The New Religion of Antinous
The modern faith of Antinous, having lost contact with its glorious past, is without sure and verifiable direction. But the statues, and the few words that have survived the ravages of time, are enough to guide our way. We can see from the various ways in which Antinous is portrayed that his religion never had a unified creed. Indeed, all that is known of Antinous is the mythological image that Hadrian wished to construct for the benefit of the believing masses. The true Antinous, the boy who was born in Bithynia, and died in the Nile, the boy whom Hadrian loved is completely unknown. The true Antinous belongs to Hadrian alone, and we have purposely been given a legendary god in his place.
What this means is that we are left free to believe in Antinous as our heart should please. There is no sacred dogma or creed from which we cannot deviate. There are many images of Antinous, any one of which can become the true Antinous for us.
The initial impression that one is left with when confronting Antinous is that his religion was Greek in origin. But this is in no way the limit of his faith. Even in ancient times, Antinous took on the Pantheistic character of the great dome temple that Hadrian built in Rome. He was many gods in one, but he was likewise none of them. Antinous was and remains to this day, an unprecedented god comparable to all, but like no other. These deities, to which Hadrian purposefully compared his beloved Antinous are our best glimpse into the heart, mind and nature of the true Antinous. They must be understood first and foremost, but they must never be thought of as the limit, or even the rule. That almost nothing is told of the true Antinous is the sign of a mystery. Antinous is always accompanied by a train of veiled specters, the more one begins to comprehend him, the more this escort of mysteries crowd around him revealing that in truth we know nothing about him at all.
Osiris was the first god to which Antinous was compared because he had died by drowning in the Nile. Hadrian simply followed the example of the Egyptian priests who began venerating Antinous in the form of a saint, however Hadrian took their tradition to the extreme and made Antinous a world wide religion. One can therefore worship Antinous in the traditional manner of the Egyptians, as a god of fertility, and inheritor of the power of Osiris over death. The death of Antinous is received as a sacrifice to maintain the balance of Maat.
In the Greek manner, Antinous is primarily worshipped as the New Dionysus, god of the vine, of drunkenness, of ecstasy, and liberation. He was worshipped by artists, actors, poets, and musicians. This Dionysian aspect of Antinous also takes into account the court of deities that accompanied the wine god, including Pan, Liber, Bacchus, and Priapus, the god of the Phallus. This free-loving, indulgeant, sensuous, beauty-adoring path of abandonment, shakes away the restraints of oldage and the progress of society in favor of the total liberation of the indivudual in a perpetual state of youth.
The more sober and dignified aspect is Antinous-Apollo, guardian of civilization, Antinous-Apollo is more deeply concerned with the welfare of mankind. One finds the socially conscious aspect of this religion, the ways in which it can be used to highten the consciousness of society. Those who seek to benefit our world with the wisdom and grace that the muses inspire follow this face of Antinous whose statue has always stood in the sanctuary of Delphi on the slope of Mount Parnassus. Antinous speaks through visions, dreams and the understanding of oracles. One who loves this god seeks after wisdom and learning, and after the enlightenment of all that is veiled in darkness and ignorance.
Antinous is also the lover within our hearts, the origin of our desire for beauty. Antinous is the beauty of mankind. He is Eros the god of love, the most powerful and charitable of all deities, the one who conquers death, and draws human beings together. All admirers of beauty in the world are following after the image of Antinous-Eros in their heart, as they see him in the faces of the world. Antinous-Eros brings poetry to the world, he our fantasy and our torment, our joy and our agony, but he is always our desire.
The mystery of the star of Antinous is found in the veneration of Antinous-Ganymede who is the spirit of the Age of Aquarius. He is the cup bearer of the gods who pours the wine of eternal life into the vessels of the immortal beings of light. He is youth and gentleness, innocence and play. Carried up to heaven in the arms of the eagle, Antinous-Ganymede is the soul of the believer, that shall likewise be uplifted when it has tasted the sweetness of his cup of ever-lasting life.
Antinous-Narcissus is the inner Antinous who is our true identity, the spark that fell from on high, the fire that burns at the ground of our soul, giving rise to heat and life, the quickness of our limbs, the light of our dreams, and the unknowable urge that compels us to look up to the stars in search of god. The one who draws us to look within ourselves for the divine. The image of Antinous-Narcissus is the true face of the unknown creator of the fullness, that which lies beyond the confines of our dark universe of empty space, sprinkled with galaxies. Within each of us is the image of a perfect face gazing down upon its own beauty in a pool of water. We are all of us reflections of this perfect image, trapped at the bottom of an abyss.
The religion of Antinous is a way and a guide to reunite with this immanent perfection that inhabits our spirit. The knowledge that Antinous brings, that we are all reflections of transcendent beauty capable of rising up from the obscurity of our birth to become gods by drowning in the Nile that flows within our veins, the same river that flows through the Milky Way, leading us to the Black Star of Antinous. This unseen star is a gateway from our world of death and decay to the fullness of perfection that lies beyond the cosmos and is the dwelling place of the secret fire.
Antinous accomplished our salvation, the sanctification of Homosexuality by conquering death and opening the way for our passage to bliss and perfection. To partake of this mystery one has only to call upon Antinous, and to remember him by the repetition of his name. By so doing one slowly begins to free the spirit of Antinous that inhabits our spirit, one is set ablaze from within. The mortal parts that encircle the soul are burned away leaving the spirit free to rise up and become one with Antinous in body and in soul. This mystery is called Homotheosis.
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