This is the eleventh time the modern cultus of Antinous has celebrated the Megala Antinoeia on April 21st. The first time was in 2004, and that was the only other time, thus far, that a true athletic agon was held.
That time, it was myself and an Irish friend of mine. We went to the pool. I was learning to swim at the time. My friend had not been to a pool in around a decade. I suggested we swim about ten yards, and whoever got there first would win. I won; but, I also almost drowned. Thus, doing anything in the water of that sort on any major Antinoan holy day has since become highly inadvisable: when your deity of devotion is someone who drowned, it’s sort of tempting fate rather heavily to be in that position, especially if imitatio Antinoi is at all in one’s tendencies. 😉
Since then, I’ve tried to get people to do various athletic competition things with me, and have not ever been able to convince anyone to join me. A leisurely walk? Sure. A bit of time in the gym by myself? Why not. But anything that actually involves winners and losers? Nope, not since that first time that I won, and nearly drowned. I have even tried very hard to perhaps get someone to go miniature golfing with me, as that would satisfy the requirements…but, nope.
That is, UNTIL NOW!
We had talked last week with some of my local associates about perhaps going bowling tonight–that “sport” that actually does take some skill, and has shown me how truly out-of-shape I am, and yet that people who may look out-of-shape can still do and be quite good at. Various things seemed to undermine the possibility of this occurring, but in the end, we made it work, and had a lovely dinner followed by the game. Dinner included discussion of various topics, including divination.
There were three contestants: myself, Zack, and Jamie (both of whom were at the hero-feast of Cú Chulainn and the Apotheosis of Sabina earlier this year, too–and, they’re not even “pagan” officially!). We did one game, and Zack was the overall winner, with a score of 136 (with two strikes and three spares); I came second with a score of 102 (better than my usual!–with one strike and two spares); and Jamie came in third, with 94 (one strike and one spare). At various points, we were each leading, but after about the fifth frame, Zack was unbeatable.
Earlier in the day, I had done more ritual-y things: I made my food offerings at my home shrine this morning after my daily practice; this morning at my office, I prayed when I arrived and throughout the day, and also wrote (and then subsequently revised/added to at least once!) my poem for the occasion this year. The communal portion in the form of this agon was a nice way to complete the observances for the day, and crowning the first victor of the Sacred Athletic Games of Antinous was a distinct pleasure and honor…
Though I wish I could give him a garland of red Nile lotus flowers for his victory, it seems that Zack kind of has a “permanent” one, so to speak…
A fierce competitor, to be sure, and someone to be reckoned with in the years to come–perhaps at bowling, perhaps at miniature golf…who knows?
So, how did all of you celebrate the Megala Antinoeia this year? I’m eager to hear!