Art, Books, Don and Wen

Dear Don: Old Moore’s…

Dear Don,

I suppose it was a case of ‘keeping up with the Joneses’ on a grand scale… which almost always leads to going with ‘bigger and better’…or at least a mistaken perception of it…

Gustave Moreau: Hesiod and the Muse

I thought you might have fun with the Muses. I like Varro’s Three better than the traditional Nine, who have always seemed rather arbitrary to me. The nine classical Muses appear to refer to fashionable arts and leave out so many facets of artistic expression, where the three seem rooted in an older tradition.

(And they work better with your film anyway… which I will watch if ever I get chance and can stay awake long enough).

Melete’s name translates literally as  “ponder” and “contemplation” and she was the muse of thought and meditation. Aeode was the muse of voice and song, while Mneme was the muse of memory… and I suppose that all the poetic arts are rooted in those three, really.

Before the Three became Nine, they were Four, then Five, with the addition of  Arche and Thelxinoë. These two look less like personifications though and more like ‘first principles’, with Arche referring to the boundless and eternal source of all things and Thelxinoë to the ‘charming of the mind’.

And when you start thinking about them a bit, you can’t help wondering if there is not a whole Creation myth bound up in their story… or at least, the remnants of one. Even some of the definitions sound vaguely biblical, with Mneme’s sound moving across Melete’s waters…

And they all seem to have lunar connections, which might suggest Creation had something to do with the Divine Feminine, unlike later traditions… or perhaps, as the moon reflects the light of the sun in the heavens, it is a reminder that all our creative efforts are but echoes of the primal act of creation.

The Golden Fleece is interesting, being the oldest knightly Order of its kind still surviving… at least in its original form. Although it is classed as Catholic Order, many heads of state, including our own… who, as head of the Anglican Church is emphatically not Catholic, are members of the order. The Duke of Wellington was the first Protestant on whom the Order was bestowed and it is now given to non-Christians too. Their motto is Pretium Laborum Non Vile… no mean reward for labour, and Non Aliud … I will have no other…

It all seems as intriguing as Dashwood and Co., I have to say. And we may need to have a closer look at the exploits of Jason and the Golden Fleece, one of these days. He keeps cropping up lately…

The beast is also up, though and reminds me it is past dinner-time.

Love,

Wen and hungry hound. x

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