Friday, May 26, 2017

EMPRESS REGINA FONG
BELOVED SAINT OF ANTINOUS


ON MAY 26th the Religion of Antinous celebrates the life of Reg "Regina Fong" Bundy, a blessed saint of Antinous, who was born on this day in 1941 and died on April 15, 2003. A brazenly gay cabaret artiste — she disliked being called a drag queen — she was a well-known AIDS charity host who influenced a generation of post-Stonewall gays in Britain with acerbic send-ups of politics and popular culture.

Regina Fong was not just a "queen", she was an "empress" — the last of the Russian Imperial Dynasty of the Romanoffs. Forget Anastasia (and Ingrid Bergman in a '50s film), Regina Fong was the REAL heir to Russian nobility. Like so many Russian aristocrats, she sought asylum in monarchical Britain after the Russian Revolution. There were indeed members of the Russian Imperial family who lived (albeit rather modestly) on the grounds of Windsor Castle during the 20th Century. Empress Regina lived (albeit rather immodestly) in London's West End.

Her Imperial Highness (HIH) Regina Fong did in fact become an Iconic cult figure on the European Cabaret stage. Known to friends as Reg (pronounced "Redge"), she lost her battle to cancer April 15, 2003.

But Reg, by creating Her Imperial Highness Regina Fong, a flame-red-wigged champion of gay rights, was insistently committed to being the knight in shining red armour who carried the banner of charities involved in transforming the AIDS epidemic from mortal tragedy into spiritual triumph. She reminded us all that gay cabaret, especially in London at that time, was (and continues to be) a central part of gay life.

After the "Gay Liberation" in the late '60s and '70s, drag queens and cabaret artistes were pushed to the back of the room, to more mainstream, homogenized images of gay life.

Regina Fong, and other Gay pioneers like Lily Savage, changed this forever and brought Gay Cabaret back to its rightful spot in the London Gay Scene. The Cabaret Tent at London Gay Pride events as the epicenter of Gay culture in good times and bad is the direct legacy of this valiant drag queen — er, ahm — cabaret artiste!

Our own Knight Stephanos personally knew Empress Regina Fong and conferred with her often in the legendary Black Cap gay bar in the heart of the Camden Town District of London. And so it is fitting that KNIGHT STEPHANOS (pictured right with Her Imperial Highness) explains her Sacred Significance to us:

"Happy Birthday Regina Fong even though you and the Black Cap are now gone.

"What can one say in this current day except to pay a tribute to the one and only Reg...Regina Fong, Queen if them all….

"Regina Fong the Empress of Camp. Queen of the Black Cap.

"You Reigned supreme. Sage of the rejected, muse to all that were affected.

"Daily she held court at the corner of the front bar, vodka and tonic, laughter, dialogue quite chronic. Nightly you drew the crowds: shaking us from the  melancholy of the expected life, denial waking strife.

"Cabaret Artiste beacon of hope, torch carrier of all who could but strive to such heights.

"Black cap memories to be had everyday at the end of the front bar at 11:00 am. Sitting to Michael Jeffries swapping war stories giving advice...in comes Steffens and Camp David...last of the Polari...Vada, Vada, Naff, Convo...Laughter, drinks, and scams galore.

"Always aching for the next adventure of days gone by…. If you could smell and hear the wonder of the front bar of the black cap...nicotine stains and morning shakes...characters and creatures of a world gone by...but not forgotten...bastions of an age of defiance, survival, and overwhelming urge to be fabulous.

"Happy Birthday H.I.H. Regina Fong...the likes of you could never be wrong."

Thursday, May 25, 2017

'TOTALITER ALITER'
THE TALE OF THE TWO PRIESTS OF ANTINOUS

(From THE MEMOIRS OF AN ANCIENT PRIEST OF ANTINOUS by Ernest Gill)


TWO PRIESTS  of Antinous at the Temple of the Blessed Boy in Rome had devoted their lives to the Good God and were getting on in years.

As young men they had become priests together. Their love for each other was symbolized and enhanced by their love for Antinous. They had lived out their lives together at the great Temple of Rome under the most exalted Priest Nikias.

Nikias of Rome was the author of a famous inscription in Greek which addresses Antinous as NEOS HERMES the "New Hermes" who conveys the deceased through the portals of death into transcendent light. A great Antinoo-Hermeticist, Nikias had taught them much about the triumph of Antinous over death.

And now, as toothless old men, they were approaching the final stage of their earthly priesthood. Both men were frail and ill. They knew death was imminent.

But they were unafraid, for they were confident that they would be re-united in death through the grace and love of the Most Great and Good God whom they had served so faithfully all their lives.

But how exactly would that re-union occur? The ancient texts spoke of the Barque of Millions of Years sailing across the heavens towards the Star of Antinous. But that was the Egyptian imagery, and these priests were both Romans and had only ever served in the Antinous Temple of Rome.

The Rome Temple would of course place their death masks in niches in a special area of the temple dedicated to former priests.

Incense and prayers would be offered to them. Would their shades inhabit those niches?

Would Antinous welcome them in Hades, despite the fact that Antinous the Boy God had come from Bithynia in Asia Minor?

Would their souls be reincarnated as some Eastern mystics believed? Would they hover between heaven and Earth or perhaps be consigned to spending part of the year in the underworld and part of it as lemurs roaming the Earth?

They weren't afraid. But they were exceedingly curious to find out. Confidentially, they believed amongst themselves that they would sail with Antinous aboard the Boat of Millions of Years —  a perpetual journey which would never end. But they weren't sure ....

They had spent years perfecting their meditation skills and, without false modesty, they could claim to be masters at the art of trance vision travel. They both knew that the Egyptian hieroglyphs had told the truth in promising that Antinous speaks through dreams and visions. They also knew how to send psychic messages to each other, and had done so on many occasions.

So they made a deal. He who was the first to die would appear to the other in a dream and reveal what the afterlife was like.

As accomplished as they were, they nonetheless knew that such astral communication must be as succinct and simple as possible.

So they agreed that, if the afterlife was as they had envisioned it, the deceased would appear to his friend and utter the word TALITER meaning "exactly so" as they had expected it to be.

And if it was not as they had imagined, the deceased would say ALITER meaning "different" from what they had expected.

The fateful day came not long afterward, and the surviving priest lit incense and recited prayers before the niche mask of his beloved friend and fellow priest.

That night, almost immediately after his head touched his pillow, his deceased friend appeared to him. He was no longer old and sick and frail. He was as young and handsome as the day they had entered the temple. And he was smiling and clearly very excited and seemed to have forgotten the agreed-upon words.

"Taliter or aliter, which is it?" the sleeping priest asked his departed friend.

The friend smiled bigger than ever and said: TOTALITER ALITER  "totally different"  and still beaming with joy, he turned and vanished into golden light.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

TAIWAN COURT LEGALIZES LGBT MARRIAGE
VICTORY FOR CHINESE DEITY OF GAYNESS



TAIWAN's top court has cleared the way for the island to recognize same-sex marriage … a landmark decision for LGBT rights in Asia.

The Constitutional Court ruled that current laws, which say that marriage is between a man and a woman, violate the constitution.


The ruling means gay weddings could soon be consecrated at Taiwan's temple of the Chinese "Rabbit God" of homosexuality.

Just as Antinous is being re-discovered in the West, Hu Tianbao alias Tu Er Shen the "Rabbit God" is being rediscovered by Chinese gays. 

Incredibly, both deities involve young gay men who were in love with men of high standing ... and who died tragically ... and who became gods of the spiritual essence of homosexuality. 

Antinous is a true-life historical figure, of course, but his Chinese counterpart is shrouded in myth and legend ... involving rabbits.

According to Zi Bu Yu (子不語), a book written by Yuan Mei (袁枚, a Qing dynasty writer), Tu Er Shen (兔兒神 or 兔神) was a mortal man called Hu Tianbao (胡天保).

Hu Tianbao fell in love with a very handsome imperial inspector of Fujian Province. One day Hu Tianbao was caught peeping on the inspector through a toilet wall, at which point he came out to the other man. To save face, the imperial inspector had no choice but to have Hu Tianbao beaten to death.

One month after Hu Tianbao's death, he is said to have appeared to a man from his hometown in a dream, claiming that since his crime was one of love, the gods decided to right the injustice by appointing him the god and safeguarder of homosexual affections.


After his dream the man erected a shrine to Hu Tianbao, which became very popular in Fujian province, so much so that in late Qing times, the cult of Hu Tianbao was suppressed by the homophobic Qing government.

A slang term for homosexuals in late imperial China was Tuzi (兔子) (bunnies) which is why Hu Tianbao is referred to as the RABBIT GOD, although in fact he has nothing to do with rabbits and should not be confused with TU-ER-YE (兔儿爷) the famous "Rabbit in the Moon" which is the Chinese version of the "Man in the Moon".

However, the rabbit association stuck, and even today his devotees portray him with rabbit ears and make offerings of carrots to his altars. The handsome statuette in this image is lovingly clothed in a rabbit-fur cloak.

While no one knows if gays in mainland China worship him ... there is a temple in Yonghe city (永和市)in Taiwan that venerates Hu Tianbao, alias Tu Er Shen. The temple is known as the RABBIT TEMPLE (兔兒廟). The address is Taipei, Yonghe City, Yonghe Road Section 1, Alley 37, No 12.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

ANTINOUS IN THE STRANGEST PLACES
EVEN AT THE SUPERMARKET


ANTINOUS shows up in the most extraordinary places ... even at the supermarket magazine rack.

Some years ago, Hachette published a magazine series entitled THE GODS OF ANCIENT EGYPT which featured special issues on scores of Egyptian deities ... nearly 100 in all.

Each edition featured a glossy brochure and an epoxy resin figurine in a little plastic "display case." The magazines were widely available at booksellers and newsstands around the world.

Antinous was featured in Issue 88 — possibly the most collectible issue in the whole series.

The Hachette magazines have long since gone out of print, but the figurines are still found on eBay and other online marketplaces.

Antinous is hard to find, but occasionally he turns up and the bidding turns fierce as ANTINOMANIACS fight to possess the little 4.5-inch (14 cm) figurine.


The one pictured here sold on eBay for nearly $50 in "NRFB" condition — "Never Removed From Box."

It is "only a fake" of course. 

But that does not make it any less sacred or magical to anyone who loves Antinous. 

In ancient times, Antinous figurines, images, coins and medallions were prized by his worshipers as a sort of portable Sacred Token or Pocket Shrine.

In his authoritative book about Antinous, BELOVED AND GOD, Royston Lambert points out that in ancient times many followers of the Blessed Youth felt it was necessary to have a tangible representation of Antinous with them at all times for protection and for blessings:

"Some of the devotees evidently could not bear to be parted from the beneficial and reassuring presence of their Antinous and therefore had small, light-weight travelling busts or bronzes made to accompany them on their journeys."

Poor people made do with more crudely made representations, such as coins and figurines and medals made of lead, clay and other base materials. The demand was so great that there was a rife trade in which we would nowadays call "copyright piracy" among artisans turning out "illicitly yet more crude and cheap medallions of this hero whose images, miracles and protection were obviously sought by countless poor folk of faith."


People of modest means who were lucky enough to get their hands on one of his clay figures or commemorative coins would carry them with them for protection, often even wearing them:

"Many were pierced by holes and hung from the neck as talismans: Antinous' image offering protection against evil, sickness and death," says Lambert. 

Other such tiny statuettes, figurines, coins and medallions were placed in portable shrines or pouches or adorned away-from-home altars, and others were buried with the dead "to invoke the god's aid on the perilous journey into the unknown."

We look at the little Hachette Antinous figurine and see only a cheap epoxy resin plastic action figure, crudely hand-painted in some Chinese sweat shop. 

But imagine how the Ancient Priests of Antinous would have gaped in wonder at this little figurine swaddled in cellophane, along with a book of shiny pages unlike any papyrus, pages adorned with inscrutable glyphs and breathtakingly realistic images. 

Where we see ordinary plastic, the Ancient Priests would see a wondrous statuette fashioned in what to them would be a magical putty-like material not like anything found on Earth.

Clearly, it was fashioned by the Gods themselves — clearly, ANTINOUS THE GAY GOD truly is "immanent" (in-dwelling) in this miraculous vessel.

And the Ancient Priests would, of course, be absolutely right. 

Monday, May 22, 2017

HARVEY MILK, SAINT OF ANTINOUS



ON May 22nd the world honors Harvey Milk ... his birthday (22 May 1930) is commemorated as Harvey Milk Day around the world. 

Champion of the early gay rights movement, in 1977 Harvey Milk became the first openly Gay person to be elected to the Board of Supervisors in San Francisco.

He advocated the liberation of homosexuality for the benefit of society in general, and jokingly claimed to be a gay recruiter. He was instrumental in passing the Gay Civil Rights Bill in San Francisco, which was to be his undoing.

On November 27, of 1978, Milk was murdered City Hall along with Mayor George Moscone by former City Supervisor Danny White who had resigned his office after the enactment of the bill. Dan White was acquitted of murder but sentenced to only seven years on manslaughter charges.

Following his acquittal on May 21st, 1979, riots broke during a demonstration in front of City Hall, and later, 100,000 people marched on Washington in support of Gay Rights chanting "Harvey Milk Lives!" He became the first gay saint and martyr following the movement that began at the Stonewall.

In a tape recording made one year before his assassination, as if in prophecy, Harvey Milk said, "If a bullet should enter my brain, let that bullet destroy every closet door."
 
For his actions, for his life, for the changes that he effected, and for the love that continues to burn for him in the memory of his gay, lesbian and transgender children, we priests of Antinous recognize and sanctify Harvey Milk as a Heroic Saint and Martyr.

ANTINOUS WAS PHOTOGRAPHED IN 3-D
FOR VICTORIAN ARMCHAIR TRAVELERS



PRIEST UENDI recently found this old stereoview with Antinous. 

It is from the Louvre Museum and is dated 1860 on the back of the card. The image shows the Antinous-Aristaeus statue.

Stereoviews are designed to be seen through a stereoscope, which she does not have but is tempted to purchase. 

When looking through the scope it produces "3-D" version of the image. 

It is amazing to think how many hands held this image and were able to see the glory of Antinous.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

THE BIRTH OF PLATO
SAINT OF ANTINOUS



ON May 21st the Religion of Antinous honors Plato, Saint of Antinous, because May 21st is Plato's birthday, and no worshipper of Antinous could possibly forget HIS birthday.

The greatest of all western mystics and philosophers was born on this day in the year 427 BC. He was originally named Aristocles, but was called Plato by one of his teachers because of the breadth of his shoulders and of his speech, and we might also say because of the magnitude of his legacy of wisdom.

He was a follower of Socrates and the majority of his works are written as Dialogues of Socrates, wherein Plato elaborates his vision of the Universe, the inner workings of mankind, the complexities of human relationships, and the virtues of civilization.

All we know about Socrates is in reality only what Plato has told us of his teacher. Out of loyalty, Plato gave all personal credit to the wisdom of his divine teacher.

Plato founded the Academy in Athens that was dedicated to the love of wisdom and to the perfection of the minds and souls of young men. The image above is a mosaic from Pompeii showing Plato and his academy assembled under his famous olive tree.

Plato studied Pythagoreanism in Italy and made further speculation into the mathematical mysticism of the first philosopher thereby creating the model upon which western monotheism is based. The Platonic system was essentially a unification of the social inquiry of Socrates with the cosmic ramifications of the teachings of Pythagoras.

Here is how Flamen Antinoalis Antonius Subia explain's the significance of Saint Plato:


"In the vision of Love that Plato expounded, Venus Urania, Celestial Love, is glorified as highest form of human affection, above the earthly requirements of procreation. The love between two men, what is innocently called Platonic Love, was considered by Plato to be the most divine form of relationship.

"Hadrian, in all ways the most Platonic of all Emperors, the veritable manifestation of the Philosopher King as glorified by Plato in The Republic, was demonstrating the meaning of Venus Urania, for all the world to see, in his passion for Antinous.

"For the beautiful light in which Plato illuminated the inner nature of homosexual love, he is venerated as a divine Saint of the Religion of Antinous."