Romancing the Muse

©1991, 2005 by Lady Isadora
(First appearing in Circle Network News, Winter ‘91-‘92 issue)

1. Don’t try to get everything down to a formula. That’s murder to the wonders within and without. Life is full of mysteries, and when the game’s afoot it’s normal to reach for the old cosmic deerstalker cap and magic magnifying glass, but don’t be too smug and set about what you find, Sherlock! Remember that the Goddess always has the last word about everything, and She’s always, always full of surprises. Enjoy the best and learn from the rest.

2. Be open. You might be surprised at what thoughts come calling. You won’t be able to entertain such spendid guests if you’re always slamming the door in their faces and rushing off to be somewhere else. A mind is a terrible thing to waste, as the saying goes, so slow down and take some time to ponder yours. There’s a lot more to contemplate than your own navel, but come to think of it, that might not be such a bad place to start. It should be an excellent reminder of something that was once certainly instrumental in starting you.

3. Look, really look, at everything around you. If you don’t like what you see, put on your travelling shoes and move your body until you do. (Admittedly a park, a beach, or the countryside is infinitely better to gaze upon than endless concrete.) Isn’t that the most magnificent sunset you’ve ever seen? What an incredible tree – unique in all the world! Has anybody else ever looked at these things in quite the same way? There’s a song, poem, or painting there somewhere. Go for it.

4. Don’t watch too much TV. It has its uses, but it’s also probably the biggest thief of time that ever was. When it’s your turn to be on Life’s Late, Late Show and the Crone is about to change your channel in a major way, will you care about all those silly sitcoms, stale soap operas, and mediocre made-for-TV movies? Are you kidding? You’d give anything to have all those lost hours back! Your own life is much more interesting (if you’ll give it a chance to be) than fleeting images on that same old screen. If you need some time out, read a good book – one that really makes you think and feel – but don’t overdo that pastime either or you’ll never have time to write one of your own. You’ve always wanted to, you know.

5. Be yourself. You won’t make it on the music scene as just another Madonna-wannabe or the thirteen-thousandth Led Zeppelin travesty, but you might if you find and stick to your own style. In this world of cheap imitations, we need all the originals we can get.

6. Don’t do everything every day in the same old way. This doesn’t mean give all tradition the toss or all your comfy little habits the old heave-ho, but don’t forget that the child inside you, that joyful jumble of potentially limitless creativity, thrives on novelty even as it craves security. Feed it some of both.

7. When you’re casting that magic circle and invoking the Old Ones, don’t bore Them (and yourself) to tears with the same old stuff out of a book. Yes, we’ve all got our time-honored favorites from Doreen Valiente, Raymond Buckland, or Lady Sheba, but they’re not the last word on the subject. Craft your own rituals with loving care in advance, or speak from the heart as you go, but be sure to let Him and Her hear from you, too.

8. Take some time to sing and dance for the sheer simple joy of it – not just on special occasions, but every day. You probably don’t have anything more important to do for at least the next few minutes. You think you haven’t got much to sing or dance about today? Think again. All the more reason to get off your duff and get moving. You just might think of something while you’re doing it. If you’re handicapped in some way that prevents this, your heart still knows how – perhaps in ways that the rest of us haven’t discovered yet.

9. Be thankful for the miracle of your life. It’s yours and yours alone. The Goddess may not always give us an easy time of it, and I don’t pretend always to understand all Her ways, but no matter what trials and tribulations may sometimes befall me, I am honestly and thoroughly grateful to be alive. That one thing more than any other is the secret to my creativity.

This list is incomplete, of course. Each of us could think of other things to add. We all know all of it deep down in our hearts, and we all need to be reminded of at least some of it some of the time. The best piece of advice any of us could give each other is: Don’t just think about it, do it! Do it now. Be as creative as you can be with each day that’s given to you. Life’s too short not to be!

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