(2/22/03 6:51:36 pm)
| The Muse
Is the Muse basically a Greek archetypal/mythic construct or does her equivalent appear anywhere in fairy tales or folklore? What about "her" harbringers such as Pegasus? I am looking for quotes, passages, contexts where she has made an appearance in stories, ballads, folkore, fairy tale, etc. - Do you feel that the concept of a muse was, perhaps, too sophisitcated for the folk people of old? - Or do you feel the elders and artisans of the common people would have had an intuitive understanding and experience of this archetype?
As I made associations I found myself gravitating to wise helpers like fairy god mothers, and other magical helpers that have appeared in fairy tale and folklore (as a possible expression of the muse) - but it feels to me that the archetypal quality of the muse is different from that of a wise helper -
I am grateful for any suggestions, feedback, ideas or references to particular stories -
Blessings and thankyou,
(2/24/03 8:08:46 am)
| Re: The Muse
A list of the nine greek muses follows a long with a link to a website that contains varying references. Like everything on the web, to be taken with salt:
CALLIOPE -- EPIC POETRY
CLIO -- HISTORY
EUTERPE -- LYRIC POETRY
TERPSICHORE -- DANCE
ERATO -- LOVE POETRY
POLYHYMNIA -- SACRED MUSIC
URANIA -- ASTRONOMY
THALIA – COMEDY
(2/25/03 9:28:32 pm)
| spirit helpers
Meeting a spirit helper in dream or reality is a very widespread notion throughout North America. Very often but not always the helper is an animal or in animal form. What exactly these helpers do varies from place to place. Sometimes they are encountered during a crisis -- especially shamanic helpers, who might "take pity" on a dead or dying person and bring him/her back to life. This is a not uncommon shamanic initiation story.
There's a north Pacific oral tradition about the origin of a beautiful and technically very challenging textile that's usually now called the chilkat blanket. In the chilkat blanket story, the girl has a dream where she goes down under the sea to the house of the owner of the storm wind. She wakes and weaves a new type of blanket to represent the house and its owner. What the story doesn't say explicitly is that her dream must have also pointed her in the direction of the technical breakthrough required to produce these very complex figures. (In another girl-inventor story, a girl wakes from a dream about bullheads swallowing other fish to construct a new kind of fish trap.) I used the owner-of-storm story, mixed with other traditions about the chilkat blanket, in my "Dream of Rain."
(2/26/03 7:05:19 am)
| oh yeah, the
> Is the Muse basically a Greek archetypal/mythic construct or does her equivalent appear anywhere in fairy tales or folklore? What about "her" harbringers such as Pegasus? I am looking for quotes, passages, contexts where she has made an appearance in stories, ballads, folkore, fairy tale, etc. - Do you feel that the concept of a muse was, perhaps, too sophisitcated for the folk people of old? - Or do you feel the elders and artisans of the common people would have had an intuitive understanding and experience of this archetype?
JB: My response about spirit helpers and inspiration and instruction in dreams was SUPPOSED to be relevant. I think on reflection I'm not sure exactly what you meant by "muse." For the great text on the poet's muse and muse-equivalents in classical and European tradition, see Robert Graves' THE WHITE GODDESS.
There is, in Graves' book, a more or less explicit sexual connection of one sort or another between the (male) poet and the (female) muse. It's been a very long time since I read the book, but I don't remember him addressing the issue of the female poet or writer at all. I always thought the Demon Lover must be in some fashion the opposite-gender equivalent of the often cruel and destructive White Goddess.
He also doesn't address the degree to which gendered relationships between the human and the extrahuman are characteristic of Indoeuropean traditions. Not that they can't be found elsewhere in the world, but it's such a pervasive principle there. In Tannhauser, the hero disappears into the magic mountain with the goddess. In the indigenous Northwest, he disappears into the magic mountain with band of seals.
(2/26/03 1:21:46 pm)
| Re: oh yeah,
A great modern construct of the Muse archetype is "Promethea" from Alan Moore's comic/graphic novel of the same name. This superheroine is a living embodiment of imagination, a kind of proto-godess...she inhabits the material body of an artist, and the artist can draw on her supernatural powers in their earthly adventures. The concept of the "Promethea" comic is hard for me to give a succint synopsis to, but i highly reccomend it to everyone on this board...Alan Moore uses references to mythology, folklore, spiritual teachings, and intertwines it with postmodernism and pop culture. The first three volumes of the series are available in trade paperback...pick up a copy!
BTW, I'm back again after a long hiatus of post-graduate school stress syndrome! (AKA, I had a major case of slack. Back to reality!)
(2/28/03 3:07:11 pm)
| Re: oh yeah, the muse
Hello I'm quiet new here. I remember that in celtic myths, there is a kind of "wedding" with a faerie. It's said that whan a man wanted to become an artist, he went to a specific hill by night. The day after he would come back as a genious or as a madman . In the south of france there is a specific word to design mad people : "fada" which means fairy, because the origin of their madness is suposed to be the result of an encountering with a fairy. I had to find the source for this info on celt myths and hope it help.