Writers, artists and musicians say they are waiting for The Muse, or The Muse has inspired them, but what does it mean? Is it something real or just a phrase?
I know my stories and ideas, and most of my jokes, love them or hate them, often arrive fully formed and just flow, with me just needing to write them down.
Is it all popping from my creative right brain to my analytical left brain, or from something more mysterious such as the collective unconscious?
Is it related to that mysterious twilight (literally) state of consciousness hypnagogia, when you are just nodding off to sleep?
Some people see another person as their Muse, their inspiration. Famous examples include Marianne Faithfull to Mick Jagger, Yoko Ono, Courtney Love, Amber Rose to Kanye West, Kate Moss to Banksy. Undoubtedly stimulating some of the artists’ best works, yet often hated by their fans.
Originally, The Muses were the inspirational goddesses of literature, science, and the arts in Greek mythology. They were considered the source of the knowledge embodied in the poetry, lyric songs, and myths that were related orally for centuries in these ancient cultures. They were later adopted by the Romans as a part of their pantheon.
They live on in my Astral Projects books where they hang out with their boss Apollo in his Fallen Angels bar in Devil City on the astral plane and generally thwart Puffy Imp’s lame flirting attempts and tell the future.
Diodorus also stated that the Egyptian god Osiris first recruited the nine Muses, along with the Satyrs or male dancers, while passing through Ethiopia, before embarking on a tour of all Asia and Europe, teaching the arts of cultivation wherever he went. According to Hesiod’s account (c. 600 BC), generally followed by the writers of antiquity, the Nine Muses were the nine daughters of Zeus and Mnemosyne (i.e. “Memory” personified), figuring as personifications of knowledge and the arts, especially literature, dance and music. Some later said there were just the three.
Ancient authors and their imitators invoked Muses when writing poetry, hymns or epic history. The invocation occurs near the beginning of their work. It asks for help or inspiration from the Muses, or simply invites the Muse to sing directly through the author.
Dante, Chaucer, Shakespeare and Milton later continued this tradition.
The word museum means cult place of the Muses, and they form the origins of the word amuse, music and musing on.
They appear in the Disney film Hercules.
Calliope makes it into Charmed, Supernatural and Neil Gaiman’s Sandman.
Several Muses are featured in the film Xanadu.
Terpsichore even gets a mention in the Monty Python Cheese Shop sketch.
Where do your ideas flow from? Who is your Muse?