Tuesday, May 26, 2015

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 West End Theatre District of London. And so it is fitting that Knight Stephanos (pictured right with Her Imperial Highness) explains her Sacred Significance to us:

"Reg Bundy and his creative spirit, through HIH Regina Fong, reminded us all that we mattered as gay people, that we mattered, and that being just who we were was were our strength laid as a culture.
"I knew Regina Fong between the years of 1989 and 1995, a time when contracting the HIV Virus was a virtual death sentence. We witnessed scores of wonderful gay men fall to aids. Regina Fong (and more importantly his non-drag persona Reg Bundy) was a pillar of hope with his sarcastically witty way of keeping up stiff-British-upper-lips during some incredibly dark times.
"If Reg could keep up a brave face in such a scary time, then all was not lost. I had many conversations with Reg in the old front bar at the Black Cap. Surrounded by the dregs, gutter street characters and top-notch West End talent that would congregate, Reg held court and parlayed the latest gossip and told stories of how it was to be gay in London before it was legal.
"He was a Romantic at heart, a Dreamer and a Bitch, who always left you with something to think about, cry about or laugh about. There are many things that are a fog to me about London in those far-off days. But Reg Bundy I always remember as clear as a bell. 
"I assumed Reg would live for ever. It is surreal to me that he is gone, But I know his spirit lives on, looking down from some corner of the Black Cap and many other pubs in London, and even right here in Hollywood, California, keeping watch and holding court, drinking vodka-and-tonic — being a beacon in dark times — and a Gay Saint Always."

Monday, May 25, 2015

YOUR ONLINE ANTINOUS SHOP



ANTINOPHILES who have despaired of finding Antinous-related items for their homes, cars and work places can breathe a sigh of relief. 

One-stop shopping is just one click away at the online TEMPLE OF ANTINOUS SHOP

This shop features official Antinous articles selected and designed by FLAMEN ANTONIUS SUBIA personally.

If you admire the artwork of Antonyus, then order your own posters of his hand-picked favorite paintings and photographs.

A wide range of T-shirts is available, including classic "T", fitted "T", ringer "T", sleeveless, long-sleeve and baseball jersey — in up to nine colors, depending on the style and design you prefer.

The handy Antinous Tote Bag is a must-have as is a wide array of Antinous lapel buttons and refrigerator magnets in various sizes and designs.

Naturally, there are coffee mugs — and even an official Antinous beer stein appropriately adorned with the well-known Subian portrait of Antinous/Dionysus.

One of our favorites is the Antinous Keepsake Box, available in red-mahogany or black, with a tile cover portrait of the Louvre's breath-taking Ecouen Antinous. This roomy box is perfect for any home shrine or altar and is the perfect jewelry box.

And of course the ever-popular Antinous bumper sticker (at the top of this entry) provides the Beauteous Boy's blessings on any vehicle.

All items are ordered with safety and guaranteed efficiency through cafepress, which has a sound reputation for speedy delivery around the world, with secure payment in all major currencies.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

ROSE PETALS CASCADE THROUGH OCULUS
OF HADRIAN'S PANTHEON IN ROME



ON Sunday, May 24, 2015, red rose petals will cascade through the oculus of Hadrian's Pantheon in Rome.

The event commemorates the ancient Roman spring festival as well as Christian Pentecost.

Rome firefighters scaled the 43-meter-high dome to pour the rose petals through the 9-meter-wide oculus "eye opening" at the top of the historic building.

The ceremony, suspended for many years, was revived in 1995. It dates back to the earliest days of Christianity when the falling rose petals symbolized flames of Pentecostal enlightenment showering down on the faithful.


Saturday, May 23, 2015

DO YOU WANT FRIES AND A SHAKE
WITH THAT ISICIA OMENTATA?



THERE's a theory that the Romans introduced the hamburger to Britain, and that theory will be put to the test on Hadrian’s Wall at the weekend.

Specialist group Taste of History will be using a 1,500-year-old Roman recipe for what very much looks like a modern burger.

Visitors to Birdoswald fort at Gilsland on the Northumberland-Cumbria border will be able to sample the result from 11am-2pm on Saturday. Roman Centurion Joe Jackson (photos courtesy THE CHRONICLE) will be on hand to help flip burgers.

English Heritage may be tempted to temporarily change the fort’s name to Burgoswald as the Roman group cooks up its Magnus Macus.

Food historian Dr Annie Gray, said: “We all know that the Romans left a huge mark on Britain, fundamentally altering the British diet forever.

“Street food became available en masse, including Isicia Omentata, what can be seen as the Roman forefather to today’s burger.

“This ‘burger’ was decidedly more upmarket than many of today’s offerings, and is richer and more complex than the plain beef version most common today.”

There would have been plenty of demand in Roman times with constant traffic along the Wall between forts, garrisons of up to 1,000 men at some of the bases and a cosmopolitan mix of people from across the empire.

There were also the civilian settlements outside some of the forts.

It has long been known that the Romans brought fast food joints ... or thermopolia as they called them ... to Britain.

A recipe from the surviving ancient Roman cookbook, Apicius, details an item called Isicia Omentata which comprises minced meat, pepper, wine, pine nuts, and a rich fish based sauce called GARUM, all formed into a patty.

This is what will be served up at Birdoswald for the first time in many centuries.

The pattie will be cooked over an open fire and served in a bun for visitors to decide for themselves whether the Roman burger beats its modern day counterparts.

Frances McIntosh, English Heritage curator based at Corbridge Roman site in Northumberland, said: “This weekend visitors to Birdoswald Roman Fort can have a taste and decide for themselves whether the Romans brought the first ‘burger’ to Britain.

“Having access to convenient food was vitally important as they patrolled the frontier.

“Garrisons in the fort did not have the mess halls we see in modern military bases and they would probably have taken the opportunity to save time cooking by buying fast food.

“At Corbridge there is evidence of open fronted shops which may have sold such food.

“We know that the Romans imported items like fish sauce and wine to Hadrian’s Wall.”

The sauce was made by fermenting fish, including innards. But Taste of History is playing safe with a pasteurised Vietnamese fish sauce with added vinegar.

Friday, May 22, 2015

HOME ALONE IN ROME
HADRIAN FACES LIFE WITHOUT ANTINOUS


TODAY the Religion of Antinous commemorates the day in the year 131 AD when Hadrian returned from the journey to the East alone ... without Antinous ... with only his circle of companions as comfort. 

He came back to Rome a grieving and broken man. The man who had spent his life traveling would never leave Rome or his Villa again. The remaining years of his reign would be marked by moodiness, capriciousness and a protracted conflict in the East.

But this sad ending was also a bright beginning ... the beginning of the new religion, a religion which was to incorporate all of Hadrian's hopes for a Hellenistic civilization based on love of art and beauty.

As Antonius Subia has written: "The Return of Hadrian to Rome is when the seed of the old religion of Antinous was delineated and implemented, and it is sacred as the occasion when the proliferation of images began. Hundreds of these images remain and are the guiding star of the New Religion of Antinous."

It was also at this time that the sacred precinct of the Villa of Tibur known as the Canopus with its long colonnaded pool was constructed, which is believed to be an architectural allegory of the Nile and the Divine Mystery of Antinous.

This day marks a turning point in the saga of Hadrian and Antinous. Hadrian returns to Rome a prematurely old and sick man. His active years died with Antinous. He sets about trying to cement his legacy.

A part of him died with Antinous. A new part was born.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

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."

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

PALMYRA FALLS TO ISLAMIC MILITANTS
ITS TREASURES NOW IN SERIOUS DANGER



DAESH Islamic State militants swept into the desert city of Palmyra in central Syria on Wednesday, and by evening were in control of it, residents and Syrian state news media said.

The sad victory over this city which Hadrian and Antinous visited in its heyday gives DAESH another strategically important prize after the group devastated art treasures at Nimrud, Hatra and Nineveh in recent weeks.

PALMYRA, with its grand complex of 2,000-year-old colonnades and tombs, is one of the world’s most magnificent remnants of antiquity.

In the 3rd Century AD, Palmyra was so prosperous, that its queen Zenobia launched a revolt against Rome. She conquered Egypt before being defeated and taken as a hostage to Rome by Emperor Aurelian. 

But for the fighters on the ground, the city of 50,000 people is significant because it sits among gas fields and astride a network of roads across the country’s central desert. 

Palmyra’s vast unexcavated antiquities could also provide significant revenue through illegal trafficking.

Control of Palmyra gives the Islamic State command of roads leading from its strongholds in eastern Syria to Damascus and the other major cities of the populated west, as well as new links to western Iraq, the other half of its self-declared caliphate.

As they have swept across Syria and Iraq, Islamic State fighters havedestroyed or damaged numerous ancient sites and sculptures, condemning them as idolatry in slickly produced recruitment films, even as they pillage and sell off more portable items to finance their activities. 


That has raised fears both locally and internationally that Palmyra, a United Nations world heritage site, could also suffer irrevocable damage.