My plans to celebrate this most important occasion fell through because my friend and co-religionist fell sick and couldn’t drive into town to join me. However, I did not let that deter me; I have just finished my first Foundation Day rite, which included offerings of candles and incense, wine and water, hymns and prayers, and a bit of refurbishing for my devotional image of the god, a triptych I made myself using printouts from online. Ave Antinoe!
It seems appropriate to conclude my celebration by sharing my thoughts on an acclamation which recurs throughout contemporary Antinoan ritual. I am using it currently as the signature on my email: Haec est unde vita venit!
This phrase came about in a dream that I had in about 2003. Literally translated, it means “This is from whence life comes,” but more to the point in terms of modern speech, “this is where life comes from.” Notice something about it: the word haec, “this,” is a demonstrative pronoun, which refers to a specific object or subject, or in the context of this phrase, the “origin of life,” in some sense. But, note that nowhere does it say what, exactly, the “origin of life” happens to be. Is it in praying and doing ritual and devotion? Is it in honoring the gods and giving thanks and praise to them? Is it in Antinous himself? Is it in love? Is it in sex? Is it in gay sex and gay love? Is it in knitting? Potentially, all of those things, or none of them, or far more! It is up to YOU, the individual devotee, the individual person praying, the individual participant in the ritual, the individual speaker of the words, to understand what “this” happens to be for you, whether in an enduring sense or only for a specific context or occasion.
I have been thinking since April, when I resumed regular devotion to Antinous, about what these words mean for me. What is this, haec, from which life comes–my life, my vitality?
There is a knot, or a node, a nexus, in my being, where three powerful currents come together. One current is sex, sexuality, eroticism, erotic partnership. Another current is creativity, particularly in words and music, singing and writing, vibration and sound. And the third current is, for lack of a better word, spirituality: awareness of the invisible world, of divinity, of there being more to life than what Buddhism calls samsara, the pointless merry-go-round of daily life.
I write about sex as a form of worship and connection with divinity or spirit. I worship out of an erotic impulse. To sing in a choir is for a kind of group sex, an intimacy created by vibration. There is no place where sexuality, creativity, and spirit do not touch, intertwine, interpenetrate, for me. This node, this knot, this nexus, is this haec, that which pours out life. And in the worship of Antinous, and through his presence in my life, I have found a god who not only understands but embodies haec, and who is himself that vita.
Ave vive Antinoe!