Lemurian City of Ladies

A Lemurian City Built in Memory of Christine de Pizan

Posts Tagged ‘Mouseion

Sacrifice to the Muse

with 5 comments

    “We are now entering the Mouseion, the Hall of the Muses,” announced the were-pen.
    “How a-muse-ing,” I quipped.  The floating were pen hovered right before my eyes, shaking, and I swear if looks could kill I would be dead, cremated, and scattered to the Lemurian winds already.  “I’m sorry.  I will try to be more respectful,” I said.
    The were-pen seemed appeased and continued.  “The Mouseion was a sanctuary of learning – it contained great libraries, laboratories, class rooms, lecture halls, art galleries, botanical gardens, music wings, and dormitories for those who wanted to learn all the Muses had to offer.”
    “Like today’s junior colleges?” I goaded.  The were-pen clicked its top in rapid succession, a staccato tattoo of ballpoint aggravation. 
    The were-pen glared.  “Yes, but more like the greatest universities throughout history, and world class museums and conservatories.  Masters level only.”
    “No online correspondence courses?” I teased.  The were-pen shook hard and I was afraid she’d ink all over herself.  “Sorry,” I said.  “I’ll try to behave.”
    I looked around and I was truly impressed – the terrazzo floors, the marble sculpture, the perfect acoustics, the subtle recessed lighting, everything but the little descriptive printed cards explaining each work of art, and who donated it.  “This is marvelous.”
    The were-pen nodded agreement.  “But you are not here just to have a nice time, appreciating the talents of those far more gifted than you.  I brought you here because it is time for you to pay homage to, to make sacrifice, to your Muse.”
    “But I put a few dollars in the donation box when we came in,” I protested.
    Now the were-pen clicked slowly, like a clock, “tic-toc, tic-toc”.  I did not think that was a good sign.  It reminded me of those loud little clocks attached to bombs in the movies.  The were-pen told me, “This is not just a token offering you are supposed to make, to bribe the Muse into being your best buddy and grant you a favor or two.  You are asking for the power to create something out of nothing.  You are asking to be like God.  This requires real, old fashioned, atonement-through-blood, ritual sacrifice.  You don’t get something for nothing, you know.”
    “I give the Muse my time, in studies, in practice.  Isn’t that enough?  It’s not like there are any turtledoves or scapegoats around here for me to buy and butcher on the alter,” I said.
    “You say you want inspiration.  You say you’d do anything, give your right arm, your first-born, your money, your life.”
    “I meant that figuratively, not literally!” I said.
    “Do not trifle with the Muses, human.  They do not take insincerity lightly.  Have you not heard of Faust, who sold his soul to the devil?  Of the blues singer Robert Johnson who met the devil at the crossroads and traded his soul for talent?  What price are you willing to pay?”
    “I don’t know.  What do I have that the Muse could want?  What could I give?”
    “I cannot tell you.  You have to find out for yourself.  Be still – pray – meditate – let the Muse speak to you – you will have your answer.  I will give you some privacy for now, and return later.”
    I knelt down in front of a carved stone table and asked the Muse what I should offer.  I knew she would not want 21st century human toys, cars, laptops, iPods, and such – but what?  “Oh dear Muse, I would give anything – what do you want?”
    I waited.  Silence.  “Please, tell me.  What can I bring you?  What do you want?”
    A silent voice very clearly informed me that what the Muse demanded was this:  the still beating heart of a child.
    That could not be right.  “A child’s heart?  How could you be so cruel?  What would you do with it?  Hold it in your hand and crush it?” I asked.  “And why a child’s heart?”
    “A child’s heart is pure.  Like a poet, a child wants to sing, and play, and ask 100 questions.  A child wants to be seen and loved and recognized for who they are.  They want attention and praise.  They cry, “‘Look at me! Look at me!’  Just like you.  Isn’t that why you want to create art?  For the same reasons?”
    “Yes,” I confessed.  “But I cannot kill someone’s child.” 
   That same quiet way of knowing, not so much an inner voice as a conviction, told me, “Why do you assume the worse?  Why do you think I mean great harm?  Perhaps I want to hold that child’s beating heart, not to kill it, but to heal it.  And perhaps that child belongs to you – because she is you, way down deep.”
    “But can I trust you not to hurt this child?” I wondered.
    “We divine ones have an old saying…’Expect the worst but hope for the best,'” the Muse said, with a slight smile.
    “Ye gods and goddesses, would it hurt you so much to give us a  guarantee now and then?” I sighed.  “I will do my best, to use my talents as best I can, for the good.  It’s all I can promise.”
    “It’s all I ask.”
    The were-pen wobbled back into sight.  “Did the Muse answer your prayers?”
    “Yes and no…”
 
by Kerry Vincent (c) 2008

Written by kvwordsmith

June 29, 2008 at 7:06 pm

A-mus-ing

with 6 comments

Still pondering the reason why Apollo and Thalia would be depicted on the same coin the ghost in the Hall of Remembrances gave her, she entered the Lemurian Mouseion in the City of Ladies.  Entering between huge columns, she thought of the many museums she had visited in her life, all with columns, within and without: Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Cloisters in New York City, the University of Pennsylvania Museum in Philadelphia, the Carnegie Museum in Pittsburgh, PA., the British Museum, etc. 

 

She moved into the coolness of the House of Muse and was intrigued by the richly detailed mosaic floor, which the sign said was Roman and exhibiting the nine Muses.   

 

 

And here was a sarcophagus, the “Muses Sarcophagus” representing the nine Muses and their attributes.  Made of marble in the first half of the second century AD, it had been seized by Napoleon and then exchanged in 1815.  What does that mean? 

 

 

She wondered which one was her adopted namesake.  There’s Thalia or Thaleia, according to the sign, holding the comic mask—second from the left.  Funny, how it all developed.

 

Years ago she had come across a medium-sized box turtle while both were walking in the Ozark woods.  This turtle didn’t draw in its head or extremities like most she had come across.  Its head stayed out and slowly looked up at her eyes.  Whoa!  What is this?  Not afraid and not looking at my feet, but directly into my eyes.  And what beautiful eyes it has—soft and warm.  How can a turtle have warm eyes?  They’re cold-blooded reptiles.

 

She reached down and slowly picked up the turtle who kept looking at her.  For some reason, unknown to her consciously, the name “Thalia” came to mind, so that’s what she called the sweet turtle.  She built Thalia a three-level habitat and kept Thalia for a number of years.

 

Remembering Thalia-turtle, she adopted the nickname at various times, liking the sound of it.  Previously, she had known Thalia was one of the Greek Muses but didn’t know anything beyond that.

 

She moved around the room, reading about each of the Muses.  Fascinating!  Where’s Thalia?  Oh, here she is.  Thalia is Latin whereas Thaleia is Greek.  What a lovely statue. Maybe I can get a picture of this and make a collage from it.   This is from the Vatican Museum in Rome from the second century C.E.  And this one is from the Heritage Museum in St. Petersburg, a Roman copy of the original from the second century AD earlier in Greek.  Hmmm, some say C.E. and others say A.D.  Wonder what’s the difference? 

 

Let’s see what this says: she was the muse of pastoral poetry and comedy and is usually seen with a shepherd’s crook and a mask of comedy.  She was either one of the nine Muses (the eighth daughter of Zeus and Mnemosyne) or one of the three Graces born of Zeus and Euryrome, daughter of Oceanus.  Some even speculate they are one and the same.

 

Ah!  Here it is—Thaleia becomes mother of the Corybentes (or Korybentes) by Apollo.  That’s why they are together on the coin.  She reached into her pocket for the coin, brought it out and moved it back and forth so it caught the light, and from one side to the other.  Then she looked back to the caption which stated there had been a coin made, a denarius, with the head of Apollo and the reverse had Thalia, Muse of Comedy, holding an actor’s mask.  This was a rare depiction of a Muse on a coin.

 

Wow!  And now I have one.  It’s beautiful!  How did that ghost have one?  And a real one at that?  I’ll have to go back to the Hall of Remembrances and get his story.

 

She held onto it, looking at it occasionally as she continued around the room, looking at statues and reading the information.  She moved to the center of the circular room where there was an elaborate, large urn with a sign saying anyone making an offering or a hymn to the Muses, or of one in particular receives the honor-offering back three-fold.

 

There was some blank notepaper and pencils there if anyone needed it.  Quite a few folded papers were in the urn along with some coins and paper money, what looked to be a necklace and even a ring.  A lovely silk scarf was half in and half out of the urn.  A few pages had obviously been prepared at home and brought here since the paper was decorative.  And someone placed some fresh flowers in an ivy wreath.  A pretty, lacy embroidered handkerchief peeked out of the pile of offerings.

 

What can I offer at this altar?  I could do a quick poem, or maybe tell a story about who my muse might be… but wait a minute… I think Thalia is my muse.  What could I leave for her?

 

She suddenly realized her fingers had been unconsciously playing with the coin she had returned to her pocket for safe keeping.  She brought it out and looked at the smooth edges where many fingers had worn them down over time. 

 

I don’t need the coin to remember to go back to the Hall of Remembrances.  I love it, and it feels right to be touching it, but really… I guess I’ve had Thalia as my muse for many years without realizing it.  What better place could there be, for this coin?  But not as an offering, but a gift in gratitude.  My life is already flourishing and flowering (what they say is the meaning of the name ‘Thalia’).  Perhaps that has been my muse’s influence already combined with Grace from beyond the realm of muses.  What more do I need?  My life overflows with love and support and gratitude.  The choosing of the name Thalia years ago for the turtle was either from the deep unconscious or the higher consciousness.  In either case, it has worked.  My muse found me.

 

She lovingly rubbed the coin and looked at both sides to engrave the images into her mind’s eye for future reference.  Then gently and reverently placed the coin on top of all the other offerings in the urn with a reverent Thank you. 

 

 

 

She then turned and walked outside.

 

When I finish this walking tour and return home, I think I’ll make a collage card using pictures of these statues and the sarcophagus and, maybe even a turtle, to represent this part of the tour.  And if I answer the Soul College questions, I will learn even more about this aspect of myself that is Thalia.

 

As she walked, she mulled over how she might arrange the pictures on her Thalia/Thaleia collage card.

 

 

 

Maybe I’ll even post the completed card and related answers on my blog when I get it finished.  What an adventure this walking tour has been.  And there’s still more to go. Hope my feet hold out.  I wonder how far it is to the Labyrinth and the Tholos.  This older body and weary feet need a rest.

Written by thalia

June 28, 2008 at 8:13 pm