The 9 Muses, Goddesses of Inspiration

What is creativity?

Creativity is a phenomenon whereby something new and in some way valuable is created (such as an idea, a joke, a literary work, painting or musical composition, a solution, an invention etc). SOUCE:

Where does creativity come from?

Jung also believed that in spite of it’s (the unconscious’s) function as a reservoir for human darkness-or perhaps because of this-the shadow is the seat of creativity. SOURCE:

How can you know what you don’t know?

Explore unfamiliar territories to discover new things. If you think about it, it makes sense. If creativity is defined as something new, then by definition creativity requires us to a venture into the unknown. It’s not just an external adventure. We can access new information by interacting with our own inner unknown selves, our unconscious mind. It’s like going out into the darkness but the opposite because it’s exploring new areas inside blindfolded or eyes closed. If you are new to the process it can be terrifying.

Why would anyone willingly do something that is terrifying?

The motivation/inspiration to engage in a creative activity can be mysterious. Perhaps the best way to explore this idea is to speak in the language of the unconscious, a language the requires us to feel around and discover for ourselves what this new information is. What could be better then investigating the 9 Greek goddesses of inspiration – the music, song and dance muses.

The 9 Mousai

KLEIO (or Clio).

Her name comes from the Greek verb kleô, “to make famous” or “celebrate.” She is the Muse of history. She has been represented holding an open scroll or beside books.


Her name comes from the Greek words eu– andterpô, meaning “giver of much delight.” She is the Muse of lyric poetry. She is seen with the double-flute.

THALEIA (or Thalia)

Her name come from the Greek word thaleia, meaning “rich festivity” or “blooming.” She is the Muse of comedy and bucolic poetry. She has a comic mask, shepherd’s staff and wreath of ivy.


The is the Muse of tragedy. She has a tragic mask or sword, and sometimes a wreath of ivy and cothurnus boots. Her came comes from the Greek verb melpô or melpomai meaning “to celebrate with dance and song.”

TERPSIKHORE (or Terpsichore)

The is the Muse of choral song and dancing, and represented with a plectrum and lyre.


Her name means “the lovely” or “beloved” from the Greek word eratos. She is the Muse of erotic poetry, mimic imitation and is seen holding a lyre.

 POLYMNIA (or Polyhymnia)

She is Muse of religious hymns. She is seen standing pensive or meditative. Her name comes from the Greek words poly-, “many,” and hymnos, “praise” or “hymn.”

OURANIA (or Urania)

She is the Muse of astronomy and astronomical writings. She is depicted pointing to a globe with a rod.

KALLIOPE (or Calliope)

She is the eldest goddess of eloquence, who bestowed her gift on kings and princes. She was named Muse of epic poetry. She is portrayed holding a tablet and stylus or a scroll. In older art she holds a lyre. SOURCE:

A word of caution

The archetypal energies that these muses represent can act like guides in the process of navigating the unconscious. They inspire and lead us toward our dark self through the creative arts of music, song, and dance. But inspiration can also lead to obsession and toward possession. These powerful energies must be respected. Perhaps the ritual of creative performances is partially to ensure that audience and performer alike can return safely to their normal lives after such inspiring explorations into the unknown.