The Sacred Nights of Antinous 2016

Last night, October 24th, was the first night of the Sacred Nights of Antinous.  These Sacred Nights mark the days leading up to the death of Antinous and his subsequent deification, and are some of the most important days in our ritual year.

October 24th – Festival of Osiris: The theme of Osiris’ death, and his eventual revivification, remains one of the most deeply symbolic and influential myths to have ever emerged from Egypt. Soon Hadrian and Antinous  would be playing out the roles of this myth and the actions of these mysteries in their very own lives, with Antinous becoming the newest Osiris.

antinousosiris
October 25th – The Panthea: The importance of goddesses in the cultus of Antinous is celebrated. Just as Isis was essential to the story of Osiris, so too were various goddesses either paired with considered essential to Antinous’ deification. No matter how much focus there seems to be in the cultus of Antinous on the male figures of Hadrian, Antinous, there are always female goddesses and other figures alongside them.

antinoussn2
October 26th – The Ophidia: The Serpent Path explores all aspect of potential deification, both light and dark, positive and negative, permitted and forbidden.  In many ways this is a day which seeks to honor the opposite of what the rest of the world and its order seems to be saying is good, proper, and right.

antinoussn3
October 27th – Ananke Antínoou: As we move through the Sacred Nights and get ever closer to the death and deification of Antinous,we turn our focus to the role of fate in our lives, and living as if each day matters.

antinoussn4
October 28th – The Death of Antinous:  This day is marked as a day of great solemnity, mourning and sadness. Many devotees of Antinous observe this day by covering or hiding any images of Antinous they might have in their home shrines or altars and leaving them covered until Foundation Day. While prayers can be offered to other gods associated with Antinous, no prayers are said to him directly.

October 29th – Antinous in the Underworld: Antinous enters the Underworld to be reunited with Persephone.  On this day the scales of Ma’at find Antinous just, and his heart is perfectly balanced with Ma’at’s feather. Thoth greets Antinous’ rising in the East, and places Antinous’ face in his own mirror, the Moon.

antinoussn5
October 30th – Foundation Day: Antinous entered the waters of the Nile as a boy but emerged as a god. On this day a city was founded in his name, and his cultus established. This is the most prominent festival day in our ritual year.  It marks the deification of Antinous, as well as the establishment of his ancient cultus.  It’s a day of celebration and devotion.
October 31st – Antinous Triumphantus: While Antinous has conquered death, there is still the anticipation of his battle with the Archons of the universe, who keep all people in bondage. This coming battle is ushered in tomorrow as Antinous assumes his role as Liberator. This day, then, is a day where we continue our celebration, but also look forward with expectation to what is coming.

antinoussn7
November 1st – Antinous the Liberator: The final day of the Sacred Nights celebrates the role of the aspect of Antinous as Antinous the Liberator. Over the next 90 days we see Antinous ascending through the celestial spheres to battle and ultimately conquer the Archons of the universe who keep us all in bondage. We celebrate the warrior energy in Antinous, in others, and in ourselves, especially as it is used to fight against oppression.

During these Sacred Nights, we’ll be focusing on The Death of Antinous on Friday, October 28th, and Foundation Day on Sunday, October 30th, and we’ll also be continuing the 31 days of Devotion we started at the beginning of the month.  We have some announcements coming, and big things planned, and we’re excited for this coming Foundation Day and the changes and opportunities it will bring.  Stay tuned!!

31 Days of Devotion, Day 20

What quality or qualities of Antinous do you find the most troubling?

 

One of the issues that challenges Polytheists who follow a reconstructionist methodology is finding that balance between accurately reconstructing and respecting  ancient practices and putting that devotional practice into use in our modern world and modern culture.  It seems like it’s a natural human tendency to romanticize the past.  Everyone wants to go back to the 1950’s to live in a world like the one depicted in Leave it Beaver, right?  Things were simpler.  People were kinder.  Life was better.  Or was it?  What that rosy nostalgia leaves out is the experience of lots of people who weren’t  straight white men.  Women were the property of men, racism was openly accepted, and gays, lesbians, and trans folk were either closeted or lived in fear of their lives.  Much like that nostalgic view of America in the 1950’s, sometimes Pagans and Polytheists wear those rose colored glasses when looking at ancient religious practices.  We sometimes want to romanticize ancient practices, attitudes, and customs.  However, I believe that society has progressed in some important ways with regards to some things, particularly how we treat women, people of color, children, and the poor.  There are some modern attitudes worth keeping.

Ironically, one of the aspects or qualities that comes into play with Antinous that some might find troubling is connected to one of the aspects I discussed yesterday that first drew me to him: his homoerotic relationship with Hadrian.  While there is much to celebrate in that relationship, by today’s standards, that relationship would be considered illegal, not because the relationship was a romantic or sexual one between two people of the same gender, but rather, because of the age differences between Hadrian and Antinous.  Hadrian would have possibly been around 47 or so when he met Antinous, and was 54 when Antinous died.  It is unclear exactly how old Antinous was, but we know he was in his teens when he became Hadrian’s companion, and possibly  as old as 18 or 19 when he died.  Which means that for most of their relationship Antinous was a teenage boy having a romantic and sexual relationship with a man who was well into adulthood.  To be sure, this erastes/eromenos relationship, which was an erotic relationship between an adult male (the erastes) and a younger male (the eromenos), was not unusual in Classical Greece and Rome, and would not have been considered taboo or inappropriate.   However, it should be pointed out that even within the Greek and Roman cultures where the erastes/eromenos relationship existed, there were complex rules of social and sexual etiquette that defined these relationships.  It simply is not accurate to portray them as the same type of relationships that most modern gay men experience.  If such a relationship existed today,  where a 50 year old man with considerable social and political power were having a sexual relationship with a 16 year old, it would most certainly be universally condemned and labeled as child molestation.  What are we to do with this relationship between Hadrian and Antinous, then?  Are we to denounce it?  Again, within the context of when and where Antinous and Hadrian were living, the erastes/eromenos relationship would not have been considered unusual or unethical.  These two individuals engaged in a relationship that was socially accepted, and even celebrated.  Practices must surely be judged within the time, place, and culture they are a part of.  So we honor their relationship and also celebrate it.  But what about today?  Are we saying that this type of relationship should be perfectly acceptable and practiced today?  Once again, we must look to time, place, and culture.  As I stated earlier, there are some positive ways that society has progressed and changed.  We no longer treat women as property.  We strive to treat people of all races and ethnicities with respect and equality.  And we have come to understand that sexual relationships where there is a power imbalance are often abusive and harmful to those who are in a position of less power.   We also have different ideas of what consent means and even who can give consent.  Can a teenager truly give consent to have a sexual relationship with an adult who stands in a position of power over him?  Most would answer no, and understand that type of sexual relationship to be unethical and improper.  And so, while the Ekklesia Antinoou holds up the historical homoerotic relationship between Hadrian and Antinous and declares it beautiful, we also do not support any type of modern sexual relationships between an adult and a minor child or teenager.

 

31 Days of Devotion, Day 19

What quality or qualities of Antinous do you most admire?

Greetings!  This is Christodelphia Mythistórima, aka Sister Krissy Fiction.  I’m one of the Magistrates of the Ekklesía Antínoou, and I’m excited to be able to finally have the opportunity to contribute to this series of blog posts.  I’ve actually been off gallivanting around on a cruise to the Mexican Riviera for my honeymoon, so I guess I have an excuse, but I’m still happy to be able to be able to contribute here as we move towards the Sacred Nights of Antinous together.

Today’s topic is about the qualities of Antinous that I admire most.  This might be something of an indirect answer, but the best way I can think of answering this is by talking about what it was that drew me to Antinous in the first place.  That initial pull did come from my interest in his homoerotic relationship as companion and lover to the Roman Emperor, Hadrian.  As a gay man who was exploring Paganism, most of the gods I was becoming familiar with were introduced to me though a standard Neopagan or Wiccan format.  That is to say, I was familiar with a Pagan paradigm that was mostly heteronormative, dualistic, and fertility focused.  To be sure, I was always made to feel welcome as a gay man within that paradigm, but there was always an adjustment in how I had to relate to the gods I was encountering.  One common suggestion was to relate to the God and the Goddess as the unity of masculine and feminine within myself.  That works well for lots of people, but as a man who loves men, when I first learned about Antinous I resonated with seeing a similar type of relationship to the kinds of relationships I experience reflected in the relationship between Hadrian and Antinous.  For many people, this might be all they know abut Antinous.  And indeed, this was also what initially drew me in.  However, that homoerotic relationship is not that totality of who Antinous is, and there were other aspects and qualities that soon drew me into deeper devotion to him

A second quality that to this day I still find to be one of the most profound aspects of devotion to Antinous and a great Mystery, is that Antinous was an historical human being who experienced apotheosis and became a god.  Antinous drowned in the Nile River and by nature of the Nile’s status as a holy river, he was divinized.  Ironically, this is sometimes mentioned as a negative by critics.  “Antinous isn’t a real god because he used to be a normal human being.”  However, I think his apotheosis is a profound truth that points to our own divinity and ability to transcend our material world and is definitely one the qualities of Antinous that I have a deep appreciation for.

Truth be told, I could continue to list many different qualities of Antinous and why I find meaning in those qualities.  I find that the longer I practice devotion to the God, the more I learn about him and the more there is to delve into.  However, I’ll finish with one more quality, and that is the nature of Antinous as a syncretic god.  From the moment Antinous became a god, syncretism played an important part of who he is.  After deification, Antinous was syncretized with and depicted as the god Osiris, Dionysos, Hermes, as well as many, many others.  One of my favorite parts of many of the public rituals that have been hosted by the Ekklesía Antínoou over the years is a section that has been called the “Opening of the Pantheon”.  We sometimes have lightheartedly called it the “God Party”.  It’s the part of the ritual where we invite any gods from other pantheons that might be present to be welcome at the ritual.  This points back to the nature of Antinous being syncretized with different gods from different cultural backgrounds, but also to Hadrian and Antinous’ fondness for spiritual pursuits and their openness to gods and goddesses from many different places.  It’s a quality that I feel carries over into the respect that the Ekklesía Antínoou has for polytheism as a whole, and for individual traditions regardless of where their historical origin is.

What calls you to Antinous?

31 Days of Devotion, Day 19

What quality or qualities of Antinous do you most admire?

Greetings!  This is Christodelphia Mythistórima, aka Sister Krissy Fiction.  I’m one of the Magistrates of the Ekklesía Antínoou, and I’m excited to be able to finally have the opportunity to contribute to this series of blog posts.  I’ve actually been off gallivanting around on a cruise to the Mexican Riviera for my honeymoon, so I guess I have an excuse, but I’m still happy to be able to move into contribute here as we move towards the Sacred Nights of Antinous together.

Today’s topic is about the qualities of Antinous that I admire most.  This might be something of an indirect answer, but the best way I can think of answering this is by talking about what it was that drew me to Antinous in the first place.  That initial pull did come from my interest in his homoerotic relationship as companion and lover to Hadrian.  As a gay man who was exploring Paganism, most of the gods I was becoming familiar were introduced to me though a standard Neopagan or Wiccan format.  That is to say, I was familiar with a Pagan paradigm that was mostly heteronormative, dualistic, and fertility focused.  To be sure, I was always made to feel welcome as a gay man within that paradigm, but there was always an adjustment in how I had to relate to the gods I was encountering.  One common suggestion was to relate to the God and the Goddess as the unity of masculine and feminine within myself.  That works well for lots of people, but as a man who loves men I resonated with seeing a similar type of relationship to the kinds of relationships I experience reflected in Hadrian and Antinous.  That was the initial quality that I admired that drew my interest in.

It wasn’t the only quality that that kept me interested.  A second quality that to this day I still find to be one of the most profound aspects of devotion to Antinous and a great Mystery, is that Antinous was an historical human being who experienced apotheosis and became a god.  Antinous drowned in the Nile River and by nature of the Nile’s status as a holy river, he was divinized.  Ironically, this is sometimes mentioned as a negative by critics.  “Antinous isn’t a real god because he used to be a normal human being.”  However, I think his apotheosis is a profound truth that points to our own divinity and ability to transcend our material world and is definitely one the qualities of Antinous that I have a deep appreciation for.

Truth be told, I could continue to list many different qualities of Antinous and why I find meaning in those qualities.  I find that the longer I practice devotion to the God, the more I learn about him and the more there is to delve into.  However, I’ll finish with one more quality, and that is the nature of Antinous as a syncretic god.  From the moment Antinous became a god, syncretism played an important part of who he is.  After deification, Antinous was syncretized with and depicted as the god Osiris, Dionysos, Hermes, as well as many, many others.  One of my favorite parts of many of the public rituals that have been hosted by the Ekklesía Antínoou over the years in a section we has been called the “Opening of the Pantheon”.  We sometimes have lightheartedly called it the “God Party”.  It’s the part of the ritual where we invite any deities from other pantheons that might be present to be welcome at the ritual.  This points back to the nature of Antinous being syncretized with different gods from different cultural backgrounds, but also Hadrian and Antinous’ fondness for spiritual pursuits and their openness to gods and goddesses from many different places.  It’s a quality that I feel carries over into the respect that the Ekklesía Antínoou has for polytheism as a whole, and for individual traditions regardless of where their historical origin is.

What calls you to Antinous?

31 Days of Devotion, Day 19

What quality or qualities of Antinous do you most admire?

Greetings!  This is Christodelphia Mythistórima, aka Sister Krissy Fiction.  I’m one of the Magistrates of the Ekklesía Antínoou, and I’m excited to be able to finally have the opportunity to contribute to this series of blog posts.  I’ve actually been off gallivanting around on a cruise to the Mexican Riviera for my honeymoon, so I guess I have an excuse, but I’m still happy to be able to move into contribute here as we move towards the Sacred Nights of Antinous together.

Today’s topic is about the qualities of Antinous that I admire most.  This might be something of an indirect answer, but the best way I can think of answering this is by talking about what it was that drew me to Antinous in the first place.  That initial pull did come from my interest in his homoerotic relationship as companion and lover to Hadrian.  As a gay man who was exploring Paganism, most of the gods I was becoming familiar were introduced to me though a standard Neopagan or Wiccan format.  That is to say, I was familiar with a Pagan paradigm that was mostly heteronormative, dualistic, and fertility focused.  To be sure, I was always made to feel welcome as a gay man within that paradigm, but there was always an adjustment in how I had to relate to the gods I was encountering.  One common suggestion was to relate to the God and the Goddess as the unity of masculine and feminine within myself.  That works well for lots of people, but as a man who loves men I resonated with seeing a similar type of relationship to the kinds of relationships I experience reflected in Hadrian and Antinous.  That was the initial quality that I admired that drew my interest in.

It wasn’t the only quality that that kept me interested.  A second quality that to this day I still find to be one of the most profound aspects of devotion to Antinous and a great Mystery, is that Antinous was an historical human being who experienced apotheosis and became a god.  Antinous drowned in the Nile River and by nature of the Nile’s status as a holy river, he was divinized.  Ironically, this is sometimes mentioned as a negative by critics.  “Antinous isn’t a real god because he used to be a normal human being.”  However, I think his apotheosis is a profound truth that points to our own divinity and ability to transcend our material world and is definitely one the qualities of Antinous that I have a deep appreciation for.

Truth be told, I could continue to list many different qualities of Antinous and why I find meaning in those qualities.  I find that the longer I practice devotion to the God, the more I learn about him and the more there is to delve into.  However, I’ll finish with one more quality, and that is the nature of Antinous as a syncretic god.  From the moment Antinous became a god, syncretism played an important part of who he is.  After deification, Antinous was syncretized with and depicted as the god Osiris, Dionysos, Hermes, as well as many, many others.  One of my favorite parts of many of the public rituals that have been hosted by the Ekklesía Antínoou over the years in a section we has been called the “Opening of the Pantheon”.  We sometimes have lightheartedly called it the “God Party”.  It’s the part of the ritual where we invite any deities from other pantheons that might be present to be welcome at the ritual.  This points back to the nature of Antinous being syncretized with different gods from different cultural backgrounds, but also Hadrian and Antinous’ fondness for spiritual pursuits and their openness to gods and goddesses from many different places.  It’s a quality that I feel carries over into the respect that the Ekklesía Antínoou has for polytheism as a whole, and for individual traditions regardless of where their historical origin is.

What calls you to Antinous?

31 Days of Devotion, Day 19

What quality or qualities of Antinous do you most admire?

Greetings!  This is Christodelphia Mythistórima, aka Sister Krissy Fiction.  I’m one of the Magistrates of the Ekklesía Antínoou, and I’m excited to be able to finally have the opportunity to contribute to this series of blog posts.  I’ve actually been off gallivanting around on a cruise to the Mexican Riviera for my honeymoon, so I guess I have an excuse, but I’m still happy to be able to move into contribute here as we move towards the Sacred Nights of Antinous together.

Today’s topic is about the qualities of Antinous that I admire most.  This might be something of an indirect answer, but the best way I can think of answering this is by talking about what it was that drew me to Antinous in the first place.  That initial pull did come from my interest in his homoerotic relationship as companion and lover to Hadrian.  As a gay man who was exploring Paganism, most of the gods I was becoming familiar were introduced to me though a standard Neopagan or Wiccan format.  That is to say, I was familiar with a Pagan paradigm that was mostly heteronormative, dualistic, and fertility focused.  To be sure, I was always made to feel welcome as a gay man within that paradigm, but there was always an adjustment in how I had to relate to the gods I was encountering.  One common suggestion was to relate to the God and the Goddess as the unity of masculine and feminine within myself.  That works well for lots of people, but as a man who loves men I resonated with seeing a similar type of relationship to the kinds of relationships I experience reflected in Hadrian and Antinous.  That was the initial quality that I admired that drew my interest in.

It wasn’t the only quality that that kept me interested.  A second quality that to this day I still find to be one of the most profound aspects of devotion to Antinous and a great Mystery, is that Antinous was an historical human being who experienced apotheosis and became a god.  Antinous drowned in the Nile River and by nature of the Nile’s status as a holy river, he was divinized.  Ironically, this is sometimes mentioned as a negative by critics.  “Antinous isn’t a real god because he used to be a normal human being.”  However, I think his apotheosis is a profound truth that points to our own divinity and ability to transcend our material world and is definitely one the qualities of Antinous that I have a deep appreciation for.

Truth be told, I could continue to list many different qualities of Antinous and why I find meaning in those qualities.  I find that the longer I practice devotion to the God, the more I learn about him and the more there is to delve into.  However, I’ll finish with one more quality, and that is the nature of Antinous as a syncretic god.  From the moment Antinous became a god, syncretism played an important part of who he is.  After deification, Antinous was syncretized with and depicted as the god Osiris, Dionysos, Hermes, as well as many, many others.  One of my favorite parts of many of the public rituals that have been hosted by the Ekklesía Antínoou over the years in a section we has been called the “Opening of the Pantheon”.  We sometimes have lightheartedly called it the “God Party”.  It’s the part of the ritual where we invite any deities from other pantheons that might be present to be welcome at the ritual.  This points back to the nature of Antinous being syncretized with different gods from different cultural backgrounds, but also Hadrian and Antinous’ fondness for spiritual pursuits and their openness to gods and goddesses from many different places.  It’s a quality that I feel carries over into the respect that the Ekklesía Antínoou has for polytheism as a whole, and for individual traditions regardless of where their historical origin is.

What calls you to Antinous?

31 Days of Devotion, Day 19

What quality or qualities of Antinous do you most admire?

Greetings!  This is Christodelphia Mythistórima, aka Sister Krissy Fiction.  I’m one of the Magistrates of the Ekklesía Antínoou, and I’m excited to be able to finally have the opportunity to contribute to this series of blog posts.  I’ve actually been off gallivanting around on a cruise to the Mexican Riviera for my honeymoon, so I guess I have an excuse, but I’m still happy to be able to move into contribute here as we move towards the Sacred Nights of Antinous together.

Today’s topic is about the qualities of Antinous that I admire most.  This might be something of an indirect answer, but the best way I can think of answering this is by talking about what it was that drew me to Antinous in the first place.  That initial pull did come from my interest in his homoerotic relationship as companion and lover to Hadrian.  As a gay man who was exploring Paganism, most of the gods I was becoming familiar were introduced to me though a standard Neopagan or Wiccan format.  That is to say, I was familiar with a Pagan paradigm that was mostly heteronormative, dualistic, and fertility focused.  To be sure, I was always made to feel welcome as a gay man within that paradigm, but there was always an adjustment in how I had to relate to the gods I was encountering.  One common suggestion was to relate to the God and the Goddess as the unity of masculine and feminine within myself.  That works well for lots of people, but as a man who loves men I resonated with seeing a similar type of relationship to the kinds of relationships I experience reflected in Hadrian and Antinous.  That was the initial quality that I admired that drew my interest in.

It wasn’t the only quality that that kept me interested.  A second quality that to this day I still find to be one of the most profound aspects of devotion to Antinous and a great Mystery, is that Antinous was an historical human being who experienced apotheosis and became a god.  Antinous drowned in the Nile River and by nature of the Nile’s status as a holy river, he was divinized.  Ironically, this is sometimes mentioned as a negative by critics.  “Antinous isn’t a real god because he used to be a normal human being.”  However, I think his apotheosis is a profound truth that points to our own divinity and ability to transcend our material world and is definitely one the qualities of Antinous that I have a deep appreciation for.

Truth be told, I could continue to list many different qualities of Antinous and why I find meaning in those qualities.  I find that the longer I practice devotion to the God, the more I learn about him and the more there is to delve into.  However, I’ll finish with one more quality, and that is the nature of Antinous as a syncretic god.  From the moment Antinous became a god, syncretism played an important part of who he is.  After deification, Antinous was syncretized with and depicted as the god Osiris, Dionysos, Hermes, as well as many, many others.  One of my favorite parts of many of the public rituals that have been hosted by the Ekklesía Antínoou over the years in a section we has been called the “Opening of the Pantheon”.  We sometimes have lightheartedly called it the “God Party”.  It’s the part of the ritual where we invite any deities from other pantheons that might be present to be welcome at the ritual.  This points back to the nature of Antinous being syncretized with different gods from different cultural backgrounds, but also Hadrian and Antinous’ fondness for spiritual pursuits and their openness to gods and goddesses from many different places.  It’s a quality that I feel carries over into the respect that the Ekklesía Antínoou has for polytheism as a whole, and for individual traditions regardless of where their historical origin is.

What calls you to Antinous?