SAINT OF THE DAY
The Lives of the Saints, Martyrs, Exemplars and Prophets of ANTINOUS the GAY GOD
Updated for Each Liturgical Feast Day
Antonyus Subia and Hernestus Gill
Priests of Antinous
On November 7th, the Religion of Antinous remembers one of our saints whose gift of erotic artistry and wry humor influenced the Stonewall generation — Saint Tom of Finland.Tom of Finland's style was so identifiable, so iconic, that it was immediately recognizable. Whether signed or unsigned, his emblematic pencil and ink drawings are always recognizably his.
He became so closely identified with his iconic art that few people ever suspected that his name was not actually Tom, though he was indeed Finnish.
Touko Laaksonen was born in Kaarina Finland on May 8th, 1920, and he died on November 7th, 1991. He studied art in Helsinki and worked as a graphic artist during the 1940s and '50s. On the side he began to master his particular style and vision of male beauty.
His entry into gay erotic art came in 1957 when he submitted drawings to the American bodybuilder magazine Physique Pictorial, a pioneer publication in the field of gay porn from the days when it was still a federal offense to send "indecent images" through the mail. He then started to use the name Tom of Finland.
His art was an overt display of gay sexuality during the dark years of repression that preceded Stonewall. It is said that his images fueled the hearts of young, future gay rights advocates because of their defiant and utterly masculine depiction of the homosexual ideal.
He was among the first to vividly display the fully engorged phallus, Priapic in its proportions, throwing off the censorship that had kept it hidden for hundreds of years.
During the late '60s and early '70s his erotic images were received with acclaim and became the subject of museum exhibitions, and they soon entered the heart of gay culture as one of the most widely recognized and often copied images of gay sexuality.
His depictions of extremely masculine, homosexual vitality were a reflection of the deepest erotic fantasies of all gay men, elevating a new form of Priapism into an icon of homoeroticism.
He met his lifetime partner Veli on a dark street corner in 1953. Veli was the love of his life. For nearly 30 years they shared their lives. Veli died in 1981. Touko Laaksonen died in Helsinki on November 7th, 1991.
For his work, for changing the face of the gay world with his prolific art, we recognize the sanctity of Tom of Finland and elevate him to the Sainthood of Antinous.
On November 10th the Religion of Antinous honors St. Arthur Rimbaud, the free-spirited French poet whose openly gay lifestyle shocked even the most avant garde artists of London and Paris in the late 19th Century.
On this day, in 1891, the poet Arthur Rimbaud, Saint of Antinous, died of cancer just three months short of his 37th birthday. Despite his early death, he was already an acclaimed and highly controversial literary figure.
In his youth, Rimbaud had been what we would nowadays call a twink. A schoolboy friend said he was prettier than any of the girls and that he had "the most beautiful pale blue eyes" he had ever seen.
Raised by a staunchly Catholic single mother in isolation in the country, Rimbaud ran away to Paris at age 16 with no money but with a prodigious talent for poetry — he had already published a couple of highly praised poems.
In Paris, Rimbaud's behavior became outwardly provocative. The mild-mannered country boy started drinking, speaking rudely and writing scatological poems, stealing books from local shops, and instead of his previous neat appearance and in defiance of short-hair fashions, he began to wear his hair rebelliously long.
At the same time he wrote to an old school teacher of his who had encouraged his poetic talents, telling him about his method for attaining poetical transcendence or visionary power through a "long, intimidating, immense and rational derangement of all the senses. The sufferings are enormous, but one must be strong, be born a poet, and I have recognized myself as a poet."
Still a teenager, he was friends with radical Communists in Paris known as the Communards (hence the name of the '80s pop group) and he even wrote a poem about being sodomized by drunken Communard paramilitary men entitled "Le Coeur Supplicié" (The Tortured Heart).
He solicited the friendship of the established poet Paul Verlaine by audaciously writing a love letter to him and enclosing two hotly sexy poems, including the hypnotic, gradually shocking "Le Dormeur du Val" (The Sleeper of the Vale), in which the forces of Nature more or less rape a sleeping soldier.
Verlaine, who was intrigued by Rimbaud, sent a reply that stated, "Come, dear great soul. We await you; we desire you," along with a one-way ticket to Paris.
Verlaine was so smitten with the 17-year-old Rimbaud, that he abandoned his heavily pregnant 17-year-old wife and took up living with Rimbaud instead. Verlaine quit his job to become what he called "a full-time professional drunk" At left is a caricature of Rimbaud that Verlaine lovingly sketched about that time.
All of Paris was shocked by their behavior which, even among avant-garde artists, was considered scandalous.
The two of them fled to London, where they lived the life of starving artists. Rimbaud spent most of his time in the Reading Room of the British Museum for the simple reason that "heating, lighting, pens and ink were free", he later said.
Verlaine and Rimbaud had a volatile on-again, off-again relationship punctuated by drunken bitch fights and which climaxed with Verlaine firing a gunshot at Rimbaud which resulted in a wrist wound.
In his 20s and early 30s, Rimbaud was a vagabond poet who traveled the world, mostly on foot, doing odd jobs and writing poems. There is a marble plaque on the island of Java commemorating his short visit there as a soldier in the Dutch Colonial Army — he decided the military life was not for him and deserted almost immediately upon arrival there and returned to Europe.
He was living on the Horn of Africa with an Ethiopian mistress (he had had several lovers of both sexes, basically one in every port) when his health began to deteriorate due to what would later be diagnosed as cancer — alas, the diagnosis would be made too late to save his life.
He was 17 years old when he wrote the poem The Drunken Boat:
"..Lighter than a cork, I danced on the waves which men call eternal rollers of victims, for ten nights, without once missing the foolish eye of the harbor lights! Sweeter than the flesh of sour apples to children, the green water penetrated my pinewood hull and washed me clean of the bluish wine-stains and the splashes of vomit, carrying away both rudder and anchor. And from that time on I bathed in the Poem of the Sea, star-infused and churned into milk, devouring the green azures; where, entranced and pallid, a dreaming drowned man sometimes goes down; where, suddenly dyeing the bluenesses- deliriums and slow rhythms under the gleams of the daylight, stronger than alcohol, vaster than music-ferment the bitter redness of love."
We dedicate this poem and the course of the free and disordered life of St. Arthur Rimbaud to the period of 72 Archons, and our difficult passage towards godliness.
On November 11th the Religion of Antinous honors two men whose love for each other has survived the fall of all ancient civilizations.
We honor Niankhkhnum and Khnumhotep, Blessed Saints of Antinous.
They lived in Egypt 2,000 years before the siege of Troy. They had been dead and forgotten for over 2,650 years when Hadrian and Antinous visited Mennefer (Memphis) Egypt in the year 130 AD. Most likely Hadrian and Antinous stood directly on top of (or very nearly on top of) the lost tomb of these two men — two men who were buried together at the Memphis necropolis some 4,500 years ago.
When the tomb was discovered in 1964 it sent shock waves through the dusty world of Egyptology. The vividly painted reliefs on the walls of the tomb showed an intimate embrace between two male Royal Manicurists — the first recorded depiction of an openly homosexual couple.
Prudish Egyptologists have argued ever since that the two men were "just good friends" or perhaps that they were possibly "twin brothers".
But recent research by more open-minded archaeologists, such as California-based EGYPTOLOGIST GREG REEDER, has offered compelling evidence that the two men were more than "just good friends" or "close brothers."
Greg Reeder has written and lectured extensively on this extraordinary tomb, which was uncovered in 1964 in the necropolis of Saqqara at Memphis, on the west bank of the Nile. The site atop a cliff overlooking the Nile has drawn tourists since ancient times. Julius Caesar and Cleopatra stood atop this cliff and gazed in awe at its ancient tomb structures.
Hadrian and Antinous almost certainly stood on this very same spot in October of the year 130 AD, only weeks before Antinous drowned in the Nile. Beneath their feet was the Lost Tomb of Niankhkhnum and Khnumhotep. The sand has been removed and now that long-lost tomb is no longer lost.
And what a tomb it is! It has a splendid entrance and charming layout befitting a pleasant gay holiday retreat cottage — for an eternal, never-ending holiday vacation.
While grave robbers stripped the tomb of relics in antiquity, the wall paintings reveal tantalizing hints about its original occupants. The men are repeatedly depicted together, sometimes holding hands, sometimes with their arms around each other.
In two instances they are shown with their noses touching — the most intimate embrace permitted in Egyptian art of the time — tantamount to kissing. Their bodies are pressed so closely together that their groins rub against each other in a decidedly intimate sort of way. In Ancient Egypt, such male-male depictions were reserved for kings who merged with gods, not for two mortal men.
They are so close together that some Egyptologists have theorized that they may have been Siamese twins joined at the hips.
Other figures, identified as wives and children, are relegated to the background. In one scene, in which the two men share a final banquet before their journey into the afterlife, Niankhkhnum' s "wife" has been plastered over by the craftsmen who decorated the tomb. Khnumhotep's spouse fails to make an appearance at all — highly unusual in Egyptian tomb art, if not totally unprecedented.
Throughout the tomb, the two men are depicted in joyous pursuits, such as this relief vignette (right) showing one of them playing flute accompaniment as the other sings.
The magnificent reliefs show a variety of scenes involving nude or semi-nude males involved in all sorts of artistic and manly activities, such as one scene (below left) of a sort of "Egyptian Rodeo" bull-roping tournament with accompanying scenes of a raucous "beef barbecue" feast.
Or the scene (below right) of athletic youths — so sparingly attired you can see they are circumcised — engaged in a playful mock battle using reed skiffs on the Nile.
Throughout the tomb, the reliefs show men, men, men (and a few token females) engaged in service to the tomb's two male occupants who are — unprecedented in Egyptian Sacred Art — wholly committed to each other. Other tombs invariably show man-and-wife. Not this one.
Hieroglyphs describe the men as "Overseers of the Royal Manicurists" to pharaoh. Ostensibly, they were responsible for the care of the pharaoh's hands and were among the select few permitted to touch the ruler. However, it is also possible that the title "Royal Manicurist" could be a ceremonial honor similar to the "Order of the Garter".
Though the hieroglyphs say nothing of the two men's relationship, Greg Reeder, an Egyptologist based in San Francisco, believes the wall paintings suggest homosexuality is the answer. Reeder points out that Niankhkhnum and Khnumhotep clearly chose to depict themselves in poses usually restricted to husbands and wives in other tombs.
"Same-sex desire must be considered as a probable explanation," Reeder said at a lecture in Britain which made headlines a couple of years ago.
"We can only say for certain that the carvings show a profound intimacy between the two men, and the people who built the tomb were possibly unsure how to portray this," the US archaeologist noted.
The tomb was restored by German archaeologists in the late 1970s and opened to the public in the 1990s.
While gay tour operators have not targeted the site, in large part because Egypt outlaws homosexual activity, Greg Reeder's articles and lectures have created gay interest in this long-lost tomb.
"It has now become famous and lots of gay tourists go there," he says with scholarly pride.
Reeder notes that, regardless of whether the two men were sexual lovers, they were definitely two men who loved each other so much that they wanted to spend all eternity in an intimate embrace.
Even their two names are intertwined. Over the entrance to one chamber their names are mingled together so that Niankhkhnum and Khnumhotep become "NiankhKHNUMhotep" — Peace and Life joined in the ram-headed Source-of-the-Nile Deity Khnum, clearly their mutual sacred patron.
Thus, their names blend together, forming a single name: "Joined in Life and Joined in Peace at the Source of All That Lives and Dies and is Born Again for All Eternity". Such is the subtlety of the Egyptian language, which turns a name into a commitment.
Our Flamen Antinoalis Antonyus Subia says:
"Niankhkhnum and Khnumhotep is one of the earliest and most vivid portrayals of homosexual love, crossing all boundaries, binding two men and two families for all time, and demonstrating the profound antiquity and sacredness of our form of love."
Thanks largely to the bold and candid research of Greg Reeder, the names of Niankhkhnum and Khnumhotep have been rescued from oblivion, so that their KAs might live forever — together!
On November 21st the Religion of Antinous honors Saint Quentin Crisp.
St. Quentin Crisp, who died on this day in 1999, was born on Christmas Day in 1908. He became a gay icon in the 1970s after publication of his memoir, The Naked Civil Servant, brought to the attention of the general public his defiant exhibitionism and longstanding refusal to conceal his homosexuality.
John Hurt helped to make Quentin Crisp a media star in the movie adaptation of The Naked Civil Servant in the 1970s. In a sequel 30 years later Hurt made him a screen legend, very much in keeping with the lifelong ambition of Quentin Crisp.
In the second film, An Englishman In New York, Hurt portrayed the elderly Quentin Crisp as the New York gay icon based in Manhattan's funky-gritty Lower East Side in the 1980s and '90s.
At an age when most people would retire to a nursing home, Quentin Crisp left his native England and moved to New York City, where he pursued a career as a bon vivant and raconteur.
Asked by a BBC interview if he intended to die in New York, Saint Quentin emphatically said: "Oh no, I didn't come to New York to die. I came to New York to LIVE."
Arriving in New York in his 70s, he lived in his accustomed artistic squalor in a Lower East Side walk-up with a view through a grimy window pane of the next door neighbor's grimy bedroom window.
Every bit the considerate Englishman, he turned off his bare-bulb light at 11 p.m. and sat in the dark, lest the neighbor complain the glare from the 60-watt bulb (through two filthy window panes) kept him awake.
Saint Quentin experienced a meteoric rise after his cunning agent launched him into a career as a raconteur in an off-Broadway one-man show and he became a movie reviewer for a Christopher Street magazine.
But he experienced a meteoric fall from grace when, during one of his frequent TV talk-show appearances, he flippantly remarked that AIDS was "just a fad" which would soon be out of fashion, and the gay community viciously turned on him. Quentin, who had never apologized for anything in his life (and was not about to start apologizing), was perplexed when he was dropped by his agent and editor until his eyes were opened when he got to know young artist Patrick Angus, who later died of AIDS.
But in a Hollywood happy ending, Quentin was rescued by performance artist Penny Arcade, who put him back on stage, and Christopher Street re-hired him, paving the way for a glorious comeback and reconciliation with the gay community when he was in his 90s.
It is fitting that most people know Saint Quentin only through these two films. As might be expected, the best recommendation for the films comes from Quentin Crisp himself, who once famously said: "Any film, even the worst, is better than real life."
On November 24th the Religion of Antinous celebrates the outrageous life of St. Freddie Mercury.
St. Freddie Mercury whose death from AIDS on this date in 1991 shocked the world, was a courageous performer whose gayness, while not always stated, was a visible part of his persona. He served as an inspiration for millions of gay men, particularly those who, like him, fight ethnic prejudice every day of their lives.
St. Freddie, who was of Indian Parsi descent, and who was born on the island of Zanzibar and grew up in India, has been referred to as "Britain's first Asian rock star."
Like all great showbiz artists, St. Freddie was acutely aware of his public image and went to great lengths to cultivate the persona of Freddie Mercury -- and to hide any trace of the little Parsi boy named Farrokh Bulsara. Freddie Mercury -- or rather the showbiz image called Freddie Mercury -- was beyond all definitions of ethnic origin, or sexual orientation or political affiliation. Not surprisingly, many people were confused and sometimes irritated by the image.
People criticized him for "hiding" his ethnic background. But as a friend told an interviewer after Freddie's death, "[Farrokh] Bulsara was a name he had buried. He never wanted to talk about any period in his life before he became Freddie Mercury, and everything about Freddie Mercury was a self-constructed thing."
People also criticized him for not "coming out" publicly. But again, Freddie Mercury (the showbiz image) was beyond gender limitations. In fact, Mercury referred to himself as "gay" in a 1974 interview with NME magazine. He was frequently spotted at the cruisiest gay bars across Europe, the UK and America. On the other hand, he would often distance himself from partner Jim Hutton during public events in the 1980s. Freddie Mercury (the rock icon) was too big to be contained in one gender mold:
People also criticized him for not being politically correct. St. Freddie would perform anywhere, for anybody. In the oh-so-politically correct 1970s and '80s, he got into trouble for performing in a South Africa homeland -- in violation of a UN boycott of Apartheid. But he was only interested in his music and in his fans, not in conforming to political correctness.
Over the course of his career, Mercury performed an estimated 700 concerts in countries around the world with Queen. A notable aspect of Queen concerts was the large scale involved. He once explained, "We're the Cecil B. DeMille of rock and roll, always wanting to do things bigger and better."
The band were the first ever to play South American stadiums, breaking worldwide records for concert attendance in the Morumbi Stadium in São Paulo in 1981.
In 1986, Queen also played behind the Iron Curtain, when they performed to a crowd of 80,000 in Budapest.
St. Freddie's final live performance with Queen took place on 9 August 1986 at Knebworth Park in England and drew an attendance estimated as high as 300,000:
Predictably, St. Freddie refused to be categorized musically. He mixed musical styles and blurred lines between Classical/Pop/Rock genres, creating a style uniquely his own. Besides singing, St. Freddie played the piano in many of Queen's most popular songs. Examples of piano-based Queen songs include "Killer Queen", "Bohemian Rhapsody", "Good Old Fashioned Lover Boy", "We Are the Champions" and "Don't Stop Me Now". He used concert grand pianos and, occasionally, other keyboard instruments such as harpsichord.
Critics were never quite certain what to make of him. "Barcelona", recorded with Spanish soprano Montserrat Caballé, combines elements of popular music and grand opera. Many critics were baffled by the album; one referred to it as "the most bizarre CD of the year."
The effervescent Miss Caballé (a beloved gay icon herself), on the other hand, considered the album to have been one of the great successes of her career. Her millions of gay opera fans certainly agree. The title song from the album debuted at the #8 position in the UK charts and was a hit all across Europe, especially in Spain, where the song received massive air play as the official hymn of the 1992 Summer Olympics (held in Barcelona one year after St. Freddie's death). Miss Caballé sang it live at the opening of the Olympics with Mercury's part played in a screen:
That was his last music video. Freddie was already very ill by the time he shot the video with Miss Caballé. In the late '70s and early '80s he had started hitting the baths and back-rooms of every gay city in the world. I personally know a couple of people who had sex with him in Munich (all long since deceased). He was diagnosed with HIV in 1987. Everyone knew he was sick and everyone surmised the reason. But Freddie Mercury (the image) could never die.
And so it was, that Freddie Mercury never acknowledged his illness until November 23, 1991, when a tersely worded statement was issued announcing that he had AIDS.
A few hours later, he was dead. At the age of 45.
Although he cultivated a very flamboyant stage personality, several sources (including people of my own acquaintance who knew him "intimately") refer to Mercury as having been very shy in person. He also granted very few interviews. Mercury once said of himself: "When I'm performing I'm an extrovert, yet inside I'm a completely different man."
One man was an Indian Parsi kid called Farrokh Bulsara who had been born in Zanzibar.
The other man was FREDDIE MERCURY:
Farrokh Bulsara died on November 23, 1991.
Freddie Mercury will live forever.
The Religion of Antinous honors Freddie Mercury as a Saint of Antinous because he embodies the artistic genius and the flamboyant courage that inspires each of us to strive to be a "star". St. Freddie Mercury admonishes us to strip off the guise of conventionality and the put on our "star" outfits and to take the stage of life. He teaches us to live each day as if it is forever.
"We can have forever,
And we can love forever,
Forever is our today!"
"Forever is our today.Who waits forever anyway?"
On November 27th the Religion of Antinous remembers the life of SAINT HARVEY MILK. 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 Ecclesia Antinoi recognize and sanctify Harvey Milk as a Heroic Saint and Martyr.
On November 28th the Religion of Antinous honors Saint Jean-Baptiste de Lully, who was born on this day in 1632 in Florence, Italy. Parlaying his looks, his dancing and his musical genius into an erotic/artistic career, he rose from being a scullery knave to becoming director of music in the Court of French King Louis XIV. By the time he died on March 22, 1687, he had created a new art form and had changed the course of the performing arts forever.
Lully's story has some parallels to the story of Hadrian and Antinous. The parallels are not exact. It is more as though Lully and Louis XIV were a "parallel universe" story of Antinous and Hadrian with bizarre twists thrown in to the plot of the story. Lully was totally dependent upon the Sun King and was totally devoted to him. When the king expressed a whim to learn to dance, Lully became his dance instructor, creating a whole new art form involving dance and song.
Quite aside from his infamous carousing with boys, Lully was desperately in love with Louis XIV. It was an impossible love, of course. It could never be consummated. The king viewed Lully as his artistic mentor, but nothing more. Lully viewed the king as the love of his life, and his art was merely an expression of that love.
Unwittingly, Lully planted the seeds for his own doom. Others took his idea and developed it further: And Opera was born. The king became infatuated with Opera and totally lost interest in Lully's Baroque stage productions. He forgot all about Lully. For Lully, that was tantamount to death, and he soon died as the result of a tragic "accident" -- he plunged a sharp baton-sceptre through his foot in a rage of despair after the king failed to appear at the debut of his latest masterpiece. The wound became gangrenous, but when physicians advised that the foot must be aputated, St. Jean-Baptiste refused, saying that if he could never dance again, then he would prefer to be dead.
Yes, his life was like some nightmare, parallel-universe version of the Hadrian and Antinous story, set against the backdrop of men in silk brocade costumes and in four-inch heels and wearing ornate wigs. It is a story of a man's unconditional love and self-sacrifice for his Sun King.
St. Jean-Baptiste de Lully had a deep fondness for the Roman Gods, and he portrayed them with the gay flourish of the the court of the Sun King. It remains a style all its own, completely out of fashion...even among classical music weirdos.
We adore St. Lully's music...we adore the grace and profound emotions that pour from his chords. We love the beauty of his style of dance.
Watch this beautiful blond boy. We only wish we could move with so much elegance.
Hadrian would Love it!
No doubt when Monsieur St. de Lully arrived at the Divine court of Hadrian the God, he immediately set about rearranging the Imperial Orchestra, replacing the Ney Flutes with Bassoons and Oboes, dismissing the Cythara in favor of Violas de Gamba.
Perhaps the old Greek musicians might have taken insult at being swept aside, but with a wave of his hand...Antinous calmed them.
So it was that the celestial Imperial Orchestra performed the new opera Of Saint Jean-Baptiste de Lully. The Imperial Court was astonished to hear the new sound. Even the Greeks were amazed (and the Greeks had heard everything). And With a wreathed nod of his illuminated head, Hadrian enthroned commanded his beloved Antinous to dance.
When we join the court of Hadrian in the heavens, we will see Antinous dance to the new music of Saint Jean-Baptiste de Lully.
On December 2nd, the Religion of Antinous honors the Marquis de Sade for being the first person since ancient times to proclaim publicly his adoration of the beauty of Antinous.
The Marquis de Sade was himself probably what we would nowadays call ambi-sexual. Regardless of his own sexuality, homosexual activity is an important item in his program of revolutionary sexual libertinism.
The Comte Donatien-Alphonse-François de Sade, more often called the Marquis de Sade, lent his name to the complex psycho-sexual phenomenon of "sadism" -- that is, the derivation of pleasure from cruelty through inflicting physical pain, mental suffering, or both. To this day, "sadism" (which was named for him) is a provocative term which turns off conventional-minded people -- and turns on those other people who are into Fetish, BDSM and the many other related fields of sexual endeavour.
Yet there is more to Sade's writings than sadism -- the term coined by Krafft-Ebing in his "Psychopathia Sexualis" (1876). For running throughout the Sadean oeuvre of plays, stories, essays, novellas, and letters -- and often overlapping with the most calculated outrages of his obscene novels -- is a philosophical discourse on freedom, power, evil and desire.
Donatien Alphonse Francois de Sade was born June 2, 1740, in Paris, France. The Marquis grew up in the decadent excesses of pre-revolution France's aristocracy. Sade's father, for instance, was arrested while "cruising" the Tuileries Gardens for male hustlers. Throughout most of his life, the Marquis pursued bizarre forms of sexual gratification, he was arrested for his excesses numerous times and spent several periods of time imprisoned.
In 1772, he was sentenced to death as a "sodomite." Though the sentence was lifted in 1776, he was imprisoned for many years. Early in July 1789, as mobs rallied for the revolution, he screamed to the masses from his cell window in the Bastille, telling them that the prisoners were being slaughtered by the guards on orders of the aristocracy. The mob subsequently freed him, but the cloud of immorality never lifted and he died broken in mind and body.
And yet it was his imprisonment which resulted in his literary legacy. While serving that sentence in the Bastille, he began to turn his extreme imagination towards writing books and plays, which are a summit of erotic poetry. It is from these works that the word Sadism is derived because the philosophy of sexual violence and domination was delineated and demonstrated for the first time by the Marquis in his numerous and detailed catalogues of perversions.
One of these works, entitled "The 120 Days of Sodom" was written while in the Bastille. When the prison was stormed during the French Revolution, many of the works of the Marquis de Sade were lost, including this work. It was miraculously rediscovered in 1904, rolled up in the frame of a bed, and subsequently published.
We consecrate the memory of the Marquis de Sade because he was a sexual revolutionary, who spoke quite openly about homosexuality, and who freely acknowledged that his valet Latour was his personal sodomizer.
And he was among the first to take up the name of Antinous for beauty and homoerotic purposes, naming one of the characters in "The 120 Days of Sodom" after Antinous, describing him in this way:
"Antinous: so named because, like Hadrian's favorite, he had, together with the world's loveliest prick, its most voluptuous ass, and that is exceedingly rare. Antinous wielded a device measuring eight inches in circumference and twelve in length. He was thirty and had a face worthy of his other features."
The Marquis de Sade died December 2, 1814, in Charenton Insane Asylum.
On December 11th the Religion of Antinous honors SAINT ALESSANDRO ALBANI, who was an Italian aristocrat and cardinal, and a collector and patron of the arts. It is largely thanks to Cardinal Albani that Antinous experienced a resurgence of interest in the 18th Century which continues to this day. It is also believed that Albani secretly worshiped the Beauteous Boy as a gay god.
When he was 29, by special dispensation from his uncle Pope Clement XI, Alessandro Albani was made a Cardinal, although he had never been a priest or member of a lower order. Indeed, he would have preferred to pursue a military career. But chronic eye problems, which eventually resulted in total blindness in old age, convinced him to take up his uncle's generous offer.
He is said to have been a continuing cause of great concern to his uncle, due to his wordly and irreligious obsessions, first among these his passion for art. Cardinal Albani used his vast wealth to collect Classical art, and to patronize artists of his day, such as Anton Raphael Mengs, and the "Father of Archaeology" Johann Joachim Winckelmann, who was an open homosexual.
The art collection of Cardinal Albani contained an extraordinary number of statues of Antinous, and these were studied by Winckelmann, who had taken up residence in the sprawling and very lavish Villa Albani outside of Rome (pictured at right).
Albani became a trend-setter and an arbiter of taste. Albani, whose sexuality was ambivalent, and the openly gay Winkelmann more or less single-handedly launched a craze throughout the European aristocracy for Classical art. And Antinous was the pre-eminent example of male beauty in Classical art. Every aristocrat in Europe wanted a statue or Antinous. And monarchs such as Frederick the Great of Prussia (who never married and favored intimate friendships with males) sent out experts to find statues of Antinous. Thus, the science of archaeology was born largely through a desire by aristocrats to furnish their palaces with the sort of Antinous-style Classical art which Albani had made fashionable.
By the time he died on December 11th in the year 1779, it was rumored that Cardinal Albani, along with his intimate friends Winckelmann and neo-classicist painter Anton Mengs, had been secret worshippers of Antinous and Priapus. It was asserted that they reinstated the religion of the Beloved Boy as a kind of underground cult along with other, unnamed persons.
For this reason, though based largely on rumor, Cardinal Alessandro Albani is sanctified as a Saint of the Religion of Antinous.
Although he was a Cardinal of the Catholic Faith, he may in fact have been the first High Priest of Antinous since the extermination of the ancient religion 1,300 years before. Albani's secret cult -- assuming it truly existed -- is the only known predecessor since ancient times to the current Religion of Antinous.
On December 15th the Religion of Antinous celebrates the birth of the Divine Lucius Verus, who was born 48 days after the death of ANTINOUS in the year 130 AD (Year 19 of Antinous). As an 8-year-old boy he was hand-picked by Hadrian to become future co-emperor with Marcus Aurelius. And Hadrian's wisdom in choosing him was realized when Lucius Verus proved to be a wise and diligent leader who combined efficiency in government along with a sense of charisma and high-drama style.
A handsome young man with naturally sandy-blond hair, he instructed his team of imperial stylists to sprinkle gold dust in his carefully coiffed hair and beard to highlight the natural blond sheen. Verus led a high-stepping lifestyle and kept a coterie of glitterati, actors and favourites with him. He had a replica tavern built in his house -- a sort of in-house Studio 54 -- where he staged lavish parties with his friends until dawn. He also enjoyed roaming around the city among the population, without acknowledging his identity. The games of the circus were another passion in his life, especially chariot racing.
Lucius Ceionius Aelius Aurelius Commodus Antoninus was the son of Lucius Aelius Caesar, His mother's name was Avidia. After the unexpected death of young Lucius's father, Lucius Aelius Caesar, Hadrian then adopted Antoninus Pius to be his successor, and ordered that Antoninus adopt Marcus Aurelius, Hadrian's 17-year-old nephew, and the 8-year-old Lucius who took the name Lucius Verus.
As a boy Lucius Verus was educated by the foremost Roman scholars including the historian Marcus Cornelius Fronto. He was watched over by a devoted freedman of his father named Nicomedes, a name with Bithynian connotations and of almost homosexual allusion.
Originally Hadrian desired that Lucius should marry Faustina the Younger, daughter of Antoninus, but then Antoninus canceled this arrangement and Faustina married Marcus Aurelius instead. Lucius married Lucilla, the daughter of Marcus Aurelius, in 161 a year after becoming Emperor in 161.
War broke out with the Parthians and Marcus Aurelius sent Lucius Verus to head the Campaign, but he is said to have spent his time drinking and banqueting, leaving the war in the capable hands of his generals. It was a wise decision. For this victory, he was awarded a triumph.
In general, the duties of running the government were left in the hands of Marcus Aurelius, while Lucius Verus spent his time with actors and musicians, and at the chariot races. He is said to have excelled his eccentric father Lucius Aelius in ostentatiously exhibiting his pleasures on an Imperial scale, much to the disapproval of the stoic Marcus Aurelius. The two co-emperors, however, always maintained cordial relations.
Lucius Verus was born in the year 130, only 48 days after the Death of Antinous. This is of course very important to consider, and certainly must have left a life-long impression of Lucius Verus. Considerations of reincarnation are open for contemplation.
His death in the year 169 was sudden and unexpected, occurring during a military inspection, likely due to dysentery or possibly smallpox, as he died during a widespread epidemic known as the "Antonine Plague". Despite the minor differences between them, Marcus Aurelius grieved the loss of his adoptive brother. He accompanied the body to Rome, where he offered games to honour his memory. After the funeral, the senate declared Verus divine to be worshipped as Divus Verus.
Many people (even modern-day pagans) balk at believing in the divinity of the emperors, preferring instead the Classical deities of the Roman Republic.
Pagans find it extremely difficult to worship human beings as legitimate gods, because they have no believable supernatural powers, it's too obvious. There are other reasons of course, but this is one.
Why not Worship Lucius Verus and Hadrian and Marcus Aurelius and all the Antonines, why not call out to them, why not praise them and declare our loyalty to them and hope for whatever benefit we might gain? The odds seem as favorable with them as with anything else that people call Gods.
For this reason, among others...we turn to ANTINOUS...because he IS a human being...and he WAS deified...ANTINOUS is in every way Both God and Man...we can believe whatever we want about him...but only so long as we do not delude ourselves into thinking that we can placate ANTINOUS, that by worshiping HIM, that we will somehow purchase his good favor...that we will be rewarded for our good faith.
We don't see any harm in asking ANTINOUS to give us the Moon and the Stars and the Beautiful Things of the Land and the Sea...and we are proud to ask ANTINOUS to watch over His People, all the Homosexuals of the World, to protect them and Guide into the Future.
This may seem to be a violation of our personal creed of not asking for fulfillment of our selfish whims...but it is not a violation of that creed...perhaps because it is not for ourselves...and also because we do not expect ANTINOUS to respond in any way or form...it is not so much a response from ANTINOUS Himself that we are seeking, but a Response from the Antinous within Our Hearts and from the Antinous within All of Our Hearts.
It is We who must watch over ourselves and the whole world...through the Power of Antinous Love within us all.
Lucius Verus IS a god and he represents the Power of the Antinous Love which resides within us all.
On December 17th the Religion of Antinous celebrates the life of the Sufi mystic Jalaludin Rumi who dedicated his life to the illumination he received through the love of another man.
The mystic lover and poet Jalaludin Rumi, better known simply as Rumi, was united with his beloved on this day. Born in Afghanistan in 1207 CE, his family moved to Turkey while he was still young. In the city of Konya, not far from the Bithynian birthplace of Antinous, Jalaluddin Rumi established himself as a traditional Islamic teacher.
But then one day he met Shams-e-Tabriz, a wandering Sufi mystic. Shams set Jalaludin free from worldly concern and revealed the inward love of god as expressed through music, poetry and the whirling dance that simultaneously confuses and centers the soul of one who spins.
When Shams mysteriously disappeared, Jalaludin went in search of him, only to discover that Shams was within his own heart.
From that day forward, Jalaludin Rumi became a profound teacher of mystic eloquence whose poetry refers to god as the Lover within. The homoerotic character of Jalaludin Rumi's spirituality, referring both to his love for Shams and his love for god, has ingratiated him to gay men because of the depth and sensitivity and sacred intimacy that his words exude.
Jalaludin Rumi and his Mevlevi Order are the last remnants of the Bithynian-Phrygian ecstasy cults of Dionysus and Attis, and they are distantly connected to the Religion of Antinous, through the mystical charge of homoerotic spirituality.
Jalaludin Rumi expressed total love, proclaiming that all religions were one. And on the day of his funeral, his bier was followed by a procession made up of representatives from five different faiths.
We sanctify Jalaludin Rumi as a Saint in the Religion of Antinous. He died on December 17th, 1234.
The dance of the dervishes is where the Mysteries of Antinous come from.
Try it yourself, as we have done...start spinning...discover the Antinous-Column at the center of the spin...and step into it, perfectly, and then simply spin and spin...forever...turning and turning until there is no more you, no more more Antonyus Subia, no more Hernestus, no more Uendi, no more anybody...just a brilliant clarity of light in the night sky...and you will know that you have entered the Dark Star Heart of Antinous, that you have become a god.
It isn't personal godliness that is the point of worshipping Antinous...and it isn't about imitating Antinous...or even about leading a better life, a more meaningful life...or getting to know Antinous better...or having some kind of a personal relationship with Antinous...or finding some kind of salvation through Antinous...or earning a place on the Sacred Boat...or going to the Sacred Star after you die.
Rather, the meaning of HOMOTHEOSIS is the realization that Antinous has always been inside your heart, and always will be inside your heart...and that he is in the heart of all Gay People everyone, of every kind and type and sort...who have ever lived and who will ever live...whether they call themselves gay, or use some other word...or no word at all. The whirling dance of the dervishes is a key to the door of the Mysteries of Antinous.
On December 28th the Religion of Antinous celebrates the life of Saint Edward Perry "Ned" Warren, who died on this day in 1928. Estranged and ostracized by "decent" socialites, Saint Ned Warren was a famed gay Bostonian art collector who virtually single-handedly built up the collections of the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art and Boston Museum of Fine Arts through his passion for Classical art.
As a sissified schoolboy who suffered the taunts of bullies, he wrote a poem comparing a classmate in whom he was infatuated to the beautiful Antinous.
He and his lover John Marshall travelled around Europe seeking out and buying art treasures for great museums. They were referred to snidely as "the bachelors of art" among society circles in Britain and America. But Warren was so fabulously rich, and museums depended on him so much, that nobody dared say anything to his face about his blatant homosexuality. His gifts to the Boston MFA made up 90 per cent of its Classical collection, one of the finest in the world.
Even so, he found puritanical Boston deeply disagreeable, and spent most of his life in England when he was not at his apartment in Rome.
The famous Warren Cup and Rodin's statue The Kiss are just two of the most well-known objects he rounded up -- both of which were rejected by museums in Britain and America as being too raunchy. Museum curators feared museum-goers could be lured into thinking unwholesome thoughts.
Warren in fact actually commissioned the The Kiss from Rodin, explicitly saying he wanted large genitals on the man. To this day, photographs of the famous statue tend to avoid a full-frontal male view for that very reason.
The Warren Cup is a solid silver goblet which dates back to the 1st Century CE/AD and was found near Jerusalem. It is believed that it was deposited along with other valuables (some gold coins, jewellery and other precious items) in a cache by the servants of a fleeing Roman nobleman during one of several Jewish uprisings. It is even possible that it was buried during the uprising that was crushed by Hadrian's legions. The cup itself is considerably older, and may date to Republican times. And it is done in a retro-style which was a bit archaic even when it was new.
As the photos demonstrate, the Warren Cup shows two scenes (one on each side of the cup) of a man and a youth having sex on a couch. The silverwork is exquisitely done and the hair and draperies and facial expressions are beautifully rendered. It also reflects a bit of tongue-in-cheek wit by showing a servant boy peering curiously around a door frame at the lovers.
On one side a young man (barely more than a boy himself) is having his way with a young boy. On the other side, an older man with a beard is having anal sex with a younger man who is seated on top of him and holding onto what appears to be perhaps part of the drapes of a canopy bed. A servant looks on from the doorway off to the right side.
Saint Ned is believed to have purchased the Warren Cup from an antiquities dealer in Italy.
His efforts to sell it to museums in London and the U.S. were rebuffed.
The Warren Cup's unabashedly gay sex theme is impossible to ignore. The cup has been controversial in the art world ever since it first came to light in the 19th Century.
For many, many years, museums on both sides of the Atlantic refused to obtain it (despite its unquestionable value as a remarkably important historical piece of art) because of Victorian and Edwardian moral objections to its "immoral and beastly" theme.
At one time a curator for the British Museum was interested in acquiring the Warren Cub.
But other experts reminded him that one of the members of the board of directors of the British Museum was the Archbishop of Canterbury. The result was that museum officials were loathe to show his reverence even a photograph of the cup, let alone ask him to condone purchasing it for the collection.
So the cup languished in Warren's personal collection for many years and changed hands many times after his death, never ever being put on public display.
The British Museum finally purchased the Warren Cup for a large sum in 1999 -- and even then there was much titillation in the tabloid press.
Ned Warren wrote extensively about his views that homosexuality is a spiritual state of being, something divinely magical. Taunted as a schoolboy for being a bookworm and a sissy (he would get up at 5 a.m. to read Greek until breakfast), he nonetheless had many crushes on other schoolboys. He wrote about them all in his diary, and even wrote a poem about one especially beautiful boy whom he called a modern Antinous.
As an adult, he continued to proclaim his notion of idealized homosexual love, much to the distress of his family in Boston.
He even wrote a book entitled The Defence of Uranian Love about the same time that Oscar Wilde's The Picture of Dorian Gray was published. He also used his wealth to sponsor the educations of numerous boys and young men who showed promise but had no money.
He was very generous and had a big heart. For example, he heard that the daughter of a vicar in his district in England had become pregnant out of wedlock and was going to be forced to give up the child. Saying "this is as bad as Boston," he was so outraged that he legally adopted the little boy himself. He allowed mother and son to live upstairs in his home in England at his expense and loudly defied anyone to besmirch her honor or that of Travis, the little boy.
Ned Warren and his lover John Marshall had a stormy, on-again off-again relationship, but they were together at their flat in Rome in February of 1928. On the evening of the 15th, John went to bed early not feeling well. Ned tiptoed in later and kissed him good night and got in bed beside him. John was dead by morning.
Ned never recovered from that blow. He returned to England, where his health declined rapidly. Saying he couldn't face Christmas and New Year's without John, he died in a nursing home on December 28, 1928, at the age of 68.
He was cremated on January 1, 1929, in London. But because he had always been open about his homosexuality, no members of his family attended the funeral and none of the museums that had benefitted so much from his largesse sent a representative to the memorial service.
We honor Edward Perry "Ned" Warren, 1860-1928, who wrote a poem likening a boy he loved to Antinous.
On December 31st the Religion of Antinous commemorates the Apotheosis of Aelius Caesar.
Hadrian adopted Lucius Ceionius Commodus Verus, and called him Aelius Verus Caesar.
It was said that beauty was his only recommendation. His poor health soon overtook him and Hadrian is reported to have said, "We have leaned against a tottering wall and have wasted the four hundred million sentences which we gave to the populace and the soldiers on the adoption of Commodus."
He died on the Calends of January in the year 138 -- only a few months before Hadrian -- from an overdose of medicine given to help him make a speech to the Senate thanking Hadrian for the succession.
After Aelius Caesar's death, Hadrian adopted Antoninus Pius (September 19, 86 - March 7, 161) on the condition that Antoninus Pius adopt the younger Lucius Verus and Hadrian's great-nephew by marriage, Marcus Aurelius (April 26, 121 - March 17, 180).
Marcus later co-ruled with Lucius as Marcus Aurelius until Lucius' death in 169, at which time he was sole ruler until his own death in 180. Collectively, they are remembered as the Antonine Dynasty of emperors who ruled wisely over a period noted for its peace and prosperity.
In his classic text The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, 18th Century historian Edward Gibbon considers the reign of the Antonines, as well as those of their predecessors Nerva, Trajan and Hadrian, the height of the Roman Empire, after which time the empire began its inexorable decline.
Aelius Caesar is a major character in Marguerite Yourcenar's epic historical novel Mémoires d'Hadrien (Memoirs of Hadrian).
Lucius, as we affectionately call him, is the recipient of much bittersweet love and adoration from followers of the Religion of Antinous. For us he represents so many pretty young men whose bright futures are thwarted by tragic illness.
Aelius Caesar is often called the Western Favorite, because of the possibility that he rivaled Antinous for Hadrian's love.
We venerate Aelius Caesar as the fallen Prince of Flowers, the spiritual twin brother of Antinous whose death is the end of the Saturnalia.
JANUARY SAINT OF THE DAY