This is an excerpt from “Antinous the Imperfect” by noted author P. Sufenas Virius Lupus. It will appear in the anthology Rooted in the Body, Seeking the Soul: Magic Practitioners Living with Disabilities, Addiction, and Illness. The book will be available this year or in early 2014. If you would like to be notified when it’s ready, contact Tara “Masery” Miller tara.miller21 (at) gmail.com
P. Sufenus Virius Lupus
In March of 2004, I found myself in the hospital in Cork, Ireland, where I was working on my Ph. D. My insulin pump had ceased functioning, and I did not have any backup supplies. Rather than waiting for the morning to arrive to try and see a doctor, get new prescriptions, and start on an injections regime until a replacement pump could be found, I decided to go to the emergency room for some immediate help. This resulted in a five-day hospital stint that was not one of the better medical experiences I’ve had in my life, with doctors and nurses entirely neglecting my wishes and the information I was giving them, and in general helping far less than they seemed to think they were. This coincided with the first occasion on which I was going to celebrate the Apotheosis of Diva Sabina Augusta, the Empress and wife of Hadrian, on March 21st. Being that the hospital was in Ireland, every day the Catholic Mass would be broadcast over the loudspeakers in every room, and a Eucharistic minister came to every room to give communion to everyone. They tried to give it to me on several occasions without even asking, and I refused it every time. When the morning of the 21st arrived, I put in a CD to my Discman, sat on the end of my bed, and meditated as the sun came up. (Despite not coming to check on me at all for hours before that, a nurse suddenly thought there was something wrong with me at that point…!) I drew herringbone symbols—which appear on the reverse of medallions in honor of Diva Sabina—on the first joint of the fingers of both of my hands. It was not the ideal ritual for the occasion that I had in mind, but it was the best I could do under the circumstances, and it actually did make the day a little more peaceful and tolerable for me. It has since become one of my favorite festivals of the year.