31 Days of Devotion, Day 27

How has your relationship with Antinous changed over time?

I’ve been practicing devotion to Antinous for some time now.  I think I first became aware of him as a god and became interested in him in 2004 or 2005.  I’ve shared before how one of the things that initially appealed to me was his homoerotic relationship with Hadrian.   I think that is initially what my relationship with him was.  I was a gay man practicing devotion to a queer god.  At the time, my theology was definitely more neopagan/wiccan in nature.  “All gods are one god.  All goddesses are one goddess”  I even saw gods a something as embodiments of cosmic forces and of nature.  So I related to Antinous as a god who embodied homosexuality.  I even saw the relationship between Antinous and Hadrian as something of a metaphor of how gay men progress through life.  We all experience the youth and beauty and desirableness that is Antinous and eventually become the Hadrian, who is older, mature, accomplished.

My relationship with Antinous, as well as my theology, have evolved quite a bit over the years.  Just like any person you might spend quite a bit of time with, over the years you are going to come to understand them better and even discover things about them that you had never known before.  As a devotional polytheist who believes that the gods are real, I believe a relationship with a god is similar to one that you might have with a human being.  I’ve spent time with Antinous and I’ve come to see him as more than just a stereotype of a gay god.  There is more to him than just the fact that he had a homoerotic relationship with Hadrian.  He’s not just a god of homosexuality, he’s a god who has a variety of characteristics.  Some of them are quite chthonic and relate to movement through the Underworld.  Some characteristics relate to fertility.  Some characteristics relate to fighting against oppression.  Some relate to beauty.  To justice.  To compassion.  And I’ve found over and over this relationship is built on my willingness to come to him in simple devotion.

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