Sunday, August 20, 2017
AUG. 20 the Religion of Antinous commemorates the Sacred Band of Thebes, the Army of Gay Lovers whose courage and valour have echoed down through the ages as an inspiration that Gay Love is a magical means of Conquering Fear and Doubt.
The Sacred Band of Thebes, also called The Theban Band, was a battalion composed entirely of homosexual friends and lovers. This military unit, consisting of 150 male couples, was based on the belief that men fighting alongside their lovers would die rather than shame one another.
According to Aristotle, the Army of Lovers were sworn into military service at the Tomb of Iolaus, one of the many male lovers of Hercules. Iolaus had helped the god in the Twelve Herculean Tasks.
He often acted as Hercules' charioteer and companion, and the closeness of their relationship was such that he was known as Heracles' symbomos (altar-sharer), since the two could be honored at one and the same altar — a very rare occurrence in ancient Greece, where each divinity would have his or her own altar.
Iolaus was called the eromenos (beloved boy) of Hercules, and was thus a Sacred Hero of same-sex love in Thebes. Hercules, Iolaus and Eros were often depicted together.
That is probably why the army of gay lovers was called the Sacred Band, since they took their oath of allegiance at the Sacred Tomb of Iolaus, which was at the same time a shared sacred altar to Hercules. In effect, the warriors were swearing that they would fight alongside their comrades the same way Iolaus and Hercules fought together — armed with the arrows of Eros.
You can see the parallels to Hadrian and his beloved boy Antinous, and later this week the parallels become even clearer when we commemorate the SACRED LION HUNT.
After that hunt in the Libyan desert in the summer of the year 130 AD, Hadrian and Antinous made sacrifice to the Great Lion Slayer Hercules — thus cementing the identification between Hadrian/Hercules and Antinous/Iolaus — and their affiliation with the Sacred Band of Thebes.
The great Theban general and tactician Epaminondas is generally credited with establishing The Sacred Band, although some sources claim it was his "beloved friend" Pelopidas who was responsible for recruiting them. No matter — they both fought side-by-side at the head of The Sacred Band.
This corps d'elite first took to the battlefield against Sparta, which had dominated Greece since the fall of Athens in 404 BC. The Spartans were confident of victory, as they had never suffered a defeat on the battlefield — never ever.
Deploying the Sacred Band on his front left wing, "Epaminondas made his left wing fifty deep and flung it forward in the attack."
The "extra weight" of this wing and the "fanatical bravery of the Sacred Band" broke the Sparta right wing, which contained their best warriors. In the ensuing hand-to-hand combat, the Spartan king was killed and their right gave way.
Witnessing this, the rest of the Spartan forces, who had not yet been engaged, fell back in disarray, running for their lives. Thus, Sparta suffered their first recorded defeat in more than 400 years — at the hands of an Army of Gay Lovers.
But the end came in 338 BC at the battle of Chaeronea when King Phillip II of Macedonia and his son Alexander (later called Alexander the Great) defeated the combined forces of Athens and Thebes-Boetia. Alexander confronted The Sacred Band of Thebes, the elite corps of 300 homosexual lovers who were by that time the most respected soldiers in the world.
But alas! They were no match for the Macedonians under Phillip and Alexander. It was a rout. The Athenian and Theban armies gave way and began retreating from the advancing Macedonians. Only The Sacred Band stood their ground — and died. Only a few were subdued and captured. Of those who died, it was found that not one had been wounded in the back — a sign that they had not turned away from the fight.
Alexander was so moved by their nobility and courage that he asked his father to bury them with honour and raise a monument in the form of a Sacred Lion over their mass grave. In 1881, the shattered fragments of this Lion Tomb were discovered, surrounded by the bones of 254 pairs of men with their weapons, arranged in a phalanx of seven rows, the battle formation of the Sacred Band.
In 1902 the fragments of the Sacred Lion were reconstructed and placed again over the tomb of The Sacred Band (depicted left) by the secret homosexual society known as the Order of Chaeronea, founded by gay-rights pioneer George Cecil Ives.
It reminds us once again of the Sacred Lion Hunt which we celebrate later this week.
So, what has all of this got to do with us in our daily lives? We're not soldiers. We're not brave and courageous. Like Dorothy Gale, we're meek and mild. Timid. We know that if we were on a battlefield, we would turn and run. We would hide and "play dead" and hope nobody found us.
We assume that the Army of Gay Lovers were all fearless. We think they were unafraid. We don't think of them as being scaredy-cats like us. We think they didn't mind the prospect of agonizing death. We think they were somehow above such mortal fears and doubts.
That's nonsense, of course. They were scared out of their wits. We can scarcely imagine how afraid they were. As they stood there alone against the mightiest army in the Ancient World, their emotions shifted beyond the mere terror of possibly being killed, to the actual horror of inescapable agony and death. It is one thing to be terrified — we all know the fears generated by terrorists who fly airliners into buildings.
But the emotions experienced by those trapped in the planes or inside the burning buildings go far beyond mere terror to the actual horror of inescapable agony and death. That is the Mystery of Terror as opposed to the Mystery of Horror. We tend to forget the distinction!
The Army of Gay Lovers were not without fear. On the contrary, they were staring into the horror of impending pain and death. But they did not allow their fear to overwhelm them.
Instead, they turned their fear "inside-out" and used it as a magical shield. The barbs of fear were no longer poking inward to themselves, but instead were pointing outward towards their foes.
And that is the Mystery Teaching of the Army of Gay Lovers. It was no doubt part of the initiation which the recruits underwent at the Tomb of Iolaus. They were schooled in magico-religious methods for handling fear. It's about learning to harness Mars energy. Mars is all about the double-edge sword of fear/bravery and how you can learn to wield that Sword of Mars.
It's not about being fearless. It's about being able to transform your fear into a mighty force which wins the battle of life. Mars Warrior Energy is not about death. It is about LIFE. It is about harnessing fear and doubt and turning them into useful energies in your daily life.
Life — from the time you are born until the time you die — life is just one constant battle. And if you give in, then you are lost. And if you give in to the fear and doubt that constantly confront you each and ever day, then you are lost. It's about using selfless love and transcendant awareness to transform fear and doubt into constructive energies which empower you to stand up and wade into the fray of daily life.
The Band of Thebes were initiated into Mystery Teachings which showed them how to transform fear and doubt into a magical force which made them invincible — capable of asserting their will and making their dreams become reality.
And the catalyst was male-male love and devotion.
This is one of the deepest and most profound Mystery Teachings of the Religion of Antinous.
We are talking about the Mysteries of Antinous-Mars. This is why Flamen Antinoalis Antonius Subia has painted Antinous in the guise of the War God (above).
Antinous is not just about gay male beauty. He is about gay male warrior energy.
Mars is a very important constituent aspect of Antinous. In Fixed Star Astrology, the STAR OF ANTINOUS is characterized by a mixture of Jupiter/Mars energy along with Venus energy — unique among Fixed Stars. To overlook Mars is to overlook a major component of what Antinous is all about.
Mars and his Alchemical Intelligence Graphiel and Daimon Barzabel (Deimos and Phobos) is much misunderstood by philosophers and occultists.
The fiery Graphiel/Barzabel energies of the red planet ("terror" Deimos and "horror" Phobos) are often seen as frightful and horrific and destructive and warlike with no other qualities. This is a shallow analysis and one that should be discarded. Understanding your Martial nature — the Antinous-Mars warrior inside you — is essential to your survival and growth as a gay man. Terror and horror accompany us all our lives.
We are all afraid every day. We are all riddled with doubts every day. Look around you — most people are consumed with fear and doubt. Fear fuels their lives! But each of us can learn to turn our fears and doubts "inside-out" so that their barbs no longer point inward towards us, but instead so that these barbs of fear and doubt form a protective shield around us.
It girds us with a constructive energy which helps us to advance through the Herculean travails which we face in our daily lives. Instead of being "fearfully" timid, we become "fearsomely" determined not to let life get us down.
Tomorrow, this transformational ability to turn fear "inside-out" will help us to understand how Antinous was able to charge the man-eater during the SACRED LION HUNT.
He must have been terrified. He was young and inexperienced and alone on his steed and armed only with an adamantine-tipped lance.
But through his loving bond with Hadrian/Hercules, Antinous/Iolaus was also magically armed with the "fearsomely strong" energies of the Sacred Band of Thebes.
Flamen Antinoalis Antonius affirms: "We consecrate and honor their memory and call upon their strength and courage in our own hearts, that we may become the New Sacred Band."
Saturday, August 19, 2017
ON AUGUST 19th, the Religion of Antinous honors St. Federico García Lorca, who was openly gay and who is one of the greatest poets of the Spanish language.
He was executed by the Fascists on this day, August 19th, during the Spanish Civil War in 1936.
García Lorca's central themes are love, pride, passion and violent death, which also marked his own life.
The Spanish Civil was just getting underway in August 1936 and García Lorca was seen by the right-wing forces as an enemy. The author hid from the soldiers but he was eventually found.
An eyewitness has told that he was taken out of a Civil Government building by guards and Falangists belonging to the "Black Squad". García Lorca was shot in Granada without trial. The circumstances of his death are still shrouded in mystery. He was buried in a grave that he had been forced top dig for himself.
According to some sources, he had to be finished off by a coup de grâce. One of his assassins later boasted, that he shot "two bullets into his arse for being a queer".
It was the end of a brilliant career as a poet and dramatist who was also remembered as a painter, pianist and composer.
In the 1920s he was close friends with Luis Buñuel and Salvador Dalí, among many others who later became influential artists in Spain. Despite the accolades from artists and critics, he suffered from bouts of depression brought on largely by his inner conflict about his homosexuality.
He was tortured by the demands of being a celebrity in a homophobic society and the yearnings of his gay soul.
During his lifetime only a handful of close friends were allowed to read the collection of gay poems which would be published many years later as his Sonnets of Dark Love. Here is one of them, entitled Love Sleeps in the Poet's Heart:
You'll never understand my love for you,
because you dream inside me, fast asleep.
I hide you, persecuted though you weep,
from the penetrating steel voice of truth.
Normalcy stirs both flesh and blinding star,
and pierces even my despairing heart.
Confusing reasoning has eaten out
the wings on which your spirit fiercely soared:
onlookers who gather on the garden lawn
await your body and my bitter grief,
their jumping horses made of light, green manes.
But go on sleeping now, my life, my dear.
Hear my smashed blood rebuke their violins!
See how they still must spy on us, so near!
With the Catalan painter Salvador Dalí and the film director Louis Buñuel he worked in different productions.
Dalí and Lorca had met in 1923. From the beginning, Lorca was fascinated by the young Catalan's personality and looks. Also Dalí had admitted that Lorca impressed him deeply.
When Buñuel and Dalí made their famous surrealist short film Un Chien Andalou (1928), García Lorca was offended: he thought that the film was about him.
Lorca's friendship with Dalí inspired a poem, a defense of modern art and at the same time an expression of homosexual love. Dalí dedicated his painting of Saint Sebastian to his friend, who often compared himself to the tortured homoerotic martyr.
"Let us agree," Lorca wrote to Dalí, "that one of man's most beautiful postures is that of St. Sebastian."
"In my 'Saint Sebastian' I remember you," Salvador Dalí replied, ". . . and sometimes I think he IS you. Let's see whether Saint Sebastian turns out to be you."
García Lorca was capable only of a "tragic, passionate relationship," Dalí once wrote — a friendship pierced by the arrows of Saint Sebastian.
The Religion of Antinous honors this great artist who lived and loved tragically and passionately and who died tragically for being gay.
Friday, August 18, 2017
THE new opera by Rufus Wainright about Hadrian and Antinous will be workshopped in Cincinnati Ohio in December 2017 ahead of its worldwide premiere in Toronto.
The opera ... simply titled HADRIAN ... with a libretto by Canadian playwright Daniel MacIvor will have its world premiere as the opening production of Toronto's Canadian Opera Company's 2018 season.
Wainwright and MacIvor have been selected to be in Cincinnati as part of the Opera Fusion: New Works program, a collaboration between the Cincinnati Opera and University of Cincinnati, College Conservatory of Music's Opera Department.
Dates have not yet been set and could change, but an Opera spokesperson said it is looking at December. Both Cincinnati Opera's Marcus Küchle and CCM’s Robin Guarino confirmed the general details.
The workshop sessions for the opera-in-progress are private, but there are plans for a public presentation of selections, with Wainwright and MacIvor present for discussion. CCM’s Robin Guarino will be directing the workshop presentations.
The opera, which the Canadian company commissioned in 2013, tells the story of the Roman emperor Hadrian and his profound grief following the death of his lover Antinous.
According to an interview with Wainwright, he envisions this being produced on a grand scale. Wainwright's previous opera, "Prima Donna," debuted in 2009.
"What's interesting about the story of Hadrian is he was actually in love with Antinous, who was another man," Wainwright says in the interview with PRI radio.
Wainwright is the gifted Canadian singer/songwriter/musical man about the world who has forged a unique career in mainstream contemporary music as an original, quirky, thinking person's pop star. And he's not new to the world of opera.
"Prima Donna," his 2009 debut, which told the story of an aging opera singer attempting to make a comeback, has been presented in Manchester, London, New York, Toronto and around the globe, to reviews that roamed from the enthusiastic ("a love song to opera," wrote The Times of London) to the outraged (The New York Times called it "an ultimately mystifying failure") – the quality of reaction being determined, more or less, by the closeness of the reviewer to the world of classical music.
Wainwright started talking about Hadrian around the time he was serenading his mother with the opera's overture in early 2010.
As his mother, Kate McGarrigle, faced her final days in January, 2010, Wainwright played his latest composition for her at the family piano ... the overture to his new opera about Antinous and Hadrian.
What attracted him to Hadrian was the power of the story Wainwright wanted to tell.
Certainly the story of the Emperor Hadrian has plenty to offer contemporary audiences. Quixotic, domineering and visionary, Hadrian represented the end of the Classical era in Roman history, a fascinating period when the influence of Greek ideas began to predominate in Roman society, changing its political landscape in significant ways.
Wainwright adds, "And then there's Antinous, essentially the male equivalent to Helen of Troy - though we know he actually existed and exactly what he looked like. At one point he was neck and neck with Christ in terms of cult status after disappearing in the Nile. Imagine what a different world that would have been if he had lived!"
Thursday, August 17, 2017
UNLIKE other so many other deities, Antinous started out as a mortal human being, who was born in Asia Minor and who became the companion of the mightiest man on Earth ... and who died tragically in the Nile ... and was deified to become the last Classical God.
At the command of his friend and lover Emperor Hadrian, who proclaimed the deification of Antinous, a mighty city of white marble rose on the banks of the Nile where he had died.
It was the Sacred City of Antinous, the glorious city in Egypt called ANTINOOPOLIS originally and later Ansena and Antinoé (also spelled Antinopolis or Antinoupolis).
It flourished for centuries before sinking into gradual decline and ruin. Now only a wretched village huddles the banks of the Nile, with a plain of rubble-strewn mounds stretching out behind it ... all that is left of the fabled city of Antinoopolis.
Archaeologists working at the site have found A RIVERSIDE TEMPLE COMPLEX which may have marked the actual spot where Antinous died.
They have also found a CORNICE STONE with hieroglyphs listing Antinous, Hadrian and Empress Sabina.
In addition, archaeologists have located an INTENTIONALLY BURIED STONE STRUCTURE which may be an OSIREION for Antinous.
Our Lord Hadrian Augustus, Emperor of Rome, Pontifex Maximus, the New Jupiter, Hercules reborn, consecrated the shore of the Nile where Antinous fell, and solemnly founded the Holy City of Antinoopolis in Egypt in the year 130 AD.
Antinous had risen again from the depths of Tartarus, he had conquered death and returned to the place of the living.
By Victory and Proclamation, Antinous was elevated to godliness, and the ancient religion of Our God was set in motion. The Priesthood of Antinous was ordained, sacred statues and images proliferated, and Temples rose up in every corner of the world, for the glory of Antinous the God.
We exalt in the deification of Antinous, and marvel at his assumption into heaven.
We concelebrate the Foundation of Antinoopolis by re-founding the sacred city within our hearts, declaring ourselves the New Stones of Antinoopolis.
With love for Antinous in our hearts, the New Temple of Antinous was founded in 2002, called ECCLESIA ANTINOI, and the New PRIESTHOOD OF ANTINOUS was initiated.
Wednesday, August 16, 2017
THE "Maritime Theater" as they call it was definitely one of the most spectacular parts of Hadrian's Villa, and I was very pleased to have seen it with Priest Hernestus during my Sacred Pilgrimage to Rome.
The "Teatro Marittimo," as it is called in Italian, was closed for three years of renovations ... but it is now open again to the public, and you should make a point of seeing it.
Even in ruins you can see that it must have been an absolutely beautiful and enchanting building...almost insanely beautiful...a perfect circle surrounded by a high wall, with an inner colonnaded moat, with a little island and a little round Roman house on the inside...
That was Hadrian's private retreat from his grandiose world that surrounded him...in that magnificent, marble and gold encrusted Villa of sprawling palaces, the Emperor's private chambers were at once quaintly charming as they were wonderfully eccentric.
His private chambers, the little open-air office where he attended to the business of running the whole world, the private baths, the little lavatories...four lavatories in that tiny little house...but most intriguing of all are the two little bedchambers towards the back of the house...identical little rooms just big enough for a queen-size bed and maybe a table...
In one of the two rooms, Hadrian spent his nights with Antinous...and the other room...well, that must have been where Empress Sabina slept.
I just think it's the most wonderful thing...no grand huge master bedroom with a splendid view of Tibur...just two identical, "his & hers" rooms for the rulers of the world.
One thing I noticed is that they were at the rear of the little house, facing south, and must have had a big windows that let in the morning sun at all times of the year.
The sun would have poured in and sparkled over the water of the fountain-moat.
The constant clamor of the Imperial court outside would have been drowned out by the murmur of gurgling fountains.
It was a tiny little house, but it must have been beautifully decorated...walls covered in inlaid marble of exquisite color, draperies and columns and golden lamps and the finest of furniture from all over the Roman world ... and works of art by the very best ancient Greek artists...and a personal little library of Hadrian's most treasured books.
One thing I fail to locate is the closet space...I'm in the apartment business, so floor plans are everything to me ... there were no closets because servants brought Hadrian's daily robes from somewhere else!
The entrance caught my eye....if you include the colonnaded walkway between the outer wall and the fountain-moat, and also the little oval vestibule...then it was all about the entrance, which was pronouncedly about disbarment...
And then if you were so honored as to have been admitted into the Emperor's private chambers...which almost no one ever was, we can be sure...then you would find yourself in the beautiful little oval drawing room...where you would be asked to sit and wait for Emperor to summon you...
From there, you would be led into the Atrium...the center of the house, Hadrian's own private little garden, with its little fountain open to the air.
There you would find Hadrian's closest inner circle...members of his family perhaps, Sabina's handmaidens, the Emperor's personal assistants and house servants...perhaps Phlegon, his most trusted freedman, an officer of the guard standing at duty, and a musician playing soft chords on the cithara....
And there in a corner...playing with a new hunting puppy...would be Antinous himself...attended by an old Greek tutor trying in vain to teach Antinous the correct declension for his Latin verbs...
And there at the far end of the house, in the room they call he Tablinarium...obviously the most important room in the house..situated between the two main bed chambers...was Hadrian's office.
You might have found him sitting at a table reading personal wax tablets of private concerns...this was not where Hadrian conducted the official business of running his Empire...this was his private office...where he only attended to his private communications. There must have been a more formal office somewhere else in the villa where Hadrian conducted his official business of the Empire...
This was his private study, and I'm sure by the moat that he made a clear division between his private business and his personal space...
This was Hadrian's private office...and so to have been given admittance to proceed so far into his private space, you would have needed to have been considered family.
The biggest space in the house is he atrium...that's the living room...then there's the three bedrooms...and then there are the two rooms that are described as tricliniums..or dining rooms...these were for very private dinners....just you, the Emperor and one other person...probably Antinous...and the other dining room was probably for Sabina.
The last fifth of the little house was Hadrian's private baths...a full scale Roman bath on a tiny scale...which probably provided heat for the little house in the colder months.
I would assume that, in the summer months, Hadrian would have used the grand bath not far away rather than over-heat his private chambers.
This is where Antinous spent his time when he lived in the Villa...and what an Isle of the Blessed it must have been...like a tiny island paradise...when Antinous was alive...and then...when Hadrian returned from Egypt...and the war in Israel had broken out...the beautiful island must have become rather like a customized chamber of Hell...
Marguerite Yourcenar describes a sickly old Hadrian dictating his memoirs beneath an austere Osirian statue of Antinous overlooking his bedchamber...this is where these lost memoirs were dictated...
It is no wonder that Hadrian couldn't live there any more and eventually fled to Baie south of Rome where he died...
The Isle of the Blessed held too many memories...and Hadrian wanted to live forever and he knew that if stayed even one more night in the Villa that he would die...He should have stayed.
When Hernestus and I were there...I gathered a little handful of dirt from there, in the hope that perhaps Antinous might have stepped upon at least one grains of the sand of the rubble that remains...
And amongst the sand I found a chunk of brick that had fallen from the wall..and quite honestly...this little piece of Roman brick has become one of the most important and sacred "rocks" (crystals) that I have ever touched...because this is a wall that Antinous once looked upon..
Sure, there were layers of marble between Antinous and my little chunk of brick..
But that's pretty close. I've been so, so much further away from Antinous....
Tuesday, August 15, 2017
May you all be blessed
as we prepare for
THE SACRED LION HUNT
beneath the light of the
LUCIUS MOON OF BROTHERS.
~ANTONIUS N. SUBIA
Monday, August 14, 2017
THIS week our brothers and sisters in Mexico commemorate the accession of Hadrian as emperor of Rome with this hand-crafted bust.
The papier-mâché bust created by Carlos Oseguera Loranca is in the likeness of Mexican educator Antonio Salazar, nominated to become a saint of Antinous for his work in the Visual Documentation Workshop of UNAM.
Carlos, head of Epithimia Antínoo Mexíco, graciously guest authors the following blog article for us:
Salazar created in Mexico the Visual Documentation Workshop (TDV), cradled in the San Carlos Academy, of the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM).
Its importance lay in the creation of leaflets, information cards and other printed materials, whose artistic roots worked to disseminate critical information on discrimination towards homosexuals, which was crossed by racism, classism, obligatory heterosexuality and the arrival of Epidemic of HIV / AIDS to the world.
The workshop came into being in 1984, only a couple of years after homosexual rights movements in other countries was beginning to be born and the HIV epidemic was making headlines.
Stigma and rejection of homosexuals were fueled by society's alarmist reactions to HIV, by considering that LGBT people were a "source of infection" or that the disease was a "divine punishment" sent by God.
"The workshop emerges in the effervescence of the homosexual liberation movement in our country, when marches, groups and protests take hold. It begins to generate a Mexican speech. From many points begin to join the struggle, one of them the Front of the Plastic Arts, whose greatest exponent is the Visual Documentation Workshop," said Salvador Irys, director of the International Festival for Sex Diversity (FIDS), in an interview for DISASTER.
The Front of the Plastic Arts was the first collective that began to address issues related to homosexuality in an artistic way.
Not all members of the workshop were openly homosexual, due to the social context, but under Salazar's leadership and steeped in communism, workshop participants created collective works that captured the concerns and problems of the LGBT population of that time.
"They said that art had to serve society and therefore not empower the artist, so they signed in a collective way, they released the rights of their works so that anyone could use them whenever and to promote these issues, there was A leading role. Their work focused on sexuality, class differences and religion, from which they created their discourse. "
"Their work was influenced by the arrival of HIV in Mexico, they were committed artists, they believed that art had a social purpose, if not, it was of no use. And as many of their friends start to become infected, they begin to create the first materials that have been made in this country about HIV, both artistic and broadcast, issues that were used to prevent and promote condom use."
Derogatorily called the pink cancer, due to the incidence of homosexual men cases, HIV broke into a gay community that found in sex a perfect refuge and a place of subversion before a society that criminalized, excluded and considered sick and sinful Their way of sexual and affective bonding.
Precisely, the importance of the Visual Documentation Workshop was that, faced with the panorama of disinformation and hate created around the epidemic, began to erect a visual discourse based on awareness and destigmatization.
"The workshop artists were among the first in Mexico to create a bridge between activism and art, they worked hand in hand with the gay liberation groups, there was a feedback. Some of the first signs of the marches were done by the TDV, some brochures of the organizations made them the workshop. They managed to articulate activism of homosexual liberation and art."