She’s my muse. Really. I thought it would be Urania, but no, it’s Erato. Go figure.

I picked up The Nine Muses, by Angeles Arrien, and I totally recommend it. The subtitle is A Mythological Path to Creativity, and that should give you a few hints. Arrien offers a rich weaving of Greek mythology, creative exercises such as collage work, contemporary figures and illustrations to explore the muses.

Erato – Mantegna Tarot

Erato is the muse of love poetry. I saw a picture of her and thought Hmmm, that looks like the Mantegna Tarot (which is not a true tarot deck but that’s another story). So, I chose the 9 muse cards from it, laid them out, and asked “Which is my muse?” I know, not the best formulated question in the Tarot world, but I’m like that. And I drew Erato. So I thought, uh-oh! I’ll reformulate the question, and I asked “What muse do I share an affinity with?” and I drew… Erato.

I still do that – ask a question again when I don’t think the answer is right, also known as not liking the answer. I guess that since I’m into astrology, and have a background in engineering, Urania, Muse of Astronomy and Science, seemed to be the one. However, perhaps I need to just indulge in a bit of love poetry, what with Valentines around the corner.

The interesting thing about exploring Erato is the way love was viewed by the ancient Greeks, via four kinds of love: eros, philia, libido, and agape. Eros is the drive to unify, create, procreate, and the urge toward higher forms of being and relationship. Philia is friendship, brotherly and sisterly love. Libido is intense physical attraction, desire, sexuality, sensuality. Agape is the “compassionate heart or transfigured desire, and the love devoted to the respect and welfare of others.”

Erato at her lyre by John Godward (from

I’m nowhere near courageous enough to attempt a public display of love poetry, though I would like to quote one of my favourites.

Again and again, however we know the landscape of love
and the little churchyard there, with its sorrowing names,
and the frighteningly silent abyss into which the others
fall: again and again the two of us walk out together
under the ancient trees, lie down again and again
among the flowers, face to face with the sky.

R M Rilke


5 thoughts on “Erato

  1. submerina February 11, 2011 / 4:54 pm

    “…ask a question again when I don’t think the answer is right, also known as not liking the answer.” – heeee! 😉 Also known as checking the bottom of the deck in case I should have done split-turn, rather than a split and move-to-the-bottom!

    I’ve never found a Muse that seems to suit me and my particular interests, hence I’ve made my own! Rilke is always a genius choice, along with Rumi.

  2. Monica February 11, 2011 / 7:21 pm

    Ah! Making one’s own muse. Whoa, what a project, come to think of it, I would need another year of solitude and artful contemplation. Sigh.

  3. woley March 23, 2011 / 4:26 am

    I’m reading the Arrien book on the muses right now. Someone I was talking to compared them to Saraswati in the Hindu pantheon which I found interesting.

    I switch between muses but Clio is always close to me. 😉

    • Monica March 23, 2011 / 8:31 am

      Interesting, the Saraswati comment. I haven’t linked them as such, but can see similarities. I hope you get as much enjoyment as I did reading the book, it’s a beautiful work. Thank you for your thoughts and comments. Arohanui, Monica.

  4. woley March 24, 2011 / 2:22 am

    I’ve read the book before but the Saraswati comment and a search for why she is sometimes shown with a peacock and sometimes a hamsa (which is a type of goose ridden by her husband Brahma) got me going on this book again.

    A fascinating web of connection…

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s