Sunday, May 27, 2018

TWO POMPEII HORSES WERE HARNESSED
FOR ESCAPE FROM VESUVIUS ERUPTION



TWO horse cadavers found in a Pompeii villa's stable were harnessed for a frantic escape ... when they tragically were overtaken by the Vesuvius eruption.

In all, the remains of three horses were found in the villa stable, but two were wearing bits and bridles.

When the volcano erupted in 79 AD, many of the town's residents and animals collapsed and died in place after being struck with waves of superheated poisonous gas and ash, called a pyroclastic surge. 

Their decaying bodies then left hauntingly shaped voids in the hardened ash layer. Plaster casts were made of the horses.

Evidence for bits and bridles around the two cast horses suggests that they were harnessed by people trying to flee the eruption, says Massimo Osanna, general director of the Archaeological Park of Pompeii. 

The remains of the third horse are too incomplete to determine whether it was also harnessed at the time of death, says Corbino.

Saturday, May 26, 2018

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."

Friday, May 25, 2018

MEET MARCO ANTINOUS OF EGYPT
By Flamen Antinoalis Antonius Subia


I have the pleasure to introduce someone very special. A beautiful boy who was very likely one of our brothers.

Mummy of Marco Antinous, encaustic painting on linen, the frieze of the aureus protector in gilded stucco. 


Egyptian civilisation, Roman Empire, 3rd Century. Paris, Musée Du Louvre.

The hauntingly lovely portrait from the heyday of Antinoopolis features the face of a young man with striking, realistic features painted with encaustic (wax-based paint) on thin wood panels and embellished with intricate gold-leaf details.

Portraits like these are highly treasured today. They are often known as FAYOUM PORTRAITS, after the region, near Antinoopolis, where most of them were found. There are fewer than 1,000 extant.

The Ancients believed Antinous worked miracles in the lives of his faithful followers. 

Antinous healed the sick, he granted people love and prosperity, he shielded them from peril.

Historian Royston Lambert's book Beloved and God: The Story of Hadrian and Antinous devotes a full chapter to the Religion of Antinous and mentions the miracles he was able to bring forth.

The oracle priests of Antinous could intercede with the God, or followers could appeal directly to Antinous:
 
"There is evidence of oracles at Tarsos and perhaps at Rome itself," Lambert writes. "No doubt it was through these pronouncements and visitations that he wrought miracles and healing for which he evidently became famous in the east."

In many areas, people named their children Antinous in the fervent belief that he would watch over and protect their offspring all their lives.


Marco Antinous undoubtedly is one of these children named after Antinous ... undoubtedly a follower of Antinous ... we hail Marco Antinous as our brother in Antinous!

~ANTONIUS SUBIA

Thursday, May 24, 2018

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. 

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

MAGICAL 'HAND OF POWER' TALISMAN
FOUND AT A HADRIAN'S WALL FORT



HERE is something very special from the Vindolanda Roman Fort excavations at Hadrian's Wall. 

"We usually show our new finds on a hand, this time we have found a hand!" the archaeologist at the VINDOLANDA TRUST said.

This is a lead weighted bronze right hand, measuring 10 cm long and dates to the Severan period (208- 212 AD). 

The artefact is thought to be a cult object of the god Jupiter Dolichenus. Romans believed that such a "hand of power" would give them protection.

Above is a photo (front and back) of the artefact after the initial clean. We will post more images after it has been through the full conservation process.

One of the most popular Roman talismans is the "Hand of Power" or Mano Panthea. 

The defining quality of the Hand of Power in its many forms is that it invariably is shown standing upright upon its severed wrist and is adorned with various zoomorphic and utensil forms. 

Usually (but not always) it is a right hand making a sign of benediction, the thumb and first two fingers upraised and the last two fingers curled down. 

Often a small pine cone is balanced on the tip of the thumb and a large crowned snake crawls up the back of the hand and arches over the bent ring finger and little fingers. 

Other animals and objects covering the rear of the hand in high relief include a lizard, a worm, a salamander, a frog, a caduceus, a fasces, a turtle, and a group of urns. 

Sometimes a ram's head is in the palm of the hand, along with a sprig of mistletoe, a woman nursing a baby, and a strange table with human legs upon which rest three disks (possibly votive food offerings).

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

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.

Monday, May 21, 2018

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."