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.
First off for the morning, The Red Lotus Library is now live, with its first book, The Syncretisms of Antinous. Go click the link and grab it! I’m going to do so as soon as I am able. I must admit I don’t know enough about this deity as I should, so I am greatly looking forward to cracking it open once I have it in my hands.
There are also some great discussions in the comments regarding Lupus’ follow-up post on Spirit Day. Well worth taking a look, as well as some of the links provided by Phil Hine, such as this one, this one, as well as this, which offers an alternative view. Then there is also mention of “ostentatious caring”–something that really does happen quite often within the Pagan “community”, as was pointed out. I think I may have to pick up this book for further reading.
It is also today that I am introducing my “Sacred Scavenging” category. As some of you readers may know–but many may not–I collect and work with a wide variety of animal remains, old relics and other assorted objects. I also plan to be taking up taxidermy, especially now that I’ve acquired my own separate workroom/ritual space for such things. I will also be taking classes for my hunting license this fall, if all goes well. I understand that such things aren’t for everyone–but I expect that people reading this journal will conduct themselves in a mature manner with regards to expressing their opinions and thoughts. I do not expect everyone to agree with me, but inflammatory comments about my practice will not be approved, and you will not be offered the satisfaction of a response.
In any case, I look forward to introducing such things to this blog. I plan on stepping up posting here. I am vastly behind on the writing I told myself I was going to do, and this must change.
It’s part of the Bibliotheca Alexandrina and it is now out, you can get your copy right here. Mine arrived in the mail yesterday, I didn’t get a chance to go through it in depth yet, but it looks good. I hope to do a more in-depth review of it once I’m finished!