Posted by: aediculaantinoi | May 22, 2014

The Daimon and Antinous (and Felix Natalis Mihi!)

Well, today has been mostly pleasant thus far, though not entirely to plan (and after this yesterday, what could be?–I had less than four hours of sleep, alas…); though I have to say, of the good birthday wishes I’ve been given in cards, text, and e-mail thus far today, the most unexpected and most disturbing has to be from my federal student loan holders. I’ve never had a birthday e-mail from them before, and now that they’ve sent one, which includes the ominous phrase “Wishing you a happy day today and many more to come,” it makes their end-game obvious: if you die, we’ll never get paid back, so if you can live for 30+ more years, we’ll find some way to take what you owe out of your paycheck whether you like it or not. That’s a happy thought to begin the day…! 😉

I’m a bit screwy today for various reasons, one of which is that I “have the wrong daimon” (which might be more of an existential problem than anything!). You see, today is–for me and only me–the syncretism festival of the Daimon Antinous, but I had it wrong in my head, and thought it was the festival of the Agathos Daimon and Antinous, which already happened in January of this year. That’s kind of too bad, I suppose, because that would have connected nicely with the four Isidorus hymns which are to Isis-Hermouthis/Renenutet/Agatha Tyche, and which also mention her consort Sokonopis (Sobek)-Agathos Daimon.

Which brings up the question: if males have an Agathos Daimon, and females have an Agatha Tyche, then what do metagenders have?

A Paneros, of course! 😉

But, how best to express, then, the daimon in question when we’re dealing with Antinous? The theology of Antinous as daimon comes from a very specific and not-necessarily-nice in its practical implications context; so, how do we go from that to a more general concept of this that might be applicable to individuals, especially on their natal days?

I suspect the answer can be pursued via the work of one person: Edward Butler. In a recent post, he discussed Xenocrates and his geometrical approach to theology, in which the gods are equilateral triangles, daimones are isoceles, and mortals are scalene.

To be sure, Xenocrates talks about numbers, triangles, lines, but these are playing a role like formal logic does for us. What if, instead of the symbols of formal logic, we just used geometry to express arguments? Xenocrates says that gods are equilateral triangles, daimones are isosceles, mortals scalene. These are three ways of forming a basic manifold, three possible relations between the terms in the association: a God equalizes the terms, a daimon subordinates, hierarchizes, a mortal expresses the inequality….

The triangle scheme must be applicable to the basic ontological elements of monad, dyad, mixture, to yield three kinds of mixture. The equality of the elements is not abstract, like amounts in a recipe, but equality of value. In a way, this means that for the God, all three moments are “monadic”, i.e. “authentic”, “in virtue of themselves”, while for the daimon, they are inherently dyadic, that is, adequately determined by systemic relations, while the mortal has the aporetic or relativistic side of holistic determination—each is “mixed”. There is no totalizing viewpoint in this system: I say the God “equalizes”, because the mortal *must* assume such a process.

This is interesting to me…

…because the Serpent Path has various triangles associated with it. (And you’ll see why I’ve chosen this photo of it to illustrate my point, apart from the obvious appeal of having a Serpent Path golem, whose words I will never forget: “It’s really echo-y in here,” to which I responded, “Of course it is–there’s a whole universe in there!”) The main face of the square side glyph has a very large isoceles triangle on it, linking the lower right and left points with the central upper point, and then many other smaller isoceles triangles made up of various other point connections. That largest triangle, though, often seems like it should be equilateral, but it isn’t, and I’m amazed at how often people miss this sort of optical illusion. That would mean that when one is engaging a singular side of the square side glyph, it is always an engagement between the various gods involved and one’s own daimon, which is why “Your Antinous is not my Antinous,” and the same would be true of any and every other deity involved–if nothing else, there is hierarchy and subordination and layering involved because it is daimonic rather than directly divine. We as mortals are clearly on the “short end” of the isoceles triangle, at the very bottom, and there are at least two currents running above us at all times that are more divine in nature, even if they are ultimately daimonic rather than deific. HOWEVER, the square side glyph does not exist just floating in space on its own; there are (at least) two other glyphs of the same size and shape in operation at all times, which are linked, and which therefore means that they form (from a higher–literally!–viewpoint) an equilateral triangle. This is why I think it is both easy to overlook Antinous’ divinity for so many people, but also how he manages to be fully divine, because being able to make that balance is something that only deities can do in these sorts of systems. There is, indeed, a whole universe in there to be encountered, only if one enters in through the equilateral triangle.

(And I won’t go too much into how the Tetrad and their sigil also exemplifies this, because that would be too obvious, wouldn’t it?)

With the arrival of Paneros yesterday, though, of course I’m very much in the mind of love, and given that it’s my birthday, I think now is as good a time as any to talk about the following. Last year, in 2013, when I made my trip to the Bay Area in late March/early April to see folks and hang out for a bit, on the last day, among the various things that occurred was in a mediumship session with Freyr, he told me that I need to add another name to my names or titles that is reflective of my relationship with Antinous. There have been a variety of double theophoric names attested for Antinous in Egypt, including Panantinous, Osirantinous, Hermantinous, and others, but then there’s also one that appeals to me because it is part of my legal name: Philantinous.

I might have a poem to add to all of this later, depending on whether or not the Muses are gracious with me on this day; but for now, having a somewhat extended mind-dump on some of these matters has been helpful for me–I hope it has been at least interesting and perhaps entertaining to you as well.



  1. I’m not sure I understood anything in this post, but I can at least wish you, somewhat belatedly, a happy birthday. Hippo birdies two ewe!

  2. What you say here about the square side Serpent Path glyph here is just brilliant. I’m so glad that you reminded me about the glyph and its triangles in connection with my recent remarks about Xenocrates, because I really do feel that what you do in A Serpent Path Primer is the clearest modern example of which I am aware, of the exact sort of “theological arithmetic” that Xenocrates is doing. I discuss this a bit in the paper I’ll be giving at the PLC, and I think you are quite likely the only person who will really understand what I am talking about, because you’ve done it yourself, in your own theological system. If others can see the way to do this sort of thing within their own theologies, that is, formalizing the relations between deities in the pantheon and between potencies within a given deity, the results will be very exciting. Looking back at the Serpent Path book, I can see in fact how what you say here about the isosceles triangle is very clearly anticipated in the icon of Antinous the Liberator described on p. 109-111, with “a long isosceles triangular spear-point in between the crescent”.

    • Thank you so much! As you actually know what you’re talking about–not like me, I’m only a dabbler in these matters! (but still in a better understanding than *certain other folks* on a *certain website* at the moment, ahem…!?!)–I take that as the highest compliment.

      I had forgotten about the specific description of Antinous the Liberator’s spear in relation to all of this…and, I suspect there may be something similar to be said about Antinous the Lover and Antinous the Navigator…or, if not similar, at least “triangular” in certain respects.

      This does bring up a further question, though: if deities are equilateral, and daimones are isosceles, and mortals scalene, then where do heroes fall? Are they “more mortal” since they start out that way, or are they “more daimonic” since they kind of end up that way…or, something else entirely? Here’s a theory I’m just spit-balling at the moment: what if heroes, while mortal, are scalene triangles that are right triangles, but then at death and heroization, their right triangle is doubled and reversed and joined to their own existing triangle, thus making them isosceles? It’s a possibility, anyway…and it would prompt further questions, e.g. if heroization is something the soul acquires as a result of one’s existence and/or death, and thus it is added to what is already there, as opposed to being something that is “brought forth” from what is already there. Or, to put it another way, if we think of the arete of a hero as being something inherent in them that can grow, then does that mean that their added triangle is something like the original doubling of cells as a zygote becomes the first stages of am embryo? Hmm…

      Speculations like this could take up a lot more time than one might prefer it to…but anyway, I’d be interested in any thoughts you might have in this direction.

  3. if deities are equilateral, and daimones are isosceles, and mortals scalene, then where do heroes fall?

    It’s a good question. It’s hard to say for certain what Xenocrates intended, since his own work is known to us through such paltry fragments, but one way to get at it would be to look at Plutarch’s De defectu oraculorum, the source for the report about Xenocrates’ triangle doctrine, to see if Plutarch provides some context. I looked at the immediate citation (416c-d), which doesn’t, but if the essay as a whole, which is largely concerned with the nature of daimones, takes a particular stand on heroes, then this might be a clue to Xenocrates’ thinking on it, since Plutarch seems to approve of him generally. It’s been a long time since I’ve read that essay, but I would think that Plutarch sees the daimonic emanation of a God as the agency involved in begetting a hero upon a mortal. So the problem is likely there for him as well.

    That being said, I think that your solution regarding the construction of the isosceles from out of a right scalene triangle is superb. I’m pretty sure Xenocrates would bring you to the head of the class! The first thing it makes me think of is an idea I’ve long had, that the Dioskouroi are a kind of structural model of any hero as such; here is the doubling of the right scalene triangle. But then we have the adding of the existing triangle. This to me signifies the enduring significance of the life lived as a mortal. So I find this formula very satisfactory; if it could be smuggled into some cartonnage I think it would pass easily as an authentic piece of early Academic doctrine.

    • I might have that volume of Plutarch which includes De defectu oraculorum…I shall have to check…

      And, with your comment on the cartonnage, now I have a use for all of the boxes and packing material scattered on the floor of my room. “Oh, nothing to see here, just ancient Academic cartonnage and some…heroic triangles?” 😉

    • And, it turns out I’ve got the Plutarch! I shall read it and let you know what I find out…

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