Commentary on Hymn XXX

This hymn is new to the sequence and is published here for the first time. It was composed in early 2019; the events of 2020 have made my intention in its words even more fervent. First the hymn, and then the commentary:

Hymn XXX: To Antinous and Melinoe at the Apocalypse
Join together, beloved of Hadrian, daughter of Persephone,
join together in holy union, the bride upon the lap
of her groom, upon the rod of his beauty, face to face.
Join together, fairest of gods, brightest and darkest
of goddesses, copulate in love and desire, lip to lip,
breast to breast, phallos in kteis. Let the pleasure
build and swell, let the power rise within.
Let the juices gather and fall, the red and the white,
the semen of a god, the honey of Aphrodite,
let them fall on this age of the world, O purify us.
Let your love and joy and ecstasy dissolve
all hatred, greed, and fear. Let your orgasms
break the towers of the mighty and the chains
of the oppressed. Let your cries of pleasure
drown the speech and deafen the ears of liars.
Let a rain of sexual juices wash away the lust
for power, the thirst for domination, the safety
of those who dominate and punish. Let all
who will not rejoice in your union be dissolved
by your joy as by fire and acid. Fuck now
and bring about the end of this age of the world.

Vajrasattva with Consort

The background of this hymn is complex. Its imagery derives from Tibetan Buddhism and the practice of Vajrasattva, the cosmic buddha who presides over purification. In the most basic form of the practice, one visualizes Vajrasattva above one’s head, beaming down purifying rays of light as one chants his mantra of one hundred syllables. In advanced forms, however, one may visualize him as depicted in the image above, sexually united with his consort (a female buddha of equal wisdom and attributes), and the purifying light that descends is imagined as the fluids of their copulation pouring down into one’s energy body. The light from above, however envisioned, floods through the meditator and pushes all negativities out of the lower orifices of the body. Paradoxically, the impurities that humans purge serve as the purifying light and nectar for lower beings.

In this hymn I thus envision Antinous and his consort coupling, and their sexual fluids purifying not just one individual but the world. The concept of Antinous having a female consort, however, is my personal gnosis, at least partly shared with and verified by a few other people in the Naos.

Several years I wrote and blogged a short story that started with a simple premise: What if Hel, goddess of the dead to the Germanic peoples, came to visit Hades, god of the dead in Greece, while Persephone was away from the underworld visiting her mother? I am not a planner when it comes to writing, so I had no idea where the story would go when I began with that idea, a meeting of two underworld deities. It led to the birth of Melinoe, a goddess known to us only from the Orphic Hymns.

According to the Hymn addressed to her, Melinoe was begotten on Persephone by her father Zeus, only he deceived her by disguising himself as her husband Hades. Melinoe is described in obscure language which describes her as two-natured or two-bodied or half light, half dark and seems to say that she brings nightmares or hallucinations to mortals. At the conclusion of my story, little Melinoe is sent away to foster with Hel in her domain of the underworld, to protect her from any action that Zeus might take against her.

A couple of months later, I found myself thinking about an adult Melinoe being brought home from the North by Antinous in his Boat of Millions of Years. Once again, I started a story with no real plan other than to introduce these deities to one another as fictional characters. I soon realized, as I started to write their interactions, that, to be blunt, they wanted to bone. And that, on some level, if I wrote them a sex scene or a romance with sex, it would happen.

I consulted another Antinoan friend to divine for me. What did the gods in question have to say? Was I allowed to write them a sexual relationship? The answer my friend gave me was, “Yes, you can do that. But if they have sex, it means the end of the world.”

Somewhere in the past four years, I reached a point where the End of the World began to seem like a very desirable thing. Because I don’t mean the end of the cosmos, or the universe, or nature, however you want to call it. I mean the end of the saeculum (in Latin), or the aion (in Greek), or the wer-old, in Old English, the age of man–the end of our culture, our civilization, our paradigm. To quote the song that was used in the opening scenes of Independence Day, “It’s the end of the world as we know it, and I feel fine.”

I am sharing this hymn publicly for the first time after nearly 200,000 deaths from COVID-19 in the United States. After a string of natural disasters in Puerto Rico, the Midwest, and Louisiana (remember Hurricane Katrina? Laura is forecast to be worse). While fires rage in California and the incarcerated men who had been the principal (barely paid and unhonored) defense against wildfires are dying of the coronavirus. While the virus continues to spread, the federal government continues to withhold guidance or resources, right-voting citizens are protesting the virus (as if that resists it?) and black citizens are still protesting being shot by police, who continue to meet protests with armed force and to shoot unarmed black citizens–

Yes, I’m quite ready for this Age of Man to end. I’ve spent much of my life imagining and writing about alternatives, ways to build a better future, saner and more loving ways to live. The sexual union of a god identified with gayness and an obscure goddess who is the child of an incestuous rape seems like the perfect catalyst.

I have come to know and love Melinoe since her first appearance to me in my own fiction. She accompanied me through my initiation into Antinous’ Mysteries and has helped me through the difficult times that followed. She has not so much given me strength as called forth the strength I didn’t know I had. The agenda she has shown me is, basically, smashing the patriarchy, creating a new world in which no child shall be born under the same conditions as she was–the product of rape and incest, threatened almost from birth by her own family. And she is quite happy to bring nightmares, a bad death, and an afterlife of punishment to sexual predators, while at the same time helping and empowering their victims.

If you’re just plain tired of all this fucking shit–and believe me, I can find no words less vulgar that are adequate–join me in praying to this unlikely pairing of divinities to purify us by their erotic raptures and help us to create the world we want, a world not under the knee of white cis-male predators and exploiters. It’s possible. Love and desire burn hotter and cleaner than hatred.

The end of the world as we know it

It really is, you know.

Because the world after this pandemic isn’t going to be the same as the world before it. I don’t know what it’s going to look like, but I am certain it’s going to be different.

The word “apocalypse” literally means unveiling. In a way it should only be applied to a genre of literature, writing that, like the Revelations of St. John, reveals what is to come. Yet arguably, the author of Revelations didn’t see his text as a prediction of the future; he saw it as an unveiling, an expose, if you will, of the reality of the world he lived in. He was trying to say that that world belonged to God and the Lamb-who-was-slain, the victorious resurrected Christ, and not to Caesar. He was trying to tell his small, isolated congregations that their fearful house meetings for worship were participation in a celestial and cosmic liturgy that had no end.

Our current apocalypse is revealing a lot of things, some good, some ill. It is revealing how we really are all connected, via airplanes and other forms of transportation, via television and other forms of popular culture, via the internet and all its resources of information and news and social media. Those global interconnections mean someone can get on a plane in China and get off in the United States and bring a virus with them, yes; they also mean that I can communicate with friends who live in England or Italy, the Midwest or the West Coast, or even Australia. I think our global interconnectedness is good, on balance.

It’s also revealing just how much wealth, how many resources, are being selfishly hoarded by those who don’t need them, who are now reluctantly loosening their grip just a bit, now that the need is dire, and even if they are motivated less by genuine compassion and kindness than by the desire not to look like they actively desire people’s deaths. (Yes, I admit, I am thinking the worst of some people. Not going to apologize.) There are, of course, a few billionaires and world leaders who seem not to care if they do look like they want the poor and disenfranchised to die. I hope we remember who they are and what they did when this pandemic is over.

The pandemic is revealing that most people want to help their neighbors, that scientists want to solve problems and improve conditions, that artists want to share their work, that even introverts (like myself) need face-to-face, embodied human contact, that our animal companions are an even bigger blessing than we thought. The pandemic is revealing that a few, a very few people are genuinely selfish, caring only for themselves and what they can grasp–and they are outnumbered.

It’s the end of the world as we have known it. I am grieving the deaths, I am raging at the selfish bastards making it harder for the rest of us, but I am also tending and treasuring a tiny spark of hope because we can build a new world, and the hands that build it, the minds and hearts, will be numerous, more diverse, more creative than ever before.

POEM: Hymns for the Forest God #23

If the world ends, he will still be here.

Gods are hard to kill, and he is one of the oldest.

He will still roam the forest that sometimes 

sheds its leaves into this world, but has its roots 

in another. He will still shepherd the wild things, 

the fox and the wolf, the rabbit and the deer. 

In the silence of a world without human voices, 

he will remember how we sang. He likes to hear us 

singing. His birds taught us our first songs.


But the Forest God would be much happier if we don’t 

destroy the world, if we listen to the song he is still singing, 

accompanied by bird and beast and leaf, the song that 

rocked our cradle in the earliest of our memories, 

a song about gods and humans, animals and plants, 

mushrooms and mysteries dancing all together, 

the angels dancing, too, and the faeries, and 

our ancestors, and our children, and all the stars 

and planets, all of us in the eternal spiral dance 

that will still go on, only poorer for our absence, 

if we try to destroy the world and destroy ourselves.

FIC: “Be like the Rose”

Image by Josch13 from Pixabay

Be like the Rose (3903 words) by MToddWebster
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Andrew Hozier-Byrne (Musician)
Rating: General Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: OMC/OFC, The Musician/The Lady of the Roses
Additional Tags: Inspired by Music, Fairy Tale Elements, Fairy Tale Style, Roses, Apocalypse, Musicians

“Be there just as you stand, or be like the rose that you hold in your hand, that will grow bold in a barren and desolate land, and lover, be good to me.” –Hozier, “Be” from his album Wasteland, Baby!