Along the Sacred Way, treasuries were built to house the even more precious offerings that were brought out on special occasions and used in sacred processions. One such occasion would be the Pythian games which were second in popularity only to the Olympic games. Most of these treasuries were built about one third of the way up the path, at the first turn in the road. All the treasuries were built with an architecture providing at least two columns on the proaia. The most famous of these, the Treasury of the Athenians, held a prominent location next to the Council House. On the other side of the Council House is the rock of Sybil, and just beyond that towered the Sphinx of the Naxians.
Gifting the Muse
To gift the muse and be a generally good writing
citizen you do not have to spend vast amounts of money. Personally I like
to send mystery and magical muse parcels to people who have infused me
with creativity. It is my way of reciprocating and acknowledging the power
of collective creative energy.
My parcels include:
In ancient times Kings and Queens, statesmen and commoners alike came to the Muses bearing valuable gifts. The Athenian Treasury House in Delphi is a testimony to the esteem with which the Oracle and the other inhabitants were held. The inscription which appeared on the Athenian Treasury said "The Athenians give to Apollo the firstlings of the booty taken from the Medes in the Battle of Marathon."
Herodotus tells us that Croesus resolved to offer up "three thousand of every kind of sacrificial beast, and besides made a huge pile, and placed upon it couches coated with silver and with gold, and golden goblets, and vests of purple; all of which he burnt in the hope of thereby making himself more secure of the favour of the god. Further he issued his orders to all the people of the land to offer a sacrifice according to their means. When the sacrifice was ended, the King melted down a vast quantity of gold, and ran it into ingots."
Two years ago I made a sacrificial offering to the Muse to express my sincerity in choosing a creative life. I destroyed all evidence of my Curriculum Vitae, that document which had dominated my working life, and directed my priorities for over ten years. I burned the hard copies and deleted all mention of my C.V. on the computer. I trashed all discs.
Think about the sacrifices, the gifts you bring to the muse in the hope of being blessed by her, freed to live a creative and artistic life. Try calling the Muse with the following invocation, or make up one of your own. "I call on Thee, kind Muse, to grant a gift, to loose a stream of swiftly flowing words, a spring of inspiration, crystal clear, to nourish fruit from which to feed the soul, a rushing stream to cleanse my inner eyes so I may see the ageless mythic truth."
When I call the Muse to my aid I have in my mind a Muse who is mine exclusively, just as John Milton had a Muse of his own. My muse is a chameleon, a dazzling shape-changer who has the capacity to be with me in every situation. Sometimes she is half woman half horse, sometimes she is an ether, a ghostly shape that drifts into the room to be with me.
On a page in your journal visually depict the shape you think of when you think of a muse.
In my Year 12 class, as we began our work on writing folios, I told them about the power of The Muses and we set up a small table to lay down our offerings. Students came forward and placed jewelry (a symbolic gesture) on the table and called upon the Muses to guide them, and direct them to the sources of inspiration, they began to write. As she begins her creative quest, one of my Year 12 students writes, "In the middle of the room I see a fog I have not noticed before clearing. A figure, Calliope, is seated in a brilliantly polished seat of gold. She is covered in jewels that I could only ever imagine owing. The dark figure which led me here is now at my side with his hands out. I had not even noticed him come in but I know what he wants. I hand him my gift, the most important and precious thing that I own. It is the gold ring that was given to me by my father when he was on his death bed. It is the only thing he has ever given to me yet, without a single thought, I hand it over to this stranger.........I look at Calliope and it is only then that I realise that I do not have to speak. She can read what I am thinking. I think that she knew even before I got here that I was coming and what it was that I wanted. Calliope simply holds her hand out and there in her hand is my answer, which she blows to me with a single effortless breath of air. The answer lands inside of me and tells me to be aware of...."
In contrast, twelve year old Luke justifies his quest: "I would look for the lost city of the Muse to be inspired into a new career. Also, the Muses could be trapped down there with all their good ideas. So if I dug it up I would be considered a hero to authors and artists everywhere around the world. Plus, imagine what the Muses would do for me if I recovered them. They would treat me like a king."
Come to my table with your favourite food. Write and gift the muse by adding to the Muse Hymn Box.
Heather Blakey asserts the right to be identified as the author of this work