Monday, October 30, 2006
I have been doing some research lately.
It has been many years since I studied mythology. I was excited to be reminded by my friend Mary, about a Greek Goddess named Mnemosyne. She was the Goddess of Memory.
She is considered one of the most powerful goddesses of her time.
She was a Titaness, her parents were the ruler Cronus and the goddess Gaia.
She was given responsibility for naming all objects, and gave humans the means to converse with one another. The powers that place things into memory and that of rememberance were also attributed to this goddess. Some do believe it is our memory that makes us different than other creatures of the animal world.
Memory was of the utmost importance during the time of Mnemosyne. Long before the alphabet and the written word, it was important for the well-being of a society to have an oral history to pass on. Including the memory of rules, energies of the universe, cycles of life, and the memory of how to live in this world.
The ancients believed that when one died and crossed into the Underworld one would be given a choice . . . whether to drink from the river Lethe where you would forget all the pains and terrors of your previous life (and with them, the lessons they brought), or whether to drink from the Mnemosyne, the spring of memory.
Those who chose to forget had to be reborn, to return to earth to learn the lessons they needed. Those who had chosen to remember were admitted to the Elysian Fields where they would spend eternity in comfort and peace.
Mnemosyne is largely remembered today as the mother of the Muses, the nine Greek goddesses whose role it was to inspire poets and musicians and to promote the arts and sciences. Collectively they were known as the Muses and were described as "having one mind, their hearts set upon song and their spirit free from care".
My little goddess has songs in her heart, and I pray her spirit is one day free from care.
"... and in addition to the gods you mentioned I must call upon all the rest and especially upon Mnemosyne. For practically all the most important part of our speech depends upon this goddess ..." [Critias to Hermocrates. Plato, Critias 108d]
"... If you had no memory you could not even remember that you ever did enjoy pleasure, and no recollection whatever of present pleasure could remain with you ..." [Socrates to Protarchus. Plato, Philebus 21c]
Posted by Robin Neudorfer at 8:55 PM