Eternity is in love with the productions of time
~ William Blake
A mystical union, be it with god or muse, is a union with the transcendent… an invocation of the divine.
All of existence is part of a seemingly eternal movement towards something. I prefer to think of it as an Infinite Ideal, that we are all in this together; the trees, the wind, the sun, the sand, the ocean, the waves, even the cats in the park. We are connected like leaves on a tree, and we admire the foremost leaf straining in its futile reach to the stars.
We all strain towards something, and sometimes life seems insistent to help us. We identify those helpful aspects of life as muses and angels.
Recognize these muses and angels when you see them. Cherish them. Listen and be part of their story. They will help you to know yourself, to know your soul’s calling, to seize upon life with the best of your being.
But what of the trampled upon leaf under foot? Is that not also part of this eternal dance?
Most certainly it is, as is the pain of the hungry rodent, the diseases it spreads, and the cruelty of the cat that killed the rodent. As the Buddhists remind us: Life is suffering.
The muse, inspiration, she inspires order of out chaos. She is the nurturing goddess from which all that is — is shaped into being. Jung described her as the Anima, the feminine spirit within the masculine spirit. She is also the devouring mother, that which destroys all that was. She cannot be one without the other.
Shakespeare’s Henry V, Prologue
O for a Muse of fire, that would ascend
The brightest heaven of invention,
A kingdom for a stage, princes to act
And monarchs to behold the swelling scene!
Creation, the stories and songs of culture, he is the order shaped from chaos. He is the father of all that is known. He is every work of Shakespeare. He is the output of every creative act. Jung described him as the Animus, the masculine spirit within the feminine. He is also the tyrannical father, preserving the order of all that was, protecting it from the devouring mother. He cannot be one without the other.
Dante’s Inferno Canto: II
O Muses, O high genius, now assist me!
O memory, that didst write down what I saw,
Here thy nobility shall be manifest!
Shakespeare’s fire and Dante’s genius are invocations to the muse, burning the boundaries of chaos and order such that the eternal stories may live anew.
And of course, the T.E. Lawrence translation of
O Divine Poesy
Goddess-daughter of Zeus,
Sustain for me
This song of the various-minded man,
Who after he had plundered
The innermost citadel of hallowed Troy
Was made to stray grievously
About the coasts of men,
The sport of their customs good or bad,
While his heart
Through all the seafaring
Ached in an agony to redeem himself
And bring his company safe home.
Vain hope – for them!
For his fellows he strove in vain,
Their own witlessness cast them away;
To destroy for meat
The oxen of the most exalted sun!
Wherefore the sun-god blotted out
The day of their return.
Make the tale live for us
In all its many bearings,
We know the names Shakespeare, Dante, Homer, and T.E. Lawrence because of this interplay of muse and creation. He (creation) is the knowledge (the order out of chaos) that has sustained through the passage of time. She (muse) is the fire that burns away the boundary between chaos and order, and nurtures every creative act.
Without him, all would be forgotten. Without her, there would be nothing to forget — the words of Homer would be dead on a page. Hers is the breath that makes his words live anew.