River Gods West Redux

River Gods West Redux 2017 - 5

Last week, before the wildfires in British Columbia brought such a haze to the Cascadian region to affect the air quality and redden the sun in the heavens, a small group of us returned to the Deschutes River, where the story of Antinous and the Kingfisher began. The following week would see the coming of the local polytheist conference, Many Gods West, and after the wildly successful ritual we performed last year, we wanted to continue this tradition of honoring our local river spirits and further the growth of this nascent syncretism.

Otter and I (Jay), along with two relatively new devotees of the Beautiful Boy from the Kitsap Peninsula, journeyed down to Olympia and Tumwater to picnic with Antinous. It was a beautiful day, but thank goodness we were sojourning along the river, where there was plenty of fresh water and cedar and maple to provide shade and coolness. The at-the-time nearly 40 day streak of heat with no rain has been gods-awful. There along the Deshutes, though, it was quite nice, the company even better. When we eventually came down to the numinous location where our story with the Kingfisher began, we set up a simple altar along the riverbank, made offerings to the spirits of the land and the river, as well as Antinous, of course, and then retold the story as I had written it last year. The story has really held up (if I do say so myself), and the simple ceremony concluded with the bathing of our Antinous bust in the river, along with whatever images of Antinous, or rosaries dedicated to him, that others brought with them to cleanse and renew for the coming year.

It is my ardent hope that we can continue this tradition into the future as part of building our local cultus to Antinous in this region.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Invocation to Antinous Bakkheios

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O Antinous Dionysus!

Your votaries call out to you, for we are tired.

We are weary. We are thirsty. Our limbs are heavy.

Our hearts are heavier. Our spirits sink.

We labor and we struggle, we sleep

and wake unrefreshed to labor and struggle more.

O Antinous Dionysus, Antinous Epiphanes,

Come to us now! Come to us, Antinous Bakkheios!

We are parched and in need of refreshment.

Come and bring us the wine of your joy,

The joy of living, the zest for life!

Come and loosen our limbs for the dance,

Straighten our backs that have been bent in our labors,

Widen our shoulders that have hunched over computers,

Free our hips and our asses that our minds may follow.

Come and dance with us, bring us the blessing

Of fellowship, the mood of the party,

The lubrication of intoxication. Join hands with us

That we may join hands with one another

And celebrate all that is good, all beauty

And pleasure, tastes and scents, the body

And the earth, that which grows and dies

And lives again, the tenacious vine and

The sleek, ravenous animal in ourselves

And in the world, all of your blessings,

Antinous, Antinous Dionysus, Antinous Bakkheios!

IO EVOHE!

 

©Merri-Todd Webster, 2017

The Declaration of Antinous the Justified

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I am Antinous. I am Osiris. I am Antinous the Justified.

 

I am the one who was lost and found himself.

I am the one who was drowned and breathed again.

I am the one whom Hapi took and Isis gave back again.

Where the red lotus bloomed, I have died,

And now I live again for ever.

 

I have not done the things which ought not to be done.

My heart has been weighed in the hall of Ma’at and pronounced pure.

Anubis has justified me. The forty-two judges have justified me.

Osiris has justified me and given me his crook and flail.

 

I have passed by the white cypress tree and the spring that flows beneath it.

Child of earth and heaven, I have drunk from the water of Memory,

And I know my true name, which is

ASKION KATASKION LIX TETRAX

DAMNAMENEUS AISIA ENDASION.

I have the favor of Persephone, the dread queen,

And with Hades’ blessing I walk in the groves of Elysium.

With the wings and the staff of Hermes,

The Messenger, the Guide of the Dead,

I come and go as I please.

 

Like a kid I have fallen into milk.

Like grapes I have been crushed and fermented and poured into wine.

Like a goat I have been torn apart and devoured

And discovered and assembled anew.

I have found myself and lost myself in the dance.

I bear the thyrsus of Dionysus and wear his ivy crown and leopard pelt.

 

I have ascended on high from the deepest depth.

I have vanquished the archons and mounted the heights

In the Boat of Millions of Years.

I have adorned Aquarius and the stars of the Eagle.

I have shone my light in healing and prophecy like Apollon.

He has given me his lyre that I may play for the Muses.

With Orion and his hounds I have hunted the heavens,

The earth, and the underworld. I am welcome in every place.

 

I have passed the seven gates of Ereshkigal

And returned to shine with the dawn.

I was in the tomb of Jesus and at the banquet of his consummation.

I have entered the domain of Hel and brought forth my bride Melinoe.

There is no place where I have not been welcomed

And no place where my star cannot guide.

I am Antinous Osiris the Justified, Antinous Hermes

The Guide, Antinous Dionysus and Antinous Apollon,

Child of earth and starry heaven,

Beautiful, benevolent, just.

 

 

©Merri-Todd Webster,  7/31/2017

A Hymn to Antinous-Osiris, Triumphant Over Homophobia

antinousosirisGlory to you, Antinous-Osiris the justified, the great god who dwells in Antinopolis, a city of his own whose foundations were measured by Ptah and whose temples are filled with many offerings in all hours of the day and in all hours of the night. You are the eldest son of Mantinoë, engendered by Seb, and beloved of the emperor Hadrian Augustus. You emerge daily and are raised at dawn by Re-Herakte whose light illuminates your countenance, in the evening you receive the light emanation of the headdress of Djewty which is also the dew of Menw that fills your body with life forever.

Homage to you king of kings, lord of lords, ruler of princes, who from the womb of Nut emerges triumphant over the serpent in the boat of millions and takes his seat in the Underworld. Hapy is pleased and rejoices, he sends forth many waters and brings verdant life in both Upper and Lower Egypt. Seb rejoices and is glad, he causes barley to grow and flourish in your honor. All are fed and content, none lack anything in your holy city and all receive their share of good things. The bulls rut in the fields of your precincts and cows issue forth many calves.

Praises to him who is just in his commandments and true when he speaks, whose words are pure like the fathers of Ma’at and like cymbals to those who hear them. All obey his edicts forever and their lives are beautified accordingly, smooth and radiant like his members, steadfast and strong like the pylons in his Hall of Judgement.

Woe to those who obstruct his laws and harden their hearts against their fellows, for Antinous-Osiris the justified shall speak, saying: You have caused the river to dry and plants to wither, you have made barren the land and caused enmity between mother and son, between father and daughter, between spouses and neighbors.

He shall speak again, saying: Woe to them who hate one another because of their differences, spiteful ones who hate their fellows and obstruct Ma’at. Then the nine arrows shall be conquered, Antinous-Osiris will raise the standard of Wepwawet in Upper Egypt and they shall disperse, if they flee to the marshes, they will be hunted by the armies of Pehkhet and the strong arm of Antinous-Osiris will scatter them into the sea.

All shall rejoice in he who cared for Antinopolis, who avenged Khemenu, who opened the quarters that were barred. Antinous-Osiris the justified has freed the many shut up in all districts, he has given oracles to the temples, he has let incense be brought to the gods, he has let the noble citizens retain their possessions, he has let the humble frequent their towns.

Glory to him who protects his supplicants, and orders justice, and heals the afflicted. His works are mighty and he is beautiful among the gods, beloved by many gods, who is fair and upright. It is from him that all life comes and is brought into order, that all may rejoice and be free from bondage. This is the triumphant hymn of Antinous-Osiris the justified, to be spoken throughout all ages.”

(C) Otter, 2017

 

LGBTQ Pride Month

Once again we find ourselves in the midst of LGBTQ Pride Month, a month dedicated to remembering the collective history and struggles of the LGBTQ communities and to support their self-affirmation, dignity, equal right, and visibility as well as to building community together.

As a queer, Græco-Roman-Egyptian, polytheist community honoring a god with many contemporary devotees who are either lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or allies to the queer community, the magistrates and mystagogues would like to take a moment to recognize and reaffirm our dedication to recognize the devotees of Antinous and those who support Naos Antínoou. You are the aedificators of the New Antinoopolis and the tireless work and devotion you show in your lives and communities all contribute to make a world that is beautiful, just, and filled with benevolence.

During this time as well, we would like to encourage our members to take some time to learn something new about LGBTQ history as well as to honor the dead who have come before us and helped to pave the way for the rights many of us are able to enjoy today and to remember those who’ve passed beyond the horizon due to persecution. In the practice of Naos Antínoou, as in Egypt and Greece during the time in which Antinous lived, we believe that nobody ever truly dies unless they have been forgotten, so take a moment now to remember someone in our community you may have known who is now in the land of the blessed dead.

Remember, you are all loved and all worthy of pride which is not limited to one time in a year, or merely one celebration, but throughout our lives. Enjoy celebrations and the friendships you have and the communities we all share as well as the shared devotions we carry within our hearts toward Antinous, the beautiful, the just and the benevolent.

Ave, ave, Antinoe!

Hæc est unde vita venit!

– The Magistrates and Mystagogues of Naos Antínoou

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Agon Prizes!

Five days left to complete your entries for the Megala Antinoeia’s artistic agon. Entries can consist of anything artistic that expresses your devotion to Antinous or the gods, goddesses and divine figures related to Antinous.  We will accept poetry, liturgy, hymns, drawings, paintings, photography, music, song, or any other artistic medium you wish to work in. The winner of the Agon will be announced on the Festival of the Boar Hunt, May 1st, and will be awarded $100 and an Antinoan rosary.  Submissions can be sent to naosantinoou@gmail.com

May Antinous and the Muses bless you all with divine inspiration!

And now, enjoy a peak at the Antinoan rosary prepared by Jay Logan, one of our Mystagogues, the garland which will go to the winner of the agon.

Antinous Rosary Prize (10)Antinous Rosary Prize (28)Antinous Rosary Prize (14)Antinous Rosary Prize (17)Antinous Rosary Prize (30)

An Agon for Megala Antinoeia 2017

In just 3 weeks, on Friday, April 21st, Naos Antinoou will be celebrating one of the more prominent festivals in our cycle of festivals, The Megala Antinoeia.   In some ways, this single festival is actually a collection of several festivals and observances and draws inspiration from several sources.  Among those observances is the transition of the role of Antinous as Navigator, which he has been in since the Festival of Stella Antinoi in late January, into his role as Lover.  This transition is partly linked to Hadrian’s dedication of a poem found near Thespiae commemorating his slaying of a bear and expressing a wish to the Cyprian Aphrodite Ourania (goddess of homoerotic love) and the archer Eros (connected to homoerotic love of youths) to have a lover granted to him, and which we speculate that soon after Antinous may have come into his life.  Because of this, we observe this day as the Bear Hunt, and also as the Erotikon  – which is especially fun for those of us who find eroticism in bears in the sense of beefy, hairy, gay men.  Oh, the double entendres!

However, the Megala Antinoeia, which is the name we ascribe to the overall festival, is actually the name used in several ancient texts for the sacred games commemorating Antinous, usually participated in by the youths of the community, who were between the ages of about seventeen and twenty-two.  Many athletic competitions were held, including footraces, wrestling and boxing, chariot races, swimming, and rowing.  There were also artistic competitions involving music and poetry, and there might have even been theatrical competitions in the Dionysian tradition in some places. The coveted prize of these games was the Antinoeios, or red-lotus flower garland.  These sacred games began to take place as early as 131, less than a year after the death of Antinous.

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While the Naos Antínoou has not had organized full-scale athletic competitions as part of our own modern observances of this aspect of the festival, we would like to take this opportunity to announce a new competition for the Megala Antinoeia 2017.  This new Agon will officially be open from March 31st until  11:59pm, April 21st, which is the date of the Megala Antinoeia.  Entries can consist of anything artistic that expresses your devotion to Antinous or the gods, goddesses and divine figures related to Antinous.  We will accept poetry, liturgy, hymns, drawings, paintings, photography, music, song, or any other artistic medium you wish to work in. The winner of the Agon will be announced on the Festival of the Boar Hunt, May 1st, and will be awarded $100 and an Antinoan rosary (which is also a type of “garland”) made by Jay Logan, a Mystagogue of the Naos Antinoou.  Submissions can be sent to naosantinoou@gmail.com

May the Beautiful Boy be blessed through all the entries in this competition and may he, in turn, bless all those who participate!

Ave Antinoe!