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MagickalArts

March 1st, 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 Arts. 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 Arts, 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 Art. 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 Music. This title was directly related to the painting by Filippino Lippe entitled The Allegory of Music-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 Musica 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.).

***

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:

Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/robin.fennelly

Instagram:

#themagickalpen

Online Teachings:

Teachings on the Path

Bandcamp Recorded Pathworkings:

Teachings on the Path with Robin

Youtube:

Robin Fennelly

 

 

 

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

 

***

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

 

(Calliope 1)

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

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.  

(Image: Museum of Fine Arts.Boston.MA)

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.” 1.

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. 

 

 

(Photo: P.M.McClintock (1925))

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. 

The pathworking below is one that I wrote several years ago as a place of connection to the deep waters within and the shadow energy that resides ready for birthing. It is an epic journey into your inner realms and with the assistance of Calliope’s energy I offer it now to you. 

The Journey of the Shadow

Audio of Pathworking Here..

https://teachingsonthepath.com/bonus-pathworkings-and-guided-meditations/

Scroll down to the bottom of the page

Transcript:

Turn your focus and attention to your breath. Allow your consciousness to move with the rise and fall of your chest and the filling and release of the lungs. Continue in this manner for several breaths, allowing each to become softer, smoother and slower. With each breath your physical body appears to lighten and your center of consciousness floats upwards towards the inner eye. You find yourself enveloped by the mist of transition between the Physical and Astral and, as this veil thins and you see before you an opening in the fabric of the space around you.

A mist of Lavender surrounds this enclosure as you pass through the darkness of the Great Abyss. As you move through this space, feelings of foreboding and a sense of being out of place in a time that is neither here nor there and in a place that is both upwards and down simultaneously flood your emotions. You are disoriented and are aware of the depths of sadness and loneliness that is felt in this space. Your only thoughts are the hopes that you will pass quickly and easily through this space. Quite the contrary, time seems to slow and the angst seems to become greater. And, just as you are about to scream out in sheer frustration, you remember the lesson of surrender. You remember the call to trusting and the lessons of the “Fool”. You find that you are engulfed in shadow. Glimpses of light are hidden beneath what appear to be shadowy figures and although you do not feel threatened, you know this is a place of great power and well deserving of care and respect as you pass through.

There is no flooring under you and you have a sense of weightlessness and somehow being suspended in space. Although there are no definitive boundaries, the impression is one of being enclosed tightly in a very confining space. You take a deep, cleansing breath and you allow yourself to simply be open, receptive and non-resistant to lesson of this place of shadow. You take another deep breath in and ready yourself to move forward and explore this place. As soon as the sigh of exhale has passed, feelings of sadness begin to well up within you. You are fearful and now wish you had decided against entering this space. Your former resolve of being receptive and open is weakening steadily as you begin to feel that you are sinking even deeper into this space of darkness.

You take another deep breath, hoping to restore your composure and as you exhale your awareness that you are alone in this space heightens. You strain to hear any sound that might point you in the direction of moving towards something; even the faintest sound of another human or animal would give you comfort. But, there is nothing, absolute and pure nothingness in this space. Your breath comes in short bursts now and the combination of sheer and utter loneliness, silence and disorientation keeps this rapid pace going.

You try to move, and find that with each step you are moving deeper into the shadowy fabric of this space, so, you decide to simply remain still. You look around and find that your eyes still have not adjusted to this deep and pervading darkness that now seems to be vibrating with energy; but you can neither see nor hear the source of it. You would normally have called out to the Divine or your guides to help you through this difficult passage, but you feel as though they have forsaken you as well and that in the depths of this seemingly unending well your pleas would remain unheard. This thought provokes a surge of emotional release and you begin to sob, at first quietly, then uncontrollably with louder and higher pitch.

These cries crescendo and you find that you are keening, screaming from the very base of your throat and the depths of your Soul in desperate release of this overwhelming sadness and fear. You call out to those Divine beings who are your patrons, and the only sound in return is the increased volume of your own voice. You call out to those who are family and friends. Again, the only return being the echo of your frantic cries against a surface you can neither see nor feel.

With one final exhausted effort, you pull up all of your will and courage and release a final soul filled call and as the sound issues forth from your lips, the oppressive energy around you seems to shatter and fall away. The powerful force and reverberation of the vibration wraps around you and you feel the personality that you entered this space with fall away. The ego you have carried so proudly shatters from your being and the You who entered this space moves within the spiraling of this powerful force of energy reshaping and transforming. You close your eyes and willingly surrender to this action and allow the necessary release and rebuilding of your subtle and physical forms. It seems as though time has stopped and for the briefest of moments you and all space, time and creation are one in the same.

As the energetic outpour begins to lessen around you, you gently open your eyes and looking upward see a tiny point of light above you. Although very small and far away, you can feel the intensity and radiance of this light and know it to be the reentry into the world of matter and form. As your breath slows to an even and steady pace you see that the light is growing brighter and larger as you rise on ascent towards it. Each breath pulls you closer to its light and radiance and the space around begins to brighten, the darkness and magnetic pull of the intense experience held within it slowly fading in its energy and effect on you.

You continue to rise upwards, coming to rest on a soft surface beneath your feet and completely enveloped in the brilliance of this light emanating from a space directly above you. You look at your hands and take note of a luminescent glow about them and the lower part of your body as you look downwards toward your feet.

The light begins to dim slightly and you know that there is still more of the journey you must follow through the lessons of the Higher Realm in final completion of the work done within the Dark Night. You take a deep breath in, close your eyes and resolve that you will embrace each step and challenge that is presented to you. You think on the lesson of this experience, and the birthing of light from what was held in the shadows.  You know you will make many journeys to this space and with each you will integrate the totality of both your light and shadow self as you open to the transformative energies of this space.

You gently open your eyes and see that the blue veil of transition has formed just a few steps in front of you. You feel yourself enveloped in the veil of transition between the Physical and Astral world. The veils of transformation and all they contain gently fade from your sight and you begin the descent back into your physical state of being and the room and space in which you began this pathworking. Return to awareness of the rhythm of your breath and the rise and fall of your chest. Become aware of the physicality of where you are sitting or laying; your body pressed against cushion, chair or floor.

And when you are ready, gently flutter your eyes open

The next post will focus on the Muse, Clio and her gifts of history.

Reference:

1. Greek Myths and Greek Mythology

 

***

 

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 For

Amazon Information Click Image

 

 

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 For

Amazon Information Click Image

 

 

The Enchanted Gate

Musings on the Magick of the Natural World

 

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

 

The children of the Craft of the Wise

Look greatly forward to this day

When the time is nigh for this beloved Sabbat

We know the light is on it’s way

Through this longest night we celebrate

Knowing now the light will grow

And the joy that every spirit feels

Proves that the heart does also know

As the sun goes down

And the Yule logs burn

Our loved ones gathered round

And even Earth’s creatures participate

As they do not make a sound

When the fires cold and the night grows short

This sacred time comes to a close

And the flames, and joy that come at Yule

In each person’s heart now glows.

Since the Sun is also considered helpful in workings of prosperity, during the burning of the log provides an opportunity to work some prosperity magic as well.  One way of doing this is to take a square of cloth or paper and lay it out flat.  Add one or more herb’s for prosperity such as cinquefoil, clove, or patchouli.  You can add a written request before drawing up the corners and tying it into a bundle to be burned in the fire, or you can speak your desire as the bundle burns, but either way I have found this to be a successful added bonus to the Yule fire.  I hope all of you have a Blessed Yule and a Merry Christmas!

I have called this ‘friendship’ with the gods rather than ‘devotion,’ because pagan religion does not require us to fake emotions the way the biblical religions do. As many of us know, Jews and Christians are commanded “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, all thy soul, and all thy mind, and all thy strength.” Was a more impossible commandment ever given? The pagan gods of nature, unlike Yahweh, “in whom we live, move and have our being,” do not compass us round about. They arise from chaos at the beginning of a world cycle and build a new world out of matter in the chaotic state. “Chaos,” which later biblical theologians have mistranslated as a void, meant in Hebrew (and other ancient languages) a devastation, the world left over from its destruction at the end of the previous cosmic cycle.

So the gods build a new world around themselves and live in it as their cosmic house. They create animals, plants, men, and other beings, of gross and of subtle matter (spirit), to share their habitation with them. This is not creation out of nothing; indeed, the idea of something coming from nothing was at first absent from, and later repugnant to, the ancient mind. In the still largely pagan Genesis, Yahweh creates Adam out of the dust of the ground and breathes into him his breath-soul, in Hebrew his nephesh, made out of subtle or elemental air. Odin, Vili, and Ve create the first man and woman out of an ash and elm tree, respectively, found along the shore of the primeval sea.

Thus the gods are our neighbors, as well as, in a sense, our parents and elder brothers and sisters. They inhabit the cosmic world of time and space with us. They live a very long time, but not forever. They perhaps inhabit a higher dimension as well as ours (there is no reason why our cosmic home should not have more dimensions), but they do not inhabit eternity. They are not transcendent in any absolute sense. They are wise, powerful, and generally benevolent; but they are not all-knowing, all-powerful, and all-good. They are persons like us, if incomparably older and more sublime and powerful.

This means that if I want to become acquainted with some of the gods, I must put myself forward and greet them respectfully, as if for the first time, for it will be the first time, at least for this incarnation. And the same rules of social intercourse that hold between humans hold between humans and gods. To take an 18th century parallel, it is like a country farmer calling on the local squire for the first time. This gives us a clue to how best to approach the gods.

If you were a country squire and a local farmer approached you for the first time, fell on his face and begged for mercy, how would you feel about it? Chances are you would not like it, and neither do the gods. Though, as we know, a few gods here and there do like it, for they are after slaves rather than friends and neighbors. But let us leave them to their slaves and focus on the pleasant gods of paganism.

The story of the Pharisee’s prayer in the New Testament, contrasting the praying of a Hellenized Jew with the groveling of a more orthodox Jewish publican (tax farmer), is informative for neo-pagans inquiring into the right way to approach the gods. The Pharisee, though a monotheist, has learned the temple etiquette of the Greeks. He stands before the altar in an attitude of self-respect and thanks his god for having made him the way he is. He mentions his alms-giving, his fasting, and his other accomplishments. The gospel account presents him as self-satisfied and vain, but notice that he takes no credit for his virtues but instead thanks his god for having granted them to him. Nearby, the wretched publican (who oppresses the poor as a tax farmer) is groveling in the dirt and imploring mercy from his god. The Pharisee notices him and adds thanks to his god that he did not make him like that; in so doing, he is not blaming the publican but assuming he cannot help himself: Yahweh has made him as he is, and the Pharisee thanks Yahweh for making him a different sort of person.

The European pagans, except when in dire extremity from plague or famine, approached their gods in this manner, for they wished to be friends with their gods above all. They also generally prayed when in a light-hearted mood, and this was no doubt very important the first time they made contact with a deity. You would not wish to be friends with someone who pulled a long face the first time he met you. The idea is not to fake cheerfulness, but to wait until you are light-hearted and cheerful before making first contact with a god; and most of your interactions with a deity should be conducted in the same way. After all, the most common reason for prayer is to thank the gods, and in order to do this sincerely we must feel thankful. They are sensitive to our feelings as well as our words, and if we thank them while feeling depressed or deprived they will know it.

Pick two or three deities to start, not all of them great gods, but on different levels. It is good to start with household deities like the threshold and hearth guardians. Then add in the sun and moon, and possibly the night. Night is a great goddess, akin to chaos and fate, and we should salute her when darkness falls. She is the origin and final destiny of men and gods, and it is good to connect with her. We cannot ask her for favors (she is implacable), but a positive relation to her helps us to accept those things in our lives which are fated.

Make a little altar or two to your new friends, and include incense, a candle, a bowl of water, and possibly a dish of salt and/or grain (afterwards distribute these to plants and animals). Light the candle and then address the deity. The usual tradition is that the deity is not present until the candle is lit; it is like putting through a call on the phone. This is convenient, for you would not like the deity to watch you twenty-four hours a day, and the deity wouldn’t like it, either. They have other things to do. This is a big difference with the biblical god, who watches us like a hawk day and night and never sleeps. The gods sleep, and wake, eat and drink and laugh and make love, just as we do.

If you spend time occasionally with your gods you will get a sense of an ongoing friendship with them. They will become part of your personal history, and you will have a small share in theirs, which is their myth. Please don’t think you have to visit with them every day. Give them a break!

They do not seek to become your all-in-all; they are content to check in with you occasionally. But if you ask them for a favor, you must thank them after it is granted. And here you will receive a pleasant surprise. If you do not lame your prayer by adding the words ‘if it is your will,’ you will often find your request granted, though not always in the way you anticipate. Do not ever say ‘thy will be done’! This is one more example of a back-handed compliment paid by biblical worshippers. Of course the god or goddess will do as he or she wishes; you don’t have to remind them that they have free will! Nor need you reassure them of your friendship and continued loyalty if for some reason they cannot, or will not, grant you your request. These practices contain veiled insults to them.

As you continue in your friendships with gods and demigods (daimones, the local deities of house and field), you may find your friendly feelings blossoming into something like love and devotion. That is all right, but it is best to keep it light in your prayers to them. Don’t embarrass them by professing love, for they know how you feel anyhow (when the candle is lit and you are praying to them) and the gap between god and human cannot be bridged in any case; and to put yourself forward in this way would be presumptuous, to say the least. Be content to be good friends.

If you are a good neighbor to your gods, they will reciprocate.

(en)LIV(en)ING With the Muses-Clio

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

The Muse, Clio is considered the Muse of History. Her name, sometimes spelled Kleio is a form of the greek verb, “Kleo” which means to make famous, to recall or to celebrate. She makes full use of her birth right as the daughter of Mnemosyne (Goddess of Remembrance) as memory is a key component that every historian must rely upon to accurately give account of events, people and places. Unlike her sisters, who are more directly related to the act of inspiring whatever their specialty is, Clio works at the level of codifying and giving durability to what is the product of those inspirations.  

The versatility of her nature and governance is seen in the epithets for her, which include: Daughter of the Lord of Cloud-capped Heaven, Giver of Sweetness, High-Throned, Queen of Song, Flowering, and Unforgetting. The Greek lyric poet, Pindar says of Clio and her influence on the bringing to renown those who would be so honored:

“Of song grant, of my skill, full measure. Strike, O daughter of the lord of cloud-capped heaven, chords to his honour; mine to wed them with the youthful voices and with the lyre . . . In your honour then, if high-throned Kleio (Clio) wills, for your proud spirit of conquest.” 1.

Clio is often depicted holding many scrolls or a single open scroll, and in more recent times with books sitting at her feet. Hers is not only the gift of recording those events which are to be celebrated and added as markers of history but also that of the retelling of those events, so they may be the source of inspiring those who would through their actions be the future creators of history yet unwritten. The Greek historian, Diodorus speaks of Kleio (Clio) in this way:

To each of the Mousai (Muses) men assign her special aptitude for one of the branches of the liberal arts, such as poetry, song, pantomimic dancing, the round dance with music, the study of the stars, and the other liberal arts . . . For the name of each Mousa, they say, men have found a reason appropriate to her . . . Kleio (Clio) is so named because the praise which poets sing in their encomia bestows great glory (kleos) upon those who are praised.” 2.

Another of her names was that of “the Proclaimer”. This nomenclature was exemplified in the story recounting that Clio openly declared her disapproval of the Goddess Aphrodite’s pursuit of Adonis; whom Clio had been having affairs with secretly. In retaliation, Aphrodite crafted a curse that made Clio fall in love with the King of Macedonia, Pierus and forget her infatuation with Adonis. A son was supposedly born of that union named Hyacinthus who was renown for his grace and beauty. His lover the God Apollo killed Hyacinthus, and, it is said that where his blood lay, flowers arose of great beauty as tribute to his love and purity.  These are the perennials, Hyacinths noted for their sweet and intoxicating fragrance and of notable fame in the quote by Quaker poet, John Greenleaf Whittier’s:

If thou of fortune be bereft, and in thy store there be but left two loaves, sell one, and with the dole, buy hyacinths to feed thy soul.” 3.

Clio had a second son, Hymenaios who was the God of marriage, epic feasts and songs. The officiating nature of his Mother, Clio is seen in the magnitude of the types of events her son presided over. His was the governance of those times that would become part of the history of those for whom these auspicious events occurred. 

Time and again, through art and literature, politics and education, Clio’s hand has been the underlying energy that gives timeless meaning and importance to whatever it is applied to. The 17th Century Dutch Painter, Johannes Vermeer, makes reference to Clio in his painting The Art of Painting. In this painting she depicted wearing standard garb of the time, a laurel wreath adorning her head, and carrying a trumpet. The wreath and trumpet both symbols of triumph and the jubilant announcement of that status. 

Detail of The art of Painting

The artist observes his model, who is dressed as Clio, the muse of history. As he records her image carefully on his canvas, he is not so much the recipient of the muse’s inspiration as the agent through whom she takes on life and significance. Clio wears a crown of laurel on her head to denote honor, glory, and eternal life. In one hand she holds a trumpet, which stands for fame, and in the other she clasps a thick folio, perhaps a volume of Thucydides, which symbolizes history. These were the attributes ascribed to her by Cesare Ripa in his Iconologia, a sixteenth-century book of emblems and personifications that was widely used by artists.” 2.

The art of Painting

Another depiction of Clio is found in a mosaic of the poet Virgil, who is seen in process of writing his epic poem, The Aenid in the presence of two of the Muses. In this scene “ the Roman poet Virgil, seated with a sheet of scrolls in his hand, is attended by two Mousai, Kleio the Muse of history with a scroll, and Melpomene the Muse of tragedy with a tragic mask.”  

VIRGIL & THE MOUSAI 

And, finally, a more modern testament to the lasting influence of the Muse of History and the need for the recording of its facts is the representation of Clio found in the National Statuary Hall of the capital building in Washington, DC. Gracing the doorway into this illustrious hall that served as meeting place for the decisive and historical actions of the House of Representatives from 1807 to 1857 is the Car of History designed by sculptor Carlo Franzoni in 1819. Clio stands within a winged chariot that serves as the vehicle and personification that represents the passing of history through the ages. In place of the ancient scroll, she holds her book of remembrance and records the events of history as they unfold. The chariot has a singular wheel that is a clock representing the passage of time in the hours and minutes of the days. The Chariot sits atop a marble globe which has the signs of the Zodiac on it completing the reference to the eternal and cyclical nature of time, events and the never ending history that is created by its turning.


The Car of History

Remembering Your Own History:

When I consider the gifts of Clio I am reminded of my own personal history; in particular what I have learned from my Mother. My history is rich in strong women who shouldered responsibility, accepting all that came their way and making at times difficult choices to insure that there was a roof overhead, food on the table and a better life for their children than what they had endured. I am reminded of the history that I have helped to create for my own family and children and the opportunity to call upon Clio’s energy of celebration and lessons earned from past experience to write a new script if needed that is more positively filled. 

In my spiritual work, I call upon Clio to remind me of the history of my spiritual path and those who paved the way, the sacrifices made and the eternal wisdom that has become the foundation of my teachings and learning. I call upon Clio to help me keep my intentions in order so that those who follow in my footsteps may benefit from the history I will someday leave. 

In my mundane life, I call upon Clio to remind me that each action I take and each person with whom I interact has a piece of his or her own history to share. This is often not something that is overtly elicited but if I remain poised with metaphorical pen and book of remembrance in hand, the synthesis of our time together will write a new history that each of us will collectively call our own. 

 

The next post will focus on the Muse, Erato and her gifts of Lyrical poetry

Resources:

1. Pindar, Nemean Ode 3. 10 & 82 ff (trans. Conway) (Greek lyric C5th B.C.).

2. From: Diodorus Siculus, Library of History 4. 7. 1 (trans. Oldfather) (Greek historian C1st B.C.).

3. Arthur K. Wheelock Jr., ed., Johannes Vermeer [Exh. cat., National Gallery of Art, Washington; The Mauritshuis, The Hague] (Washington, 1995).

4. John Greenleaf Whittier. Quaker Poet  1807-1892.

 

Images:

Statuary of Clio: The Vatican Museum.Rome

Detail and Full Painting: The art of Painting by Johannes Vermeer 

The Art of Painting, c. 1666, oil on canvas. Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna

Image: VIRGIL & THE MOUSAI, Mosiac

Bardo Museum, Tunis, Tunisia 

Image: The Car of History

Carlo Franzoni. 1819. National Statuary Hall

 

***

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

 

The Magickal Pen, Volume One

A Collection of Esoteric Writings

 

The Elemental Year

Aligning the Parts of SELF

Click Image for Amazon Information.


The Enchanted Gate

Musings on the Magick of the Natural World

 

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

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