From blood, beauty. From defeat, victory.
The Lion Hunt left us wounded, but that isn’t the end of the story. In the Festival of the Red Lotus, observed today, one day after the Festival of the Lion Hunt, we celebrate our victories. Antinous was wounded and almost killed by the Mauretanian lion, but was saved when Hadrian slew the creature. It is said that the red lotus blossomed from the lion’s blood.
Pancrates, a poet of these regions whom we knew,
Showed the Emperor Hadrian when he visited Alexandria,
The rosy lotus as a great wonder,
Alleging that it was the one
Which should be called Antinoeios,
Since it sprang, so he said, from the earth
When it received the blood of the Mauritanian Lion
Which Hadrian had killed when hunting in the part of Libya near Alexandria
– Athenaeus in the Deipnosophistae
Life often wounds us. Sometimes those wounds are partly a result of our own pride and our own actions. Sometimes those wounds come from sources outside ourselves. But whether our defeats are results of our own actions or whether we’re victims of circumstances out of our control, we take comfort in knowing that those defeats can be turned to victories. From blood it’s possible for beauty to blossom.
May Antinous and all your gods bless your observance of today’s festival. And while wounds in life are unavoidable, may you always see the opportunity for beauty and success in every situation!
Ave Vive Antinoe!
Haec est unde vita venit!
- Ritual for the Festival of the Red Lotus by Erynn Rowan Laurie