Antinous for Everybody

Archive for the tag “sacred nights”

Sacred Nights: Foundation Day 2016

Today he is a hero who has walked with knowledge into the underworld.

Today he is a daimon who quickens the earth to life and causes the river to rise and fructify the land.

Today he is a god, one with Osiris, enthroned with the gods of Egypt.

Today the gods of Kemet, Hellas, and Rome welcome him into their company, as his mortal remains are preserved with the honors once bestowed only on kings.

He is Antinous of Bithynia, son of Mantinoe, beloved of Hadrian. Dua Antnus! Khaire Antinoos! Ave Antinous! Hail, beautiful god! The Naos Antinoou is established in your honor.



Sacred Nights: The Death of Antinous

Death happens. Life goes on. How many people have died while I slept last night? How many more have died while I droned away at work? Death happens. Life goes on. The Nile keeps on flowing.


Sacred Nights: Ananke Antinoou

POEM: Necessity

Just another day when the alarm
doesn’t go off and you can’t afford
to be late for work though you don’t
really care, so you shower and run
and grab something on the way,
not really food, just
and you just make the train,
or maybe you just miss it
it isn’t raining yet, but it might
work is a checklist of things
you have said and done and
heard and read and endured before
dinner is something you bought
because you were too tired
to cook, almost too tired to eat
it’s raining now and everything’s
falling apart so you go to bed
and dream of a boy drifting
on a boat across the broad slow
waters of an ancient river
not knowing or not caring
how strong the current is


Sacred Nights: Ophidia

POEM: Don’t (Listen)

Don’t listen to me, I’m just a snake.
Don’t listen to me, the god said not to, and what do I know about fruit, anyway.
Don’t listen to me, I am a worm and no man.
Don’t listen to me, I just crawl on my belly and lick the dust.
Don’t listen to me, I’m just a puppet crowned with dyed horsehair.
Don’t listen to me when I twine around your leg.
Don’t listen to me when I rise up your spine.
Don’t listen to me when I writhe between your thighs.
Don’t listen to me when I curl around your neck.
Don’t listen to me when I whisper in your ear

That you could be more than this
That you could stand taller
That you could swing your hips more freely
That you could reach wider, farther
That wings could sprout from your shoulders
as serpents engulf your feet
and a light could shine from your heart
to the very edges of the cosmos

Don’t listen to me
what do I know
I’m just a snake
just a reptile with no legs
all spine, eyes, mouth
just a cold-blooded wriggler
just a symbol of the phallus
or knowledge, or wisdom
or cosmic potential
rising out of the darkness
the underworld, the dirt
only a snake
never mind
don’t listen to me


Sacred Nights: The Panthea

POEM: Looking for the boy

All my life I’ve been looking for the boy
You know the one
That boy
The boy everybody’s looking for
He used to stand around on the streetcorner
when I walked to school
Not being a delinquent
He was just waiting for somebody
All my life I’ve been looking for this boy
It’s the story of my life
It’s the story of every woman’s life
Well, there are women who found each other
That’s different
Isis had Nephthys, Ruth found Naomi
Sometimes in the movies you see women like that
But I always felt it was a boy I was looking for, you know?
The special boy, the one who was different
The one who might be waiting for me
He might be cut into so many pieces
that I could never find them all
He might be cursed to the shape of a beast
and have claws that could never caress
He might be hung on a cross like a wet rag
left to drip out his life breath by breath
He might be transformed into a falcon
or locked in a maze or dressed like a girl
I had to keep looking
He might even be drowned in the Nile one day
one fine day when he thought everything was perfect
and then find himself a god
And then I found him
I found the boy I was looking for
With his head in the stars, his feet in the water,
his hands full of flowers, and he said
You are the woman I’ve been waiting for
You are the goddess I was looking for
You are the one that I hoped would find me



Sacred Nights: Osiris and Antinous

If I could stand on the banks of the Nile,
I would be standing there ten thousand years ago,
standing there in the First Time when the gods
walked the earth, the First Time which is
every moment. Ten thousand years, five
thousand, two thousand… it doesn’t matter.
The Nile flows. The land remembers,
in spite of the dam. The people remember,
despite the change in religion. And
I remember: the gods of my childhood,
the figures and the paintings in the museum,
Osiris of the crossed hands, Isis with her spread wings.


Sacred Nights: Antinous the Liberator

(I composed and originally posted this litany on this date last year. Herewith, a slightly revised and expanded version.)

In the name of Antinous, the Liberator, the Savior, the Human-God, Victorious One, Emperor of Peace.

From all that oppresses us, Antinous, liberate us.

From all that inhibits us, Antinous, liberate us.

From all that constrains us, whether without or within, Antinous, liberate us.

From racism and all racial prejudice, Antinous, liberate us.

From sexism and all misogyny, Antinous, liberate us.

From disrespect for our elders, Antinous, liberate us.

From disrespect for our youth, Antinous, liberate us.

From homophobia and all hatred of sexual minorities, Antinous, liberate us.

From transphobia and all hatred of gender minorities, Antinous, liberate us.

From all contempt for women and girls and for effeminate men, Antinous, liberate us.

From all injustice, Antinous, liberate us.

From sexual violence, Antinous, liberate us.

From bullying and harassment, Antinous, liberate us.

From depression and melancholy, Antinous, liberate us.

From loneliness and despair, Antinous, liberate us.

From doubt of our own gifts, Antinous, liberate us.

From doubt of our ability to act, Antinous, liberate us.

From the wounds of the past, Antinous, liberate us.

From fear of the future, Antinous, liberate us.

From all our addictions and from contempt for the addicted, Antinous, liberate us.

From poverty and the shaming of the poor, Antinous, liberate us.

From hunger and from greed and grasping, Antinous, liberate us.

From all illness of body, mind, or soul, Antinous, liberate us.

From ignorance, especially willful ignorance, Antinous, liberate us.

From the tyranny of the wealthy and their greed, Antinous, liberate us.

From the tyranny of the bigoted and their fear, Antinous, liberate us.

From the tyranny of the lustful and their self-loathing, Antinous, liberate us.

From every kind of hatred and violence, Antinous, liberate us.

[Additional petitions may be inserted here. ]

Guard and defend us, Antinous, as we struggle to free ourselves; guard and defend us, Antinous, as we strive to liberate others; guard and defend us, Antinous, as we await the rising of your star.

Ave, ave, Antinoe!

Haec est unde vita venit!

Sacred Nights: Antinous Triumphantus

My beloved god has triumphed, but I myself am feeling anything but triumphant tonight. After a demanding though shortened work-week of occupying our new office space, overlapping with the Sacred Nights and my desire to observe them, I am tired despite extra sleep and surrounded by things I have failed to do. My attempt to do laundry was thwarted by an uncooperative machine for the second week in a row; there’s only one washer and one dryer in the building, and not one laundromat within walking distance. And I don’t drive.

Dirty laundry, dirty dishes, and an intense desire to sleep don’t add up to the best conditions for celebrating a holy day. But when I took up devotion to Antinous last year, I made a rule for myself to do *something* rather than nothing, no matter how inadequate the something seemed. So this entry is itself part of my observance and my offering.

The paradox of this day is that we celebrate Antinous’ deification, his triumph over death, yet at the same time acknowledge that becoming a god is only the beginning. Tomorrow we will hail him as the Liberator, and then for ninety days he will do battle with the Archons, the spirits and forces that would keep humanity from its fulfillment. Not until the end of January, at the feast of the Star of Antinous, will he emerge from the underworld and take his place at the helm of his heavenly barque.

I think that in some way, I have always known, even as a child, that the highest destiny of humankind is to become divine. It was in the Greek myths I read as a child; it wove in and out of the Christian theology I read, now more visible, now less; the two strands fused together in C.S. Lewis’ finest novel, Till We Have Faces. “How can we meet the gods face to face till we have faces?” How can we love the gods, how can the gods truly love us, unless and until we become their equals?

I believe we can work toward our deification, our apotheosis. I also believe that it is not merely up to us, that ultimately it is as much a mystery as the death of Antinous–something happens to us, and we rise up from it more than human. And then, when we are gods and fully possessed of ourselves and our powers, then the real work begins. Even as I’m flailing around right now, coping with office relocation and broken washing machines, I’m looking forward to it.

Sacred Nights: Foundation Day 2015

It is 1885 years since the apotheosis of Antinous, on this day in 130 CE.

It is 1885 years since the foundation of Antinoöpolis, His holy city named after Himself as the Founding Hero, on this day in 130 CE.

It is 13 years since the refounding of His cultus in the 21st century.

Let Osiris rejoice with Hapi, for the youth whom they deified is recognized today as a god.

Let all the goddesses rejoice, and with them the divae, heroines, and sanctae, for the Bithynian Boy has become divine, and his mother’s whole body heals.

Let Ophion, Chnoubis, and Glykon rejoice, and with them all the serpent deities, for the mystery of apotheosis is renewed in the sight of mortals.

Let Ananke rejoice, for what was necessary has been carried out.

Let Hadrian and Sabina rejoice even as they mourn, for while Antinous the youth is dead, Antinous the god lives forever and loves them and blesses them.

Let the people of Antinous rejoice, for our god is eternally alive and loves us and blesses us.

Let all the gods of every land and people rejoice, for a new immortal has been added to their ranks.

Welcomed by Persephone, purified by Hapi, one with Osiris, enthroned with the gods of Egypt, Antinous lives!

Sacred Nights: Antinous in the Underworld

I light a candle for the youth Antinous that he may find his way through the dark.

I pour out cool water for the youth Antinous to refresh him on his journey.

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