Sunday, March 23, 2014

OSSA 13 MUSE: 9 Muses, 3 Graces, 3 Fates, 3 Furies


13. MUSE - 9muse 3grace 3fate 3furies - 9M3GFF

Exploring connections between the Muses, Graces, Fates and Furies. Inquires in the mythological ground out of which these figures emerge. What archetypal forms dwelled within the ocean blue consciousness of the Greek Mind?

In the chapter, "The Anaximander Fragment," in the book Early Greek Thinking by Heidegger, he writes of what it would be like to penetrate through the veils of time and translation to actually hear the Anaximander Fragment (translated by Nietzsche as: Whence things have their origin, there they must also pass away according to necessity; for they must pay penalty and be judged for their injustice, according to the ordinance of time). Our understanding of the essence of Anaximander's thought is necessarily bound to our language. Translation, at best, replaces the clothes and coverings on the naked thoughts with garments from its own language. At worst, there is no prior uncovering and new clothes are fitted over and over upon the thing itself until it is lost under the layers. The act of uncovering the original thought is a poetic and violent process, "Thinking of Being is the original way of poetizing." According to Heidegger - and I agree wholeheartedly - this poetic process of uncovering, revealing, is the only method by which the Truth of Being might be preserved. Only by honoring the Naked Presence of the thought itself, is there any hope of an accurate translation. There is a certain and necessary violence here: "Because it poetizes as it thinks, the translation which wishes to let the oldest fragment of thinking itself speak necessarily appears violent."

"If only once we could hear the fragment it would no longer sound like an assertion historically long past. Nor would we be seduced by vain hopes of calculating historically, i.e. philologically and psychologically, what was at one time really present to that man called Anaximander of Miletus which may have served as the condition for his way of representing the world. But presuming we do hear what his saying says, what binds us in our attempt to translate it? How do we get to what is said in the saying, so that it might rescue the translation from arbitrariness? 
"We are bound to the language of the saying. We are bound to our mother tongue. In both cases we are essentially bound to language and to the experience of its essence. This bond is broader and stronger, but far less apparent, than the standards of all philological and historical facts—which can only borrow their factuality from it. So long as we do not experience this binding, every translation of the fragment must seem wholly arbitrary. Yet even when we are bound to what is said in the saying, not only the translation but also the binding retain the appearance of violence, as though what is to be heard and said here necessarily suffers violence. 
"Only in thoughtful dialogue with what it says can this fragment of thinking be translated. However, thinking is poetizing, and indeed more than one kind of poetizing, more than poetry and song. Thinking of Being is the original way of poetizing. Language first comes to language, i.e. into its essence, in thinking. Thinking says what the truth of Being dictates; it is the original diet are. Thinking is primordial poetry, prior to all poesy, but also prior to the poetics of art, since art shapes its work within the realm of language. All poetizing, in this broader sense, and also in the narrower sense of the poetic, is in its ground a thinking. The poetizing essence of thinking preserves the sway of the truth of Being. Because it poetizes as it thinks, the translation which wishes to let the oldest fragment of thinking itself speak necessarily appears violent."


Where to the gods come from? What gives birth, name, feature and power to the gods? At the dawn of our culture, what strange mysteries emerged into the light? Here and now in my exploration of memory, I sense a primordial reckoning with these beings. As indicated by Heidegger, the language fissures and collapses inwards under the pressure of these archetypal depths. Poetic consciousness rearranges the morphemes and phonemes of the words, chanting Indo-European roots, glossolalia, speaking in tongues, Babel....

The Muses, offspring of Memory, Graces, associated with the Ocean, Fates, born from Divine Law and the Furies, risen from the blood of the sky.

I believe that in order to understand not only the foundations of Western Culture but to be well acquainted with the rich tradition of literary and poetic reference, it is necessary to, at the very least, know the names of the Muses, Graces, Fates and Furies. Such knowledge allows the Pulse to move through you and galvanizes the beauty of the threads that run through the culture. Example: If you know Ovid, you know Dante, Milton, Shakespeare, thereby illuminating the language to an unprecedented degree.

From Ovid's Metamorphoses, Bk IV:464-511 Tisiphone maddens Athamas and Ino

      "After Saturnia had looked grimly, glancing fiercely, at all these, and at Ixion above all, looking back from him to Sisyphus, she asks the Furies ‘Why does this son of Aeolus, suffer perpetual torment, while his brother Athamas, who, with his wife, scorns me, lives, in his pride, in a rich palace?’ And she expounds the causes of her hatred, her journey, and what it is she wishes. What she wished was that the House of Cadmus should no longer stand, and that the Sisters should drive Athamas mad.  She urged the goddesses help, mingling promises, commands and prayers together. When Juno had finished speaking, Tisiphone, grey-haired as she was, shook her locks, flinging back the snakes that concealed her face, and said ‘It does not need all these words: consider it done, whatever you have ordered. Leave this unlovely kingdom, and go back to heaven with its sweeter air.’ Juno returned happily, and Iris, her messenger, the daughter of Thaumus, purified her, as she was about to enter heaven, with drops of dew. 
      "Without delay, Tisiphone, the troubler, grasped a torch soaked with blood, put on a dripping red robe, coiled a writhing serpent round her waist, and left the spot. Grief went as her companion, and Panic, and Terror, and Madness with agitated face. She took up her position on the threshold, and they say the pillars of the doorway of Aeolus’s palace shook, the doors of maple-wood were tainted with whiteness, and the sun fled the place. Athamas and his wife, Ino, were terrified at these portents of doom, and they tried to escape the palace. The baleful Erinys obstructed them, and blocked the way. Stretching out her arms, wreathed with knots of vipers, she flailed her hair, and the snakes hissed at her movements. Some coiled over her shoulders, some slid over her breast, giving out whistling noises, vomiting blood, and flickering their tongues. 
      "Then she pulls two serpents from the midst of her hair, and hurls what she has snatched with a deadly aim. They slither over Ino and Athamas, and blow their oppressive breath into them. Their limbs are not wounded: it is the mind that feels the dreadful stroke. She had brought foul poisonous liquids too, spume from the jaws of Cerberus, Echidna’s venom, those that cause vague delusions, dark oblivions of the mind, wickedness and weeping, rage and love of murder, all seethed together. She had boiled them, mixed with fresh blood, in hollow bronze, stirred with a stalk of green hemlock. 
      "While they stood trembling, she poured this venom of the Furies over the breasts of the two of them, and sent it into the depths of their minds. Then, brandishing her torch, encircled them with fire, by fire’s swift movement, whirling it round in repeated orbit. So having conquered them, and carried out her orders, she returned to the wide kingdom of mighty Dis, and unloosed the serpent she had wrapped around her."

There are Nine Muses, daughters of Zeus and Mnemosyne, who represent the arts and sciences. The Father of Gods and Men and the Personification of Memory created the Muses.

"In Hesiod's Theogony, kings and poets receive their powers of authoritative speech from their possession of Mnemosyne and their special relationship with the Muses. 
"Zeus and Mnemosyne slept together for nine consecutive nights, thus birthing the nine Muses. Mnemosyne also presided over a pool in Hades, counterpart to the river Lethe, according to a series of 4th century BC Greek funerary inscriptions in dactylic hexameter. 
"Dead souls drank from Lethe so they would not remember their past lives when reincarnated. Initiates were encouraged to drink from the river Mnemosyne when they died, instead of Lethe. These inscriptions may have been connected with Orphic poetry (see Zuntz, 1971)." - Wikipedia: Mnemosyne

Mnemonic nonsense phrases follow. However, it doesn't take long for these vivid mythological archetypes to body forth into vivid and unforgettable imagery.

The Nine Muses

Calliope (epic poetry)

Muse of Eloquence and heroic Poetry. Her name means fine voice and she is depicted with stylus and tablets.

Calliope by Augustin Pajou, c. 1763

The mnemonic association of the austere tradition of epic poetry with the lighthearted carnivalesque musical calliope is, perhaps, not the most appropriate. But I see a Professor Marvel type from the Wizard of Oz, a new American epic poet, riding through the West on a calliope performing his poetry in Boom Towns and Indian Camps, composing with the eagle, the buffalo and the bear.

"Calliope, the wonderful operonicon 
or steam car of the muses" – advertising poster, 1874

The pronunciation of the word 'calliope' has long been disputed. The Greek muse by the same name is pronounced /kəˈlaɪ.əpiː/ kə-ly-ə-pee, but the instrument was generally pronounced /ˈkæli.oʊp/ kal-ee-ohp. A nineteenth century magazine, Reedy's Mirror, attempted to settle the dispute by publishing this rhyme: 
Proud folk stare after me,
Call me Calliope;
Tooting joy, tooting hope,
I am the calliope. 
This, in turn, came from a poem by Vachel Lindsay, called "The Kallyope Yell," [sic][3] in which Lindsay uses both pronunciations. 
However, in the song Blinded by the light, written in 1972, Bruce Springsteen used the four syllable (/kəˈlaɪ.əpiː/) pronunciation when referring to a fairground organ, and this was repeated by Manfred Mann in their (better-known) 1976 cover, suggesting that this is a common modern pronunciation in both the US and the UK. - Wikipedia: Calliope

Clio (history)

Muse of History, her name derives from the Greek kleos (glory) or kleiein (to celebrate). She is depicted as a virgin with a laurel wreath, a trumpet in one hand and a volume in the other one.

Clio by Charles Meynier - 1798

"Clio, sometimes referred to as "the Proclaimer", is often represented with an open scroll of parchment scroll or a set of tablets. The name is etymologically derived from the Greek root κλέω/κλείω (meaning "to recount," "to make famous,"or "to celebrate"). 
'Clio' represents history in some coined words: cliometrics, cliodynamics." - Wikipedia: Clio

Erato (lyric poetry)

Muse of lyric Poetry and Anacreontic Poetry, her name derives from the Greek Eros (love). She is represented as a nymph crowned with myrtle and roses, holding a lyre and a bow.

The muse Erato and Her Lyre, 1895 - John Wiiliam Godward

"Erato is the Muse of lyric poetry, especially love and erotic poetry. In the Orphic hymn to the Muses, it is Erato who charms the sight. Since the Renaissance she is often shown with a wreath of myrtle and roses, holding a lyre, or a small kithara, a musical instrument that Apollo or she herself invented. In Simon Vouet's representations, two turtle-doves are eating seeds at her feet. Other representations may show her holding a golden arrow, reminding one of the "eros", the feeling that she inspires in everybody, and at times she is accompanied by the god Eros, holding a torch." - Wikipedia: Erato

Euterpe (music)

Muse of Music. Her name means she who makes herself loved and she is usually represented as a maid crowned with a flower garland, playing the instrument she invented, the flute.

Euterpe by Egide Godfried Guffens - 1823-1901

"Called the "Giver of delight", when later poets assigned roles to each of the Muses, she was the muse of music. In late Classical times she was named muse of lyric poetry and depicted holding a flute. A few say she invented the aulos or double-flute, though most mythographers credit Marsyas with its invention." - Wikipedia: Euterpe

Melpomene (tragedy)

Muse of Tragedy. Her name comes from the Greek melpein (to sing). She is represented as a woman in buskins, holding a sceptre and a dagger covered in blood.

Detail from mural depicting the muse Melpomene (Tragedy) by Edward Simmons - 1896

Melpomene, Muse of tragedy. Marble, Roman artwork from the 2nd century CE.

A Curious Historical Item about the name Melpomene:
"Painting of the Muse Melpomene by Edward Simmons, 1891; Thomas Jefferson Building, Washington, D.C. According to certain modern Olympic historians and journalists, Melpomene and Revithi are the same person, and the Greek woman was attributed the name of the Muse."
"In March 1896, a French-language newspaper in Athens (the Messager d'Athènes) reported that there was "talk of a woman who had enrolled as a participant in the Marathon race. In the test run which she completed on her own [...] she took 4½ hours to run the distance of 42 [sic] kilometres which separates Marathon from Athens." Later that year, Franz Kémény, a founding International Olympic Committee member from Hungary, wrote in German that, "indeed a lady, Miss Melpomene, completed the 40 kilometres marathon in 4½ hours and requested an entry into the Olympic Games competition. This was reportedly denied by the commission." According to Martin and Gynn, "a peculiarity here is why there is no first name for Melpomene". The Messager report faded into obscurity for about 30 years before it was revived in 1927 in an issue of Der Leichtathlet. 
Olympic historian Karl Lennartz contends that two women ran the marathon in 1896, and that the name "Melpomene" was confirmed by both Kémény and Alfréd Hajós, two-time Olympic swim champion of 1896. Lennartz presents the following account: a young woman named Melpomene wanted to run the race and completed the distance in 4½ hours at the end of February or the beginning of March. The organizing committee, however, did not allow her to run, and the newspaper Akropolis criticized the committee for its decision. The Olympic Marathon took place on 10 April [O.S. 29 March] 1896, and another female runner, Stamata Revithi, took 5½ hours to run the course on 11 April [O.S. 30 March] 1896. The newspapers Asti, New Aristophanes and Atlantida reported this on 12 April [O.S. 31 March] 1896. 
However, Tarasouleas argues that no contemporary press reports in Greek newspapers mention Melpomene by name, while the name Revithi appears many times; Tarasouleas suggests that Melpomene and Revithi are the same person, and Martin and Green argue that "a contemporary account referring to Revithi as a well-known marathon runner could explain the earlier run by a woman over the marathon course—this was by Revithi herself, not Melpomene". The daily Athens newspaper Estia of 4 April [O.S. 23 March] 1896 refers to "the strange woman, who, having run a few days ago in the Marathon as a try-out, intends to compete the day after tomorrow. Today she came to our offices and said 'should my shoes hinder me, I will remove them on the way and continue barefoot'." Moreover, Tarasouleas notes that on 13 March [O.S. 1 March] 1896, another local newspaper indicated that a woman and her baby had registered to run the marathon, but again her name is not mentioned. Trying to resolve the mystery, Tarasouleas asserts that "perhaps Revithi had two names, or perhaps for reasons unknown she was attributed the name of the Muse Melpomene". Wikipedia: Stamata Revithi

Polyhymnia (sacred poetry)

Muse of Rhetoric and of vocal Music, her name comes from the Greek poly (many) and hymnos (hymn), or from mnasthai (to remember). She is depicted with a flower or pearl crown, dressed in white, her right arm in the act of haranguing, her left hand holding a sceptre.

Postcard of a Statue of Polyhymnia

Polyhymnia by Hendrick Goltziusca. 1592

"Polyhymnia (/pɒliˈhɪmniə/; Greek: Πολυύμνια, Πολύμνια; "the one of many hymns"), was in Greek mythology the Muse of sacred poetry, sacred hymn, dance, and eloquence as well as agriculture and pantomime. She is depicted as very serious, pensive and meditative, and often holding a finger to her mouth, dressed in a long cloak and veil and resting her elbow on a pillar. Polyhymnia is also sometimes credited as being the Muse of geometry and meditation. 
"In Bibliotheca historica, Diodorus Siculus wrote, "Polyhymnia, because by her great (polle) praises (humnesis) she brings distinction to writers whose works have won for them immortal fame...". She appears in Dante's Divine Comedy: Paradiso. Canto XXIII, line 56, and is referenced in modern works of fiction." Wikipedia: Polyhymnia
If all those tongues should sound to aid me now
Which Polyhymnia and her sister muses
Made all the richer with their sweetest milk,

It would not touch a thousandth of the truth
In singing of her saintly smile and how
It lighted up her saintly countenance.
 Paradiso. Canto XXIII,

Terpsichore (dance)

Muse of Dance. Her name means she who loves dance. She is depicted as a young woman, crowned with flower garlands, who dances and plays the harp.


"In Greek mythology, Terpsichore (/tərpˈsɪkəriː/; Τερψιχόρη) "delight in dancing" was one of the nine Muses, ruling over ballet and the dramatic chorus. She lends her name to the word "terpsichorean" which means "of or relating to dance". She is usually depicted sitting down, holding a lyre, accompanying the ballerinas' choirs with her music. Her name comes from the Greek words τέρπω ("delight") and χoρός ("dance")."  
In the Fred Astaire/Ginger Rogers feature film Swing Time (1936), Lucky (Astaire), when asked by Mr. Gordon, why he wishes to learn to dance, answers: "To flirt with terpsichory". He then proceeds to take a dance lesson with Penny (Rogers), culminating in a paired tap routine." - Wikipedia: Terpsichore


Thalia (comedy)

Muse of Comedy, her name derives from the Greek thallein (to bloom). She is depicted as a young woman crowned with an ivy garland, holding a mask and wearing ankle boots.

Thalia, Muse of Comedy, 1739 by Jean-Marc Nattier 

"Thalia (/θəˈlaɪə/; Ancient Greek: Θάλεια, Θαλία; "the joyous, the flourishing", from Ancient Greek: θάλλειν, thállein; "to flourish, to be verdant") was the Muse who presided over comedy and idyllic poetry. In this context her name means "flourishing", because the praises in her songs flourish through time.She was the daughter of Zeus and Mnemosyne, the eighth-born of the nine Muses. 
According to pseudo-Apollodorus, she and Apollo were the parents of the Corybantes. Other ancient sources, however, gave the Corybantes different parents. 
She was portrayed as a young woman with a joyous air, crowned with ivy, wearing boots and holding a comic mask in her hand. Many of her statues also hold a bugle and a trumpet (both used to support the actors' voices in ancient comedy), or occasionally a shepherd’s staff or a wreath of ivy." - Wikipedia: Thalia

Urania (astronomy)

Muse of Astronomy. Her name comes from the Greek ouranos (sky) and she is represented as a virgin holding a globe and a bar.

Flammarion, N.C. L'astronomia popolare, [1885].

"Urania (/jʊˈreɪniə/; Ancient Greek: Οὐρανία; meaning 'heavenly' or 'of heaven') was, in Greek mythology, the muse of astronomy and a daughter of Zeus by Mnemosyne and also a great granddaughter of Uranus. Some accounts list her as the mother of the musician Linus by Apollo, and Hymenaeus also is said to have been a son of Urania. She is often associated with Universal Love and the Holy Spirit. Eldest of the divine sisters, Urania inherited Zeus' majesty and power and the beauty and grace of her mother Mnemosyne."
"Those who are most concerned with philosophy and the heavens are dearest to her. Those who have been instructed by her she raises aloft to heaven, for it is a fact that imagination and the power of thought lift men's souls to heavenly heights." - Wikipedia: Urania

Calliope (epic poetry)
Clio (history)
Erato (lyric poetry)
Euterpe (music)
Melpomene (tragedy)
Polyhymnia (sacred poetry)
Terpsichore (dance)
Thalia (comedy)
Urania (astronomy)

California’s Climate Eradicates Euthanasia,
Melting Political Terrors, Thawing Uranium.

The wandering Epic Poet riding atop a CalliopeKalliope, literally "beautiful-voiced," from kalli-, combining form of kallos "beauty" + opos (genitive of *ops) "voice"
Clio from kleiein, to celebrate, proclaim in History
Erato the erotic as in love and lyric poetry
Euterpe associates the root terpein "to delight, please" Eu is "good, well" = music
Melpomene from melpein "to sing." Tragedy as the song sung at the sacrifice of a goat
Polyhymnia meaning "much song or singing" Possibly a variant of hymenaios "wedding song," from Hymen, Greek god of marriage
Terpsichore from terpein "to delight" (from PIE root *terp- "to satisfy;" cf. Sanskrit trpyati "takes one's fill," Lithuanian tarpstu "to thrive, prosper") + khoros "dance, chorus"
Thalia from Greek Thaleia, "the joyful Muse," presiding over comedy and idyllic poetry, literally "the blooming one," fem. proper name from adjective meaning "blooming, luxuriant, bounteous," from thallein "to bloom," related to thalia "abundance," thallos "young shoot"
Urania from Greek Ourania, fem. of ouranios, literally "heavenly," from ouranos

The three Graces. Roman copy of the Imperial Era (2nd century AD?) after a Hellenistic original.
Restored for a large part in 1609 by Nicolas Cordier (1565-1612) for Cardinal Borghese.

Three Graces or Charities - the daughters of the nymph Eurynome and Zeus.

"AGLAIA (or Aglaea) was the goddess of beauty, splendour, glory, magnificence and adornment. She was one of the three Kharites (Graces) who often appears dancing in a circle with her sisters. Aglaia was the wife of the god Hephaistos and the mother of the four younger Kharites named Good-Repute, Praise, Eloquence and Welcome. She was also named Kharis (the Grace) and Kale (Beauty). 
"EUPHROSYNE was the goddess of good cheer, joy, mirth and merriment. She was one of the three Kharites (Graces). Her name derives from the Greek word euphrosynos "merriment". Usually, however, she appears dancing in a circle with her triplet sisters. 
"THALIA was the goddess of festivity and rich, luxurious banquets. She was one of the three Kharites (Graces) who usually appears with her sisters dancing in a circle.
Thalia's comes from the Greek word thalia, an adjectival term used to describe banquets as rich, plentiful, luxuriant and abundant. In this sense she was probably the same as Pandaisia (Banquet), a Kharis who accompanies Aphrodite in Athenian vase painting. Thalia's name also means "the blooming" in the sense of springtime greenery and blossoms (cf. the Hora Thallo)." From Theoi Greek Mythology

Aglaia (beauty, splendor, brilliant, “shining one”)
Euphrosyne (joy, mirth, merriment)
Thalia (abundance, festivity, feast)

Aglow, Euphoric, Thanks!

Francesco de' Rossi (1510–1563)  The Three Fates, 1550

The three Fates, Clotho at left spins, Lachesis winds in the centre
and Atropos tests tensility at right. 1558 Engraving

Three Fates or Moirae (“apportioners”)

Clotho (spinner of the thread of life)
Lachesis (drawer of lots)
Atropos (cutter of the thread of life)

Clothes Lachrymose, Atrocious!

Wenceslaus Hollar (1607–1677) The three furies.


The Remorse of Orestes (1862) by William Frederic Bouguereau (1825–1905). 
The three Furies "furiously" pursue Orestes who has just stabbed his mother.

Three Furies (Erinyes), the Eumenides, or “kindly ones.”  

The Titan Cronus castrated his father Uranus and threw his genitals into the sea. The Furies arose from the drops of blood, and the goddess of love, Aphrodite, from the sea foam.

Alecto (relentless pursuit - unnameable)
Megaera (jealousy, grudging)
Tisiphone (blood vengeance, vengeful destruction)

Alexander’s Mega T-shirts.

"According to Hesiod's Theogony, when the Titan Cronus castrated his father Uranus and threw his genitalia into the sea, the Erinyes as well as the Meliae emerged from the drops of blood when it fell on the earth (Gaia), while Aphrodite was born from the crests of sea foam. According to variant accounts, they emerged from an even more primordial level—from Nyx, "Night", or from a union between air and mother earth. Their number is usually left indeterminate. Virgil, probably working from an Alexandrian source, recognized three: Alecto ("unnameable"), Megaera ("grudging"), and Tisiphone ("vengeful destruction"), all of whom appear in the Aeneid. Dante followed Virgil in depicting the same three-character triptych of Erinyes; in Canto IX of the Inferno they confront the poets at the gates of the city of Dis." Wikipedia: Erinyes

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