Divine with the Muses

Here’s a form of bibliomancy I came up with for the Mousai, using verses from some of the top authors in their respective genres:

Kalliope – (Epic) Homer
Klio – (History) Herodotos
Euterpe – (Elegy) Archilochos
Erato – (Lyric) Sappho
Melpomene – (Tragedy) Seneca
Polymnia (Hymns) Orphic
Terpsichore (Dance) Lucian
Thalia (Comedy) Aristophanes
Urania (Astronomy) Aratos

Instructions

In a bag place a representation of each of the Mousai, either one of their traditional symbols or something you personally associate with them. When you need to determine who to consult, reach in and draw one of the tokens out.

Cast four dice that have been consecrated to the Mousai and add the resulting numbers together to receive your message.

Kalliope

4. healing salves, by which he can put an end to the black pains
5. I rejoice at hearing what you say, son of Laërtes
6. For no island is made for driving horses or has broad meadows
7. Would that you not plead with the noble son of Peleus
8. One omen is best, to defend your country
9. Honor then the gods, Achilles, and take pity on me
10. be valiant, that later generations may also speak well of you
11. How then could I forget divine Odysseus?
12. But Zeus causes men’s prowess to wax or to wane
13. Talk not like this. There’ll be no change before
14. Odysseus has come and reached home, though he was long in coming
15. For mighty Herakles, not even he escaped his doom
16. In no way do I mock you, dear child, nor am I playing tricks
17. For even fair-tressed Niobe turned her mind to food
18. Offer me not honey-tempered wine, honored mother
19. Eurymachos, it will not be so. And even you know it
20. and vow to Lycian-born Apollo the famous archer
21. Bad deeds don’t prosper. The slow man for sure overtakes the swift
22. And let him stand up among the Argives and swear an oath to you
23. You would learn what mighty hands I have to back me up
24. Come now, in strict silence, and I shall lead the way

Klio

4. I know that human happiness never remains long in the same place.
5. Force has no place where there is need of skill.
6. Haste in every business brings failures.
7. I am bound to tell what I am told, but not in every case to believe it.
8. If a man insisted always on being serious, and never allowed himself a bit of fun and relaxation, he would go mad or become unstable without knowing it.
9. This is the bitterest pain among men, to have much knowledge but no power.
10. Many very rich men have been unfortunate, and many with a modest competence have had good luck.
11. I am going to talk at some length about Egypt.
12. All think that their own customs are by far the best.
13. In peace sons bury fathers, but in war fathers bury sons.
14. How much better a thing it is to be envied than to be pitied.
15. Circumstances rule men; men do not rule circumstances.
16. Hippocleides doesn’t care.
17. Good. Then we will fight in the shade
18. so that the actions of people will not fade with time.
19. It was the fault of the Greek gods, who with their arrogance, encouraged me to march onto your lands.
20. It is better by noble boldness to run the risk of being subject to half of the evils we anticipate than to remain in cowardly listlessness for fear of what might happen.
21. Call no man happy until he is dead.
22. But this I know: if all mankind were to take their troubles to market with the idea of exchanging them, anyone seeing what his neighbor’s troubles were like would be glad to go home with his own.”
23. When the Many are rulers, it cannot but be that, again, knavery is bred in the state.
24. Look upon this corpse as you drink and enjoy yourself; for you will be just like it when you are dead.

Euterpe

4. The fox knows many things, but the hedgehog knows one big thing.
5. Soul, my soul, don’t let them break you, all these troubles.
6. Nothing can be surprising any more or impossible or miraculous, now that Zeus, father of the Olympians has made night out of noonday, hiding the bright sunlight.
7. It was a beautiful shield: life seemed somehow more precious.
8. Be bold! That’s one way of getting through life.
9. stood on the edge between sea and wind
10. For I shall no more heal a wound by weeping than make it worse by pursuing joys and feasts.
11. No longer doth thy soft skin bloom as it did; ’tis withering now.
12. Victorious! All hail Lord Herakles!
13. Singing to the fluteplayer’s accompaniment.
14. Thou hast taken a cricket by the wing.
15. I’d as soon hump her as kiss a goat’s butt.
16. I care not for the wealth of golden Gyges, nor ever have envied him.
17. Whosoever lives is enchanted by song.
18. In that situation feet are the most valuable.
19. I sinned and I won’t deny it.
20. I beg you, Mouse, say something to the audience.
21. And much was the wealth which, gathered with long time and labour, he would pour into the lap of a harlot.
22. Aisimides, nobody who considers the censure of the people could enjoy very many pleasurable moments.
23. For all these things are very far from my eyes.
24. For it is at the hands of your friends that you are strangled.

Erato

4. But come now, if ever before you heard my voice
5. If she runs now she’ll follow later.
6. They gained great things there, and at sea.
7. But I say it’s what you love.
8. He’s equal with the Gods, that man.
9. Those I care for best, do me most harm
10. Stand up and look at me, face to face.
11. Nightingale, herald of spring, with a voice of longing.
12. Yet I am not one who takes joy in wounding, mine is a quiet mind.
13. Dear mother, I cannot work the loom.
14. He is dying, Cytherea, your tender Adonis, what should we do?
15. And I say to you someone will remember us in time to come.
16. Hesperus, you bring back again what the Dawn light scatters.
17. The hours flow on.
18. And I would not exchange her for all the riches of Lydia.
19. It’s not right, lament in the Muses’ house.
20. Like the sweet-apple reddening high on the branch.
21. For the Graces prefer those who are wearing flowers, and turn away from those who go uncrowned
22. Remembering those things we did in our youth. Many, beautiful things
23. Shivering with sweat, cold tremors over the skin, I turn the colour of dead grass, and I’m an inch from dying.
24. The Muses have filled my life with delight.

Melpomene

4. All hail! my house, and portals of my home.
5. What put such desperate thoughts into your heads?
6. Take heart, and no more let the tears stream from your eyes.
7. Great Apollon! What a prelude to thy story!
8. Come, let me veil my head in darkness.
9. For I had been lucky enough to witness the rites of the initiated.
10. Well, I must lead them, taking them by the hand to draw them after me, like a ship when towing.
11. Fly, luckless wretch, from my unholy taint.
12. How glad am I to emerge into the light and see thee.
13. I purposely made my entry by stealth
14. I will do so; the advice is good.
15. When I have beheaded the miscreant, I will throw him to dogs to tear.
16. Farewell my labours!
17. My father weeping o’er some mischance.
18. Aye, and brought to the light that three-headed monster.
19. I will not neglect to greet first of all the gods beneath my roof.
20. Henceforth I shall be called Herakles the Victor.
21. Endurance must have a limit.
22. God help us! What suspicions these dark hints of thine again excite!
23. Which of my friends is near or far to help me in my ignorance?
24. I never remember being mad.

Polymnia

4. Foe to the wicked, but the good man’s guide.
5. All-flourishing, connecting, mingling soul.
6. Its secret gates unlocking, deep and strong.
7. With all-devouring force, entire and strong, horrid, untam’d.
8. Mortal destroying king, defil’d with gore
9. So vast thy wisdom, wond’rous, and sublime.
10. Arm bearers, strong defenders, rulers dread.
11. Endless praise is thine.
12. Dire weapon of the tongue.
13. Rejoicing in the chase.
14. For labour pains are thy peculiar care.
15. And glorious strife, and joyful shouts are thine.
16. To every mortal is thy influence known.
17. Secret source of persuasion.
18. Dissolving anxious care, the friend of Mirth, with darkling coursers riding round the earth.
19. Of seed, of fruits abundant, fair, harvest and threshing.
20. Men beneath thy righteous bondage groan.
21. When blust’ring winds in secret caverns pent, by thee excited, struggle hard for vent.
22. Avert your rage.
23. Pleasure abundant and pure belongs to you.
24. ‘Tis thine alone to punish.

Terpsichore

4. The best antiquarians, let me tell you, trace dancing back to the creation of the universe.
5. Of dancing then, in the strict sense of the word, I have said enough.
6. You will find that dance is no easy profession, nor lightly to be undertaken.
7. Another essential for the pantomime is ease of movement.
8. Socrates–that wisest of men, if we may accept the judgement of the Pythian oracle–not only approved of dancing, but made a careful study of it.
9. A youth leads off the dance.
10. But in Pantomime, as in rhetoric, there can be too much of a good thing.
11. Pantomimes cannot all be artists; there are plenty of ignorant performers, who bungle their work terribly.
12. Rhythm says one thing, their feet another.
13. I have the authority of Plato, in his Laws, for approving some forms of dance and rejecting others.
14. Indeed, they pride themselves more on their pantomimic skill than on birth and ancestry and public services.
15. The Ethiopians go further, and dance even while they fight.
16. Like Calchas in Homer, the pantomime must know all ‘that is, that was, that shall be'; nothing must escape his ever ready memory.
17. Still, it seems to me that we have no right to visit the sins of the artist upon the art.
18. Persons who divulge the mysteries are popularly spoken of as ‘dancing them out.’
19. Leaving the rest for poets to celebrate, for pantomimes to exhibit, and for your imagination to supply from the hints already given.
20. Each of them has its own peculiar form of dance; tragedy its emmelia, comedy its cordax, supplemented occasionally by the sicinnis.
21. In old days, dancer and singer were one: but the violent exercise caused shortness of breath; the song suffered for it, and it was found advisable to have the singing done independently.
22. In Delos, not even sacrifice could be offered without dance and musical accompaniment.
23. The choral dance is modeled on that which Daedalus designed for Ariadne.
24. Faithfully to represent his subject, adequately to express his own conceptions, to make plain all that might be obscure;–these are the first essentials for the pantomime.

Thalia

4. There is no honest man!
5. Learn not to contradict your father in anything.
6. Wealth, the most excellent of all the gods.
7. Under every stone lurks a politician.
8. Times change. The vices of your age are stylish today.
9. Ah! the Generals! they are numerous, but not good for much!
10. You will never make the crab walk straight.
11. One must resign oneself to misfortune with good grace.
12. In still waters they catch nothing, but if they thoroughly stir up the slime, their fishing is good
13. I shall not please, but I shall say what is true.
14. We are crying with hunger at our firesides.
15. Tis the Whirlwind, that has driven out Zeus and is King now.
16. And yet you are fool enough, it seems, to dare to war with me, when for your faithful ally you might win me easily.
17. An insult directed at the wicked is not to be censured; on the contrary, the honest man, if he has sense, can only applaud.
18. Do you like Nephelokokkygia?
19. A man may learn wisdom even from a foe.
20. To invoke solely the weaker arguments and yet triumph is a talent worth more than a hundred thousand drachmae.
21. Prudence is the best safeguard.
22. Why do you bite your lips and shake your heads? Why are your faces blanched? Why do you weep?
23. I want all to have a share of everything and all property to be in common.
24. I pained folk but little and caused them much amusement; my conscience rebuked me for nothing.”

Urania

4. From Zeus let us begin.
5. On either side the Axis ends in two Poles.
6. Her two feet will guide thee to her bridegroom, Perseus, over whose shoulder they are for ever carried.
7. Andromeda, though she cowers a good way off, is pressed by the rush of the mighty Monster of the Sea.
8. He ever seems to stretch his right hand towards the round Altar.
9. Each crop in turn brings a sign for the sowing.
10. Yonder, too, is the tiny Tortoise, which, while still beside his cradle, Hermes pierced for stings and bade it be called the Lyre.
11. Beneath both feet of Orion is the Hare pursued continually through all time.
12. For dread is the Bear and dread stars are near her.
13. For oft, too, beneath a calm night the sailor shortens sail for fear of the morning sea.
14. For with varying hue from time to time the evening paints her and of different shape are her horns at different times.
15. For men divide the sowing season into three – early, middle, late.
16. It would profit much to mark the last four days of the old and first four of the new month.
17. For thus do we poor, changeful mortals win in divers ways our livelihood.
18. Seek in calm for signs of storms, and in storm for signs of calm.
19. Not useless were it for one who seeks the signs of coming day to mark when each sign of the Zodiac rises.
20. Thrice the mastich buds and thrice wax ripe its berries
21. Nor are dark halos near the Sun signs of fair weather.
22. Here too that Crown, which glorious Dionysos set to be memorial of the dead Ariadne.
23. The anxious husbandman may rejoice in well-being.
24. Make light of none of these warnings.

If you’d like me to come up with a unique system of divination for your personal gods and spirits, click here for details.

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3 thoughts on “Divine with the Muses

  1. M.A. Rivera

    This is genuinely awesome. Blessings.

    Like

  2. These are so awesome. There were quite a few quotes that leaped out at me…or rather, leaped out and shook my collar in a “HEY, Look!” kind of way for my life. I haven’t even used the divination system yet, too! I’m grateful you put these up.

    (Also trying to decide if/when to ask your help for a divination system for the pantheon I follow. Well, when I figure out which one I’m truly following. The next paycheck may decide that, argh.)

    Like

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