The New Religion of Antinous

The modern Religion of Antinous was inaugurated on October 30th 2002 in an effort to promote the belief and worship of Antinous as a Gay God, after nearly 2000 years of silence and repression, so that Antinous will again be worshiped by gay people everywhere in the world.

Love for Antinous is the only feeling expected of one who wishes to participate in the Religion of Antinous. It is possible to actively join a group or seek formal membership and recognition as a worshiper of Antinous, but this is not required, one need only worship Antinous however they choose, as best they can in order to be considered a member of the world wide faith.

A Priesthood has been established to officially serve Antinous in formal ceremony. Participation in the Priesthood of Antinous requires a certain demonstration of faith, a period of study, and a face-to-face consecration. The priesthood is intended to serve as a modern embodiment of the ancient priesthood which once served the Temples of Antinous, however the priesthood is not to be regarded as an authoritative body above the general believers and worshipers of Antinous.

There is no one uniform system of Antinous worship, there is no particular creed that is required for membership or affiliation within the official Religion of Antinous, now known as Religio Antinoi, but also once known as Ecclesia Antinoi. The modern religion has no direct contact with the glorious past, and is without sure and verifiable direction in which to follow, so it is generally believed that there is no way to completely conform to the beliefs and traditions of the ancient cult of Antinous. Most evidence of what the ancients actually believed has vanished, leaving only fragmentary traces. What this means is that based upon the evidence, one who loves and worships Antinous is free to worship him however they wish, in whatever form they choose. While this does not mean that one can never be criticized or questioned, it does require that no person should be rejected because of the nature of their beliefs by persons of authority on the subject of Antinous spirituality.

The beautiful statues, and the few words that have survived the ravages of time, are all we have to guide our way. We can see from the various ways in which Antinous is portrayed that his religion held a general unifying theme...which was perhaps that beauty was sacred and divine. Indeed, all that is known of Antinous is the mythological image that Hadrian communicated for the benefit of the populace. The true Antinous, the boy who was born in Bithynia, died in the Nile, the boy whom Hadrian loved, is almost completely unknown to us, beyond the innate spiritual impression that he makes upon our soul. The true Antinous belongs to Hadrian alone, and we have purposely been given a beautiful, heroic god in his place.

This is why it is so important that we are left free to believe in Antinous as our heart should please. There is no sacred dogma or creed from which we cannot deviate. There are many images of Antinous, any one of which can become the true Antinous for us.

The initial impression that one is left with when confronting Antinous is that his religion was Greek in form, and that he represented the Greek preoccupation with divine perfection as demonstrated by the naked body of a beautiful young man. This is indeed a central spiritual theme, but in no way is it the limit of his faith. Antinous took on the Pantheistic character of the great dome temple that Hadrian built in Rome for the worship of all the gods. Antinous was many gods in one, but he was likewise none of them. Antinous was and remains to this day, an unprecedented god comparable to all, but like no other. These deities, to which Hadrian purposefully compared his beloved Antinous are a glimpse into the heart, mind and nature of the true Antinous. They must be understood, but they should never be thought of as the limit, or even the rule. That almost nothing is told of the true Antinous is the sign of a mystery. Antinous is always accompanied by a train of veiled specters, the more one begins to comprehend him, the more this escort of mysteries crowd around him, revealing that in truth we know nothing about Antinous at all.

Osiris was the first god to whom Antinous was compared because he had died by drowning in the Nile. Hadrian simply followed the example of the Egyptian priests who began to venerate Antinous in the form of a saint, however Hadrian took their beliefs a huge step further and made Antinous a world wide religion. One can therefore worship Antinous in the traditional manner of the Egyptians, as a god of fertility, and inheritor of the power of Osiris over death. The death of Antinous is received as a sacrifice to maintain the balance of Maat.

In the Greek manner, Antinous is primarily worshiped as the New Dionysus, god of the vine, of drunkenness, of ecstasy, and liberation. He was worshiped by artists, actors, poets, and musicians. This Dionysian aspect of Antinous also takes into account the court of deities that accompanied the wine god, including Pan, Liber, Bacchus, and Priapus, the god of the Phallus. This free-loving, indulgent, sensuous, beauty-adoring path of abandonment, shakes away the restraints of old age and the progress of society in favor of the total liberation of the individual in a state of perpetual youth.

The more dignified aspect is Antinous-Apollo, guardian of civilization, Antinous-Apollo is more deeply concerned with the virtue of civilization. This is the perfect image of the naked divine Youth, a symbol for the perfection within mankind to which we are all capable of ascending, through philosophy, reason, and logic. One finds the socially conscious aspect of this religion, the ways in which Antinous can be used to elevate the consciousness of the individual in society. Those who seek to benefit our world with wisdom and grace follow this face of Antinous whose statues have always stood in the sanctuary of Delphi on the slope of Mount Parnassus. Antinous speaks through visions, dreams and the understanding of oracles. One who loves Antinous seeks after wisdom and learning, and after the enlightenment of all that is veiled in darkness and ignorance.

Antinous is the lover within our hearts, the origin of our desire for beauty. Antinous is the beauty of mankind. He is Eros the god of love, the most powerful and charitable of all gods, the one who fights against death, and draws human beings together. All gay admirers of beauty in the world are following after the image of Antinous-Eros in their heart, as they see him in the faces of the world. Antinous-Eros brings poetry to the world, he our fantasy and our torment, our joy and our agony, Antinous is always our desire.

The mystery of the Star of Antinous is Ganymede who is the spirit of the Age of Aquarius. He is the cup bearer of the gods who pours the wine of eternal life into the vessels of the immortal beings of light. He is youth and gentleness, innocence and play. Carried up to heaven in the arms of the eagle, Antinous-Ganymede is the essence of the Gay Soul, he is the ancient emblem of homosexuality, and when embraced, Antinous-Ganymede is the soul of the believer, who is likewise uplifted when he has tasted the sweetness of his cup of ever-lasting gay love.

Antinous-Narcissus is the inner Antinous who is our true inner identity, the spark that fell from beyond the cosmos, the fire that burns at the ground of our soul, giving rise to the heat of life, the quickness of our limbs, the illumination of our dreams, and the unknowable urge that compels us to look up to the stars in search of god. This is the one who draws us to seek the divine nature within ourselves. The image of Antinous-Narcissus is the beautiful face of the unknowable, that which lies beyond the confines of our dark universe of empty space, sprinkled with galaxies. Within each of us is the image of a perfect face gazing down upon its own beauty in a mirror-pool of water. We are all reflections of this perfect image, trapped at the bottom of an abyss of misunderstanding.

The Religion of Antinous is a way and a guide to reunite with the immanent perfection that inhabits our spirit. The knowledge Antinous brings, that we are all reflections of transcendent beauty capable of rising up from the obscurity of our birth to become gods by drowning in the Nile that flows within our veins, the same river that flows through the Milky Way, leading us to the Black Star of Antinous, is what this religion represents. The unseen star is a gateway from our world of death and decay to the beauty of perfection that lies beyond the cosmos and is the dwelling place of secret fire.

Antinous accomplished the sanctification of Homosexuality by conquering death and opening the way for our passage to bliss and perfection. To partake of this mystery one has only to call upon Antinous within themselves, and to remember him by the repetition of his name. By so doing one slowly begins to free the spirit of Antinous that inhabits our spirit, one is set ablaze from within. The mortal parts that encircle the soul are burned away leaving the spirit free to rise up and become one with Antinous in body and in soul. This mystery is called Homotheosis. In order to find this one must learn to keep the mind focused on the sacredness of homosexuality…it is a beautiful flower that we carry in our hear…we must treat our homosexuality as a sacred, precious thing that cannot be touched by the concerns of day to day life…love of men is something that cannot be touched by the troubles of the world, no matter how miserable circumstances may become. The flower is the Antinous-light that we carry inside our heart…we must regard our inner self as belonging to Antinous beauty…perhaps even as a true image of Antinous…We Are Antinous…therefore, we must treat ourselves and others as one would treat Antinous…with love, respect, veneration and sacredness.

In order to participate in the Religion of Antinous it is advisable to actively worship Antinous and study Antinous spirituality, and Gay spirituality in general. One can approach Antinous as a Gay God, or as a God comparable to other gods, or as an extension of other spiritual beliefs or practices. One can also approach Antinous in a non-spiritual way, as one might venerate a heroic historical figure, as a role model, or figurehead for one's belief in Homosexual virtues, or as an emblem of gay beauty.

The Modern Religion of Antinous is a gay spiritual movement, and while it is not officially a re-constructive group dedicated to restoring the ancient religion in a modern context, such a pursuit is entirely acceptable. However it is also acceptable to venerate Antinous in a completely modern context, or in a pantheistic fashion, or even in a manner that is entirely without a religious, spiritual context.

The focus of the Religion of Antinous is to answer the proclamation of Hadrian when he declared Antinous to be a God and ordered that temples and sanctuaries should be constructed for the veneration of Antinous for all eternity. The memory of Antinous was entrusted to us, to Gay Men throughout the centuries, to protect and watch over the divinity of Hadrian's beloved Antinous. For these reasons, we have inaugurated this religion to worship and serve Antinous, and perpetuate his faith, and also to search for the meaning of Antinous within ourselves and in the world around us, and to help others find the meaning which love of Antinous brings into the heart of Gay People everywhere.

May the Beauty of Antinous be with us all.