The stars and schedules happened to align last weekend: I took a big step to be proactive and meet up with fellow pagans offline! I almost didn’t go; I’m pretty shy when going anywhere, and I get lost very easily. Yet I’m glad I did. What comes next is simply my thoughts on meeting up with fellow pagans, and writing to sort them out.
When I found out that P.S.V. Lupus was going to be in the neighborhood, so to speak, I felt I shouldn’t pass this chance up! Lupus was giving a presentation and simple ritual of the Ekklesia Antinoou, hosted by Sacred Well Ministries in Redmond. I’ve been following Lupus’ blog, Aedicula Antinoi from last year, when I was beginning to explore my spirituality more deeply instead of standing in the “Cafeteria Catholic” line. I’ve enjoyed following Lupus’ blog posts on es* own and Patheos. Also, the god Antinous is one whom I’ve not run across often in my pagan research. I felt like I was learning much about him straight from a devotee’s direct experience.
So in the middle of a Saturday night downpour in the Puget Sound (because the rain doesn’t stay in Seattle, ha!), I drove down the 405. The trip was a little nerve-wracking–the lanes were clogged with construction, and the rain made me feel I was trying to drive through a bathtub! Not to mention fellow drivers, argh.
Nevertheless, I was able to reach the venue just in time. There were a few other people present from other pagan groups, and Lupus gave me a very kind welcome. 😀 Lupus then gave a condensed, yet clear history of the Ekklesia Antinou’s founding, its gods and sanctified beings (there was a word for this…), its celebrations, and a little of es own journey as a devotee to Antinous.
Then…a ritual for the Trophimoi!
Color me awkward, I’d completely forgotten there was going to be one. Lupus had explained that the Ekklesia has its roots in Greek, Roman and Kemetic/Egyptian syncreticisms; I have no background whatsoever in these traditions. I felt a bit like a tourist, not from being made unwelcome by anyone, but from realizing I had come unprepared and unfamiliar with nearly everything. Luckily, the next thought in my head, was therefore, I was there to learn. That thought was extremely specific in hindsight. Also, I learned that the Ekklesia Antinoou know how to have fun in ritual. I will never forget that rendition of Hadriane!
I would have been happy just watching Lupus lead the ritual, for being able to learn other ways of creating sacred space. (Which was awesome all on its own, especially how to give offerings to multiple gods. I would try it that way in the future.) There was certainly a lot of energy; Lupus and other Mystai?/Myste?? felt that the gods had certainly arrived and therefore didn’t have to build “the Obelisk”. I believed them, there was already a ‘fullness’ in the air. The Prayer Against Transphobia was very powerful; it’s different to read it to oneself, versus hearing it out loud in the presence of the gods.
Yet there was one point where there was a ‘breakthrough’ and for a moment, I wasn’t a stranger.
Lupus read aloud one of many poems e composed, and I thought, “I know that poem. From the blog!” I was really happy I could recall some of it. And maybe that happiness wasn’t just my own, because I felt something like very heavy air(??) settling on my head. It wasn’t uncomfortable, but it was very hard to ignore. If I closed my eyes it would get *intense* and I worried I’d fall over. What helped alleviate the pressure was imagining my heels rooted to the ground, as I had learned in tai chi class. (Later I found out that this was grounding). During that time, though, I felt very open, happy. Even though I didn’t understand what was going on, it was very okay for me to be there, as I was, at that very moment.
It makes me think. That connection can be made, whether it’s your ‘home’ tradition or not. It depends on the gods, and then it depends on you, whether to reach out. Even if I were letting a door of hospitality/familiarity open a crack, that space is enough to make a connection. I believe this because it also turns out that it was a different poem I’d read last month than what Lupus had been reading. My knowledge was mistaken, yet it was enough to let me open up and reach out.
Sadly, the evening was cut short due to the venue’s scheduling mishaps. I also had to head back home, and I wasn’t sure how long it would take with the rain and possible accidents…
I’m glad I made it out to meet Lupus and other pagans, and will hopefully meet them again in the future. Even though I didn’t know what to expect, it had been worth it to find out. Perhaps Antinous was glad too? On the way back, I asked myself if that time had been enough, short as it was. A car in front of me changed lanes as I asked. It had this license plate: ANT****.
Hmm. Yes. I took that as a yes.
*Not a typo. Lupus refers to emself in Old Spivak Pronouns, which is gender-neutral language.