Tuesday, September 26, 2017

RABBIT GOD TU ER SHEN
IS THE CHINESE DEITY OF GAYNESS



ON International Rabbit Day, in late September, we honor the Chinese "Rabbit God" of homosexuality.

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

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.

A PHALLIC AMULET OR TALISMAN
KEPT DOCTOR AWAY IN ANCIENT ROME



IN ancient Roman religion and magic, the fascinus or fascinum was the embodiment of the divine phallus. 

Phallic imagery was everywhere in Ancient Rome: inscribed on paving stones, on pendants and jewelry and as decorative hangings, such as this terracotta fascinus found in Pompeii.

The deity Fascinus was tended by the Vestal Virgins who blessed phallus effigies, amulets and talismans, and spoke enchantments invoke his divine protection. 

Pliny calls it a medicus invidiae, a "doctor" or remedy for envy (invidia, a "looking upon") or the evil eye.

Tintinnabulum hanging wind chimes in gardens warded off insect pests and blights from plants.

A fascinus ring on a child's finger, or pendant around the child's neck served to protect the tot from harm.

Phallic emblems on paving stones were intended to keep away evil spirits who might cause traffic accidents.

A winged phallus whisked harm away with the beat of its wings.

Monday, September 25, 2017

'LOST' PORTRAIT OF GAY LOVER
OF KING JAMES I HAS BEEN FOUND



A "lost" portrait of the male lover of England's King James I by Flemish artist Peter Paul Rubens has been rediscovered after almost 400 years.

The 17th Century Flemish artist's "head study" of the Duke of Buckingham was identified by Dr Bendor Grosvenor from BBC Four's Britain's Lost Masterpieces.

It was in Glasgow Museums' collection and on public display at the city's Pollok House stately home.

But overpainting and centuries of dirt meant it was thought to be a later copy by another artist.

Few people realise James 1st (James IV of Scotland) was gay. He was the King who succeeded Elizabeth 1st thus creating the 'United Kingdom'. This lost portrait of his lover is a remarkable find.

The restored portrait of George Villiers, the 1st Duke of Buckingham, was authenticated as a Rubens by Ben van Beneden, director of the Rubenshuis in Antwerp.

He said it was a "rare addition to Rubens's portrait oeuvre, showing how he approached the genre".

Dr Grosvenor said: "The chance to discover a portrait of such a pivotal figure in British history by one of the greatest artists who ever lived has been thrillingly exciting."

Sunday, September 24, 2017

ANCIENT PRIESTS BLESSED TREASURES
BEFORE THROWING THEM AWAY



YOU think you have trouble clearing out accumulated old things to make room for new acquisitions?

The ancient priests of Antinous ... along with priests of many other deities ... couldn't just throw out statues, offerings and other artefacts that worshipers had donated to their temples. The objects had to be ritually blessed, deconsecrated and given burials befitting their sacred nature.

Very often, these caches of "discarded" artefacts survive to the present day ... as has happened at the Temple of Ptah at Karnak in Egypt.

Ironically, treasures which remained in the temple sanctuaries often ended up being looted by invaders, which the "discarded" artefacts remained intact for thousands of years in the "rubbish heap" under the temple.

For example, the photo at left shows the only known portrait of Khufu (or Cheops), the 4th Dynasty pharaoh who (allegedly) built the Great Pyramid at Giza, is a very tiny ivory figurine only 7 centimeters (3 inches) tall.

It was discovered covered in dried feces IN AN ANCIENT CESSPIT next to the temple of Seti at Abydos in Egypt.

We can only assume that, thousands of years ago, some harried novice priest "flushed it away" during routine spring cleaning to clear out old statuary to make room for new items.

After years of being washed, perfumed and fed in ancient Egypt, the statue of the revered Egyptian deity shown at the top of this page was given a proper burial with other "dead" statues more than 2,000 years ago.

Ancient Egyptians buried the statue of the deity Ptah ... the god of craftsmen and sculptors ... with other revered statues, including those of a sphinx, baboon, cat, Osiris and Mut, in a pit next to Ptah's temple.

The statue of Ptah had likely sat in the temple for years, but it and the other sacred objects were respectfully buried after they accumulated damage and were declared useless by the ancient Egyptians, the researchers said.

"We can consider that when a new statue was erected in the temple, this one [of Ptah] was set aside in a pit," said study co-researcher Christophe Thiers, director of the French-Egyptian Center for the Study of the Temples of Karnak. 

"The other artifacts were also previously damaged during their 'lifetime' in the temple, and then they were buried with the Ptah statue."

Archaeologists discovered the pit in December 2014 at Karnak, an Egyptian temple precinct, and spent about a month excavating its rich assemblage. 

The pit held 38 objects, including:

  • Fourteen statuettes and figurines of Osiris.
  • Eleven fragments of inlay from statues. The inlay included that of an iris, a cornea, a false beard, a cap, a strand of hair and an inlay plaque.
  • Three baboon statuettes (representing the god Thoth).
  • Two statuettes of the goddess Mut (one with hieroglyphic inscriptions).
  • Two unidentified statuette bases.
  • One head and one fragmentary statuette of a cat (Bastet).
  • One small fragmentary faience stele (a stone slab) recording the name of the god Ptah.
  • One head of a statuette of a man in gilded limestone.
  • One lower part of a statue of the seated god Ptah, sawn and repaired.
  • One sphinx.
  • One unidentified metal piece.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

ANTINOUS GAY ORACLE CARDS
UNVEILED AT GLOBAL SKYPE CEREMONIES



PRIESTS of Antinous on three continents unveiled a bold new project tonight during ceremonies celebrated globally via Skype.

Flamen Antonius Subia presented the Antinous Gay Oracle Cards to celebrants at the Hollywood Temple of Antinous in California as well as other worshipers taking part via Skype in South America and Europe.

The Antinous Gay Oracle Cards are the most revolutionary deck to appear since Aleister Crowley's Thoth Tarot. But these are not Tarot cards. They are based on the ages-old Lenormand and Sibilla cards of Europe which originally used traditional playing cards, but with expanded meanings that evolved over time. 

Synthesizing Classical mythological imagery with 21st Century post-neopagan thought, Antonius Subia, founder of the modern religion of Antinous, the Gay God, has created a deck that maps the modern psyche like no other before. 

Each of the 52 Antinous Gay Oracle cards represents a theme of significance to Antinous spirituality. 

Some represent events that occurred during the mortal life of Antinous. Some represent people that were connected to him, or important to his story. Some cards represent places of Antinous significance. Others represent gods and goddesses who are elements of his spirituality. 

Each card is an Antinous related image within the context of the traditional Lernormand-Sibilla card system. They are essentially an Antinous variation on a well established theme. 

The Antinous cards are a spiritual tool and guide for LGTBQ people to explore the deeper meaning of Gay Spirituality in general, to reveal our deeper mysteries, and address our own particular concerns and influences. 

Antonius said: "They are a way to enter into Antinous-Consciousness and form a connection with his energy in a direct manner. With these cards you can seek to communicate with his influence deep inside ourselves and become part of Antinous’ spirituality."

He added, "The cards are a tool of the Antinous religion, for personal guidance, and also to help others reach a greater and more meaningful understanding of Antinous influence in their lives and spirituality. They are a way to communicate with and help others in an Antinous based context."

The cards were designed by Antonius Subia and the accompanying 400-page book is by him and Priest Hernestus Gill. The book thoroughly explores all the possibilities of the cards in a clear and easy-to-understand manner for beginners and advanced card-readers alike. This easy-to-use book enables you to bring power, precision, and depth to your card readings. It presents techniques usually found only in workshops, plus numerous different themed spreads so you can choose or create the perfect spread for any question or purpose.

Friday, September 22, 2017

ANTINOUS ON MOUNT CASIUS
WAS NEARLY STRUCK BY LIGHTNING


IT was at the season of the Equinox in the year 129 that the imperial court ascended Mount Cassius (also called Mons Casius, Mount Kel or Mount Casius).

They climbed the mountain overlooking the sea because on top of it was a Temple of the Sun. 

A storm broke while they made their ascent, and Hadrian had the priests conduct the Equinox ceremony in the rain. 

During the sacrifice at the altar, a bolt of lightning struck with a horrific, earth-shattering clap of thunder ... killing the priest and the sacrificial animal together. 

This was taken as a very significant portent, one that perhaps Antinous alone comprehended, the darkness of the coming death and transfiguration were presaged. 

Hadrian took it as a sign that the gods of Syria had turned against him, thinking it was Baal-Zeus who struck down the priests as a warning to Hadrian of what lay ahead when the court entered Jerusalem. 

Perhaps it is all a myth and a legend, of course. There were many myths and legends about the events leading up to the deification of Antinous. 

Researching background information on the Lightning Bolt Omen on Mount Cassius, we stumbled upon an old Epistle which Antonius Subia wrote to the original members of this religion at this time of year back in 2002. There were only a handful of followers ... about five or six. 

Take a moment to read what Antonius wrote so many years ago:

"Whatever myths and mysteries were fabricated to legitimize the Religion of Antinous, we can be sure that they were only for the benefit of the vulgar populace, dependent on poetry and allegory. The Priesthood of Antinoopolis however, had to deal with the truth. I can't help but think that the pinnacle of his mysteries, revealed to only the most devoted, was the unsettling revelation that Antinous the God was no more than a boy, just as any of them were or had been."

And Antonius says that THAT fact was what makes our religion so special. He goes on to write:

"That Antinous lived a truly human life, died, and miraculously became a God is what captivates me, even more than his beauty. Unlike so many other, mythical gods, there is a definite level of certainty that all that is said about him is true. It is only when one begins to dig deeper that the mysteriousness of his story becomes manifest. There is a desperate shortage of evidence from his time, almost nothing at all, and what little is written is rare and clothed in foreign languages. Antinous, because of the peculiarity of his divinization, is not a subject of great philosophical interest as are the other, more popular gods."

And then he hints at the idea of HOMOTHEOSIS:

"The most important impression one receives from his story, which is utterly non-mythological, is that if he could become a God, with a star, and a flower, and an eternal name, then what prevents all of us from following in his trail? Antinous destroys the very concept of Godhood. For the vast majority, this is an incomprehensible concept, but Antinous is not a god of the populous, who remain simple in their acceptance of theology … then as now."

And he says Antinous is the divine spark of Sacred Homosexuality:

"Homosexuals suffer from a terrible lack of Gods and divine heroes. Heterosexuality has an overabundance

He adds: "I don't see the harm in claiming the truth of our one and only patron saint and god. The emphasis of our day, in which homosexuality is gaining acceptability, seems to be on bringing our sexuality into line, and in conformity to the rest of the population. But what we need most is our own identity, not as an aberration, or a peculiarity, or a mere deviation from the norm, but as a sanctification, a sacred state of blessedness. 

"For thousands of years we have been considered a degeneration, a sin, and even a disease of lust. Now people are beginning to see that we are just different, but there is almost no talk, even amongst ourselves, that we are a wonder of the human species, a divine grace, a delicate flower possible only in the most elevated levels of civilization. It is no coincidence that our sexuality has regained the prominence of respect that it knew in the age of the Antonines, and Antinous is the emblem, in my heart, of our blessedness, then as now."

Antonius then says non-pagans balk at our religion, but he also notes that traditional pagans also have problems with the concept of Antinous as the Gay God for the 21st Century, rather than remaining a reconstructed Classical deity from ancient times:

"Already I have encountered the difficulty of explaining what is so personal to an uninformed listener, and this conflict of interest, as it were, may only increase. My only hope is that Antinous has already prepared the way, as he has done with me, and a few others. However difficult and testing his message may be to bring to the world, I trust that those who are prepared to listen will need very little explanation, the truth being already ingrained within the depth of their soul.


"All I can ever do is turn the key that they alone suspected was there, but the door is for them to open. The statues, and the stark reality of his life, show that there are many sides to our Antinous, none of which is ultimately and universally true.

"However much we may delineate and formalize his religion, it must always remain founded on personal connection, and individual truth. 

"I am prepared to say that this is far more simple than it seems, if we are willing to succumb wholly to absolute freedom in ourselves, and in others."

Antonius (writing back in 2002, remember) has a final question ... a question he has posed to each new priest over the years:

"My question is this, if ever you felt yourselves to be secret priests, evangelists of beauty, and missionaries of sacred homosexuality among these barbarians of our age, what would you say to a soul in whom you could plainly see Antinous, just beneath the skin? But more importantly, why would you even mention his name?"

This weekend, as the shadow of the Super Moon Eclipse falls upon the Earth, and as we remember the story of the Lightning Omen on Mons Cassius, it is perhaps good to remember the founding tenets of our religion:

Antinous was a flesh-and-blood human being of lowly birth.

Antinous and Hadrian were male-male lovers.

Antinous died tragically, perhaps in sacrifice for his beloved Emperor.

Hadrian "wept like a woman" and issued a decree establishing the Religion of Antinous … declaring Antinous a God … the last Classical Deity.

And the question for us today is whether we would recognize a modern-day Antinous if he walked up to us on the street, or if we saw him on TV or on the Internet.

More importantly, can we see Antinous in the eyes of all gay men.

Because that's the first place to look for him.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

KING EDWARD II AND PIERS GAVESTON
By Priest Martinus Campbell


ON 21st September I and the companions of Antinous venerate one of my heroes (flawed though he was), King Edward II of England. His story is fascinating, scandalous and, ultimately, tragic.

His story is also one of the earliest recorded examples of homophobic abuse and murder in British history.

Contemporary accounts say Prince Edward was handsome, athletic and had acquired a reputation for extravagance. 

His father, Edward I was powerful and successful in battles. Before his father's death, Prince Edward II had angered his father by his "excessive affection" for a young men, especially one called Piers Gaveston. Piers was a nobleman from Gascon - an area of South West France. Piers was Edward II's favourite lover from a group of 12 handsome young men he is recorded as always having around him. 

In July 1307 King Edward I died and and was succeeded by King Edward II - he was 23. The image below is the only surviving contemporary depiction of Edward II, showing his coronation. 

On 25 January 1308 Edward married Isabella (who was aged between twelve and sixteen at the time) the daughter of Philip IV of France. It was a marriage of convenience to consolidate power across the Norman empire. With her he needed to sire a future King, so they had several children including a son who later became King Edward III.

King Edward II was dependent on the support of the powerful English barons. However, they believed that a king had a duty to distribute patronage fairly amongst the aristocracy - not abdicate his responsibilities by showering it all on one non-aristocratic favorite. At the parliament held in April 1308 the barons demanded hat Gaveston be banished.

Edward II reluctantly agreed and sent Gaveston to Ireland as his Lieutenant there (June 1308). However, he immediately began to scheme for Gaveston's return - implementing a policy of "divide and rule", buying off some of the barons with favours. Finally the "Statute of Stamford" was signed to redress baronial grievances in exchange for Gaveston's return.

Quickly the affair with Piers began to offend the barons again. Gaveston clearly had a stinging sense of humour. He began openly inventing scandalous names for each baron. We know that "Black Dog" was applied to the Earl of Warwick, and "Bursting Belly" for the Earl of Lincoln!!

Unfortunately Edward began to lose the ground his father had won. He lost battles with Robert the Bruce thus effectively losing Scotland. The barons mutinied and, again, tried to banish Gaveston. They placed themselves in effective control of the country. Edward II refused to accept his overthrow and Gaveston's exile, so civil war erupted. Edward II placed Gaveston in Scarborough Castle under the protection of two Earls from of his trusted band of 12 men. The castle was besieged and the Earls were forced to surrender the castle and Gaveston. He was thrown in a dungeon, and then beheaded  on 19 June 1312.

In deep grief Edward lost the plot. In the vacuum that followed Robert the Bruce won a famous victory at Bannockburn thus securing Scotland as a separate kingdom for centuries ahead.

Also Queen Isabella began an adulterous affair with one of the Earls, Roger Mortimer. Isabella and Mortimer formed an army which overthrew Edward in 1326. 

He was imprisoned in a damp pit at Berkeley Castle. Two of his beloved 12 supporters made two attempts to free him but failed.

What happened next is not 100% clear but contemporary accounts show that Isabella and Mortimer announced that Edward was dead in September 1327. 

Many rumours circulated about the cause of death but the account recognised by most historians is that one man held Edward down while another pushed a red hot shaft of iron into his rectum. The screams where reputed to have been heard well beyond the castle walls.

In 1594 Christopher Marlowe published his play The Troublesome Reign and Lamentable Death of Edward the Second, King of England. Marlowe was gay and reputed by many to have been the secret lover of William Shakespeare - maybe even the true author of Shakespeare's plays. Edward II the play is never taught in schools and remained pretty much ignored until Derek Jarman's wonderful film of the play in 1991.

When I was learning British history at school the reign of Edward II was simply referred to as the 'failed rule of Edward II'. 

Most gay men know of Edward II here in the UK. He is an underground cult here to many.

Many Antinous bless him.
MARTINUS