PBP: M is for Muses

As a devoute follower of Apollon, it is no wonder that when it comes to M I am going straight to the Muses. I have written of their mother Mnemosyne before here, and explored this titanide of Memory, but this gives me the perfect opportunity to speak more of the Muses themselves.

As Mnemosyne represents one of the primary functions of the mind, I would say that it is safe to say that her daughters, the Muses, perhaps represent collectively the unique blessings of the human mind through their arts to help our understanding of our world, the gods, ourselves, and our relationship to these and giving us the ability to express and share it. Naturally, Apollon, as the god associated with intellect, truth and enlightenment, would have been the god to be their leader, just as this same role is at times given to Dionysos, as their arts our part of our evolutionary spiritual journey…one on which he is a constant companion. The intimate connection between Apollon and the Muses if stressed by the myth that Apollon so loved all the Muses that he could not, and would not, choose just one among them to marry. Therefore, he takes delight in the company of all the nine sisters collectively, and among their number had produced several children including among them Orpheus and the Erote Hymenaeus. Interestingly, according to Theoi.com, one author, Eumelus, assigned their paternity to Apollon, which may have to do with the functions of Apollon’s domain connected so strongly to the cognitive, aware, foreseeing, and wise that connects him so profoundly with his sister Athena. But typically these goddesses are the daughters of Zeus, and much beloved of Apollon.

It is believed that the Muses were originally three in number and each generally presiding over the memory, song and knowledge, but that they eventually became triple their number as nine goddess with distinct areas of influence under the original power that they share. Each Muse being powerful in and of herself, but collectively representing common education, the educational system itself under the influence of Apollon and Athena. In a manner it seems that they can be categorically divided into the areas of science/knowledge of the world and facts (Clio and Ourania), our relationship to the gods and religious principles acting on us (Thaleia, Melpomene, Polyhymnia, and Terpsichore), and expression of self and common cultures…perhaps better to say living human (Erato, Kalliope and Euterpe).

The first group comprising rote memorization and retention, something which we are all probably the most familiar with in modern education systems. You learn the facts, memorize it, and it is considered a valuable part of understanding the world and your place in it by understanding how we exist in relationship to our world and our history. This would cover topics such as all sciences (biology, geology, astronomy) and social sciences (history, geography, and language). I am including language here, which also includes some areas which are normally classified as part of one Language Arts class, as something separate really from language arts. There is a difference to me between learning the memorized structures of languages, words and how they are spelled, and learning to use language creatively which is a completely different focus and this falls more into the latter grouping.  For some these subjects are easier, for others they are more demanding than the more creative disciplines which get slightly less focus and are often treated as electives. The third group being classified electives in our educational system such as classes on poetry, band/orchestra…and even drama class since high school drama class doesn’t focus on learning from dramas but rather just expressive acting inspired by theater. Meanwhile the second category is not part of our educational systems, and probably shouldn’t be, since we don’t have a collective religious experience in our home cities/states/countries.

Together, all these things make us, as humans, a more well-rounded and continuously evolving, creature. They are the vehicle by which we grow by enriching our minds, and by doing so we have a more clearer vision. This makes the Muses a very important part of the human experience for which they ought to be honored, and why these goddess are performers at the most important divine events…such as divine marriages at whch they are often depicted in performance (whether that be marriage between gods or between mortals and gods such as in the case of Kadmos and Harmonia.) So hail to the Muses who bring their sweet song!


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