Episode 79: Solitary Fae: Muse
The folklore of muses in a nutshell, how I reimagined them for my writing, and this faery translated to Afrikaans.
Written and narrated by Ronel Janse van Vuuren.
Copyright 2023 Ronel Janse van Vuuren — All rights reserved.
Learn more about muses in folklore here.
Get the transcript here.
Music: Secrets by David Fesliyan (FesliyanStudios.com) and Dramatic Heartbeat by FesliyanStudios.com
You’re listening to the Faeries and Folklore podcast by Ronel.
I’m dark fantasy author Ronel Janse van Vuuren. With nearly a decade of digging around in dusty folklore books, researching creatures of imagination that ignited my curiosity, I’m here to share the folklore in a nutshell and how I reimagined it for my writing in an origin of the fae.
This is the Faeries and Folklore podcast.
Hi, I’m your host Ronel Janse van Vuuren. You can just call me Ronel. In today’s episode, we’re continuing our exploration of the fae realm.
This episode is brought to you by my Dark Court Sisters book series. Available in ebook, paperback and audiobook. Three sisters. Three destinies. Three ways to destroy the world. Go to ronelthemythmaker.com/darkcourtsistersseries for more.
You can now support my time in producing the podcast (researching, writing and everything else involved) by buying me a coffee. This can be a once-off thing, or you can buy me coffee again in the future at your discretion. Go to buymeacoffee.com/ronel to support me.
We’re continuing our exploration of Solitary Fae.
Today’s Faery: Muse
Folklore in a nutshell by Ronel
The Muses are the adored goddesses of song, dance and memory – and it’s on their mercy that the creativity, wisdom and insight of artists and thinkers depend.
The nine muses of classical mythology are the daughters of Zeus and Mnemosyne (“memory”). Though some ancient scholars such as Pausanias only name three, it is believed that nine is the actual number as Hesoid wrote. He also listed their names: Calliope, Clio, Erato, Euterpe, Melpomene, Polyhymnia, Terpsichore, Thalia, and Urania. Spellings vary, but their job descriptions don’t.
· Calliope: Muse of heroic or epic poetry (often holding a writing tablet).
· Clio: Muse of history (often holding a scroll).
· Erato: Muse of lyric and love poetry (often playing a lyre).
· Euterpe: Muse of music or flutes (often playing flutes).
· Melpomene: Muse of tragedy (often holding a tragic mask).
· Polyhymnia: Muse of sacred poetry or of the mimic art (often shown with a pensive look).
· Terpsichore: Muse of dancing and choral song (often shown dancing and holding a lyre).
· Thalia: Muse of comedy (often holding a comic mask).
· Urania: Muse of astronomy (often holding a globe).
As the patron goddesses of literature, the arts and sciences, they lend their name to the word “museum”. Poets from ancient Greece called upon the Muses to give them inspiration for their work.
Homer only invokes a Muse or the Muses collectively through his works, meaning that they could have been a vague collection of deities, which is characteristic of early Greek religion where the focus was on the Olympians.
The Muses are unmarried, but they have been credited to be the mothers of famous sons such as Orpheus, Eumolpus, Rhesus and others connected to poetry and song.
They spent a lot of time with Apollo – he is even said to be the father of some of their children – and they also spent a lot of time on Olympus cheerfully singing and dancing. They even attended funerals – Achilles’s funeral being one.
Just like a lot of goddesses, they are protective of their status. When someone challenges them, they always win and humiliate their opponent(s). When the Sirens challenged them, they made crowns from their feathers.
In Roman times, the Muses were distributed among the different arts and sciences instead of being able to inspire all of it. Statues of the Muses became popular decoration in galleries and the like.
In modern times, a muse is a person or supernatural force that serves as the source of artistic inspiration for an artist. There is even a band that called themselves “Muse”. And though I find inspiration in music for my writing, it is my pets that serve as my personal muses.
And now for my interpretation of the fae in an Origin of the fae: Muse
The Muses are powerful goddesses of all the arts, literature and science. Even if writers, artists and scientists don’t know or believe it. They are also the protectors of creativity, inspiration, thinking and memory. They have the power to possess humans and bring forth these things even in those who have none of it when it is needed by society. The Muses prefer living in the Grove of Muses at the foot of Mount Marandali, though they inhabit Museums and Libraries, too. They are known to create reality TV shows where people sing and dance. They also occasionally own bookstores, publishing companies, record companies and film studios. They can appear in any way they wish. Though they sometimes listen to the appeals of humans, they only grant inspiration if they think the human is worthy.
As a little bonus, let’s look at this faery translated to Afrikaans: Muse
I hope that you’ve enjoyed this episode of the faeries and folklore podcast and that you’ve learned something new about faeries.
Remember that you can get a transcript of this episode in the description. If you’re new to the podcast, why not go and grab your free copy of Unseen, the second book in the Faery Tales series, on my website ronelthemythmaker.com? Loads of folklore, magic and danger await! Take care!
You can now support my time in producing the podcast (researching, writing and everything else involved) by buying me a coffee. This can be a once-off thing, or you can buy me coffee again in the future at your discretion.
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No-one writes about the fae like Ronel Janse van Vuuren.