Antinous for Everybody

I worship a dead gay teenager and you can too

An experiment in devotional astrology

A few years ago I bought a book called MythAstrology by Raven Kaldera of Northern Tradition fame. In it Kaldera explores an intriguing idea. Astrology has always connected the planets with certain gods and the signs with certain myths from the Greek and Roman pantheons. Kaldera combines the two by portraying each planet in each sign as a different deity. For example, the Sun as an astrological planet is associated with Apollo and Helios; in Kaldera’s book, the Sun in Aries is Amon-Ra, the Sun in Taurus is Gaea, the Sun in Gemini is the Dioscuri, and so on. He draws primarily but not exclusively from European pantheons, assigning the Moon in Cancer to Kuan Yin and Mars in Sagittarius to Shango, for example.

Toward the end of last year, I began to consider giving cultus to the deities of my natal chart as per Kaldera’s work. For example, my Sun in Capricorn is Hephaistos, my Moon in Libra Isis, my Mercury in Capricorn in Ptah. I allotted the deities to days of the week according to the planetary system: Sun on Sunday, Moon on Monday, Mars and Pluto on Tuesday, Mercury and Uranus on Wednesday, Jupiter on Thursday, Venus and Neptune on Friday, and Saturn on Saturday.

The outer planets that were unknown before the 19th century have more or less settled into astrology as “higher octaves” of the inner planets. Mars and Pluto both rule processes of disturbance, revelation, destruction; Venus and Neptune both rule values, ideals, experiences of beauty, pleasure, and love. Uranus along with Mercury affects communication, technology, and innovation. I might call them “lower octaves” rather than higher. Where Mercury, Mars, and Venus affect the individual, the slow-going outer planets sound long low notes that set the tone for whole generations in a society. My placement of Neptune in Scorpio, for example, is common to people born between 1957 and 1970, approximately. Kaldera assigns this planet and sign combination to Dionysus. What was Dionysian about that era? Pretty much everything: The civil rights movement that fought social oppression, the experimentation with drugs and altered states, the rise and flourishing of sex drugs and rock’n’roll.

There’s another element that Kaldera didn’t consider (and perhaps he will in a future book or a revised edition): The asteroids. In the latter half of the 20th century, a few of the thousands of asteroids that have been sighted and named in our solar system have worked their way into astrology. Chief among these are the first four asteroids discovered, named after four prominent goddesses: Ceres, Juno, Vesta, and Pallas, along with a fifth asteroid close to the planet Saturn, Chiron. Traditional astrology features only two goddesses, Diana as the Moon and Venus. The Moon is associated with the role of one’s mother in one’s life and Venus with the love object or lust object. The asteroids expanded the symbolic roles of women to include nurturer, partner, priestess, and creator.

Since I’ve been tracking those asteroids in my chart for years, I decided to incorporate them into my devotions and assigned goddesses based on my own sense of their functions. To my Vesta in Cancer, I assigned Sulis Minerva, the goddess worshipped at Bath in England, a deity of fire and water, healing and inspiration. To Ceres in Pisces, I assigned Epona, the Continental Celtic horse goddess who was also worshipped in Rome thanks to her popularity with its legions. To Pallas in Aquarius, which sits smack dab on my Ascendant, I assigned Pallas Athene herself. To Juno in Pisces, I assigned Leukothea, the apotheosized name of Ino, who fostered baby Dionysus and paid for it by losing her own son to Hera’s anger. And to Chiron, known as the wounded healer, I assigned Bran the Blessed, the high king in the Four Branches of the Mabinogi who became an oracular singing head upon his death.

With the exception of Ino/Leukothea, these are all deities with whom I had some prior connection. Sulis, Epona, and Bran I honored in my druidic periods, and Athena was my favorite goddess when I was a child, the high-achieving daddy’s girl with whom I instinctively identified. Leukothea is honored within the Ekklesia Antinoou, so I have some basis for a connection with her.

I still haven’t written prayers to all the deities represented in my natal chart. Seven planets and five asteroids gave me a wealth of material to work with. Some of those deities were personally challenging to me. Kaldera assigns Pluto in Virgo, the placement for people born between 1956 and 1972, to the goddess Hel. I suspect that seeking to learn something about her and compose an appropriate prayer to her led to my writing “A distinguished visitor from the north”, in which she plays an important role.

My Uranus in Virgo is assigned to Lilith, who certainly rose to prominence in the 1960s. Is she goddess or spirit, demon or heroine? Whatever she may be, she has been important in the feminist movement, which my prayer to her reflects. And my Saturn in Pisces is embodied in the complex character of Odin, dominating my first house. In composing my weekly prayer to him, I focused on a point of similarity between the god and myself: We have a tendency to insist on learning things for ourselves, and often on learning it the hard way. There have been times in my life that were the equivalent of hanging from the World Tree, suffering from exposure, waiting for the answer to appear, even if what I needed to learn was nowhere near as significant as the runes.

Finally, there is the planetary assignment that really inspired me to this project: Venus in Aquarius. The usual descriptions of Venus in this sign emphasize its close relationship between romantic love and friendship, its need for an intellectual connection with a lover, and its desire for a bit of rebellion or experimentation, or at least independence. One might say that the biggest turn-on of the Aquarian Venus is equality in a relationship.

Kaldera assigns this Venus to Ganymede, the Trojan boy who was deified because Zeus fell in love with him. He became cup-bearer to the Olympians, in some accounts replacing Hebe in this role. The boy with the cup is directly related to “aquarius”, a masculine Latin noun meaning “water-carrier”. As I read Kaldera’s description of the nature of Aquarian Venus, however, I became convinced that he should have assigned that placement to–of course–Antinous, who is syncretized with Ganymede in some sources, who is associated with the sign and age of Aquarius, and who very much supports egalitarian romance and eros in which friendship plays a major role.

I’ll conclude this entry, then (at last!), by sharing the prayer I wrote for Antinous-Ganymede as patron of Venus in Aquarius:

O Antinous Ganymede,

you bear the cup of friendship

around the halls of the gods,

giving drink to each one equally

as they need: May I give

the drink of love and friendship

to each friend as they need it

and receive the same in return.

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6 thoughts on “An experiment in devotional astrology

  1. Very interesting!

    I knew Antinous would pop up somewhere here!

    One on the “non-problematic” founders of the original Antinous group suggested the Jupiterian moon Ganymede be used for Antinous, and thus most Jovial aspects could be considered Antinoan.

    Then, someone not really a part of the group, and problematic for other reasons, suggested we simply use the asteroid Antinous for Antinous. In my own chart, it’s pretty interesting…I’ll have to dig out that info later and revisit it.

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    • I’m glad you found it interesting–I was sure this was the most tl;dr thing I’d ever written. *g*

      Somewhere I have a printout that lists a couple of hundred asteroids positions in my natal chart. If I can find it, I’ll have to see where asteroid Antinous is located. A lot of important deities are represented in the asteroids–offhand, Eros, Psyche, Lilith, Urania–and Arthurian figures and fictional characters, too. IIRC, there’s a Mr. Spock asteroid parked right on my ascendant along with asteroid Pallas. *g*

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      • If I “dr” something, it’s never because it’s “tl”; and, no matter how long it might be, if you’ve written it, I’ll read it! 😉

        Was Mr. Spock one that existed before Nimoy’s death? That’s interesting…some would say asteroid astrology, therefore, is even more specious than planetary astrology, but based on some of the ways they link up, it’s at least pretty suggestive, I think…

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  2. Heather Awen on said:

    Well this is certainly a coincidence! That book is out of print , although I had the print version 10 years ago . I was asking Raven , who has the church which hosts the shrines !, if I could buy or get the e-book version because I have severe multiple chemical sensitivity and being around Inc. makes me have seizures and pass out . A very fortuitous sign LOL. your newest post mentions Raven and I just emailed you about the Rhiannon poem ! I agree and wish that he could do the book again with asteroids . But it appears to be something you could only get used at this point because he wasn’t the publisher . However he has written stuff which is that that churches polytheist publishing company I think , or just o the cauldron farm website , about creating something very similar to how Veedic astrology works. He does not use the sidereal dates like in India , which I actually prefer because that’s actually what’s in the sky instead of pretending that on the spring equinox area Aries has shown up, when any ancient astrologer would look up and see on that date it’s the end of Pisces , hence the ages , although I also see how working with a zodiac which is just fixed and it doesn’t match anything in the sky also works . Anyway with Indiana astrology the chart is not the focus of astrology like it is in the west where people are more narcissistic . As an astrologer Iowa’s found it frustrating that people would use what they learned in their chart to make excuses for poor behavior . Like they just can’t help it . In India one of the most important jobs of the astrology or is to find ways to help the person balance and make the most of their chart , this includes food , color , and especially marriage partner . An older part is prayer and magic during transits to make the most of them . So he has written about things to do or make , like if you are having a very intense Pluto and Saturn transit , you donate five dollars to and elder abuse program and there are herbs etc. for making into little bundles as offerings . With the way that you are working so extensively with your chart that might be an interesting next step and you probably have a good understanding of what things would please all those aspects of your chart already! I have Venus in Aries which he assigned to Rhiannon by the way . However he told me that red Sonja was more accurate and I have to agree LOL!

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    • I have all three of Kaldera’s astrology books. One or two of them I bought directly from the publisher, Bear/Inner Traditions, at a local book festival, and the others I got from Amazon; I don’t remember whether they were new or used. That wasn’t terribly long ago, maybe five years. Raven’s spells for the various house and sign placements of the planets combined with his assigning deities to them inspired my own daily prayers.

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  3. Pingback: Further experiments in devotion | Antinous for Everybody

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