Thursday, September 11, 2014

Who's Your Muse?

Nine Greek Muses

Just about everyone has felt the need to create or make something. I write, Husband makes furniture, my mother plays the piano. And usually we refer to our "muse" speaking to us, guiding us, pushing us. Sometimes, we say our "muse" has left us. Yet, do we know who these wily women are and where they come from?

Muses come from Greek mythology. Supposedly, Zeus sweet-talked Mnemosyne and slept with her nine consecutive nights. The result were these nine daughters. Which is an important lesson to all young women that they should not get all weak when flattered by an older man. But that is a different story. Anyway, Mnemosyne gave her daughters to the nymph Eufime and the God Apollo to raise and to educate.

The muses worked together on some things and singularly on others, but they are responsible for the arts and sciences. So, who are they and what did they do?
  • Clio - Invented dramatic history and the guitar.
  • Euterpe - Invented musical instruments, courses, and dialect.
  • Thalia - Invented dramatic comedy, geometry, architectural science, agriculture, and the protector of symposiums.
  • Melpomene - Invented dramatic tragedy, rhetoric speech, and the island Melos.
  • Terpsichore - Invented dance, the harp, and education.
  • Erato - Protector of love, love poetry, and weddings.
  • Polymnia - Invented geometry (along with her sister) and grammar, and the protector of divine hymns and mimic art.
  • Ourania - Invented astronomy, and the protector of celestial objects and stars.
  • Calliope - Protector of heroic poems and rhetoric arts. She is the superior muse.
So who do you blame for abandoning you or pushing you? Depends on your art. Perhaps you'd have a couple of muses, or more, inspiring your creative impetus.

What I find MORE interesting is that the muses were women. They are at the same time an inspiration (how many love songs and poems have described a woman as an inspiration?) and a relentless nag. Is nagging and inspiring the same thing? What's the saying? Behind every great man is a pushy woman. So... behind every great artist/writer/musician/woodworker is a muse? Seems right to me.

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