erato

MagickalArts

March, 2018

(en)LIV(en)ING with the Muses-The Love of Erato

This the Fourth posting of the (en)LIV(en)ING with the Muses Series

During a weekend in Boston with my daughter while she was at the Boston Conservatory, we went to the Museum of Fine s. We came to one of the hallways and I looked up and saw a beautiful dome painting of the Nine Muses and Apollo by John Singer Sargeant. As I scanned the image I imagined what type of energy would be in abundance as the Muses danced in free abandon around Apollo, God of the Sun. I thought about the sensuality of this energy and the grace and ease with which it appeared each was connected to the other. The feeling was one of being totally lost in the moment, carried by the urge to create, to move and to inspire. I thought about the tales I had read of the lives of the Muses and the Gods and Goddesses and the common thread of pure passion that flowed through even the most desperate of tales. After all, is it not passion, whether it be positive or negative that fuels the will to live. All of the emotions- jealousy, love, anger, mercy, joy and more, have all come into being because of what we see, what we experience and how we translate these emotions into how we live and ultimately how and who we love. 

Painting: Apollo and the Muses John Singer Sargeant (Museum of Fine s, Boston.1921)

I also realized that passion is the motivation that guided my life as a dancer. Passion is what has motivated me in parenting and sharing my life with my husband of 37 years. Passion is what drives me to write, to teach and to make magick. And, through all of these acts of creation, desire and drive, the Muse Erato has been gently guiding me on her path of inspiration.

The Muse, Erato is given the title of Muse of Erotic poetry and Mime. Her name means “the lovely” or “beloved” and is derived from the Greek word, Eros meaning “intimate love.” This derivation connects her to the Greek God, Eros whose nature was to stimulate sexual desire and attraction. As a Muse, her work of inspiration is not simply through poetry and lyrical verse, but ore specifically, erotic poetry that stimulates the senses and charms the attendees into romantic liaison. 

The Greek Epic poet, Apollonius Rhodius calls upon the gifts of Erato to aid in the writing of the journey of the Argonauts and their quest for the Golden Fleece. The passion of youth and the desire to conquer all worlds and any obstacle for the object of their desire flows through many of the epic tales and in the Argonautica we read the author’s invocation to Erato to infuse his epic with her gifts….

“The poet invokes Erato as he begins the tale of the love of Jason and Medea:] Come, Erato, come lovely Mousa (Muse), stand by me and take up the tale. How did Medea’s passion help Iason (Jason) to bring back the fleece to Iolkos (Iolcus).” 1.

Everything related to Love, the eroticism of love and the passion that inspires love is attributed to the gifts of the Muse Erato. Hers is the inspiration found in the wooing of the beloved by song, the flowering gifts of the natural world and the gentle caresses that lead to passion’s act. In this way she whispers in the ears of the would-be suitors and lovers, providing the inspiration that will draw their beloved to them…

For the name of each Mousa (Muse), they say, men have found a reason appropriate to her: . . . Erato, because she makes those who are instructed by her men who are desired and worthy to be loved.” 2.

In the Orphic Hymn to the Muses, Erato is invoked as one who is alluring and seductive in her gifts. Her visage enough to cast the spell of longing…

“Daughters of Mnemosyne and Zeus . . . Kleio (Clio), and Erato who charms the sight, with thee, Euterpe, ministering delight: Thalia flourishing, Polymnia famed, Melpomene from skill in music named: Terpsikhore (Terpsichore), Ourania (Urania) heavenly bright.”3.

In art, Erato is depicted holding a Lyre or a garland of roses and myrtle representing the sweet music of a lover’s song and the fragrant rose and myrtle offered as token of a lover’s heart. She was considered the mistress of hymeneal song, playing her Lyre and crafting the poetry of the nuptials of young lovers and the consummate act of their union that followed. 

She is also depicted holding a golden arrow from the bow of the God, Eros as reminder of the sexual desire and attraction that are part of the process of passion and romantic love. In the painting below by Charles Meynier, there is a sense of the Muse being inspired herself as she sits in the setting of the natural world and the God Eros stands intimately at her shoulder. She writes her poems of erotic love with the tip of an arrow from Eros’ quiver, water reflecting the heart’s desire at their feet and flowers readied to seed the lover’s pursuit. I am particularly fond of this painting and the many layers that are extracted each time you look at it. For me, this is the reminder of how complicated, yet simple and profound matters of the heart truly are. 

Painting: Charles Meynier (Cleveland Museum of . 1789)

During the Age of the Renaissance we see Erato’s influence strongly present in the ballads of the troubadours, the bards, artists and writers. Another attribution of gift was given to Erato and she came to be known as the Allegory of . This title was directly related to the painting by Filippino Lippe entitled The Allegory of -Erato. In this form she is depicted with various instruments, white swans at her feet and a lyre. It is thought that this image was the artist’s statement of the intimate and all encompassing nature of complicated relationships and the various passions that drive them. 

Painting: Filippino Lipp (Gemaldegalerie, Berlin, Germany. 1500C)

The painting shows the Muse Erato leading a swan by a golden leash. The swan, an attribute of Apollo, may be associated with a as well; its symbolic role is based on the fact that it miraculously sang before its death; thus the concept of the swan song.”

The addition of a stream or water in the paintings of her refers to the idea that the Muses were originally nymphs of streams that had the power to inspire creativity, before these attributes were assigned to human like beings. And, we still associate the images of swans and being serenaded as gestures of love and romantic admiration. 

So, next you see one you hope to make a lover, or passionately embark down a new trail of experience call to Erato to inspire the way and fan the fires of your desire. Honor her gifts in allowing the need to interact and share all the dynamics of your emotions. Consider the pleasure of make-up sex after a heated argument that you thought would surely have no resolution. Or, the desire to beat your personal best, after achieving a sought after goal that you have given your all and devoted yourself to pursuing. These are the poems of love’s achievement that are written in your life’s story as the arrows of Eros guided by Erato’s penning hit their mark.

 

In Honor of Erato

Heart beats wildly with
Each approaching step
As anticipation of loving union
Creates images of satisfied longing.

Breath comes in shallow flow
As my lover pulls me near and
Skin tingles in response to whispered
Words of love that are heated by desire.

Breath hot and sweet
Comes in rapid wave as
Lover’s hand gently caress
Arch of porcelain white neck.

Finger gently traces line
Of butterfly wings in
Hollowed dampness of throat
Moving lightly with desire over
Flushed skin of silky breast.

Fingers trembling as passion
Rises wrap around base
Of delicate waist and curve
Of arched lower back.

Thighs warm and strong
As knees weaken from
Passion’s greedy lips
Pressed insistently against mine.

And at once our passion pulls
Us into its gift of life desirous
Of the touch of another and the
Promise that this union holds.

 

 

The next post will focus on the Muse, Terpsichore and her Gifts of Dance.

References:

1. Apollonius Rhodius, The Argonautica (Greek Epic C3rd B.C.).

2. Diodorus Siculus, The Library of History (Greek History C1st BC).

3. Orphic Hymn 76 to the Muses (trans. Taylor) (Greek hymns C3rd B.C. to 2nd A.D.).

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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

 

A Year With Gaia

The Eternal Cord

 

Temple of the Sun and Moon

Luminous Devotions

For Amazon Information Click Image


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

 

Sleeping with the Goddess

Nights of Devotion

For Amazon Information Click Image

 

A Weekly Reflection

Musings for the Year

 

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

 

You can Follow Robin Through the Following Sites:

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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