Thursday, March 23, 2017

ANTINOUS-ATTIS DIES AND IS REBORN
DURING THE CYCLE OF THE EQUINOX



THE cycle of the March Equinox is Sacred to the Great Mother of the Gods, and to her divine lover-son Attis, who dies and is reborn at this time of year.

Persephone returns from the underworld, and the verdure returns to the face of the Earth.

The death of Attis is symbolic of the fruit flowers that appear at this season and then fall away, making room for the ripening fruit.

It was celebrated in Rome with the introduction of a great pine tree that was carried into the Temple of Magna Mater.

An image of the dead Attis was carried on a bier and hung from the tree which was decorated with purple ribbons and violet flowers.

On the Day of Blood, the priests performed austerities including the self-castration of new priests, and the bloodletting of the old priests to the accompaniment of drum and cymbal music.

After the Day of Blood, when Attis was said to have risen again, the festival turned to joy and elation and was known as the Hilaria.

The final part of the sacred days was the day of cleansing, when the image of the Great Mother, a black stone encased in silver, was taken to the river Arno and washed by the priests.


Flamen Antonius Subia says:

"The five-day cycle of the Equinox ... the Mithraic Mysteries and all the other remembrances ... are all contained in the Death and Resurrection of Attis, the beautiful boy, who severed his own testicles and died giving his blood to the bosom of the earth ... but did not die."

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

ANTINOUS RETURNS HOME WITH HADRIAN
AS THE NEW GANYMEDE



DURING the five-day cycle of the March Equinox we celebrate the triumphal entry of Hadrian and Antinous into the province of Bithynian on that fateful, final tour of the Eastern Empire. Flamen Antinoalis Antonyus describes it thusly at the online Temple of Antinous:

Antinous returns to his hometown and is greeted as a returning King. Hadrian is hailed as the living Zeus, and Antinous is spoken of as the New Ganymede.

Their visit precedes the Death and Resurrection of Attis which is the Childhood religion of Antinous. It is observed in this context by us as a presage of the Death and Resurrection of Antinous that would later be commemorated in Bithynia, which is the second of the four Holy Cities of Our religion.

Antinous is worshipped as the triumphant son, returning from across the sea, like so many gods whose ships vanish over the waves, promising one day to return.

We pray that Antinous will return to the place of his birth which is at the core of our soul, and that he will take his place within the small shrine of Attis that we have kept ready for his arrival within our very hearts.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

WE MOURN THE DEATH
OF ANTINOUS-ADONIS


ADONIS was the most beautiful boy that ever lived, so beautiful that Venus fell totally in love with him and forsook all her love-joys in order to follow him on his hunt through the forests of Mt. Lebanon.

But Adonis was unmoved and completely rejected her advances. She became infatuated and abandoned herself to the boy who only cared to hunt.

Mars was jealous of his rival, and outraged to see Venus subjected to desperation and lust, so he contrived to lure Venus away by having Mercury recall her to her neglected duties, because without her influence to temper the raging schemes of her Erotic son, there was no love in the world.

While she was away, Mars transformed himself into a wild boar and let Adonis pursue him through the woods.

The God of War suddenly charged the young God of Beauty and disarmed him, and with a deadly kiss, gored Adonis in the groin sinking his razor tusk between his perfect white legs.

When she returned, Venus found her beloved boy dead and cut her hair in mourning, she immortalized his soul as a flower, and made the river that bears his name flow red.

The love between Venus and Adonis was unfulfilled, her adoration for him was unreturned because Adonis had no care for women, and he preferred his hunting dogs to her gentle caresses.

Only the War God Mars had his way with Adonis, though motivated by jealousy and rage, it was a violent sexual attack, for which all the world must mourn, because in the savagery of the Lust of Mars, the world was forever robbed of the beauty of Adonis.


Flamen Antonius Subia says:

"We venerate Adonis and seek his shadow in the gardens of human beauty. Antinous is the 'Adonis of the Underworld' ... our perfect desire who flees from our embrace ... but we, like Venus, never abandon him to his endless hunt, and caress his cheek even though our hands can never touch him."

Monday, March 20, 2017

WE HONOR ANTINOUS/MARS


WHEN the Sun enters the Sign of Aries at the March Equinox, we honor Antinous in his special guise as Antinous/Mars.

Mars, God of War, son of Jupiter and Juno, father of Romulus and Remus, founders of Rome, was the divine spirit of the Roman Army whose legions subjugated the world.

His power ran like molten steel in the blood of Romans who he made them invincible.

The ram was sacred to him, and thus the sign of Aries was devoted to him, as it was in the early spring, after the fields were sown and before the harvest that the men went to war.

Originally Mars was an agricultural deity, whose duty was to protect the fields from marauders. But he soon became an aggressive conqueror, whose sacred spears were ritually shaken by the Flamen Martialis when the legions were preparing for war.

He had twin sons who accompanied him and went before the armies in battle, their names were Phobos and Deimos, fear and panic.

He was the illicit lover of Venus, and it is said that they were the co-creators of Rome who through war brought love and peace to the whole world. It was in this spirit that Hadrian worshipped the pair.

Mars is the great spirit of masculinity, the violent, courageous power of the male sex, the penetrator and subjugator.

His emblem, an iron spear, is a symbol for the phallus, and so it is that Mars is the great potent Phallus of Man, the impregnator.

In this sense he is venerated as the warrior within all men, and as our most extreme, animalistic, carnal, aggressive nature.

He is the conqueror of winter, the dominator of spring, the protector of life, and the bringer of death.

He is war and fury, selflessly courageous, for the protection of the weak and for the defeat of the strong.


Mars never surrenders, and this is why Venus is so mad with lust for him, and why we adore him as our protector.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

ROBERT MAPPLETHORPE
SAINT OF ANTINOUS


ON March 19 the Religion of Antinous honors Robert Mapplethorpe, Saint of Antinous.

In 1990, the Cincinnati Contemporary Arts Center and its director were charged with "Pandering Obscenity" after an exhibition of Mapplethorpe?s photographs. 


They were eventually acquitted but the event fueled a national debate over federal funding of the arts in the United States. 

The debate, which has affected American art ever since, focuses on whether tax dollars should be spent on projects which political conservatives deem objectionable. Specifically, the debate is over whether gay-theme art should be funded.

Robert Mapplethorpe died from AIDS in March 1989, at age 42, one year before his art spawned the controversy, so he was only able to speak through his photographs.

His subject matter portrayed homosexually charged images of nude men.

The controversy that Robert Mapplethorpe sparked exposed the double standard by which homosexual art is judged against heterosexual art. He revealed that nudity is most "obscene" to non-gays when it involves males.

We proclaim his sainthood to be heroic and dedicated to Antinous, because Robert Mapplethrope beautifully photographed a plaster statue of Antinous (shown at left), indicating that he must have known our God and in some way loved him.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

CHARLOTTE VON MAHLSDORF
SAINT OF ANTINOUS


SAINT Charlotte von Mahlsdorf, who was born on this day in 1928, was a Berlin trans/gay who survived the Nazis and East German communists and about whose life a Pulitzer Prize winning play, "I Am My Own Woman", has been staged at theatres around the world.

The title is misleading since the original German is "Ich bin meine eigene Frau" and the word "Frau" can mean either "Woman" or "Wife"

The phrase was Charlotte's answer to her mother's question: "Don't you think it's time you got a wife?"

Charlotte was her own man and her own woman and her own husband/wife. In a long life amidst dictatorship, war and oppression of human-rights, Charlotte learned to create her own identity. We honor Charlotte as a Saint of the Religion of Antinous.

St. Charlotte, who liked to wear frumpy house dresses with a clunky handbag and a strand of pearls and matronly shoes, somehow managed to survive the Gestapo, the East German Stasi secret police and assaults by neo-Nazis. In doing so, Charlotte made serious ethical compromises along the way in order to stay alive. 

Charlotte amassed a huge collection of Victorian antiques which some said came from the homes of Jewish Holocaust victims and (later) from homes of people fleeing East Germany.


But Charlotte DID stay alive in dangerous times during which others perished. Charlotte's life forces you to ask yourself what YOU would have done in similar circumstances.

After German unification, Charlotte became something of a reluctant gay icon in Germany in the 1990s. Charlotte never had any pretensions of being intellectual or a political activist. 

Charlotte never quite fit in with post-Stonewall activists, who were a bit puzzled by her dowdy grand-motherliness and her passion for 19th Century Renaissance Revival style antiques. Like Quentin Crisp (also a Saint of Antinous), Charlotte belonged to another era.

But unlike Quentin Crisp, Charlotte wasn't especially witty or campy (despite her appearance) and was not an artist of the arch one-liner the way Quentin was. In appearances on talk shows, she would sit there, smiling politely, with not a great deal to say unless it was about collecting and restoring 19th Century antiques. But what she did say was eloquent in its simplicity: 

People should be kind to each other and let each other get on with their lives the way they want to.

Above all, she didn't much like being a celebrity. Too many people  expected things of her. She became a target for neo-Nazis, mostly drunken, youthful vandals in the 1990s. Not surprisingly perhaps, considering all she had lived through, she became somewhat paranoid towards the end of her life. In the end, she fled to Sweden where she spent her final years in virtual isolation before dying in 2002.

We honor St. Charlotte von Mahlsdorf for being someone who was not afraid to be openly trans/gay in the face of totalitarian dictatorships and police states. Someone who survived the Nazis and the Stasi secret police ... wearing a dress, a strand of pearls and a handbag.

Friday, March 17, 2017

THIS IS THE DAY THE WISEST MAN DIED
AND ROME BEGAN TO FALL



MARCH 17th is the anniversary of the death of Marcus Aurelius and we in the Religion of Antinous set aside this day each year to remember the last of the great philosopher-emperors, and a man who knew both Hadrian and Antinous.

What follows, is adapted from writings over the years by Flamen Antinoalis Antonyus.

As a young boy Marcus Aurelius had caught the eye of the Emperor Hadrian. He was appointed by the Emperor to priesthood in the year 129 (just a year before the death of Antinous), and Hadrian also supervised his education, which was entrusted to the best professors of literature, rhetoric and philosophy of the time.

Marcus Aurelius discovered Stoicism by the time he was 11 and from his early twenties he deserted his other studies for philosophy. The Emperor Antoninus Pius, who succeeded Hadrian, adopted Marcus Aurelius as his son in 138.

Antoninus Pius treated Aurelius as a confidant and helper throughout his reign; Marcus Aurelius also married his daughter, Faustina, in 139. He was admitted to the Senate, and then twice the consulship. In 147 he shared tribunician power with Antoninus. During this time he began composition of his Meditations, which he wrote in Greek in army camps.

At the age of 40, in 161 Marcus Aurelius ascended the throne and shared his imperial power with his adopted brother Lucius Aurelius Verus. Useless and lazy, Verus was regarded as a kind of junior emperor; he died in 169. After Verus's death he ruled alone.

Most of his reign was spent fighting and negotiating with the Germanic barbarians who were steadily crowding around the borders of the Empire. Marcus was able to hold them back with a succession of victories and peace treaties. In 177 he made his son, Commodus, joint-Emperor, though Commodus had no interest in the responsibility, caring more for the gladiatorial sports, but Marcus, the philosopher- king, took no notice of his son's blood-lust, which was to later cost the Empire dearly.

For much of his reign, Marcus Aurelius had suffered from severe illness, but his calm devotion to stoic virtue gave him the strength to continue without rest and without his poor health interfering with his duties. While with the legions on the German frontier, Marcus Aurelius suddenly died on March 17th in the year 180AD.

His ashes were conveyed to Rome and placed in Hadrian's Mausoleum. Commodus assumed power and began the chain of tragic events that are said to have brought the decline and fall of the Roman Empire.

For his wisdom, and strength, and because he was the last instrument of Hadrian's plan that brought so much glory, and prosperity to Rome, we venerate the deified Marcus Aurelius as a god of the Religion of Antinous.

An important feature of the philosophy was that everything will recur: the whole universe becomes fire and then repeats itself.

Constantly regard the universe as one living being, having one substance and one soul; and observe how all things have reference to one perception, the perception of this one living being; and how all things act with one movement; and how all things are the cooperating causes of all things which exist; observe too the continuous spinning of the thread and the contexture of the web. (from The Meditations)