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Posts Tagged ‘vampire’

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.

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Common Scents

I have trouble believing that the average werewolf could stand living in a big city for any extended period of time.  Oh, I can do vampires, I’ve always wondered why the nasal passages not only avoided decomposition, but actually got better.  Yet for any of the animalistic beasties how could you stand it?  Wolfbane nose balm to dull the senses perhaps?  Or maybe the urban fantasy homeless wolf man bit works best.  Get yourself stinking so badly you can’t smell anything beyond yourself. 

To be fair, animals do live in the cities.  From pets to birds to rats to the wild things that have nowhere to go but the garbage bins when they are looking for dinner.  I suppose if raccoons and coyotes can brave a city out of necessity, so could a loopy garou.  Perhaps even the smells that turn a human stomach smell delightful to something on four legs.  Still, a city would have to be an assault on the senses.  Especially if we are following the cursed mythology, where they start as human and then burst into their new senses.  Sounds a great way to end up right in the mental care ward.

Where did todays line of randomness come from?  A new and exciting book or movie?  No, unfortunately.  Although I do hear they are doing a wolf man remake that looks intriguing.  You see, today was a rainy day, and a slow, drizzly rain at that.  After a few hours the French Quarter starts to smell somewhat like an aquarium with a burnt out filter, right at the point where any sane goldfish would try to evolve wings in a desperate attempt to escape.  Between wet mule leavings and drenched trash cans, I felt my nose shut down in whimpering protest and wanted nothing more than to curl up with a bone under the couch.

Hey, I said in the beginning this would be an odd and random blog.

It’s been a random and frustrating week, full of conflicts internal and external.  I try to find my joy in simple and strange thoughts and events.  There was a lovely trio on Royal St. last night singing Day O with such rhythm that Belafonte would have smiled and joined on in.  I stayed, I tipped, I danced a few steps knowing full well I can’t dance and not giving a damn.  It did my mood wonders.

That was last night.  Today it was rain, and me having to dash through my errands so I could get out of it before nausea overwhelmed me.  Most days I can shut out the sounds and smells of the city to protect sanity.  Today, not so much, but I can take the miserable experience and twist it into a ramble to amuse myself.  Hopefully the same nuttiness will amuse others as well.

Todays question to throw out there, modern adaptation of myth, anyone have any favorites?  Not so much the big stories that have been redone, like who is doing the most recent King Arthur.  More along the lines of taking small bits of folklore and weaving them into a new setting.  One of my favorites was always Poul Anderson’s Operation Chaos, with a witch who used to work marketing pr to convince elementals and spirits to obey modern symbols, and a werewolf who uses a Kodak brand moon flash that lets him transform any day of the week.  Any favorite examples or even random ideas from out there in the ether?

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