Meditations on desire

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There are many Muses

The words of each line of the first stanza Many truths many paths started out in October 2007 as being almost completely from the links of Many paths many truths; both poems continue to evolve, so it's a steadily-more-imperfect match (as opposed to the two stanzas of Many truths many paths and The Asymptote of Desire/Desiring the asymptote, which are intended to stay in sync).

See also: the Seducersworld thread Many paths, many truths (resurrected)

July 2011: In the last line, I changed "seduction" to "attraction". "Seduction" has inescapable overtones of sexuality and deception, exemplified in Robert Greene's 'Art of Seduction', and "attraction" is a much more positive term. And luckily for me they have thee same number of syllables.

September 2011: I went back to "seduction". It's a great word, and worth reclaiming :)

"No Muse-poet grows conscious of the Muse except by experience of a woman in whom the Goddess is to some degree resident. A Muse-poet falls in love, absolutely, and his true love is for him the embodiment of the Muse..."
-- Robert Graves, The White Goddess

I think it's pretty generally agreed that most artists have multiple Muses. We often only find out about it via memoirs, biographies, or deconstructionist readings (in which case it's sometimes news to the artist as well), but even those who are known for a single Muse often have some youthful flings, engage in a pattern of serial monogamy or cheat just a little. And of course the same person can be a Muse for multiple artists, sometimes even ones that she* doesn't know. This opens up all kinds of possibilities -- and makes Muses a great way of thinking about non-exclusivity and win/win opportunities.

"Creative work comes out of an intense and passionate involvement -- almost as if with a lover, as one (the artist) interacts with the "other" to bring something into being"
-- Jean Shinoda Bolen, Goddesses in Everywoman

Many of my poems and stories have multiple Muses. The anomaly and the goddesses and poems such as Many paths many truths and Elements are not just to multiple muses, at some level they're about having multiple muses. Sometimes the muses are directly credited: Fountains of light is to "for the gemstones and elements that are the women of Seducersworld". Sometimes they're explicit or implicit in the poem's text. Sometimes they're less visible, like the four uncredited Muses for Solitude. Interactions can be complex: the poem cycle Space of desire is for D, and some of individual poems (The journey and In the space of desire, for example) have multiple Muses. All nine of the classical muses are here as well, along with quite a few other goddesses.

Topics still to cover:

  • Goddesses, Elements, Muses, and muses
  • post-publication Muses
  • win/win, artists, and Muses

See also: There are many truths, Many paths many truths, Many truths many paths

* While muses come in all varieties, and there are notable exceptions like the Muse of Michalangelo's David, as an archetype she is typically gendered female or trans. See Genesis' The muse on Seducersworld for more. Artists, by contrast, may be gendered male, female, or trans. Artists can be Muses as well; one good example is Sappho, who has been called the "The Tenth Muse".



Earth. Air. Water. Fire.
Every night, each morning,
We transform our world.

(February - November, 2007)


Seduced by the elements

If you ever have been deeply seduced would you please participate?

i'm pretty good at being deeply seduced, if i do say so myself, so i have a handful of experiences to draw on here ... over the last few years i've had five seductions that have gotten steadily deeper and deeper, and since i've been reading a lot of Tibetan Buddhism recently, i'll refer to the seductresses as Earth, Water, Air, Fire, and Space.

I would like to you to share what happened, how it happened, what made you allow yourself to surrender? What did your seducer do, say, behave ?

i'm not sure i "allowed myself" to surrender; all of them are Charismatic Coquettes, as well as Mythic and/or Fetish Stars (and other types too) so it's not clear that i really had a lot of options here :-)

There are three different stages i chart of my surrender to all these seductresses. in terms of what they did and said to get me there, there are a lot of differences in each case -- unsurprisingly, since they're very different people. there are some common themes, though.

In each case there was a time when i became aware that she was transforming my life ... like i said above, that i had surrendered without even making a decision. with Earth, Air, and Fire, i can point to the precise moment when something they said or did fundamentally changed my worldview and self-awareness: Fire asked a single question; Air asked a series of questions and then withone sentence gave me a different way to look at a problem that had been causing me major stress; Earth gave a definition and a way of thinking about the world. Water and Space have a more continuous process, if you will, so that i can't point to the specific instant when i first realized how they were transforming me, but it's the same deal.

Another is the moment i realized "my life will only feel complete with her in it". In all five cases it took a while for me to realize how deeply i was seduced (and these seductions continually deepen, so in a lot of ways i'm constantly discovering it), and then at some point there was a moment when i knew that i was utterly under their spell. These were pretty dramatic realizations for me; i remember them all very clearly, including exactly what song was playing at the time with Space, the way Fire looked in the candlelight, or my feeling as Air once gain asked me a question that revealed things with crystal clarity.

And the third, and most magical, is when i realize that "i can no longer really remember what my life was like before she was in it". Oh, of course i at some level i remember (and sometimes when i reread things that i wrote long ago it's now seems clear that i was anticipating and often fantasizing about her years before i met her), but still: after months, years of having her so completely in my thoughts, my dreams, my life, sharing richer and more intense experiences, creating and reinforcing poeticizations, talking regularly with no boundaries about everything, growing in our different ways -- and helping each other grow ... it becomes such a core part of my life and so firmly ingrained in everything that it feels like this has always been a part of my life.

Can you now recognize the pattern that took place, what physiological and psychological changes happened in you as you as you were allowing this seduction to occur.

Again, i don't really think of it as allowing the seduction to occur; i'm not sure i could have prevented it if i wanted, and also that's got a feel of something that's happening to me, whereas i try to be a very active participant in all these seductions! How about "encouraging" or "helping"?

One pattern i notice is that they all have a very calming effect on me both psychologically and physiologically -- while simultaneously turning me on, but still, i can literally feel my blood pressure dropping. It's most pronounced in person but it happens with phone, chat, and even email.

Psychologically they all have the effect of really deepening my awareness of the world and of myself, so it feels like i'm on a continual journey -- with them as simultaneously traveling companions (because our journeys overlap) and guide (because they're a lot wiser about most things than me). They have all been very helpful at getting me to develop and trust my intuition. There's a real clarity to my view of the world when i discuss things with them; when there's not a chance to talk, i often ask myself things like "how would Space approach this situation?" or remind myself "Earth talked about this once and she said..."

A couple of other things leap out in terms of patterns: we communicate extremely well so there is a real sense of flow; we both learn a lot from each other and it has really changed our interactions with the world; we've worked through problems (personal and/or professional, ours and/or others') together and so communicate well and know a lot about each other's thought processes; we don't get to see or even talk to each other anywhere near enough so we are constantly looking forward to it and savoring every moment ...

The net effect of all of this is that time spent as part of the seduction is somehow "better" than other time in my life, "better" in many different dimensions in ways that are hard to describe but we both know what we're talking about, and that just keep getting steadily better and better over time.

Did your seducer have to overcome resistance on your part? How did she do that.

While sometimes it took me a while to realize the extent of the seduction, i don't think i resisted being seduced in any of these cases. But sometimes i do resist, consciously or unconsciously, when somebody who has seduced me is trying to help me transform.

i spend a lot of time talking about seduction with all of them, and am very open and honest, so they all have a very clear picture of how best to overcome my resistance; and they ask each other's advice, so between them they have a very clear picture of what works with me -- and for them.

Probably most important, they all have high standards, and are very direct in terms of what they want. They know that i see being seduced by them as a real privilege as well as a treat, and how much i appreciate their attention, and so use that to help move the seduction in a way that works for both of us: positive reinforcement via appreciation and praise, correction and suggestions when there's room for improvement, and letting me see their disappointment when they feel i could have done better.

In terms of specific techniques, all of them poeticize themselves extensively. We enjoy discussing art and poeticizations (and the idea of poeticization) and actively seek out ways to bring them more deeply in our lives, with each other and more broadly. With their encouragement, i go out of my way to surround myself with poeticizations that remind me of them -- and they're all Muses for me, so i also spend a lot of time creating art under their inspiration. It's hard to know for sure but i think that at least for me this combination leads to the seduction unfolding much more intensely than in situations where this wasn't so much the case.

-- questions from Eon's Seduction questions for the men thread on Seducersworld


The following goddesses appear in the poems and stories here (as well as potentially others who have not yet revealed themselves):

And of course all nine Muses: Calliope (the "beautiful of speech", chief of the muses and muse of epic or heroic poetry), Clio (the "glorious one", muse of history), Erato (the "amorous one", muse of love and erotic poetry), Euterpe (the "well-pleasing", muse of music and lyric poetry), Polymnia (the "[singer] of many hymns", muse of sacred song, oratory, lyric, singing and rhetoric), Terpsichore (the "[one who] delights in dance", muse of choral song and dance), Thalia (the "blossoming one", muse of comedy), and of course Urania (the "celestial one", muse of astronomy ... gee, I wonder who that would be?).

Some of the others I expect might be here include: Hera (especially after the draft of The anomaly and the goddesses, Tara, Parvati, Hebe (goddess of youth and cupbearer), Demeter, Nemesis, Eos (dawn), Hecate (in her role in of goddess of sorcery), Nike, ...