Their mother is Mnemosyne, Goddess of Memory. Their father is Zeus, chief of the Greek gods. The Muses are nine-tuplets, born from their parents’ nine-day ritual marriage at the summit of Mount Olympus. (Hesiod said the Muses were from Macedonia.) The Muses were originally mountain Nymphs. An alternative version of their birth says their parents are Gaia and Uranus. Their name derives from a root word meaning “mountain.”
THE STANDARD LIST OF MUSES
• Kleio: “Giver of Fame,” Muse of History
• Euterpe: “Giver of Joy,” Muse of the Flute
• Thalia: “The Festive,” Muse of Comedy
• Melpomene: “The Singer,” Muse of Tragedy
• Terpsichore: “Lover of Dance,” Muse of the Lyre
• Erato: “The Awakener of Desire,” Muse of Dance
• Polymnia: “She of Many Hymns,” Muse of Storytelling
• Urania: “The Heavenly,” Muse of Astronomy
• Kalliope: “She of the Beautiful Voice,” Muse of Heroic Song
The Muses are catalysts and bestowers of divine inspiration and talent. They may be petitioned en masse, individually, or in any combination. Thus, for instance, a dancer may invoke Erato alone, if so desired. The Muses have a longstanding rivalry with the Sirens. These two groups of spirits should not be invoked together. Keeping them far apart is recommended.
The Muses may appear as women or birds.
Apollo and Orpheus. The Charites share the Muses’ abode as does Himeros, Eros’ double.
The Muses are traditionally associated with springs, mountains, and pastoral landscapes. Their shrines were known as Museums. Modern museums are under their dominion.
• They had a sanctuary on Greece’s Mount Helicon and shrines throughout Macedonia.
• The Muses have palaces and dance grounds at the summit of mythic Mount Olympus.
Apollo; Charities; Eros; Erotes; Gaia; Mnemosyne; Orpheus; Sirens; Zeus
Encyclopedia of Spirits: The Ultimate Guide to the Magic of Fairies, Genies, Demons, Ghosts, Gods & Goddesses – Written by : Judika Illes Copyright © 2009 by Judika Illes.