The Sacred Nights of Antinous are what we call the days leading up to, and surrounding, the most important festival day in Naos Antinoou’s ritual year: Foundation Day. These are the days that we observe the death of Antinous in the Nile river, his deification as a god, and the subsequent establishment of his cultus. This year, Foundation Day was also important to us because we established Naos Antinoou as a new queer Greco-Roman-Egyptian reconstructionist polytheist community. Now we find ourselves at the end of the Sacred Nights. We have observed the Festival of Osiris, celebrated the goddesses and female figures surrounding Antinous, walked the Serpent Path and contemplated both the light and the dark, considered fate and making every day important, mourned the death of Antinous, celebrated his becoming a god and triumph over the Underworld, and established again his city and his temple in our hearts. This last day of the Sacred Nights now marks the official transition of Antinous into his role as Liberator.
Technically, we could say that Antinous assumes his role as Liberator on Foundation Day. After all, his deification was a liberation from the Underworld, and breaking through of that barrier that exists between the human and the divine. However, today is the day that we officially recognize this role and welcome it in. In modern Antinoan mythology, Antinous is seen as having triumphed over death through deification, now ascending into the celestial spheres to do battle for 90 days with the various archons who restrict and oppress us in our lives. The end of that 90 days will take us to the Festival of Stella Antinoi, or the Star of Antinous, where, having defeated the archons that oppress us, Antinous then transitions into his role as Navigator.
As Liberator, the focus is on warrior energy. This isn’t necessarily that hyper-masculine, super athletic aggressive warrior energy, although it can mean that too. One of the central stories to our mythology is the account of the Lion hunt, after all, so that hunter imagery is certainly present. Athletic games held in honor of Antinous were also common, so that image of the sculpted, muscular athlete is also realistic. However, it should be noted that at those games, there were also competitions for poetry and art. Physical prowess was not the only focus. In the same way, we recognize warriors as those who fight against oppression not just physically, but with words and actions. It’s supporting justice for all those who have traditionally been oppressed and excluded. It’s supporting equality for LGBT individuals. It’s speaking up in support of Black Lives Matter and standing with people of color against a racist system. It’s standing in solidarity with the Standing Rock Sioux when the government wants to put a pipeline through their ancestral lands. It’s supporting the Trans* community against hateful laws. It’s supporting the rights of women everywhere to autonomy over their own body and the ability to make their own healthcare choices. And it’s all the things in our lives that we need to change, to conquer, and seek liberation from, whether those things are psychological and emotional issues, life circumstances, or bad habits we are seeking to change. These are all things that Antinous the Liberator cares about and lends his agency to.
Ave Ave Antinoe Liberator!
Standing in solidarity with the Standing Rock Sioux against the DAPL was a feature during several of the Sacred Nights. For the Festival of Osiris, a group of us here in Cascadia performed an adaptation of a spell from the Book of Overthrowing Apep (the serpent that tries to devour Re during His daily journeys through the heavens and underworld) where we cursed the black oil snake that DAPL is trying to construct under the Missouri River, which has the definite potential to poison the river, the source of life and drinking water for the Indigenous people downstream. We cursed the black oil snake at all times of the day. We spat upon its image. We stabbed it with our spear. And we set it on fire, burning it to ash. In the name of Re, who gives life by the sun; in the name of Osiris, lord of the River Nile and its inundation which feeds the land; and in the name of Antinous, at whose name the gates of the underworld tremble, we so cursed that black oil snake. And on Foundation Day, we continued to offer up our prayers to the Standing Rock Sioux and all those who work to protect the waters there.
Ave Ave Antinoe Liberator!
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