because Nicholas Hoult’s independent divinity is not established. It’s one of those things which makes the phenomenon of Antinous all the more interesting, but all the more particular as well, and being able to discern with one’s artistic and aesthetic eye beyond “young hot guy with a certain hairstyle” to see who is Antinous and who is not is a skill that must be honed. To return to our celebrity example above, one would not then watch the Percy Jackson films and say that Nicholas Hoult starred as Percy Jackson, and that Nicholas Hoult was also in The Hunger Games, and in fact played three roles in those films as Peeta, Gale, and Finnick because all three of those roles and the actors who play them happen to be young and attractive (at least to some people’s tastes).

[Yet again, a concept in polytheism and/or syncretism is best understood with reference to pop cultural examples–!?! When will this end?!?]

And yet still, there are some misidentifications that are so long-standing and which are to a certain extent standard that the question I gave as my subject line here emerges: what is the line between identification and identity in these cases? In other words, what is the difference between how an image is commonly identified by people (i.e. a question of interpretation) versus what the image was intended to portray (i.e. a question of authorial/artistic intent)? With Antinous, we’ve got a number of those, which are often the relics of earlier studies by the likes of Dietrichson as well as even Winckelmann who are so important in art history that their opinions are still respected a century or centuries later, despite having been proven inaccurate.

One of the most persistent such identifications is that of the Capitoline Hermes, which has often been known as Antinous. In the photo above, taken by Robert Mapplethorpe Sanctus, is the image, and when it was snapped by Mapplethorpe, it was photographed not as some random beautiful ancient nude, it was photographed specifically with the intent of putting Antinous on film. There are images of Antinous that have been produced as reproductions for sale which are based on the Capitoline Hermes, and are marketed as Antinous–indeed, it is one such image that was the first sculptural depiction of Antinous that I was able to obtain (at Heathrow Airport’s terminal 4 British Museum store, when it still existed!), and which I still have. However, I now understand that it isn’t Antinous, and yet…the position I’ve come to is that due to this ongoing and persistent identification for a few centuries, a syncretism has come about. Hermes and Antinous were syncretized commonly anyway, so this is no different than those other situations in certain respects, except that the visuals are not entirely “there,” so to speak, in every respect. The Capitoline Hermes’ hair curls are tighter and smaller and more numerous, and the facial features are smaller and more dainty–to put it rather bluntly, the nose just isn’t big enough to be the Antinous we all know and love. ;)

Other examples of what some scholars refer to as “Pseudo-Antinous” depictions are detailed here. However, I think there are a few which are considered “secure” identifications that are also to be questioned.

Athens–likely in late antiquity as much as today, as befits the city most beloved of Hadrian–especially abounds in Antinous images. One of the “Egyptianizing” images of Antinous that was found there, on Herodes Attikos Street in Marathon, likely where Herodes built a temple to Isis, doesn’t seem to be Antinous from my perspective. Look closely at his face: first of all, he’s sort of smiling more broadly than any other extant Antinous image would be, and the face is fuller and more rounded. No doubt this image was inspired by the Egyptianizing portraits of Antinous, and given that Herodes Attikos was a cultist of Antinous as well as a friend of Hadrian (likely with access to Hadrian’s Villa, where such images were especially prevalent), he’d have been well aware of such images. But if it isn’t Antinous, who is it? I think the obvious answer would be Polydeukion (even though it’s not a perfect image of him either…but then again, it could also be Achilles, perhaps, or even Memnon!). With the Egyptianizing attributes, and the findspot in an Isian temple, it would thus tend to fall into the “Osiris syncretism” category, at least most logically. And yet, because Polydeukion and the Trophimoi’s cultus is based on that of Antinous, it might not be out of character to think of this as a syncretism of one of the Trophimoi with Antinous instead, or Osiris-Antinous, rather than simply with Osiris.

While I could name further examples and show additional photos of this tendency, you have the basic outlines of this mode of examination here. The tendency to over-interpret Antinous into places that he never existed is especially rampant in some circles (avid readers may be able to guess which!), and likewise some scholars also seem to see him or assume his presence where it might be logical but isn’t necessarily certain, as the case is with the example from the purview of Herodes Attikos above. It’s important to think about these things and to consider them carefully. Does the value of any image, sacred or otherwise, derive from its resemblance to or identification with Antinous, even for hardcore Antinoans? Or, can these images of beautiful youthful males be valued as themselves and as different and distinct, and all the more important for that, even for those who are Antinoans? Of course, my answer would be the latter. Just as it would be rude to meet Josh Hutcherson and say “Oh, Nicholas Hoult, I think you’re great!” so too would it be rude to meet a variety of other Deities and to assume that because they took young and beautiful male forms, they were automatically Antinous, and would have to be simply because one decided to identify them as such.

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