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The Muse - Then & Now

Updated: Jan 23

Have you ever came across a person in your life who inspired you? They could have inspired you on an emotional, spiritual or intellectual level or even in a different way that's hard to describe in words. I hope you have because these are rare kind of people who naturally lift you up. Usually, they motivate you and encourage you and awake that inspiring feeling in you, while many might not stimulate the same feelings in you.


Look at the word "amuse" itself, it has two words in it: "a" and "muse" are inside it. This shows how a muse is connected to the word amusing because whoever feels amused, this is because of interacting with someone who is special/rare or who has special talents/skills/features. Let's find out more about the history of the muse idea in order to understand how it is still vivid in our lives today.


The Muse As The Origin of Inspiration

According to Britannica lexicon, the muse has its roots in Greco-Roman mythology and beliefs. Muses, especially the first ones, are, therefore, perceived as a group of ancient goddessess (calling them goddess has no religious connotation, just refers to their complete innocence, purity and beauty) who were associated with a cult that was located close to Mount Helicon in Boetia, Greece during the 8th century BCE era. Not much can be found about this cult, however, apparently every four years there was a very popular festival that took place near this area. It was known to have a contest and this contest was given the name: museia.


The museia was all about singing and playing and over time, it increasingly became more open to integrating elements of liberal arts and sciences. An interesting aspect when researching about this topic, is that the idea of these muses/goddesses was different depending on the region you were in (see here for more info: https://historycooperative.org/muses/). The further you would go, the numbers of how many of them there are could vary, some would speak about 9 and others would say only 7 or they were given slightly different names.


One thing was for certain, each of them was named after a certain artistic trait they embodied and were really good at. One of the muses names, for example, was Terpsichore (= Delighting in the Dance) since she was so passionate with her way of dancing. Other names of the goddesses were the following:

Clio = Proclaimer

Euterpe = Well Pleasing

Thalia = Blooming or Luxuriant

Melpomene = Songstress

Erato = Lovely

Polymnia = She of the Many Hymns

Calliope = She of the Beautiful


All of them have special traits. Maybe they sang or played a particular instrument very well, such as the flute or the harp. At the same time, they were known to be the daughters of Zeus, who was the Greek King of the Gods. They were also known to have beared sons who became famous and who kept carrying on their unique tradition of "poetry and song," (see link for more info: https://www.britannica.com/topic/Muse-Greek-mythology). Many kings and queens enjoyed the company of a muse, who very much resembled one of these goddesses and always stood by their side whenever they needed to be entertained or receive inspirational feedback.


Your Nowadays Muse

If you think about it they not only had muses back in the day, we have them even now just in a different form: possibly noticeable in your role model, maybe a celebrity, such as Princess Diana, Mother Theresa, Dala Lama or Muhammad Ali. They don't have to be famous, they can also be a close friend, a close family member, your soulmate, your twin flame, your teacher, your parent, anybody really who you feel so close to, you would trust them with anything. At the same time, such special people are the ones who inspire you to be a better person, to achieve your goals or are encouraging you to learn new things and to see things from a different perspective even if you don't agree with it.


Any special person in your life could be viewed as a muse, especially if they are your best friend or a close friend of yours. Someone who is interesting and positively engaging. Keeping such people in your life is a wonderful thing . It's kind of like having a tiny golden marble in your hand and never letting go of it. Why not tell this special person in your life: "You're my muse, you're my inspiration". I bet it will make them smile for joy.


On a sidenote, taking a trip to Greece, the home of the muses and goddesses would be an awesome adventure because you would be surrounded by that ancient but stimulating atmosphere, where all the inspiration emerged and spread across the globe.



Painting of Goddess & Muse Terpsichore (= Delighting in the Dance). Source: https://www.britannica.com/topic/Muse-Greek-mythology


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