Beyond the Nile, Antinous: Part Two

Observant readers might recognize this title, and remember that there was once a report of a journey to the Getty Center in the City of Angels that promised a sequel (a “part one” does beg a “part two”, after all). Well, here it is! Apologies for the great delay. I’ve never really developed a strong writing ethic, I’m afraid, so this essay languished in my notes for many moons.

Beyond the Nile

NOTE: All photographs were taken by © Jay Logan , and all captions for museum exhibit pieces were adapted from text from the exhibit itself, which were photographed during the visit.

My journey in the Getty Center’s exhibit “Beyond the Nile: Egypt and the Classical World” began and ended with Antinous, as one might expect since he was the raison d’etre for my trip, but I actually do mean this literally. His face was the first thing I saw upon entering, for it was his face on the cover of the exhibition book, which was prominently displayed in the gift shoppe at the entrance to the exhibit (which, let me tell ya, is not fair and very distracting! So many pretties….). And his bust was front and center in the last exhibit; journey’s end, the heart of the labyrinth. But what of the journey?

One of the things the exhibit did beautifully was capture the context from which Antinous grew. He was not the first mortal to be worshipped as a god, by any means. Outside the realm of myth, Alexander the Great beat him to that by several centuries. There was also the Ptolemies, the dynasty that took over rule of Egypt after Alexander, who apparently all received divine honors upon their own deaths. And while the Hellenistic period is depicted as being highly syncretic and cosmopolitan (and it was), it was just the latest in a long line of cultural exchange and mixing that occurred between Egypt and the rest of the world. The exhibit took a serpentine route from Egypt’s beginnings through to its diverse interactions with the Mediterranean world.

At the time, I had been reading Laura Tempest Zakroff‘s latest book on Sigil Witchery, which takes an artist’s approach to seeing and crafting sigils. As a result I found my eye being drawn to the variety of motifs and symbols on the ancient artwork, often getting quite close to the artifacts in question to get a good look, seeing how they were represented and depicted. I also found myself drawn to the grave stele and statues of various priests. I felt…a kinship to them, in a way that I’ve never really thought of before, often feeling moved to address them as Brother and Sister. This was probably due in large part to my recent elevation to the third degree in my Wiccan tradition, which among other things denotes being a Tradition Keeper, and which coincided with my own personal acknowledgement and acceptance of the role as a Priest of Antinous; not something I say lightly. That’s what I am, though, and that’s what I do – the priestly work of the Beautiful Boy. It was inspiring, and a delight, to see so many faces (and torsos!) of fellow Greco-Egyptian priests and priestesses.

Noticeable in his absence were any images depicting Emperor Hadrian. The last exhibit held many items from his Villa in Tivoli, including the aforementioned bust of Antinous, but not a single representation of him, not even a coin.[1] It was as if he lived on through his work, or perhaps through his beloved Antinous.


During the Roman emperor Hadrian’s visit to Egypt in AD 130-131, his companion Antinous tragically drowned in the Nile River. The grieving ruler memorialized his young lover by founding the city of Antinoopolis near the site of his death. He also established a Roman cult in which Antinous was honored as a semidivine hero and equated with Osiris, the Egyptian god of the underworld.

Hadrian’s lavish imperial villa at Tivoli, northeast of Rome, was decorated with numerous statues of Antinous in Egyptian costume, as well as many other sculptures with Egyptian imagery. The enormous complex was designed to evoke the ruler’s wide-ranging travels throughout the Roman Empire. A terraced garden with a long pool was named Canopus after the site near Alexandria in Egypt, and a sanctuary that may have been dedicated to Antinous contained an obelisk in his memory.

What was odd, and which came as a great surprise to me, was that I didn’t feel any closer to Antinous for being in his physical presence. Here was a statue from the ancient world, that I had seen before only in pictures, which was made in the years immediately following his death, and which resided in Hadrian’s own Villa in Tivoli, an object of veneration and worship, but I felt no closer to my god. In fact, I felt more “religious juice,” as it were, the night before, while watching The Bacchae on stage at the Getty Villa.  The Bacchic Chorus was amazing, as I have mentioned, and I had to constrain myself from diving into the fray and joining their merry band (To the Mountain! To the Mountain!).

Perhaps that’s where the difference lies. For all that the word “museum” would seem to denote being a “temple to the Muses,” the fact remains is that it’s not a temple. While this one in particular contained objects that I would deem to be sacred, the only sacrifice being performed was at the register, and that not for the benefit of the gods. And there’s an immediacy, an aliveness to drama (especially one devoted to Dionysos!), which is not the same as stationary statues that aren’t receiving fragrant incense; that aren’t being sung to, being prayed to. Maybe if it hadn’t been as busy as it was, I could’ve gotten some singing in…. 😉

At the same time, though, I left the museum content, my cup filled. There was beautiful art to be seen and connection to priests and priestesses before, as well as a new realization. For perhaps there was another difference between the play and the museum, in that I was already close to Antinous. I’ve had devotion to him for many years now, been initiated into his Mysteries. After all, how can I be any closer to him than that, and when I encounter him everyday at my own altar? I was reminded of this poignant moment from Doreen Valiente’s “Charge of the Goddess”:

If that which you seek
You find not within you
You will never find it without you
For behold, I have been with you from the beginning,
And I am that which is attained
At the end of desire.

The Gods can be far away, but they come at the speed of thought, at the speed of prayer.

And who knows? Perhaps I’ll feel differently after I’ve made pilgrimage to some of his sacred sites; walked the land that he once walked, touch the waters he drowned in with my own fingers. The Land has its own ways of Knowing, and Antinous in those Places will likely be quite different than as I’ve experienced him so far. One can hope….

50 - Head of Caracalla

The final face in the exhibit. Head of Caracalla. Romano-Egyptian, 211-217 CE; found in Coptos, Egypt. The Roman emperor Caracalla (ruled 198-217) is shown wearing a uraeus (royal cobra) to mark his status as pharaoh. This head, carved from a hard Egyptian stone, once belonged to a colossal figure that stood in the Temple of Isis in Coptos, Egypt. It carefully copies the close-cropped hair, furrowed brow, and distinctive scowling expression of the ruler’s official portrait, which was first displayed in Rome in 211 CE and is known from many versions in marble.

[1] Apparently in this I was mistaken. Looking through the exhibition catalog for “Beyond the Nile: Egypt and the Classical World” I was able to find a single coin of Hadrian (cat. 182). Somehow, I must’ve missed it….

Commentary on the 31 Hymns to Antinous

Greetings Beloveds!

Five years ago this year, our very own Merri-Todd Webster composed a series of 31 Hymns to Antinous, an offering of devotion which she completed in exactly one month. In honor of this anniversary, she is taking it upon herself to write a series of Commentary on each of the hymns, which she is publishing on her own blog, A Nest Made of Words. I invite you all to check out her commentaries as she is writing them, as they provide much insight into her thoughts and feelings about the hymns as they are, five years later, as well as insight into our cult devoted to the Beautiful Boy. They have proven to be a great gift to us in our own liturgies. Literally, I cannot count how many times I’ve consulted the 31 Hymns to find just the right offering to the Boy. There’s very nearly a hymn for any occasion in this beautiful body of work.


From her introduction:

“In May 2015 I sat down at my laptop, facing my shrine, and began a writing project unlike anything I’d undertaken before. I wanted to write a hymn to the god Antinous every day that month. I had been involved in the worship of Antinous since late 2012, and since 2013 I’d been developing a habit of daily writing through the excellently minimal website, Inspired by my growing love for the god and the examples of other polytheist bloggers who did 30-day writing sprints devoted to individual deities or pagan topics, I wanted to create a body of hymns as an offering to the Beautiful Boy.
I am aiming for a spot somewhere between the fannish idea of the DVD commentary and the traditional notion of a commentary on a sacred text. (One of my foundational premises in life is that fandom is religion, but religion is also fandom.) These hymns are not sacred texts, except to me and to those who, I am grateful to know, find them helpful in their own devotion. I hope that my commentaries, too, may be useful to my readers.”

Links to the Commentaries:

Merri-Todd's Mystificatioin - Jay, MT, Kurt, and Michael, November 2017

Co Merri-Todd Webster with her fellow Mystai Jay Logan, Sister Krissy Fiction, and Otter, on the night of her initiation in 2017.




Worship, service, and agency

Worship, service, and agency

Merri-Todd Webster has been writing many provocative and evocative essays and poems of late. We highly recommend that you check out her blog over at A Nest Made of Words.

A Nest Made of Words

I’ve been, at various times in my life, an Episcopalian, a Druid, a Tibetan Buddhist, and now a pagan polytheist. My regular spiritual practices have changed a lot in accordance with various paths. Yet there’s always been a thread of continuity in my spirituality, no matter what I called myself or what I did. That thread was worship.

I have always been a worshipper. As a child, I went to a little Episcopal church that was firmly set in the High Church tradition: Eucharist every week, before that was the norm; colored vestments; lots of sung liturgy and incense; even the reserved Sacrament on the altar, to which we genuflected every time we crossed in front of it. (This may be why my knees are so bad today.) We had Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament, borrowed from Roman Catholic tradition, and bowed before the consecrated Bread, exposed in a monstrance…

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Thank You to the Temple Raisers!

Blessed Vernal Equinox everyone! What a most welcome day, the turning of the tides towards Spring. I think I can speak for most when I say it’s been one hell of a winter, and that warmer days – and growing days! – will be most welcome and appreciated. Here in the Pacific Northwest it’s unseasonably warm at the moment, and I am totally okay with that.

Today also marks the formal end of our fundraising campaign for the Temple of Antinous hospitality suite at PantheaCon. What a beautiful, harrowing, and blessed journey it has been, and we will certainly be sharing more of what transpired there in the near future. But first, we would like to extend our heartfelt thanks and gratitude to those who supported this work in erecting a Temple for the Beautiful Boy. Your support, beloved community, enabled us to create a dedicated temple space for Antinous and our many Gods – a space where we held morning devotionals; where people came and made offerings to Antinous and sought guidance through divination; where conversations were held exploring the advancing of our devotional practices; where we stood witness for members of the community during rites of affirmation, transformation, and healing; and so, so much more.


Our many blessings and thanks to the following individuals and groups who donated to our campaign, and the many more who made donations at the conference itself, who will remain unnamed, though not forgotten! May Antinous and all of your Gods shower you with blessings of good health, good fortune, necessary wealth, love, and great sex (should that be something you desire)!

  • James Alongi
  • Anonymous
  • Anonymous
  • Anonymous
  • Kat Camp
  • Richard Cardone
  • Colin Davis
  • B.A. Davis-Howe
  • River Devora
  • Erin Dozhier
  • Darragha Foster
  • Matt Grey
  • Megan Langley
  • Gabriel Malcolm
  • Duffi McDermott
  • George McGeorge
  • Melanie
  • Christopher Moody
  • Angela Moon
  • Anu Morgan
  • Fritz Muntean
  • Pomilla Nobilior
  • Rose
  • Estara Sanatani
  • Jason Stein
  • Thiasos of the Flowering Branch and Other Starry Friends
  • Sarafina Waters
  • Merri-Todd Webster
  • Andrew White
  • Jeff Winter

Hail to Antinous! Hail to the Temple Raisers!

A Temple of Antinous at PantheaCon

At this year’s PantheaCon, just three short weeks away, the Naós Antínoou will be establishing a Temple in one of their hospitality suites, a first endeavor of its kind for us. We’ve held rituals there in the past for the Polytheist and Pagan communities, with much success, but have yet to take on such an undertaking, one that requires months of planning and organizing, not to mention the people to do it. After the last PantheaCon, however, and over the course of the past year, members of our local Cascadian Hearth have received strong, unmistakable, and repeated instructions from our Beautiful Boy via divination and oracular spirit work to make His blessings, divine healing, and acceptance available to more people in the LGBTQ+ Pagan and Polytheist world, particularly our trans and queer youth. So, we’re gonna give it a go!

We will be offering a dedicated Temple space to the larger community at PantheaCon, where we will practice regular devotionals to the Gods and Ancestors, provide a safe space for Queer, Trans, and Nonbinary people to meet in friendship and kinship, host classes from respected teachers in the community, and where we will be offering opportunitites for participating in rites of passage for transformation, affirmation, and healing. And if folks take us up on it, we will also be offering dream incubation for interested seekers. We want to provide a sacred and worshipful atmosphere for all who come seeking Antinous and the Queer Divine. To that end, we will also invite  folks to bring statues and images of their Queer and Queer-friendly Gods, and of their Beloved and Mighty Dead, to share in the cultus during the weekend. All  Gods and Divine Beings are welcome to party with Antinous! Just be sure to pick up your personal items before the end of the last night of the conference, cause we certainly won’t have space for them on the trip back.

If you want to support such a space being there at the conference, one of only two or three dedicated Queer spaces at PantheaCon, we’re seeking Temple Raisers. We need your help. We are a small temple, and do not seek to profit from any of our events or rituals. We intend to offer this Temple as a labour of love and devotion to Antinous. Our resources are limited, and we seek the assistance of our LGBTQ+ kin, and of all Polytheists who might be inclined to support this all-inclusive space. Below you can find a link to our IndieGoGo fundraising campaign, where we are offering numerous perks for people who support our work and the Work of our Beautiful Boy. Donations will go towards the cost of the room; the food and other supplies for sacred offerings; the welcome snacks and beverages for our visitors; as well as the travels costs for bringing our Temple furnishings across two state lines.  Anything you can do to lighten our burden will be appreciated and blessed.

Blessings and thanks to you all! AVE VIVE ANTINOE!

Antinous Osiris - Getty Exhibit3.jpg

Beyond the Nile, Antinous: Part One

Getty Villa

“Welcome to the Getty Villa”

This weekend, your friendly neighborhood pagan librarian had the pleasure and privilege of journeying down to the City of Angels to visit the “Beyond the Nile: Egypt & the Classical World” exhibit held at the Getty Center. I heard about this upcoming exhibit back in February, and I found it to be an opportunity too good to miss. Not only was it going to be exploring Egyptian art and the way it shaped and was shaped by other Mediterranean cultures (including Minoan Crete, Mycenae, Greece, and Rome), but it had an Antinous – an honest-to-gods Antinous, from the ancient world. If that wasn’t draw enough, not only was the exhibit going to be on my continent, it was going to be on my coast. How could I not?


Getty Villa - Bacchae Program

My program for Bacchae by Eurpides

But before we get to the raison d’etre for this little adventure, I have a story to share about some unexpected pleasures and opportunities that I encountered along the way. The evening of my arrival into Los Angeles, I booked a ticket for a preview showing (i.e. a fancy dress rehearsal) of Euripdes’ The Bacchae, which was showing at the Getty Villa. A sister to the more conventional museum that is the Getty Center, the Villa is a reconstructed Roman villa, the country home of the wealthy elite. It has gardens, statues, murals, and for my purposes, an outdoor amphitheater where the play would be performed. I was prepared to have the most pagan art-filled weekend ever, but when I arrived that evening to the Villa I was just…blown away.

Not being familiar with the city, and having a few hours since my flight into town that would otherwise be spent twiddling my thumbs, I arrived a bit early for the show. I’m so glad that I did. I was invited to explore their ongoing exhibits and walk the grounds, and I was so utterly distracted by the grounds that I nearly ran out of time to explore the exhibit! The amount of detail they had in their reconstruction was exquisite. At first I was just besotted by the landscaping. It became a game of Spot the Sacred Tree. Rosemary draped elegantly from the arching stairwells, urging visitors onward into ancient and sacred memory. Olive and laurel trees lined the labyrinthine walkway up from the entrance to the Villa, to the amphitheater and gardens above. To each side of the central pool was a line of fragrant bay laurel (twelve trees on each side, by my count…).  Two arbors holding winding grapevines and hanging ripe grape clusters. And in the corners of the gardens were two pomegranate trees – the first I’ve ever seen with my own eyes. I had to do several double-takes to be sure that my eyes did not deceive me, that they were in fact bearing witness to the ripening fruit of that most blessed of goddesses, Persephone. And those were just the trees and plants that was able to identify – those more skilled and knowledgeable in the gardening arts would have seen so much more. And yet it was all still so, so beautiful.

Since the Villa was only open at that time in anticipation for that evening’s entertainment, an added bonus was the relatively empty paths and exhibits to walk and enjoy at my leisure.

The exhibits themselves seem almost a blur of rapt enjoyment. Art depicting the stylized female form from the Cyclades, goddesses of the prehistoric age. Frightening masks of the Gorgon. Etruscan bronze chandeliers. A crouching goddess of love. And an immense statue of Hercules that nearly brought me to my knees in reverence. Not only was it an incredible specimen of well-preserved classical sculpture, it was displayed in such a way to highlight its divine and sacred nature. Housed in a rotunda beneath a pointed arch, under a vaulted ceiling, the statue stood upon a pedestal before an vibrant tile array, that grew and radiated energy throughout the whole room. It was beautifully designed. And it didn’t hurt that this particular statue of Hercules once resided in Hadrian’s Villa…..

And now we can get to the ostensible reason I came to the villa in the first place – on with The Bacchae!

The stage is set by the playing of a familiar tune: the musical stylings of Screamin’ Jay Hawkins’ “I Put a Spell On You”. The jaunty yet haunting tune seems quite appropriate, knowing what I know of this play, and the cast of characters who would soon join the stage. The star of our production, the young god Dionysos, who was seeking honor and recognition of his divine heritage from his mortal family in Thebes, enters, embodied by a woman, Ellen Lauren (the SITI Company co-artistic director). As he tells his tale of struggle and woe,  and sets the stage for the drama to behold, the martial bacchants begin marching, wielding staffs of fig and dressed in skirt and suit jacket rather than the traditional leopard skin. Continuing the gender fuckery, the Chorus of Bacchant Women is embodied by women and men both, and everything seems as it should be – save that the divinity of their mad god of wine and ecstasy is denied and not celebrated!

While certainly adding a modern touch to this ancient play, through music and dress, it all came together for me quite beautifully. The rhyme and meter of the Chorus did much to stir a Bacchic frenzy within me. When they cried out for the city to join them in their sacred and joyous rites, it was all I could do to stay in my seat! I doubt that they would have welcomed that level of audience participation…. Now, I’ve been to and participated in sacred theater before, at such religious festivals as Spring Mysteries and Orpheus Descending, and this production did much to evoke that atmosphere, that quality of spirit. It felt like a true offering to Dionysos, and brought more religious…zeal than the rest of my weekend, as it would turn out. But, more on that later…..

All in all, it was an amazing night, and a wonderful and auspicious beginning for the days ahead.

Getty Villa - Pool3

Sunset view of the Getty Villa, a recreation of a Roman country house, re-imagining in particular the Villa dei Papiri, a luxurious house in Herculaneum.


The Sacred Games at Orpheus Descending

The heron stands
Like a bent old man
With his hands in his pockets
And his feet in the sand

This past weekend, a few of us local to the Pacific Northwest had an incredible opportunity:  to host an artistic agon for the Sacred Games of Antinous, in real life with our fellow coreligionists, and have enough participants to have it be a real competition too. While we’ve certainly held agons in the past for the Megala Antinoeia, they’ve typically been online and have been lightly attended. Not this time. This time they were held in the context of a religious festival, and it was simply marvelous.


The festival in question was Orpheus Descending, an interactive ritual drama presented over the course of a weekend retreat in the beautiful Pacific Northwest. It’s a nascent festival, only in its fourth year, but it holds a lot of promise. It presents the tragic story of Orpheus and Eurydike and invites attendees to become purified and initiated into the Orphic Mysteries. This year was the culmination of a four year cycle introducing people to the Orphics, a mystery school that has a cosmology and body of symbolism quite distinctive from its sister school in Eleusis, which was and is more popular and widely known. This year was also special because the way the schedule played out, the festival happened to coincide with a major festival on our calendar, the Megala Antinoeia. Having known the organizers for the past several years, and knowing that a number of our local Naos chapter would already be in attendance, I propositioned them with the notion of including the Sacred Games in their event (me being Jay). As it turns out, a number of them were also contemplating holding a space for artistic and musical expression (this is the festival of Orpheus, after all, the world’s most famed and talented musician!), but weren’t sure how to fit it in amongst all their other responsibilities. So, when I made my proposal, it came as something of a relief. There would be a place to showcase artistic talent, and they wouldn’t even have to organize it!

So, we did a thing! And it was lovely, and beautiful. I estimate there was something like twenty to thirty people in attendance, and over a dozen competitors. And because this festival invokes the Muses, the leaders of the Muses (i.e. Dionysos and Apollo), and our Beautiful Boy has a passing familiarity with all of the above, it should come as no surprise that there was a bit of a…theme that developed. Inspiration and synchronicities were flying everywhere! And nowhere was that more apparent than in the poem which inaugurated the Games. It spoke of rivers, the life of a river, the essence of what it means to be a river. We were all simply floored, and then our poet had to scurry off to start his shift in the dining hall to help prepare dinner (he asked to perform first for this reason, but who knew that it would prove so auspicious?).


“River Walker” by Katharine Squires

And these themes relating to Antinous carried on throughout. Rivers came up again in song, poem, and art. Songs about children and caring for and guiding our youth were sung. As were pieces devoted to empowering the marginalized in society. A DJ who hadn’t performed publicly in thirty years was inspired to spin techno music live for us, and we had a mini Antinous Dance Party. And then there was the guitarist who was moved by spirit to perform Spanish flamenco music, particularly the kind men would perform to show off (you may recall that a certain imperial lover of Antinous was born in the Roman province of Hispania…). The funny thing is, most of the people who came and competed were pretty new to Antinous, if not brand new to him. And still he managed to bring us all together. There was hardly a time during the ritual that I wasn’t moved, or teary-eyed, or laughing with joy. It was so simple, and so beautiful.

Now, you might be curious as to who won our little competition, who got to be adorned with the coveted garland of bay laurel and red blossoms of the Sacred Games of Antinous. It was a difficult decision, as there were so many outstanding performances (as I’ve described). But Ceinan (my Antinous co-conspirator in Kitsap) and I both agreed that the poet who inaugurated the  Games was the best choice. It was simple, profound, and created with real devotion. He related to me later that the first four lines of the poem had been written eight years prior, the rest of the poem stumping him. And then, prior to the Games, earlier that day in fact, the words just flowed out in about 15 minutes. Truly, he was touched by the Muses! Our decision made, the entire: body of ritualists present agreed to keep mum until we could surprise him at dinner and crown him before the entire festival, with much gusto and fanfare. And so it was!

Without further ado, may I present the winner of the Sacred Games of Antinous, at the 2018 Orpheus Descending festival, James Hopkins! May the blessings of Antinous, the Beautiful Boy of Bithynia, rain down upon you!
Ave Ave Antinoe! Haec est unde vita venit!


James Hopkins, poet, Crowned Victor of the Sacred Games, 2018

The heron stands
Like a bent old man
With his hands in his pockets
And his feet in the sand
Share with us your wisdom
What is a river?
A river is not a noun
A river is a verb, a process
A state, not an address
A river is theory
That cannot be replicated, duplicated, repeated
A river is liquid moments rolling forward
Impossible to experience twice
To the newly hatched fry
Glass clear, red heart, black bones
A river is the cradle
Rock-a-bye tumbling down to the sea
To the struggling salmon
Cloudy eyed, rotting flesh under blood red skin
A river is the grave
Where the future, eternal life, is cast upon the waters
A river is home, state, flow, verb
A river is a verb

Hymn for Janus

An offering for the Noumenia.

Janus Bifrons

Janus Bifrons by NatasaIlincic

Hail to you, Father Janus, O two-faced god:

You who ever gaze upon the torrent of the past, the current of history’ making,

even as the present moment gives way to the possibilities of the future.

Hail to you Janus, Gatekeeper:

Who stood at the threshold of life when a young boy from Bithynia fell into the Nile,

who closed the door to the land of life,

and guided the boy’s ka through the threshold of death.

Hail to you Janus, God of Gods, Father of gods and men:

Who, before Saturnus landed by ship upon your verdant shores, was Time –

The Lord of Time; the ever moving ebb and flow of Time;

the pinpoint where all currents of Time meet and join…. and are still.

It was in that Moment that you encountered Antinous, beloved of Hadrian.

Saw that beautiful face which would soon enamor the Moon herself,

that gave you pause.

Here was a young spirit that embodied many of your own qualities, Father Janus.

Not a boy, but not yet a man – a flower plucked in the fullness of his youth.

A humble mortal, but touched with the seed of divinity – a man become a god.

A native, a citizen, a stranger – a god of many lands, but none to call his true home.

Beloved of an emperor of war-loving Rome, but one who sought to finally close the

gates of your two-faced temple passage – an augur of peace instead of war.

Antinous was the confluence of many lands and many traditions,

but was and ever shall be himself alone.

Not one thing, nor yet another, but always and forever both and none.

And among all the threads of possibility emerging from this young spirit, you saw the

queerest thing – the opportunity for Saturnus’ true liberation.

Not just for a season, or a festival, but real, abiding liberation,

a true return to the Golden Age.

And like that stranger god who came to Latium’s shores so long ago,

here was a god that would tear away all the fetters that bind and constrict the populace.

Here was a god that would guide his people to the realms of wisdom.

Here was a god that would defeat all the archons, all the masters;

Defeat every enemy of love.

So in that Moment, pregnant with possibility, you smiled down at the young spirit

before you and offered him a jar of fresh honey,

knowing that a taste of honey at journey’s beginning

would ensure that sweetness follows in its wake.

Hail to you, Father Janus,

God of omens and auspicious beginnings!

Bless your coming and your going, oh god,

on this day and all days.

©Jay Logan, 2018

Coming Face to Face with Gods and Friends

“When the time comes to you at which you will be forced at last to utter the speech which has lain at the center of your soul for years, which you have, all that time, idiot-like, been saying over and over, you’ll not talk about the joy of words. I saw well why the gods do not speak to us openly, nor let us answer. Till that word can be dug out of us, why should they hear the babble that we think we mean? How can they meet us face to face till we have faces?
― C.S. Lewis, Till We Have Faces

This past weekend, for the first time we nearly had a full conclave of the Magistrates and Mystagogues of the Naos Antinoou. Since the establishment of this leadership model two years ago, our leadership has always been split between the East and West Coasts of the United States. Three of us find our homes in the Seattle and Portland areas of the Pacific Northwest, while the other two are in Baltimore and D.C. So, this near-conclave would have been cause enough for celebration, finally being able to break bread and share libation with friends and fellow devotees. But there was another occasion for this gathering, the initiation of our Magistrate Merri-Todd Webster into the Mysteries of Antinous, our first Mystai since we reformed and rededicated this group as the Naos Antinoou. Merri-Todd has been an ardent devotee for numerous years at this point, and has written many of the poems, hymns, and prayers that comprise our liturgy, so really it was only a matter of time (and lots and lots of planning!) before she was welcomed formally into the cult and mystery of our Beautiful and Beloved Boy, Antinous. And what a pleasure we had in doing so!

She flew to Seattle on Thursday, and was in Otter and I’s care for the next couple of days, showing her the sights and sounds of our beloved city and region, including Pike’s Place Market,  our local witchcraft and occult shoppes, and the ever glamorous watering holes on Capitol Hill. She even got to experience some of the extremes this region is famous for cold rains followed by bright and shining days. On Satyrday, with the help of some friends from my coven in Kitsap, Otter, Sister Krissy Fiction, and I transformed a local community meeting hall into a beautiful temple, with dark and frightening tunnels leading deep down to the underworld. And it was there she journeyed, to come face to face with our God in the most intimate way we yet know how to create in this world. It was beautiful to witness and truly an honor to weave and welcome our new Sister into the fold of these Mysteries.

So, without further ado, please join us in welcoming our newest initiate into the Mysteries of Antinous. Welcome to our oracular queer death cult of sex and beauty, Merri-Todd – Hope you survive the experience!

Merri-Todd's Mystificatioin - Jay, MT, Kurt, and Michael, November 2017

Jay, Merri-Todd, Sister Krissy Fiction, and Otter after the day’s Mystification

Hunting Lions & Slaying Serpents

In a few short days, the Festival of the Lion Hunt will be upon us. This is the time when we observe the historical hunt that Hadrian and Antinous took part in the months leading up to Antinous’ drowning in the Nile. Our Beautiful Boy nearly died himself that day as Hadrian tried his mettle, but he managed to wound the beast, whose blood fed the rich earth and became the lovely red lotus which is now a primary symbol of Antinous. Traditionally in the modern cultus, this would be a time that we meditate upon our failures, how we had not accomplished that we have set out to do, or have not lived up to our ideals and been the type of people we want to see in the world. It’s important to take stock, and to allow those failures to act as fertilizer for the growth of the red lotus in our own spirits and lives. However, this year we would like to propose an additional focus for our rites, to coincide with a remarkable astronomical event.

For those living in the continental United States, the morning of August 21st will hold a solar eclipse, only the second to grace these shores in nearly a century. This synchronisity provides a unique opportunity for those in this tradition. A number of us have been deepening our relationship to Antinous’ Egyptian/Kemetic roots, as Egypt was the land that first recognized Antinous’ divinity and still remains one of the greatest sources of information regarding his historical cultus. As many may know, the sun played a particularly important role in Kemetic religious traditions, as Ra on his solar barque represented the life and potency of the cosmos. Each day his return from his nocturnal journey in the netherworld, or Duat, would be celebrated, and each evening during that journey heka, or magic, would be wielded on his behalf against his enemy, the serpent Apep, a primordial, anti-cosmic being who seeks to swallow the sun and destroy the cosmos. In myth, Ra’s boat would be protected by a number of divine beings, including Set, Isis, and Bast, each wielding a spear or knife to slay the serpent each and every day, maintaining the balance of Ma’at.

Set & Apep

It was not only the gods, however, that took part in the slaying of Apep. There were numerous spells that humans could perform to aid the gods in restoring balance to Ma’at, including from The Book of Overthrowing Apep. These spells were performed daily in many temples and were accompanied by the smashing of red clay pots. These were performed every day (sometimes multiple times a day), because it was known that the forces of chaos represented by Apep were always resurgent. The continuation of life and creation was never certain, and the forces that would swallow the world in darkness had to be constantly kept at bay. In modern terms, this is known as an execration rite. These rituals were utilized to protect the pharaoh, the kingdom, and the greater created world in unity with the gods. This can also be practiced as a Kemetic way of cleansing one’s life of unwanted influences, a cathartic experience to bring our lives back into balance so that the life-giving blessings of the gods can flow more readily to us. I recommend both, which brings us back to the solar eclipse.

I haven’t been able to find much information on ancient Egyptian views of solar eclipses, but I can’t imagine they were good. When day turns into night, as the stars appear in the sky as the sun darkens, I can only imagine it was seen as a bad omen, of the serpent Apep nearly succeeding in his goal of swallowing the source of life and uncreating existence. What greater opportunity to fight back and slay that serpent? To smash its image, to spit upon it, burn it, and stab it, to take away its power and bring back the light. With Antinous-Osiris the Justified by our sides, who perfected the art of hunting when he became a god, what lions could we not hunt, what serpents could we not slay?

Antinous Execration Pot 2 Antinous Execration Pot

There are many forces that need slaying, many forces that have disrupted the balance of Ma’at. In Charlottsville, VA this past weekend we have witnessed an escalation of white nationalism, fascism, and Nazi forces, whose clashes with counterprotesters and anti-fascists in the community resulted in a death. And this is just the culmination of months and years of fascism, racism, anti-Semitism, misogyny, transphobia, homophobia, Islamophobia, and many other forces that are tearing this country and world apart. Many pagans and polytheists, witches and magicians, that I know will be taking part in religio-magical acts in the lead-up to and during the eclipse to push back against these forces and protect those in our disparate communities that are most vulnerable. We of the Naos Antinoou invite you to join us in this work,  our contribution to this movement.

The folks at The Twisted Rope wrote up a very nice description of the process for creating and performing an execration rite that they did for Wep Ronpet (Egyptian New Year) a few years ago. What we would add is that you may want to add an image like the one above of the Apep serpent being slain (by Antinous, perhaps, or other deities known for protecting Ra’s solar barge). Then, inscribe the names of individuals and forces you wish whose power and influence you wish to see lessened and destroyed, those individuals and powers that would swallow us whole. Once your tablet or pot is filled, speak your intention, recite some hymns and pray. The Litany for Antinous the Liberator is quite appropriate for this rite, as is Merri-Todd Webster’s Panthea offering, which calls upon all the goddesses for justice. There is also this spell, adapted somewhat from The Book of Overthrowing Apep for just this occasion.

Antinous, mighty hunter, slayer of lions, favored companion of Diana – Attend!

Antinous-Osiris the Justified, red lotus, glorious jewel of the Nile – Attend!

Antinous, beloved son of Ra-Horakhty, guardian of the solar barque – Attend!

Attend! Attend! Attend!

Day turns into night, the stars shine in the heavens, as the moon occludes the sun – Attend!

Forces of darkness gather, the prowling lion in the desert, the writhing coils of Apep – Attend!

Torches are raised, weapons are drawn, chants of hatred and bigotry cry loud in the city square – Attend!

Attend! Attend! Attend!

Antinous Liberator, breaker of bonds and chains – Attend to us!

Antinous Navigator, guide who shows us the path to freedom and liberation – Attend to us!

Antinous Lover, through whose love we become beautiful and good – Attend to us!

Turn your spear tipped with adamant to the approaching foe, Antinous, and free us from this blight upon the land and the community!

[addressing the clay pot or tablet]

Taste you death, O Apep, get you back!

Retreat, O enemy of Ra!

Fall down, be repulsed, get back and retreat!

I have driven you back, and I have smashed you into pieces.

Ra triumphs over Apep at dawn – Taste you death, Apep!

Ra triumphs over Apep at noon – Taste you death, Apep!

Ra triumphs over Apep at eventide – Taste you death, Apep!

Ra triumphs over Apep at midnight – Taste you death, Apep!

Back, Fiend, an end to you!

Therefore have I inscribed your many names and broken you into rubble.

I break your will, Apep!

I break your power, Apep!

I break your hatred, Apep!

I break your strife, Apep!

You are tiny, Apep. I can see the whole of time and space, every single atom of your existence, and I break them.


In the name of Ra!

In the name of Horus!

In the name of Set!

In the name of Isis!

In the name of Bast!

In the name of he at whose name the gates of the underworld tremble!


[Destroy clay pot and tablet as you see fit. When complete, say:]

You shall never rise again.

Ave Antinoe!