Queer I Stand
Thank You for the Mystai
The third group for which I'm very thankful is another one who shares a ritual bond with me and with the Ekklesía Antínoou through the rite known as Communalia. These are, in essence, the "tribal allies" that we have made over the years, and others that we intend to make in the near future but with whom we have not yet solemnized our vows, and I mean that quite literally. As I mused with one of the leaders of one such group several months back, it is like a marriage of sorts between groups, and an agreement that we would "share our underworlds" with them to a degree—not that such is our only duty to one another, but that it is one aspect of what ends up happening. This is why we solemnize our vows in the Communalia ritual over pomegranates or pomegranate juice, which is connected not only to the myth of Hades and Persephone, but also to Hera, one of the goddesses of marriage. I'm grateful to have shared this ritual with Hrafnar, Come As You Are Coven, AMHA, Sharanya, and House Thyrsatrae, and I look forward to doing so in the near future with the Circle of Dionysos and Neos Alexandria, as well as other groups.
Finally, I'd like to recognize one individual that has proven more important and influential in my own practice over the last two years than perhaps any other, and who is not only someone I count as a friend, colleague, and co-religionist, and who is also a Lupercus in the Ekklesía Antínoou (as are many Mystai and individuals with whom we've done Communalia), but who is also the head of House Thyrsatrae and thus my sworn tribal ally through Communalia: Anomalous Thracian, whom I often refer to in passing as "my Thracian colleague," and which we've joked should be appended as initials after his name, to wit, "Th.C." I wish him well, and my thoughts and prayers are always with him, and I only regret that I cannot do more for him at present than he has for me over the years. But one thing that I have learned with him is that having a debt to another person is not necessarily a bad thing: to wish to re-pay a debt and then have it erased is to wish that the relationship created by such debts did not exist.
It is just such an understanding of "debt" that lies behind the reciprocity inherent in relationships between deities and their human devotees, and thus it is a kind of debt that is good and positive to accrue for polytheists. This is something that our modern world, with its synonymizing of "debt" to "financial difficulties" and all of the abuses and corruption inherent in the financial sectors of government and society, does not currently have the capacity to understand remotely, which is all the more unfortunate. This is a variety of debt that should not be the cause of guilt or remorse, but instead a source of gratefulness and a reason to magnify one's thankfulness all the more.
So, to all of these, and to many more, I am eternally grateful, I am especially thankful, and I am in their debts in ways that I never intend to see erased from the records—just as I am to all of my deities, the spirits of the land where I live and was raised, the heroes, Sancta/e/i, and ancestors, and especially to the god and hero Antinous.
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.