Home > Books, paganism, Spirituality > Some Thoughts on the Syncretisms of Antinous

Some Thoughts on the Syncretisms of Antinous

I had planned on making this a full review–and I still do–but this is probably going to turn into a series of posts of thoughts and ramblings. Mainly because, well, this is such an excellent book, and I just have to talk about it.

The Syncretisms of Antinous is written by P. Sufenas Virius Lupus, who runs Aedicula Antinoi. I was very happy to get a copy of this book (and signed!), and be able to read it probably in a time when this sort of what I like to dub “bibliotherapy” (more on that later!) is much needed.

Anyway, I do want to do a full review on it. In short, it is an excellent resource for people who want to learn more about queer history and queer divinity (something that is sorely in need of more attention in various polytheist circles!), and it sets up a skeleton basis for people who want to learn the various different routes for connecting to this deity–or rather even, allowing him to connect with you even. One of the things I do enjoy about Lupus’s work is that he covers both the academic and spiritual aspects of the topic at hand and combines them rather nicely.

Another thing I greatly enjoyed was putting syncretism in its proper place. I’ve seen syncretism all too often conflated with eclecticism–the two are not the same thing and it all too often irritated me the poor scholarship and extreme ignorance by which many recon polytheists will write off or broadbrush its validity. In doing so it also ignores the very dynamic idea that yes–the deities we experience are also people too. They aren’t just figures written down in books, myths or on papyrus. If we are polytheists and if we believe that our gods have ontological status in the universe, and in our own lives, then we cannot say that they are merely static, two-dimensional beings that will remain within set parameters as dictated in a myth, period in history, or holy book.

Lupus in fact, articulates this much more efficiently than I did in the postscript of his book on creative syncretism itself. This particular quote really hits it home for me:

“Gods of the classical world certainly don’t seem to have any difficulty contacting people here, and gods of elsewhere in the world (India, Japan, Africa, etc.) seem to have done likewise. This being the case, the idea that any pantheon of deities is, somehow, existing in closed corridors or in a divine conclave that just hovers above their own devotees and never even has a window open on its divine neighbors is, in my mind at least, ludicrous.

I definitely concur with this statement. I’ll even get out my own UPG flag for a moment and declare that, in my personal experience, I have seen this to be the case. But more on that later. For now, I’m going to log back offline and lay low. I am currently going through a very severe withdrawal from antidepressants. My body is now remembering what serotonin feels like, and it is actually rather unhappy with the feeling right now. I’ve also been experiencing a crazy streak of bad luck with regards to health and sanity in general. I think this is very much in the department of Ordeal(TM) and Divine Wake Up Call, the details of which are probably not going to be related too much here on this public forum, as they are a personal nature. They are, however, par for the course for a critter such as myself, doing the things that I do.

Anyway, more on this book, and more on Antinous I hope, very soon.

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  1. June 2, 2011 at 4:06 am

    Thank you for posting this! I’m glad you’re enjoying it!

    Else-internet, I’m having a conversation with someone who is involved with another super-syncretistic deity, and he’s finding a lot of the insights I have about syncretism to be useful and applicable to this other deity as well; as Antinous, Serapis, and various other such super-syncretistic deities did all exist alongside one another during late antiquity, there’s a lot more connections between them and their basic modes of operation than one may at first realize.

    In any case, I’ll look forward to your further thoughts on the matter when you have a moment! And, I will pray and hold you in my thoughts on your continued withdrawal difficulties, and hope they improve very soon…

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