Calliope

MagickalArts

December, 2017

enLIVenING with the Muses

 

 

Creativity is my passion and the inspiration of the Nine Greek Muses has touched my life and those within it profoundly. This energy set the stage for my pursuit of a classical ballet career, ignited my love of music and stimulated my hunger for great literature. Heeding their call to inspiration has been the fertile ground from which the seeds of the efforts of my writing have blossomed and grown into a continual source of pride and joy in the sharing. With the coming of the Spring and the creativity of God and Goddess ready to reveal itself the call of the Muses is strong and clear in its intent to inspire; ready to awaken and weave their magick within all who answer.

This is the first of a series of articles about the Nine Greek Muses of inspiration and their impact on magickal and mundane practice. Their gifts of music, art and literature became the tools of expression that have continued to be the means through which humanity interacts, responds and finds resonance with our surroundings and others. And, my hope is that you will find the place of resonance within yourself as you embark on a journey of creative exploration with me. 

The Nine Muses were Greek Goddesses who ruled over the arts and sciences and offered inspiration in those subjects. They were the daughters of Zeus, Lord of all Gods, and the Titaness, Mnemosyne, who was the personification of memory. The Muses have appeared throughout history and the development of cultural and artistic ages in varying numbers and attributes. Homer refers to them as one Muse and as many Muses, living on Olympus. Plato lists eight muses connected with eight mythical spheres. And, the Greek poet, Hesiod whose epic poem The Theogony relates the Greek Cosmology and order of the Gods, refers to them as the nine daughters of Zeus and Mnemosyne, who were born in Pieria, which is described as watered by the springs flowing from Olympus.

“Them in Pieria did Mnemosyne (Memory), who reigns over the hills of Eleuther, bear of union with the father, the son of Cronos, a forgetting of ills and a rest from sorrow. For nine nights did wise Zeus lie with her, entering her holy bed remote from the immortals. And when a year was passed and the seasons came round as the months waned, and many days were accomplished, she bare nine daughters, all of one mind, whose hearts are set upon song and their spirit free from care, a little way from the topmost peak of snowy Olympus.” (ll. 53-74) 1.

Mnemosyne, gave the babies to be cared for by the Nymph Eufime and taught by the God Apollo. Reaching adulthood, the Muses were so inspired by the arts taught them by Apollo that they chose to dedicate their efforts towards the inspiration of mankind; not wanting to be burdened by the normal cares of the immortals. It is thought that Zeus created the Muses as a way of making mankind forget the actions of wrath and terrible force of the Gods upon humanity distracting with song and praise their deeds and gifting the inspiration of Divine artistic pursuits to mankind. Reading further from the Theogony gives some indication of that idea.

“There are their bright dancing-places and beautiful homes, and beside them the Graces and Himerus (Desire) live in delight. And they, uttering through their lips a lovely voice, sing the laws of all and the goodly ways of the immortals, uttering their lovely voice. Then went they to Olympus, delighting in their sweet voice, with heavenly song, and the dark earth resounded about them as they chanted, and a lovely sound rose up beneath their feet as they went to their father. And he was reigning in heaven, himself holding the lightning and glowing thunderbolt, when he had overcome by might his father Cronos; and he distributed fairly to the immortals their portions and declared their privileges.” (ll. 53-74) 2.

Regardless of the original intent, the Muses are considered the source of knowledge that was orally passed on through the ages and their Divine lineage from Mnemosyne insured that what inspired would forever be remembered and held in mind’s eye for future use through the vehicles of literature, science, music and dance. Living at Mount Helicon (Elikonas), the site of a former Temple of Zeus, the Muses sang and chanted the great tales of the Gods and their father Zeus that humanity would remember and take delight in the retelling of  these stories that would become the great myths.

Come thou, let us begin with the Muses who gladden the great spirit of their father Zeus in Olympus with their songs, telling of things that are and that shall be and that were aforetime with consenting voice. Unwearying flows the sweet sound from their lips, and the house of their father Zeus the loud-thunderer is glad at the lily-like voice of the goddesses as it spread abroad, and the peaks of snowy Olympus resound, and the homes of the immortals. And they uttering their immortal voice, celebrate in song first of all the reverend race of the gods from the beginning, those whom Earth and wide Heaven begot, and the gods sprung of these, givers of good things. Then, next, the goddesses sing of Zeus, the father of gods and men, as they begin and end their strain, how much he is the most excellent among the gods and supreme in power. And again, they chant the race of men and strong giants, and gladden the heart of Zeus within Olympus, the Olympian Muses, daughters of Zeus the aegis-holder.” (ll. 36-52) 3.

The use of the word “Muses” as name for these Deities is derived from the Greek word “mosis” which relates to the desire or wish (for something). The words “museum” and “music” are based upon the name Muses. Each name holds a repository of meanings that have been expounded upon and are in use today in varied forms, but all with a singular intent of other-worldly or Divine inspiration. The Nine Muses are:

Calliope, the muse of epic poetry.
Clio, the muse of history.
Erato, the muse of love poetry.
Euterpe, the muse of music.
Melpomene, the muse of tragedy.
Polyhymnia, the muse of sacred poetry.
Terpsichore, the muse of dance.
Thalia, the muse of comedy.
Urania, the muse of astronomy.

Their influence is seen and has been lauded in the creation of poetry, music and paintings. Often the poets or bards would begin their stanzas with praise to the Muses telling of their beauty, grace and potency of creative product. During the period of the Renaissance, which was typified by its prolific and inventive energy, all artists openly and freely acknowledged the Muses’ as part of the creative process. The devotion and gratitude that was offered to the Muse(es) was repaid in kind with a continual stream of ideas and artistic expression.

In the style that was typical of ancient writers and artists, one of my first actions in beginning any creative project is to call upon the appropriate Muse(es) to catalyze the action. My offering is one of devotion and the promise of integrity in how that creativity is used and distributed. The finished product is offered to the Divine in gratitude and request is made that it be of likewise inspiration to all who experience it. And, so I begin this journey of the Nine Muses with you, the reader, as my companion and seeker of the magick of inspired creation hoping that you too, will be equally blessed by the flow of pure beauty.

The next post will focus on Calliope and her gifts of epic poetry.

Resources:

1. Hugh G. Evelyn-White.The Theogony of Hesiod (Translated).1914
2. Hugh G. Evelyn-White.The Theogony of Hesiod (Translated).1914.
3. Hugh G. Evelyn-White.The Theogony of Hesiod (Translated).1914

 

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About the Author:

 

 

Robin Fennelly is a Wiccan High Priestess, teacher, poet and author. She is the author of:

 

The Inner Chamber, Vol. One

It’s Written in the Stars

Astrology

 

The Inner Chamber, Vol. Two

poetry of the spheres

Qabalah

 

The Inner Chamber, Vol. Three

Awakening the Paths

Qabalah

 

For Amazon information, click image below.

 

 

A Year With Gaia

The Eternal Cord

 

Temple of the Sun and Moon

Luminous Devotions

 

The Magickal Pen, Volume One

A Collection of Esoteric Writings

The Elemental Year

Aligning the Parts of SELF

 

The Enchanted Gate

Musings on the Magick of the Natural World

 

For Amazon information, click image below.


Sleeping with the Goddess

Nights of Devotion

 

A Weekly Reflection

Musings for the Year

 

Her books are available on Amazon or website and her Blogs can be found atRobin Fennelly 

 

Follow Robin on Facebook and on Instagram

 

MagickalArts

August, 2015

The Eloquence of Calliope

This month I offer a look at one of my favorite muses, Calliope. Enjoy!

The Muse, Calliope is the oldest of the Muses and according to the Theogony of Hesiod was foremost of the muses. Holding this preeminence, suggested her creative gifts were many with specific association with music and song and is often depicted playing the harp in early art work. In many mythological tales, Calliope is the mother of the Bard and player of the lyre, Orpheus. Calliope’s gifts of eloquence and music moved through her child Orpheus, considered to be the greatest musician and poet of Greek mythology having the ability to stir the emotions of God and man, alike into passive acquiescence.

As each of the Muses was later parceled out as representation of specific skill set, Calliope was assigned as the muse of Epic poetry. Her name means “beautiful voiced” and it is this quality that enhances her representation as a being of great eloquence; using that gift in the crafting of beautiful and emotionally evocative poetry. It was this gift that she offered to the Kings so that they may speak with power and authority in a manner of clarity and preciseness and it was this eloquence that she brought as judge to the dispute of the Goddesses Aphrodite and Persephone over Adonis.

“Aphrodite hid the newborn child, Adonis, in a chest, which she gave in charge to Persephone, queen of the nether world. But when Persephone opened the chest she was beheld by beauty of the baby, so she refused to give him back to Aphrodite, although the goddess of love went down herself to the Underworld to ransom the baby Adonis from the power of the dead.

The dispute between the two Goddesses of love and death was settled by Zeus, who decreed that Adonis should abide with Persephone in the underworld for one part of the year, and with Aphrodite in the upper world for another part. When he stayed in the underworld, it was winter. When he returned, the Earth blossomed into spring and summer.” (Greek Myths and Stories)

Later attributions depict her with pen and tablet and designation specifically as the muse that inspired the Iliad and the Odyssey of Homer. In Greek mythology, Calliope is linked to Ares the God of War and Achilles, to whom she taught rowdy drinking songs. She had two sons by her mentor and teacher, the God Apollo and by all accounts her beguiling gifts of creative inspiration, word and song weave through many of the Gods and Goddess myths.

As is the case with many of the Muses, Calliope’s name is used is association with a similar attribute of representation by an object. The Calliope is a musical instrument that produces sound by sending a gas in the form of steam or compressed air through large tubular whistles. These tubes were originally part of the whistles found on large locomotive engines. The sound emitted was typically very loud and piercing, often being heard for miles. Unlike most musical instruments, there is no way to vary the tone or loudness relying solely on the interval of time between notes and their individual length. It was for these reasons that the Calliope was most often used as the advertising tool to let the community know that the Circus, an epic event, was coming to town.

This reference to a sound-producing instrument of this sort and magnitude and its use in calling attention to what would be multiple acts (or stanzas) of adventure, excitement and peril that formed the comprehensive story of man overcoming physical limitations (think of the aerialists and acrobats) and taming the beasts themselves (think of the animal trainers).

When we call to the Muse, Calliope we are calling attention to the many stories and adventures we have encountered in our life’s journey. The valiant successes and the epic failures are all waiting to be codified and through the gift of eloquence, we find the gems of our most beautiful and meaningful way of expression. This may take the form of journaling the experiences in prose. Going back later and reading through that epic phase of your experience and ultimately being inspired from its telling and sharing of what has served to move you forward. It may take the form of a beautifully written poem, pouring heart and soul onto paper, guided by rhythm and rhyme, semantic and syllable. And, in this way unraveling the mysteries of your hidden feelings word-by-word, line-by-line like so many layers of paint on a fine work of art. Each important to the larger picture crafted, yet transparent in their uniqueness and need.

In my own work, I call upon Calliope to inform my writing and stir the flow of creativity, but especially when I am writing a pathworking. A pathworking is much like the epic poem. It stimulates and serves as key to your personal journey into unknown territory that will provoke a response and set of challenges along the way that ultimately lead you to a new land, new perspective or new form and way of being.

** Excerpted from a series of articles, “EnLIVEening the Muses” from my blog the Womb of Light (Sage Woman Blogs at Pagan Square).