Queer I Stand
The Elder in the Mirror
". . . never be misled by others. Whether you're facing inward or facing outward, whatever you meet up with, just kill it! If you meet a Buddha, kill the Buddha. If you meet a patriarch, kill the patriarch. If you meet an arhat, kill the arhat. If you meet your parents, kill your parents. If you meet your kinfolk, kill your kinfolk. Then for the first time you will gain emancipation, will not be entangled with things, will pass freely anywhere you wish to go." ~ Lin Chi Lu
The title of this particular installment of "Queer I Stand" may sound like some strange and spooky Lovecraft tale of eldritch horrors summoned by the sickening light of gibbous moons. But, even independent of the column being nothing like that, the title also captures something that I suspect is a lurking and dreadful fear in the bottom of many people's hearts, including my own. Let me explain.
Here at Patheos, most people associate November with the secular holiday of Thanksgiving. (I associate it with the Natalis Antinoi, the visit to the Colossoi of Memnon, and International Trans Day of Remembrance . . . but only a very small number of others also do.) Patheos bloggers and columnists have been asked to write about the elders or teachers who have inspired us most and for whom we are thankful. I'm very mindful at all times of giving thanks to those who deserve it, and who have impacted my life in a variety of important ways. The acknowledgement sections of my books, and even footnotes of some of my articles, attest to this mindfulness and spirit of gratitude that, I think, is at the heart of every spiritual path. Giving thanks, whether to gods, ancestors, land spirits, animals and plants, spiritual teachers in one's lineage, or one's community is an inherently religious activity that forms the basis for most ritual and the marking of most holy days. Any form of spirituality that moves away from this sort of activity probably does so at its peril.
And yet, when I look at my own spiritual path and my devotion to Antinous, I don't see a long list of potential advisors, seniors, and teachers who influenced me in it directly. A great deal of my success, and all of my failures, have not been under the guidance of others, but instead under the guidance of Antinous and the gods associated with him, and under my own most divine nature and its inspirations.
Two individuals ended up leading me to my Antinoan devotional path; and yet, neither of them really taught me much along the way. I was (and remain) very grateful for the friendship and peerage that I shared with one of them, and still share (despite the fact that the individual in question is now an atheist). While I cannot forget the role of the other in my devotional life, his presence was more of a hindrance than a help, and was often more of a bane than a balm in pursuing a useful, effective, and productive path in devotion to this god and his associates. Under his influence, the modern cultus of Antinous was becoming a cult of personality, rather than a cultus of divinity. It was for that reason that I decided to schism from that original movement and group that I helped to found, and to strike out on my own with the Ekklesía Antínoou—though I was not alone in that endeavor for very long.
Since then, I have gone on to do many of the greatest things I have yet done in terms of my public and private devotions with Antinous: writing my blog (as well as this column at Patheos!), publishing six books, holding regular rituals and workshops at PantheaCon and one at the Esoteric Book Conference, initiating people into Antinous' Mysteries, creating alliances with a variety of other groups, and in various other ways providing both online and in-person spiritual community and activities for interested people.
P. Sufenas Virius Lupus is a metagender and a founding member of the Ekklesía Antínoou (a queer, Graeco-Roman-Egyptian syncretist reconstructionist polytheist religious group dedicated to Antinous, the deified lover of the Roman Emperor Hadrian and other related gods and divine figures). E is a contributing member of Neos Alexandria and a Celtic Reconstructionist pagan in the filidecht and gentlidecht traditions. Follow Lupus' work on the Aedicula Antinoi blog.