Tuesday, January 17, 2017
THE Etruscans were native to the Italian peninsula, contrary to Ancient Roman prejudices that the Etruscans were barbarians from Asia Minor.
Using DNA fingerprinting, archaeo-geneticists have determined that the Etruscans are more closely related to other Italian peoples than they are to those in modern-day Turkey, former Asia Minor.
In fact, they are genetically identical with the Romans themselves, which would be a slap in the face to any Patrician in Ancient Rome.
The Roman view was that the Etruscans were interlopers who arrived on the shores of the Italian peninsula and had to be crushed by noble Romans.
The Etruscan culture is documented in Etruria, Central Italy, from the 8th to the 1st Century BC. For more than 2,000 years there has been disagreement on the Etruscans’ biological origins, whether local or in Anatolia.
Genetic affinities with both Tuscan and Anatolian populations have been reported, but all attempts have failed to fit the Etruscans' and modern populations in the same genealogy ... until now.
Now a team of scientists led by Guido Barbujani, a geneticist at the University of Ferrara, and David Caramelli, anthropologist with University of Florence, have solved the 2,000-year-old mystery of the origin of the Etruscans.
They extracted and typed the hypervariable region of mitochondrial DNA of 14 individuals buried in two Etruscan cemeteries, analyzing them along with other Etruscan and Medieval samples, and 4,910 contemporary individuals from the Mediterranean basin.
Comparing ancient (30 Etruscans, 27 Medieval individuals) and modern DNA sequences (370 Tuscans), with the results of millions of computer simulations, the scientists showed that the Etruscans can be considered ancestral, with a high degree of confidence, to the current inhabitants of Casentino and Volterra.
But they are not the ancestors of the contemporary population of Asia Minor.
They determined that the genetic links between Tuscany and Anatolia went off in different directions at least 5,000 years ago, strongly suggesting that the Etruscan culture developed locally on the Italian peninsula, and not as an immediate consequence of immigration from the Eastern Mediterranean shores.
Monday, January 16, 2017
THE murder of a 17-year-old gay youth at the hands of his homophobic mother has galvanized worshipers of Antinous in Brazil.
Priest DECUS RIBEIRO says: "Itaberlly Lozano was stabbed to death by his own mother and then his body was burned in a field … solely because his mother said he "brought boys home" with him."
Decus notes that more than 1,000 homophobic murders have been reported in the past three years in Brazil … and the number is rising as Evangelical fundamentalists make hate-speeches against homosexuality.
"It is with solemn grief but also with righteous pride that we, the São Paulo Temple of Brazil, have nominated Itaberlly Lozano as a martyr saint for 2017," Priest Decus said in a statement to his fellow priests in North America, Britain and Europe.
The horrific murder occurred on December 29, but only surfaced this week. The body of the adolescent was found on January 7, charred, in a sugar cane field near Cravinhos, in the interior of São Paulo, and on January 11, the mother and stepfather were arrested by the Civil Police, suspected of the crime.
In a statement to the police, Itaberlly's mother, Tatiana Ferreira Lozano Pereira, 32, confessed to the murder and declared that she "could not take it anymore".
He was killed with three stab wounds in the neck and his stepfather helped to get rid of the body by burning it in a field.
Tatiana's lawyer claimed that the boy was a drug user and had a police record, however, so far there has been no confirmation of that conduct.
According to Itaberlly's uncle, Dario Rosa, he was a hard-working boy, who had frequent quarrels at home because Tatiana did not accept that he was homosexual.
The uncle on the father's side also says that on December 27, the young man decided to move in with him and his paternal grandmother, but after receiving a call from his mother he decided to go home on December 29 … and disappeared.
As if the whole case and its nuances were not shocking enough, Priest Decus reports there have been appalling comments on the news reports by people who defend Tatiana's attitude and justify the crime based on the sexual orientation and "depravity" of Itaberlly.
"The discourse of these people who blame the victim and regard homosexuality as behavior that needs to be punished is symptomatic of how much homophobia and hatred are trivialized by society in Brazil," says Decus.
In a statement from the Hollywood Temple of Antinous, Flamen ANTONIUS SUBIA condemns the martyrdom of Itaberlly and says: "May Antinous hold him in his arms as the barque of a million years gently rocks him sleep. Antinous and Hadrian are his loving parents now. Blessed be to him."
Sunday, January 15, 2017
IN Mid-January the Religion of Antinous remembers the arrival of Hadrian and Antinous in the Greek city of Thebes, which is the sacred city of Dionysus ... they were present for the Bacchanalia.
Flamen Antinoalis ANTONIUS SUBIA explains:
"This occasion is sacred as a commemoration of the death of Pentheus, and it is here that Antinous is initiated into the Mysteries of Dionysus.
"Thebes was the first city to which Dionysus brought his blessings in Greece. Only the wise and the foolish were able to comprehend and believe in his power, those who were level-headed rejected him and were driven mad and utterly destroyed.
"So it is with the religion of Anti-Nous, who is contrary to the Mind.
"The initiation into the mysteries of Dionysus, that Antinous received, was in preparation for his departure from the ordered sphere of our cosmos, into the chaos of the dark abyss. We must cast ourselves into the void where Antinous dwells by the side of Dionysus, the stranger-god."
Saturday, January 14, 2017
ON January 14 we mark the anniversary of the birth of one of modern Japan's most famous, controversial, and mysterious gay personalities ... and a saint of Antinous.
Yukio Mishima (1925-1970) is regarded as one of 20th-century Japan's most prolific writers, and was the first postwar Japanese writer to achieve international fame.
Nominated on three occasions for the Nobel Prize for Literature, and author of no less than forty novels, essays, poems, and traditional Japanese kabuki and noh dramas, Mishima’s contribution to Japanese literature was indeed profound.
His samurai-inspired ritual "seppuku"suicide by "hara-kiri" (literally stomach cutting, or disembowelment) and beheading on November 25, 1970, at the young age of 45 marked the end of a life that represented for some, a protest against a post-war Japan that seemed to have lost its traditional identity and values under the tide of mass consumerism, and cultural and political Westernization.
The sharp contrasts between the country he grew up in and the Japan he died in were defining influences in his life, shaping his writings, which often questioned the new Japan and harked for a return to days of old.
Born Kimitaka Hiraoka in Tokyo on Jan 14, 1925, he assumed the nom de plume "Yukio Mishima," cryptically interpreted as "He who chronicles reason," so that his disapproving anti-literary father would not know he was a writer.
It was however his paternal grandmother, Natsuko Hiraoka, who was to have the most lasting impact on his life. A mere 29 days after his birth until his 12th year, Mishima was separated from his family and raised by his sophisticated yet capricious grandmother whose own background and personality shaped his character.
The young protégé was forced to live a very sheltered life in which sports, playing with other boys, and even going out in the sun were off limits. She was the illegitimate daughter of a Meiji era daimyo with familial links to the all powerful Tokugawas and was reared in a princely household, a samurai-influenced upbringing which she did not let others forget and which instilled in her, and by consequence her grandson, a reverence for Japan's past, and the samurai fascination with beauty, purity and death.
Her noble past and yet not so noble marriage to a successful bureaucrat arguably contributed to her frustrations, characterized by violent outbursts and morbid fixations.
Her character had a lasting yet undeclared effect on Mishima’s later works and personality, particularly the insatiable desire for perfection in the mind and body, and the terrible beauty of death at the moment of perfection exemplified by the honored cherry blossom.
Mishima's complexities were not only confined to his writings. A fluent speaker of English, Mishima wore Western clothes and lived in a Western style house while espousing a return to his country’s past values and practices.
Much mystery also surrounds the exact nature of his sexuality, and his frequenting of gay bars such as the now defunct Brunswick bar in Ginza despite a rushed marriage at 33 which produced two children.
Mishima's interest in homosexuality is clearly illustrated in one of his seminal books, "Confessions of a Mask" (1948) where he tells of a man who conceals his true self and sexuality behind a mask of lies and pretense. This book is regarded by many as a semi-autobiographical account of the author's own life.
According to his biographers, he had also considered a marriage proposal to Michiko Shoda, the current empress and wife of Emperor Akihito. Biographers such as close friend John Nathan contend that the tragic writer married not for love but for respectability.
At the earlier age of 30, conscious of the inevitability of aging, and desiring bodily "perfection," he embarked on a strict bodybuilding regime that lasted for the rest of his life.
His longing for a return to a spiritual Japan which respected the bushido (way of the warrior) code inspired his expertise in karate and kendo, martial arts that he contended allowed one to experience the border between life and death.
His extreme nationalist credentials were most notably illustrated in his founding of the Tatenokai (Shield Society) in 1968, a small private army of mostly university students dedicated to the bushido code and the protection of the emperor and the martial discipline of pre-Meiji era Japan.
This dedication was not to Hirohito per se, whom he had criticized for "dishonoring" the war dead by surrendering, and for renouncing his divinity after World War II, but rather to the symbolism of the emperor system for traditional Japan.
On November 25, 1970, carrying with him a longing for a return to lost samurai values, and an obsession with a purifying and beautiful death, Mishima and four of his Tatenokai followers, entered the Japanese Self-Defense Forces (JSDF) headquarters in Ichigaya and attempted a coup d’etat which they hoped would awaken the Japanese from their spiritual and political slumber.
Stepping out onto a nearby balcony, Mishima was ridiculed and jeered as he attempted in vain to rouse the present JSDF members below him to his cause. Realizing the hopelessness of his efforts, the "Lost Samurai" went back inside for his final act of drama.
Positioning himself in traditional Japanese manner on the floor of the office which they had seized, Mishima proceeded to ritually disembowel himself with a “tanto” (a small sword), exclaiming “Long live the emperor” just before a pre-ordained “kaishakunin” (the one chosen to decapitate Mishima) and later one other, made an initially botched but ultimately effective attempt at beheading the famed author.
Debate surrounds Mishima’s motivations. Attempting a coup d’etat with only four other people was almost certainly going to be a failure. Comments made to Western journalists about hara-kiri in his writings some years earlier might be more insightful.
At that time, the author claimed that "spiritually, I wanted to revive some samurai spirit. I did not want to revive hara-kiri itself but through the vision of such a very strong vision of hara-kiri, I wanted to inspire and stimulate younger people."
Friday, January 13, 2017
ON January 13th the Religion of Antinous celebrates the birthday of Aelius Caesar.
Lucius Ceionius Commodus Verus was born on January 13th, 101, most likely in Rome. He was from an old wealthy Etruscan family.
His grandfather, after whom he had been named, had been a Consul and his father a Senator.
(Images by PRIEST UENDI)
Lucius Ceionius was beautiful and elegant, well educated, and was given over to a life of pleasure and voluptuousness.
He was a teenager when Hadrian came to power in 117, and his flamboyant and attractive character was a compliment to his physical beauty that soon gained the attention of the new Emperor.
It is believed that Hadrian and Lucius were lovers during the early years of Hadrian's reign, perhaps for the period of six years prior to Antinous.
When Hadrian met Antinous in the year 123, Lucius was 22 years old, and in keeping with the Greek philosophy of pederastic love, it is very likely that their love affair had transformed into what would become a life-long friendship between the Emperor and his now matured Lucius.
Antinous entered Hadrian's heart just as Lucius was moving on to his responsibilities as a patrician citizen of Rome. There were rumors of rivalry, as spoofed in this cartoon by Priest Uendi showing Lucius left, Hadrian at right and Antinous between them.
While Hadrian was courting the young Antinous, Lucius married Domitia Lucilla and had three children by her, one of which was the later Emperor known as Lucius Verus, who is often confused with his father.
After the Death of Antinous, as Hadrian began to grow ill, his attention turned again to his still beloved Lucius, and on August 10, 136, Hadrian surprised the world by adopting Lucius and declaring him to be his successor.
Suspicions abounded, as the eccentric and delicate character of Lucius hardly seemed appropriate to rule the Empire after such a man as Hadrian.
But there must have been more to Lucius than history has preserved. He assumed the name Aelius Caesar, and was sent to govern Pannonia along the Danube, but became ill and returned to Rome in the winter of 137, where he died on January 1st.
He is remembered and adored as a god, as the brother of Antinous, the twin and second love of Hadrian. We call him the Prince of Flowers.
Thursday, January 12, 2017
ON January 12th, as the Sun moves out of alignment with the STAR OF ANTINOUS, we celebrate the festival of ANTINOUS NAVIGATOR.
Flamen Antonius Subia explains it this way:
"Antinous the Transfigured steps away and The Boat of Millions of Years in One Moment, leaves the shore of the known cosmos, sailing out into the darkness of the abyss on its voyage to the Black Star, the way of the void, where the heaven of Antinous lies concealed beyond the veil of the cloud of unknowing, where he enters the fullness of the Place of Light, and restores the unity of the Aeons.
"This is the Via Negativa whereupon the soul-triumphant is lost in the open space of non-being, awaiting the Dark Bird of Night, the Thunderbird-Phoenix-Eagle that will elevate his heroic spirit to immortality. Only Antinous can guide the Boat of Millions of Years across this expanse of darkness.
"This journey, which ends as it begins, which arrives as it departs, is the eternal heaven which Antinous has accomplished for all those who are his chosen, who answer his call, and who believe in him."
Wednesday, January 11, 2017
ON January 11th Romans celebrated the Ancient Juturnalia Festival.
Flamen Antonius Subia says:
"Juturna, Goddess of fountains, lakes and rivers cleanses Antinous of his mortal remnants and prepares him for his journey of millions of years in one moment.
"In the ancient history of Rome, it is said that the divine twins Castor and Pollux, miraculously appeared in the Forum, watering their horses in the fountain of Juturna, announcing that the Romans were Victorious at the battle of Lake Regillus. Castor and Pollux, came to the side of Juturna and proclaimed the Freedom of the Romans from the tyranny of their Kings.
"We observe the coming of the twins as announcing of the Victory of Antinous over the 72 Archons of the high celestial sphere. His victory is our victory. We observe his ascent and departure from our reality by bathing in our own 'fountains of Juturna' in preparation for the elevation of Antinous to the eternal Black Star."
We like to think of the Juturnalia as representing the hermaphroditic Nile Inundation Deity Hapi (who had embraced Antinous when he plunged into the Nile) now rinsing and cleansing ANTINOUS THE GAY GOD of all vestiges of his earthly mortal life so that he is free to ascend to godhood.