However, in the process of working with previous groups on this matter, my ability to teach and to be a Doctor properly speaking was severely diminished, both by my own limitations and by those within the group. To be a doctor implies that there is a doctrina, a set of teachings, which one can impart to others. But, what were they? And, if one puts that formulation of doctrina from Latin into Greek, the word which one ends up with is doxa, which is at the root of words like "orthodoxy." I have maintained from long before I became the Doctor of Antinous that orthodoxy does not have a place in modern Paganism or any form of polytheism, and I continue to uphold that viewpoint, as do many other modern Pagans. It's one of few truisms that almost everyone agrees upon in modern Paganism, in fact. As a result, I was a Doctor without a doctrina, which is a very bad position to be in . . .
And yet, looking at the Greek word more closely, it does not simply mean "teaching," nor anything that has to do with notions of rigidity or necessity. Doxa means "opinion," "judgment," "notion," and while it can sometimes mean "expectation," or even "glory" and "renown," the emphasis in many of these terms is, in my opinion (!?!), one of profound subjectivity. As a result, it is an entirely appropriate term in which to base one's spiritual understandings, and upon which to build particular spiritual teachings. How deities reveal themselves to a person, and how a person comes to formulate their understandings of them, is the very essence of doxa, and thus of doctrina and ultimately of the work of a Doctor who teaches these particular things in relation to a certain deity.
I have tried to be an educator in as many ways as possible as a fulfillment of my role as Doctor, both in-person and through the virtual environment (in my blog, in this column at Patheos, and in other online contexts), and through my published writings. All of these are potential locations in which teaching and learning can take place, but recently, I decided that I needed to do this in a more direct and explicit fashion. When one puts out a blog post, any number of people may read it, and any number of them may or may not get something out of it. In this, one's teaching role is relatively passive, as is the potential learning role that one plays in consuming such a production.
So, to make my role more explicit, and to play it more fully than I have in the virtual environment previous to now, I've created the Academia Antinoi program, in which I'll be teaching correspondence courses on Antinous, syncretism, reconstructionism, and other topics (including Irish and more generally Celtic matters, lycanthropy, and the Enneagram in the future!). I'm excited to be doing this, and to be bringing my knowledge on these matters into direct service of both Antinous and of other interested people. I will be both the magister and the minister for others in this process, and it feels at last "right" that I am doing so. I had always hoped to have a kind of "temple school" at some point in the future; and while temples are still lacking, the school does not have to be, I finally realized.
It is profoundly ironic to me, and a little bit embarrassing, that the one very most direct thing I could have done to fulfill my role as Doctor on a constant basis was the one thing that I thought I couldn't do, or that I often thought that I shouldn't do, as a result of various exterior—as well as self-imposed limitations that I put on the matter and my understanding of it. What was "true" and "false" about this role was both my own most sincere desires for the role and my own misconceptions of how it would best be executed and what it would mean to execute it. I am amazed at how short-sighted I've been on this matter, after nearly ten years of devotion to Antinous and being in this role, and yet I'm also humbled and honored to be able to do it finally in a way that befits the god as much as he deserves, as fully as I can in my present circumstances.
If we can be as aware as possible of what roles we would like to play, and what roles we are actually playing, in relation to the gods at any given time, then I think we can readjust our ways of being in the world to make our work the "true" work of the gods, and our own truest work in accord with our best nature and highest principles. Fully inhabiting the roles that we choose, and playing them out to the fullest, is what makes any engagement we undertake, and any work that we choose to do, our "true" and right work.