Friday, March 27, 2009

Poseidon and Being a Bard

As many of you know, I want to be a Bard when I grow up. In fact, it consumes me much of the time. I recently discovered that many of the Deities with whom I work are at least indirectly tied to my Bardic aspirations. Though not many of them, actually none of them, are known for instilling talent, all of the Deities with whom I work on a regular basis are strengthening the qualities in me that will make me a better Bard. (You know, when I grow up.)

For example:
Eos, the Goddess of the Dawn. Now she is inspiring. I find her to be one of the most awe-inducing and poetic Goddesses. What do she and I have in common? Empathy. We make other people feel what we feel, and in turn, we share in the pains and triumphs of others. Why is this important to Bardic arts? Good music is written when a writer is inspired. Inspiration is not far removed from empathy, and in fact can oftentimes be synonymous.

Athene is easy. She represents skill of any kind, and music or writing of any kind definitely takes some amount of skill! She is best invoked when practicing and honing those pieces that are nearing completion.

Persephone, Goddess of the Underworld. She triumphs over adversity. She makes the best out of the worst situations. She finds happiness where there is sadness. Bardic arts are like that. Ever been to a funeral where a guest told anecdotal pieces about the life of the recently departed that eased and soothed the folk gathered to mourn? Recognizing the sadness is important, but helping people heal and keeping them from wallowing is important. Bardic arts can have that power.

Persephone, Goddess of the Springtime. Rebirth. Growth. Death. Repeat. All things come in cycles, each part just as important as the last. However, after a period of death, as similarly related above, rebirth is highly anticipated and celebrated upon its arrival. Celebratory pieces, especially in times of war, were favored heavily in most of the IE cultures. Embracing happiness, and bringing it to the masses is a tool that can be used to enforce Unity among the folk. When people feel the same emotion, especially when that emotion is joy, there is bonding. Triumph draws people together, but celebrating that triumph keeps people together.

Hekate. (Ok, hear me out on this one. We are moving into the more abstract Deities. It has taken me a long time to work this all out, and it didn't come together until Poseidon, to whom I will get in a moment.) Hekate is a Goddess of Crossroads. She is also a guide to recently deceased individuals, among many other attributes. In Bardic terms, Hekate reminds me that there are jobs that need to be done, however unpleasant (like leading dead people to the Underworld), but someone has to do them. Learning to play chops, memorizing scales, vocal strengthening exercises. Much of the time, these things are not fun. Playing the same piece over and over again, and messing up continually can be frustrating, but you reach a crossroads, a point where you must decide to persevere or move on to something else. Hekate is there in that decision. She will show you the way, if you ask her. I know. I've done it.

And finally, the Deity of the hour, Poseidon, Dark-haired God of the Sea. This one threw me. Poseidon is always depicted as angry. He was greatly feared by anyone who had to cross the Mediterranean. Like I stated in a previous post, I am in no way an angry person. Heck, my kids laugh at me sometimes when I am mad (which just kills me). But, reading further into the lore, I found some interesting traits emerging. He did crash boats sometimes, yes, but he also helped those whom he wanted to succeed. He entered into competitions and lost. A lot. But he kept trying. Poseidon had great control over those things in his immediate world: the dolphins, the nymphs, the very sea itself, but he struggled outside of his element (those of you who know me are nodding your heads in understanding by now).

Poseidon is here to teach me that I am not always going to win, mostly likely I will fail a lot of the time. But it's ok. It doesn't diminish me. You may try to claim ownership to the title of God of Attika, but even if Athene wins, you are still the God of the Sea, and that is something that can't be taken away from you. Even if any one of a number of other very talented ADF Bards is crowned Wellspring Bardic Chair, I am still the bard of Three Cranes Grove, and that is something that can't be taken away from me. The more abstract version? Poseidon is here to teach me confidence, perseverance and above all else, an understanding of my place in the world which will lead me to contentment and happiness. I don't think I could really ask for a better gift.

I think I am understanding more about the nature of the Gods and the ways they interact with us. I know I have much more to learn, even if this theory is true, but I also know that regardless of my failings, there are others bigger, stronger and better equipped who are willing to help me when I am struggling and stand by me when I am not. In closing I will leave you with a modified version of a statement I like to make, in honor of Poseidon and his place in my life:

"Don't piss off your Sea God (Bard). You can either cross the sea with glory, or sink in pieces."

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