A Source of Inspiration
J'Nelle Holland -- April 10, 2006
O Muse, shine your light of inspiration on your devotee,
That truth spring forth from heart, mind and voice.
If Men are from Mars and Women are from Venus, where are Muses
J'Nelle gives us some pointers on courting your Muse.
Every artist needs inspiration -- that perfect mix of mental stimulation and creative excitement. The gift of inspiration comes from a sacred spring that flows with ideas. Its liquid genius brings germinating seeds to life.
And who is at the source of this font? According to Greek Mythology, nine Muses possess the awe-inspiring powers that have influenced artists, writers, inventors and politicians from ancient times till now. They are: Calliope, Euterpe, Clio, Melpomene, Thalia, Terpsichore, Erato, Urania and Polyhymnia -- all infinite sources of wisdom and creativity.
The Muses have supported many famous writers including Dante and Shakespeare, both of whom evoked the Muses with a few lines of poetry when beginning their masterpieces. "He is happy who the muses love", recorded the ancient writer Hesiod.
So how do you get the Muses to love you? You go a-courting.
You might begin by building a shrine to them like the one Pythagoras built in Croton, with the intention of creating civic harmony and learning. Or perhaps like the one in the circle of scholars at the Alexandrian Library. To stimulate your imagination visit a current muse shrine, a museum. The word museum derives from the root word muse. Museums are sacred spaces of the Muses, because museums are public displays of knowledge and the arts. Building a shrine is a proven way to cultivate the Muses' attention. Letting them know that you love them is the first step to being in their good graces.
To deeply love requires intimate knowledge of the beloved. You must get to know your muse, what she likes and what pleases her. Each muse possesses unique qualities that vibrate on particular frequencies.
If you're a poet, writer or storyteller then your devotions would best be served by approaching Calliope. With a wax tablet and pencil in hand, she's considered the epitome of eloquence and is associated with the full moon. When the moon has completed its cycle, the end is fulfillment. A petition to Calliope must have at least a vague image of the completed project.
Euterpe is the muse of music, song and voice. She is seen playing the flute -- filling a hollow reed with the breath of melody. The spirit of Euterpe is everywhere music is. In order to receive her blessings try surrendering your body as a vessel, allowing your own melodic voice to come through your art.
Clio is the muse of memory and history. She's known as the 'bestower of fame' and cherished by those who want personal and professional success. Those remembered by Clio will be etched in history, recorded on her scroll.
The dramatic muses are Melpomene, muse of tragedy and Thalia, muse of comedy. Their symbols are the hauntingly common masks of comedy and tragedy. Surely Shakespeare spent ample time cavorting with these divas, as they melded his extraordinary skills with divine inspiration.
All the Muses are depicted in ancient art as singing and dancing, but one muse, Terpsichore, possesses the power to transmit those talents to humans. Those who can hear Terpsichore's lyre are truly blessed. Song and dance reveal one's innermost emotions, a pouring out of soulful expression.
Erato is the muse of erotic poetry. She represents sensuality and plucks the strings of a tiny lyre that lies in the heart of the lover. Courting Erato arouses amorous feelings and has aphrodisiacal effects. Courtiers must be accurate when petitioning this muse, because the attraction of Erato has a penetrating effect.
Depicted caressing a celestial globe, Urania is the muse of divination, metaphysics and psychology. All muses possess the gift of prophecy, but Urania is the divine repository of this wisdom and knowledge. To access her well of information, requires deep delving into the psyche and divine guidance from this muse.
Polyhymnia is the veiled muse of sacred poetry, often seen in a meditative state. Her divinity is of the purest and thus deserves acute devotion. Sacred poetry is praise and adoration, a desire for the divine presence to linger among us. Artists and writers must serve this muse with appreciation and gratitude for the graces bestowed upon them.
All the Muses are eternal springs of imagination, insight and initiative. According to Robert Graves, these nine muses are but facets of the great White Goddess, the divine source of inspiration and inhalation. She is the creator of creators.
When artists court the Muses, we direct our intentions to the qualities that we seek. We look for what we lack to be reflected by the heavens. When the Muses bless us we soar to new heights in art and literature. If our intentions are pure and our hearts open, we may be fortunate enough to join those that have preceded us, the dazzling stars of the arts.
Anytime is right to visit with your muse. Invite her into a personal shrine that you create. Layer it with a foundation of respect and honor. Decorate it with symbols of beauty and power, with items and images that denote lofty aspirations. Make offerings of candles, flowers and your favorite drink. Sing to her with eloquent and adoring lyrics. Be present. Feel her presence. Then trust that your muse will come parading into your being, bearing fruits and showering you with brilliant beads of inspiration.