Posted by: aediculaantinoi | April 25, 2013

Serapeia 2013 (and other occasions)

The Serapeia is once again upon us, which means that the following object,

is in my pocket as we speak and as I write this. He will be there until I go to sleep tonight.

In Neos Alexandria, today is also the Festival of Khonsu, described as follows:

Offerings are made to Khonsu, the moon god on the night of the full moon in Pakhons, after whom the month is named.

In the strange syncretistic fashion that is more my general way of being these days than not, this festival already began for me very early this morning. I awoke to a flood of the full moon’s light coming through my window and lighting up my (white) bust of Antinous for more than an hour as the moon made its way across the night’s sky. I’d love to say that I’m intelligent, observant, and prescient enough to have devised this set-up for my shrine deliberately, but it would be a lie if I said that, because it’s just complete and utter chance that the exact placement of my shrine, and Antinous’ bust’s position on it, aligns so perfectly to be bathed in the full moon’s light each month. In a way, that’s almost even better than having set it up that way deliberately, don’t you think? Maybe not…oh well. 😉

Today is also Robigalia in Roman tradition. If you want to read more about Serapeia, Robigalia, and also the syncretism festival of Apis and Antinous that is celebrated on this day, you can read the posts from 2011 and 2012.

I’d like to do my best today to write a poem for the occasion. So, here goes…


Serapis’ Beard

Hail to Serapis, mighty-bearded,
whose beard-hairs entwine the entire world
of gods and men, of cities and planets.

His wisps of hair curl around Osiris,
the false-bearded, and whorl around Sabazios,
whose beard is equally dense and drifting.

His chin-mane swirls around Zeus’ thunderbolt,
the bident of subterranean Hades,
and around Herakles’ mighty club and lion-skin.

Around the cadeuceus and the thyrsus alike,
around hammer and anvil in forge,
around the thighs of his favorite lovers.

His beard a bridge across continents and cultures,
entwining Sucellos and Odin, Endovellicus and the Dagda,
and old Math vab Mathonwy and his virgin footholder.

The young and the old, bearded and unbearded alike,
young Antinous and the Apis Bull and Anubis,
and today even Robigus, Robigo, and white-faced Khonsu.

Brahma’s four heads and faces entangle with his beard,
and Sarutahiko-no-Okami’s undefeated spear
clears a way to mingle their facial hairs together.

In the faces of Walt Whitman and old uncles and grandfathers,
in the faces of aloof twenty-something hipsters who can’t be bothered,
in the chins of goats and unicorns alike.

In the gessi of Ulchai and of Olc Aiche,
the hounds of every fíanna
and the wolf-head of every cáinte.

His beard encompasses sun, moon, and stars,
the planets and the Milky Way,
and the vast depths of unknowable space…

In the upper beard and the lower beard,
in the beardless and the shaven and the shorn,
on this day, Serapis, mighty-bearded, hail to you!



And, in a final note of something “odd” and noteworthy (and likely not at all connected to this day, but so what?), sometimes, things turn up in rivers. If this were “the good ol’ days,” this would be taken as the sign of some divine favor, shrines would be built to this deity (whomever it was determined to be), festivals would be instituted, and much joy and happiness would occur because of it. But, being we live in a sick and cynical age, and the thing is made of foam and fiberglass, it will probably just be towed ashore and thrown into a landfill. We can always hope for something better and more interesting than that, but as our daily existences all too often prove, hope springs dry up quickly. Oh well…just wanted to note this little possibility of hope and fascination before it gets forgotten entirely.


Hail to Serapis on his festival-day! Hail and praises to Khonsu!
Hail to Robigus and Robigo! Hail to Apis! Hail to Antinous!


  1. I love that poem so much! And thanks for showing us all how to get ahead, ‘miright?

    A blessed Serapeia to you and yours, and dua Khonsu!

    • Thank you! And to you as well!

      I’m so glad you liked it–that is one where, I suspect, it will either fall completely flat with people, or it will go over a treat with them. I surmise some of my follicularly-gifted readers will especially like it, but they haven’t responded yet. 😉

      I suppose, to a certain extent, those of us into late antique things tend to get ahead, not only of ourselves but also of the gods, more often than not, since that’s all that survives of them in many cases (including with Antinous and Serapis alike). As the old polytheist maxim goes: two heads are better than one, but twenty are better still. 😛

  2. I wonder what that head is supposed to be. If it were a bearded head, people would assume it was Jesus and build a shrine. That one is just mysterious. It looks like Constantine to me.

    • If the speculations on its origins are right (i.e. a Mardi Gras float destroyed years ago in Hurrican Katrina that finally floated ashore), perhaps it’s Apollon or some other such figure. Portraying a colossal youthful/unbearded figure of Graeco-Roman style would mostly likely be him (or, some syncretized–though unbeknownst to those doing it–combination of Phoebus/Apollon/Helios, etc.); or, failing that, a colossal Michelangelo’s David…which, really, is sort of “same difference” when you get down to it. 😉

  3. […] in absence of the actual texts concerned, I figured that the base text could be the one I wrote for Serapeia last year, and then the rest was based on my own knowledge, poetic composition skills, and the inspiration of […]

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