Sometimes, I amaze myself with my own stupidity, and last night was one of those occasions, unfortunately.
Whether it’s a good thing or a bad thing, I suppose it’s at least something that I am so free with sharing my failures with the reading public on this blog, with the hopes that others will do the wise thing and learn from the mistakes of others, rather than making their own. (There was a phrase I heard when I was about nine: a fool learns from their own mistakes; the wise learn from the mistakes of others. So, let me give you the opportunity to be wise now!)
Let me start at the beginning…
So, a few months ago, I wrote an article on spec for a certain rather beautiful, impressive, and appealing esoteric journal, and through various persons got it to the editors. They liked it, but wanted a few revisions in the meantime to make it a bit more relevant and “sexy” for their audience, as well as needing to have its references reformatted and some other editing issues. No problem…
It took longer to get to that than I would have preferred, but I managed to get that done in the last week or so.
I heard back almost immediately from the editors, saying they loved it, but wanted about 600 more words (in two paragraphs) on some general details on the subject matter, which is Antinous and Glykon. I duly responded with the necessary paragraphs (it’s not every day that a publication I’m not handling myself says “please, more words”–!?!), and all seemed to be well.
Then, there was the issue of having images to accompany the article. A few of my Antinous shrines from this blog were suggested as possibilities by the editor I’ve been working the closest with, but the photos were unfortunately not usable because they were not of sufficient resolution for publications purposes. Drat, because not only were they nice, but certain components of one of them are no longer accessible by me, unfortunately.
Thus, in a fit of inspiration and “We’ll get this problem solved in the next twelve hours!”-ness, I went to the store after work yesterday and spent a lot of money on frames, and decided I’d make several temporary shrines, not only because I wanted to have some of them available for the future, but also because I needed to do a dry-run for some of the events at PantheaCon, where we’re going to have multiple images of Antinous so that as many people as possible can go up and pray at one time during that portion of the ritual.
It took more than an hour to get it all together, and then lay them all out and take photos. I was happy enough with them, given the time and such that I had to spend on the project, and the photos came out a hundred times better and clearer than I expected they would. And, as of a short while ago, I heard that they were all totally suitable for the needs of the publishers, and they liked them on top of that, too! So, hurrah for the success on that front!
Unfortunately, I don’t have total dominion, so to speak, over my living circumstances at present. All of these temporary shrines were laid out on the dining room table where I took the photos. I wanted to make a phonecall, and so I was inclined to just leave them set up for a while, and then perhaps after everyone went to bed, I’d make a few offerings at each of them and take them down. When the phonecall didn’t turn out to be feasible last night, I was rather strongly encouraged to “get that crap out of here” as soon as possible, so I took them down and as reverently as possible returned their components to my more permanent shrines, and then decided to store some of the new framed icons in front of my main shrine, at least temporarily. I really felt bad that I wasn’t making offerings, though…
And that, my friends, is the moral of the story: never set up a temporary shrine without making offerings. It may be obvious and even a “duh!” matter for some people, and despite feeling that I should have done it, I ignored my better instincts and didn’t.
And, guess what happened? In my first set of dreams last night, they weren’t good, they were about the temporary shrines, and it seems that Antinous was both present and angrily absent from them because of the lack of offerings. In lieu of the lack of offerings, I should perhaps have at least taken some prayer-time and explained “Sorry I can’t make offerings right now with these shrines, but I have to clear them away because the people here are being stupid,” and then made up for it later somehow…but, I didn’t do that either, because I was tired and wasn’t thinking about these things as seriously as I should have. “Photo-op” is apparently not in the vocabulary of our gods (except maybe Marvel Loki), it seems…
So, you live, you learn, you get burned while you learn, and you pick yourself up and move on and try not to get burned again.
I’m going to owe Antinous, Glykon, and a few others some major offerings–which will require some trouble and inconvenience to obtain–and I’ll be starting that process later today. But in the meantime, I am supposed to share the photos with all of you/anyone who is interested, so that you can add your prayers of thanks and any offerings you might wish to into the mix in the meantime, until I can make mine, and until the publication appears and (hopefully!) inspires others to take up this particular type of devotion.
Without further ado…
Here’s a picture of my main shrine at present, dominated (of course!) by Antinous, but you can see that the overall population of Egyptian (on the right side) and Greek, Roman, and Graeco-Roman-Egyptian (on the left side) deities has increased somewhat since I last showed a photo of this particular shrine. That is as it should be for a polytheist, I think…and, of course, if I had my way, and more room, this shrine would be twice as big and have many more gods on it, too. (When I get my own place, I suspect I’ll have to have an “Antinoan Pantheon” shrine, and then separate ones for the Egyptians and the Greeks and Romans; but there isn’t room at the moment, and so we have this “bus station” situation here.)
This is one of the temporary shrines I made, for the “Egyptian Antinous” or his syncretistic form of Antinous-Osiris, complete with the red Nile lotus candleholders, the small figure of the Antinous-Osiris I have, and my newest acquisition: an Egyptian style picture frame with a small figure of Anubis attached to it, where I’ve put in a photo of Antinous-Osiris. This will definitely be used at PantheaCon this year, and likely in future years.
Here’s the second temporary shrine I made, which I’m calling the “Three Aspects of Antinous”: Antinous the Lover, Antinous the Liberator, and Antinous the Navigator (even though the photos don’t quite correspond to those entirely). Because these three faces of Antinous are quite beautiful (but then again, they all are!) and approachable, they’ll be ideal for use at PantheaCon when people come to make their prayers.
And finally, here is the third temporary shrine I made, for Glykon, with Narasimha and Shesha, as well as my Sabazios plaque (since there is a syncretism with Glykon and Sabazios, at least from a ritual standpoint, in Lukian’s account of the cultus).
Thus, the lessons I take away from this are as follows:
1) Never set up a temporary shrine without making offerings.
2) Follow your gut instincts, no matter what the idiots around you might say or think, when it comes to devotion.
3) When in doubt, pray and/or use divination.
4) If you fail to do any of these, be prepared for the unpleasant consequences.
5) Always and everywhere, honor the gods in the ways that they deserve.
Hail to Sabazios!
Jai Narasimha! Jai Shesha-Naag!
Hail to Glykon!
Hail, Hail Antinous