Writing my way through the A-to-Z blogging challenge, I’ve tasked myself with creating a manifesto reflecting wonders, curiosities, and delights currently captivating me – all through the lens of unusual, obscure, or simply charming-to-me words.
P is for…
Pierian – (pī-ˈir-ē-ən) adj. – 1. of or relating to the Muses 2. of or relating to poetry or poetic inspiration 3. of or relating to Pieria, region in ancient Macedonia where the Muses were once worshipped.
I’m glad I get to mention poetry in this post, given that it IS National Poetry Month and I’m such a poetry devotee. But bonus points for a word that encompasses my beloved Muses as well.
I expect most of us know about the Greek Muses, at least in general if not well enough to rattle off the names and domains of all nine of them. They are the daughters of Zeus, ruler of the Olympian gods, and Mnemosyne, the Titan goddess of Memory. But as befits the Muses I think, there is actually some mystery about them. There are varying origin stories, and some traditions say there were only three Muses.
The story I most favor, begins with the great war that occurred between the Titans, who were the older generation of Greek gods, and the Olympian gods, the younger generation, led by Zeus. That war lasted for a decade and resulted in the defeat of the old pantheon. From there it is said that Zeus (Olympian) partnered with Mnemosyne (Titan) and nine daughters were created. In part they were created to forget the evils of the world, and their lovely voices and dancing helped relieve some of the sorrow of the past.
I like to invoke my Muses for a number of reasons. Of course I always welcome inspiration, and so to invite that seems like a most reasonable thing to do. But additionally calling on the Muses also feels like a respectful acknowledgement that all our efforts here are actually co-creative. We are always creating in collaboration, and to pretend otherwise seems if not delusional, at least ridiculously self-important.
Whatever I create is indeed imprinted with my energy, is indeed my expression, but I like to imagine that we all start by dipping into the infinite pool of possibilities, and that energy stream is available to everyone.
I like imagining sometimes I’m walking through a field with my Muse. Perhaps she’ll steer me to a flower hidden in the roots of a tree, or point out a feather, or hush me so I can hear the wind whispering, or glimpse the shadow of a fox running. All these things are there, whether she is or not, and I’m obligated to do anything with any of them, but it’s wonderful to walk with someone whose very presence reminds you to open your eyes and your heart.
I indeed share Jan Phillips’ thought, which is part of The Artist’s Creed:
“As the Muse gives…so does she deserve…faith, mindfulness and enduring commitment.”
My Muses are generous beyond measure, gifting me with all manner of inspiration. This delights me as I love having multiple things going on – it fuels me and everything seems all the richer for the cross-pollination.
But over the years I’ve learned it’s a fine dance between juggling multiple things and finding it thrilling versus feeling overwhelmed and crashing. But that’s why I keep idea journals. I actually call them my idea reliquaries; reliquary defined as a repository or receptacle for relics. I certainly don’t mean relic in the ecclesiastical sense of some personal bit of a saint, martyr, or other sacred person, preserved as worthy of veneration. Indeed, I define relic as an object surviving from an earlier time, especially one of historical or sentimental value. And so my idea reliquaries capture all the juicy inspiration and ideas I’m not ready to work on and keep them safely on hold.
If you know anything about me, you recognize that poetry is important to me. I think it’s a powerful way to bring us back into our hearts, and frankly I think there’s never been a time when we needed to be more heart-based as a collective than right now.
I believe it’s important to claim heart language. What if we paid attention to this admonishment from Rumi?
“Today, like every other day, we wake up empty
and frightened. Don’t open the door to the study
and begin reading. Take down a musical instrument.
Let the beauty we love be what we do.
There are hundreds of ways to kneel and kiss the ground.”
I have no doubt the Muses would celebrate us if we did just that. After all, it’s what they’re trying to get us to do.
I revel in the Pierian influences that invite me into creative self-expression and help me experience the world as the astonishing place it is.
What about you? Do you have a relationship with the Muses, or do find the idea rather silly? Are you a poetry lover? Keep a journal of inspirations to return to at another time? Do tell – you know I love to hear.