Womb of Light is an exploration of the Sacred Feminine and the application of Her transformative energies. These writings will have the intent and focus of inspiring and quickening within the individual a thirst for deeper connection and opening to the magick and gnosis of the Goddess in all of Her forms. She is the Mother, the Uraeus, the Muse, the Warrior, and the Healer, to name a few. SHE is the cycle of life and death and all that is held between; and my goal is to share the wisdom of her Womb of Light that all may claim their Divine birthright.
(en)LIV(en)ING with the Muses-The Eloquence of Calliope
This is the second posting of the (en)LIV(en)ING with the Muses Series
The Muse, Calliope is the oldest of the Muses and according to the Theogony of Hesiod was foremost of the muses. Holding this preeminence, suggested her creative gifts were many with specific association with music and song and is often depicted playing the harp in early art work. In many mythological tales, Calliope is the mother of the Bard and player of the lyre, Orpheus. Calliope’s gifts of eloquence and music moved through her child Orpheus, considered to be the greatest musician and poet of Greek mythology having the ability to stir the emotions of God and man, alike into passive acquiescence.
Image: Museum of Fine Arts.Boston.MA
As each of the Muses was later parceled out as representation of specific skill set, Calliope was assigned as the muse of Epic Poetry. Her name means “beautiful voiced” and it is this quality that enhances her representation as a being of great eloquence; using that gift in the crafting of beautiful and emotionally evocative poetry. It was this gift that she offered to the Kings so that they may speak with power and authority in a manner of clarity and preciseness and it was this eloquence that she brought as judge to the dispute of the Goddesses Aphrodite and Persephone over Adonis.
“Aphrodite hid the newborn child, Adonis, in a chest, which she gave in charge to Persephone, queen of the nether world. But when Persephone opened the chest she was beheld by beauty of the baby, so she refused to give him back to Aphrodite, although the goddess of love went down herself to the Underworld to ransom the baby Adonis from the power of the dead.
The dispute between the two Goddesses of love and death was settled by Zeus, who decreed that Adonis should abide with Persephone in the underworld for one part of the year, and with Aphrodite in the upper world for another part. When he stayed in the underworld, it was winter. When he returned, the Earth blossomed into spring and summer.” 1.
Later attributions depict her with pen and tablet and designation specifically as the muse that inspired the Iliad and the Odyssey of Homer. In Greek mythology, Calliope is linked to Ares the God of War and Achilles, to whom she taught rowdy drinking songs. She had two sons by her mentor and teacher, the God Apollo and by all accounts her beguiling gifts of creative inspiration, word and song weave through many of the Gods and Goddess myths.
As is the case with many of the Muses, Calliope’s name is used is association with a similar attribute of representation by an object. The Calliope is a musical instrument that produces sound by sending a gas in the form of steam or compressed air through large tubular whistles. These tubes were originally part of the whistles found on large locomotive engines. The sound emitted was typically very loud and piercing, often being heard for miles. Unlike most musical instruments, there is no way to vary the tone or loudness relying solely on the interval of time between notes and their individual length. It was for these reasons that the Calliope was most often used as the advertising tool to let the community know that the Circus, an epic event, was coming to town.
Photo: P.M.McClintock (1925)
This reference to a sound-producing instrument of this sort and magnitude and its use in calling attention to what would be multiple acts (or stanzas) of adventure, excitement and peril that formed the comprehensive story of man overcoming physical limitations (think of the aerialists and acrobats) and taming the beasts themselves (think of the animal trainers).
When we call to the Muse, Calliope we are calling attention to the many stories and adventures we have encountered in our life’s journey. The valiant successes and the epic failures are all waiting to be codified and through the gift of eloquence, we find the gems of our most beautiful and meaningful way of expression. This may take the form of journaling the experiences in prose. Going back later and reading through that epic phase of your experience and ultimately being inspired from its telling and sharing of what has served to move you forward. It may take the form of a beautifully written poem, pouring heart and soul onto paper, guided by rhythm and rhyme, semantic and syllable. And, in this way unraveling the mysteries of your hidden feelings word-by-word, line-by-line like so many layers of paint on a fine work of art. Each important to the larger picture crafted, yet transparent in their uniqueness and need.
In my own work, I call upon Calliope to inform my writing and stir the flow of creativity, but especially when I am writing a pathworking. A pathworking is much like the epic poem. It stimulates and serves as key to your personal journey into unknown territory that will provoke a response and set of challenges along the way that ultimately lead you to a new land, new perspective or new form and way of being.
The pathworking below is one that I wrote several years ago as a place of connection to the deep waters within and the shadow energy that resides ready for birthing. It is an epic journey into your inner realms and with the assistance of Calliope’s energy I offer it now to you.
The Journey of the Shadow
Turn your focus and attention to your breath. Allow your consciousness to move with the rise and fall of your chest and the filling and release of the lungs. Continue in this manner for several breaths, allowing each to become softer, smoother and slower. With each breath your physical body appears to lighten and your center of consciousness floats upwards towards the inner eye. You find yourself enveloped by the mist of transition between the Physical and Astral and, as this veil thins and you see before you an opening in the fabric of the space around you.
A mist of Lavender surrounds this enclosure as you pass through the darkness of the Great Abyss. As you move through this space, feelings of foreboding and a sense of being out of place in a time that is neither here nor there and in a place that is both upwards and down simultaneously flood your emotions. You are disoriented and are aware of the depths of sadness and loneliness that is felt in this space. Your only thoughts are the hopes that you will pass quickly and easily through this space. Quite the contrary, time seems to slow and the angst seems to become greater. And, just as you are about to scream out in sheer frustration, you remember the lesson of surrender. You remember the call to trusting and the lessons of the “Fool”. You find that you are engulfed in shadow. Glimpses of light are hidden beneath what appear to be shadowy figures and although you do not feel threatened, you know this is a place of great power and well deserving of care and respect as you pass through.
There is no flooring under you and you have a sense of weightlessness and somehow being suspended in space. Although there are no definitive boundaries, the impression is one of being enclosed tightly in a very confining space. You take a deep, cleansing breath and you allow yourself to simply be open, receptive and non-resistant to lesson of this place of shadow. You take another deep breath in and ready yourself to move forward and explore this place. As soon as the sigh of exhale has passed, feelings of sadness begin to well up within you. You are fearful and now wish you had decided against entering this space. Your former resolve of being receptive and open is weakening steadily as you begin to feel that you are sinking even deeper into this space of darkness.
You take another deep breath, hoping to restore your composure and as you exhale your awareness that you are alone in this space heightens. You strain to hear any sound that might point you in the direction of moving towards something; even the faintest sound of another human or animal would give you comfort. But, there is nothing, absolute and pure nothingness in this space. Your breath comes in short bursts now and the combination of sheer and utter loneliness, silence and disorientation keeps this rapid pace going.
You try to move, and find that with each step you are moving deeper into the shadowy fabric of this space, so, you decide to simply remain still. You look around and find that your eyes still have not adjusted to this deep and pervading darkness that now seems to be vibrating with energy; but you can neither see nor hear the source of it. You would normally have called out to the Divine or your guides to help you through this difficult passage, but you feel as though they have forsaken you as well and that in the depths of this seemingly unending well your pleas would remain unheard. This thought provokes a surge of emotional release and you begin to sob, at first quietly, then uncontrollably with louder and higher pitch.
These cries crescendo and you find that you are keening, screaming from the very base of your throat and the depths of your Soul in desperate release of this overwhelming sadness and fear. You call out to those Divine beings who are your patrons, and the only sound in return is the increased volume of your own voice. You call out to those who are family and friends. Again, the only return being the echo of your frantic cries against a surface you can neither see nor feel.
With one final exhausted effort, you pull up all of your will and courage and release a final soul filled call and as the sound issues forth from your lips, the oppressive energy around you seems to shatter and fall away. The powerful force and reverberation of the vibration wraps around you and you feel the personality that you entered this space with fall away. The ego you have carried so proudly shatters from your being and the You who entered this space moves within the spiraling of this powerful force of energy reshaping and transforming. You close your eyes and willingly surrender to this action and allow the necessary release and rebuilding of your subtle and physical forms. It seems as though time has stopped and for the briefest of moments you and all space, time and creation are one in the same.
As the energetic outpour begins to lessen around you, you gently open your eyes and looking upward see a tiny point of light above you. Although very small and far away, you can feel the intensity and radiance of this light and know it to be the reentry into the world of matter and form. As your breath slows to an even and steady pace you see that the light is growing brighter and larger as you rise on ascent towards it. Each breath pulls you closer to its light and radiance and the space around begins to brighten, the darkness and magnetic pull of the intense experience held within it slowly fading in its energy and effect on you.
You continue to rise upwards, coming to rest on a soft surface beneath your feet and completely enveloped in the brilliance of this light emanating from a space directly above you. You look at your hands and take note of a luminescent glow about them and the lower part of your body as you look downwards toward your feet.
The light begins to dim slightly and you know that there is still more of the journey you must follow through the lessons of the Higher Realm in final completion of the work done within the Dark Night. You take a deep breath in, close your eyes and resolve that you will embrace each step and challenge that is presented to you. You think on the lesson of this experience, and the birthing of light from what was held in the shadows. You know you will make many journeys to this space and with each you will integrate the totality of both your light and shadow self as you open to the transformative energies of this space.
You gently open your eyes and see that the blue veil of transition has formed just a few steps in front of you. You feel yourself enveloped in the veil of transition between the Physical and Astral world. The veils of transformation and all they contain gently fade from your sight and you begin the descent back into your physical state of being and the room and space in which you began this pathworking. Return to awareness of the rhythm of your breath and the rise and fall of your chest. Become aware of the physicality of where you are sitting or laying; your body pressed against cushion, chair or floor.
And when you are ready, gently flutter your eyes open
The next post will focus on the Muse, Clio and her gifts of history.
Museum Collection: Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Massachusetts, USA
Catalogue Number: Boston 98.887
Steam Calliope, Hagenbeck-Wallace Circus 1925. P. M. McClintock photo
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