First off, thanks to all the people who managed to read In Search of the Male Muse all the way through who have sent questions about the exercise – How to Connect to Your Muses. I had a mostly positive response with record numbers of blog views from Bulgaria, to Japan to Brazil, with only a few objecting to the length, but I’ll say no more about short attention spans in this day and age. Just nice to know the muses pop up in all geographical locations. Yes, these connection exercises can be considered as a continuous practice, but there are a few ideas to consider first. All this talk of muses may have put some people off. They may imagine that focussing on Greek mythological creatures that may or may not exist in some stuffy antiquated mythic realm outside of ourselves is keeping us stuck two thousand years in the past. Using unpronounceable Greek names like Melpomene, and Euterpe may throw people into a tongue spin. This approach needs some nuancing. The update button needs pressing. If you think of the muses as literal, and ethereal beings, external to you, trapped in statues that belong in dusty old museums then that view might encourage you to avoid responsibility for the subtle layers your own thought processes and actions, conscious or unconscious, as those relate to your creative spirit. The approach here is ‘As Above, So Below’ which reverses the usual mode of thinking to: everything starts from your own mind.
That said, this means that mythology is just a platform for a method to integrate various mental processes in your awareness. Gray Crawford says “Instead of searching far and wide for an imagined ideal Muse, sometimes we need to remember that we already have Muses surrounding us and we simply need to invite them to lay down with us in our field of awareness.” As long as we keep firmly in mind that any use of the word ‘muse’ is a cypher or portal for inspiration the word can be appropriated and assimilated more easily into to a cutting edge consciousness. Then we can make the connections to identify the current muses in our life. Muses are psychic Jungian archetypes of all types of artist within. So they are best seen in this light. Yet, we may be afraid to realise this artist within. A modern muse might not be fully functioning yet. Julia Cameron says the Shadow Artist is a person who has suppressed and side-lined their creative dreams and desires so live vicariously through other people’s creative energy while failing to activate their own. They are found usually hovering around active artists and feeding off their energy. They may engineer to be the lover, wife or husband of that artist and could be unconsciously wanting to act as muse. We may even be doing this ourselves without realising because society tells us it is not wise to attempt to be successful as an artist because it doesn’t make money – and you’ll end up ‘starving!’ This way we can begin to acknowledge where muses are within us and around us all the time. Ideally, this propels us to eventually understand that we are our own muses, and, all nine or more of them live happily as a community within our psyches.
CONNECT TO YOUR MUSES: EXERCISES Preparation: In order to make the most out of this exercise, find some quiet time where you will not be disturbed. Compose yourself to receive inner impressions by doing a brief meditation. It should go without saying that in all these exercises, if you wish to substitute a female muse for male muse then do so, as needed and appropriate. Start with coming to your breath, slow down by sitting in a comfortable chair. Become aware of your surroundings for a few moments. Then alternate this awareness with becoming aware of your inner energy, your chi, and watch the thoughts flow. This is your inner life. It might help to jot your thoughts down in five-ten year chunks. If you prefer not to, then do it later. Draw your life as a table as in the example, so each name can be entered in the time period in which they emerged. Make it large enough to keep adding more names if some of them do not come immediately.
Identify your Outer Male Muses: These are usually male lovers with whom you had relationships, but they could also be friends, or strangers you exchanged glances with.
- Sit with your pen and notebook or the table above.
- Think back over your life and jot down the first thing that comes to your mind.
- Which men have you been attracted to?
- Name your lovers on this list but order them according to their effect on your creativity.
- What was their muse power?
- Reflect for a few moments on each one and note down anything that comes up.
- Connect back with what it was that inspired you about that person: Was it their looks or their energy?
- Notice any patterns of behaviour that emerge from your relationship with these ‘muses’.
Identify your Earth Angels: These are the people who appeared in your life to help you, guide you acting as teachers, or mentors.
- Think back over your life in 5-20 year spans.
- Which men or women have helped you in a practical sense.
- Reflect on how they helped you.
- Acknowledge their guidance and be grateful.
- Identify the current ones in your life.
Identify your Orphic Muses: These are Musicians, Painters, Poets, Writers, Film Directors, dead or alive who have fired you up with song, sounds, words, fashion, visuals, in whatever way big or small.
- Note down all the artists, dead or alive, in these fields who have inspired you at various times during your life.
- Reflect how much inspiration you have gained from appreciation of these sources.
- Acknowledge all that they have given you.
- Connect back to their energy by replaying, reviewing their input to help you kick start your own projects.
- Jot down some new ideas.
Contact your Inner Muses: Be Your Own Muse
- After reviewing all the above muses, then tune in to your own life.
- What events in your own life have danced around muse-like people?
- Was type of experience was that for you?
- What did you learn from it?
- What life patterns does it suggest?
- What ideas best describe where you are now in relationship to these muses?
- How much do you trust your own muse?
- When has your own muse appeared? Note down the times.
- Is there a pattern as to when your own muse appears?
- What new projects could be inspired by your own muse?
Identify your Astrological Muses One of the most exciting and fascinating discoveries to this self investigation of muses, is not just the discovery that they can also be male, but in rediscovering your particular fated or karmic connection to the gods of the arts. It is worth asking: so is there any astrological configuration that generated your impulses to be a designer, a poet, or a dancer, or a comedian, or a researcher? The answer is yes; through carefully tracking where the asteroid muses are positioned in your natal chart. This can be done easily at serrenu.com or on astrodienst. The connections are there and may surprise you, triggering responses such as: “oh, so that’s why I’m so passionate about x, y, or z!” To click refresh and update on the kinds of roles the muses now play in modern life, reference tribes.net and see that Calliope would refer to journalists, writers, researchers, astrologers, and painters: Clio would definitely be historians, or historical novelists; Euterpe links to all musicians even Punk rockers, DJs and classical composers, whereas Melpomene references actors, singers, psychotherapists, social workers and thriller writers; Polyhymnia would refer to actors, therapists, poets, gardeners, alternative therapists, and mystics. Terpsichore, alongside championing dancers would also include massage therapists, physiotherapists and healers; Thalia incorporates TV stars, and personalities as well as the usual comedians, stand up, and comedy writers and finally Urania includes astrologers, psychics, mystics, priests, shamans, painters and photographers.If one of these has not yet covered your sphere of interest I’d be very surprised.
Can it be an accident that Lucile Ball, Joan Rivers, Groucho Marx and Jim Carrey all have significant aspects to Thalia, the muse of Comedy? Or, that Isadora Duncan, Nijinksky and Martha Graham all have significant aspects to Terpsichore, the muse of Dance? It is worth finding out, surely? So with these exercises above, once you are in tune with your particular muse, it would be ideal to time the sessions to when that asteroid muse is best aligned to the qualities in your chart so there is a mutual interaction, increased communication to those badly needed flashes of inspiration.
© Kieron Devlin, 2015 all rights reserved