Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘science’

Okay, so last post I announced my new jewelry store, Dual Seed Studios http://www.etsy.com/shop/DualSeedStudios/about/  and you all should check it out.  I’ll probably have to do a post on just what “Dual Seed” means to me and why I chose it, no it’s not as dirty as you might think.  But this isn’t time for that, this is a time for myth and folklore and things that go bump in the night.  Or things that go bump in the bedroom.  In honor of my own obsessive endeavors, let’s look at two different sources of inspiration.  The muses and the leanan-sidhe.

Muses are so popular that I didn’t want to do a full post just on them, because much of it you might already know.  Nine women, born of Zeus, who represent all the arts and sciences of the ancient world.   Traditionally, they inspire artists and creators within their fields.

… Or do they.  First of all, since I’m focusing on things that people might not have heard about the muses, originally there were only three of them, and they had nothing at all to do with Zeus.  Some said they were born of Uranus, the sky, and Gaia, the earth.  Others made them out to be more like water nymphs, born from springs and occasionally man made fountains.  We’ve already talked about nymphs and their semi-divine nature, and the connection between muses and fountains stays in the background long after the three become nine.

Also, originally they were sources of inspiration, but they didn’t have specific areas or arts to personify.  They sort of leaked inspiration like a leaky faucet, giving it to whoever they were closest too.  This included lovers of course, but in some darker tales it didn’t necessarily need to be willing lovers.  That’s right, some people took inspiration from muses, along with anything else they wanted, and do we really expect a ditzy hyper-nymph to be able to put up much of a fight?  Maybe the pantheon of muses expanded when more generations of Muses were born, and maybe they started hanging out with Zeus and Apollo and such for a bit of protection.  Not that you could trust those two infamous womanizers around anyone with a bit of curves. Even calling Zeus ‘daddy’ is likely just to turn the nasty horndog on more.

Then, in another part of the world but maybe just as old a concept, there is the leanan sidhe (no, that was not an awkward segue, shut up!)  One of the Irish (sometimes Scottish) fey, she is a beautiful and powerful creature who grants inspiration to her lovers.  Willing lovers only this time, anyone who tried to force himself on a leanan sighe is going to lose more than his balls.

Even when the leanan sighe has a new beau, the artist  in question is doomed to suffer.  The leanan sidhe is absolutely the worst of girlfriends.  She demands all your love and attention even as she insists you work on your art.  And even when you are a dutiful lover, she quite often drives you into complete madness.  The candle that burns brightest slips a bloody cog, to mix a metaphor.  Literally, almost all of the lovers, read victims, of the leanan sidhe live brilliant, and short, lives.  Usually ending with them gibbering in madness, overwhelmed either by faerie glamour or forced inspiration.  Uncontrolled ideas bubbling up through the brain pan can be just as dangerous as supernatural sex, probably more so.

Later mythologies have the leanan sidhe as kind of a vampire who feeds on her lovers’ life forces. She probably gets more of a boost from their love.  She doesn’t need to drain her little pets, but I bet she gets a giggle out of the self destructive path the little mad bastards cut through their lives.  There are always more desperate artists to fill her bed.

Now I talk about the leanan-sidhe as a singular figure, and to be honest the older myths have it as a type of fey, with lots of the ‘barrow lovers’ as the name loosely translates too, running about and causing brilliant but short lives.  More recently, in popular media especially, she is becoming a singular figure, and I’m kind of waiting to see if that happens more and more with the other old fey.  I’m wondering if the human story will condense several old myths together, much like they’ve done with various pantheons, until we have the Redcap, the Dionne Sidhe (singular), instead of a bunch of the buggers running around.

It’s also fascinating the connection between sex, inspiration, and water.   Those three things get combined far more than just these two examples.  The apsara of India are supernatural dancers who seduce and inspire gods and men alike, often causing at least trouble in their marriage beds.  They follow music wherever it is, and are connected with waters and clouds.  Saraswati, godess of knowledge and arts, gets linked to flowing water and pure water sources as well.  Of course the Roman goddesses of fountains are poor knock off copies of the muses (like everything else in Rome), but how many seers, male and female, scry through water for their inspirations throughout history?

On a personal note, though the original three muses were mostly focused on poetry and song, I always liked the idea of nine muses who covered art, history, and science.  There is a huge gap in modern times between art and science that really just doesn’t need to exist.  Both require inspiration, dedication, and a bit of bloody luck.  Why not search for that luck in the form of a beautiful nymph?  Men have found inspiration in far worse things.

Okay, insert obligatory joke of muses being all ‘wet’ here, goodnight folks.

 

Writing Prompts

Two thousand years in the future, what ‘arts and sciences’ exist and what muses have provenance?

Women’s lib, a muse goes into business for herself.  Maybe using an artist as a tool and ghost writer.

Modern psychological drugs versus leanan sidhe madness magic, who wins?  Certainly not the poor bipolar artist stuck in between.

Read Full Post »

Miracle Whipped

I live next to one of the geekiest bars I’ve ever encountered.

No really. You walk in and hear your bartender talking about his Pathfinder campaign with two of his players.  Grown adults play Magic the Gathering in the back while serious musicians debate the Clash versus the Beetles and who wrote the more original music.  The Oscars were playing instead of the usual football, with the music off and most of the bar laughing along at Billy Crystal.

It’s a good place to eavesdrop on interesting conversations, join once the spirit moves, or just chuckle and smile and pretend to mind your own business.   However, at least once a week it seems I hear someone bringing up the various forms of the religion vs. science debate, and it drives me just a little bit bonkers.

Now, I probably should point out that I’m not a fan of major religion, because I’m not a fan of any large organization.  The bigger an organization gets, the more unwieldy it becomes, and the more it has to treat it’s lesser members like sheep to be led to keep itself together   That applies to religion, business, governments, and yes probably the scientific community.

I don’t want to actually get into my views on the debate, not exactly.  What I want to focus on is how a scientific viewpoint can easily develop into just another form of belief.  I see too may people who start to veer towards disbelief and outright mockery of anything that science has yet to prove.  I can easily agree that most major religious structures are flawed, and that monotheism in particularly (Which has a lot to bloody answer for) leaves very little room for free thinking individuals to let both faith and logic into their perspective.  However, neither are as mutually exclusive as so many people seem to want to make them.

Science is gained by systematic study of repeatable phenomena.  It is a great tool for understanding the physical world, and the patterns around us.  Without it, our culture, art, and technology would be extremely different.  (Yes, you can have technology without scientific processes, that’s one of those topics for another day.)

Obvious problem, if such a thing as a miracle exists, it is by definition not going to be a repeatable phenomenon.   Miracles seem to happen once in a lifetime, and not in everyone’s lifetime.  I’m not talking Jesus on a cheese sandwich, but the actual display of forces beyond all understanding.

Some will stop me right there and say that if those kinds of events happen, then they are only beyond all current understanding.  That science will discover and explain and categorize all such activity in time.   Maybe that’s true, though I have some doubts.  However, it won’t happen if no one with that particular worldview is trying to study such things. Preferably someone a bit more professional than a reality TV style ghost hunter.

Magic, supernatural occurrences, divine intervention, miracles.   Someone who thinks for themselves should not dismiss or accept any of these things.  They should leave themselves open to the possibility, so that if they ever encounter such an event they have the pure objectivity to properly explore it.

Even if 99.9 percent of all people who have witnessed something unworldly were self deluded fools, that .1 percent would mean that there was something out there yet to explore.  Without an open mind, there will come a day when, like Alexander at the seashore, science will look out and see no more lands to conquer.  While there might be continents beyond the horizon.

 

Yes, I know that’s alluding to a Hans Gruber misquotation, didn’t I say I was at a geeky bar when I started thinking up this post?

Read Full Post »