A Canonical Poem to the Nine Muses

A Canonical Poem to the Nine Muses (Lunar Calendar, Ascending Cycle: The Nine Realms of the Norse Tree of Life and the 20 Ogham Trees) – Rory Goff The Rorian Tradition


The Nine Muses are the Nine Maidens who tend the Great Cauldron of Inspiration and Initiation, the Grail of the World Wheel (lunar month, solar year, or earthly day) and the Body-Soul-Spirit as a whole with its nine chakras. The Nine Maidens are also emanations of three Triple Goddesses: the Maiden, Mother, and Crone. Each of these governs one of three smaller 9-day (or 4-month, or 8-hour) cauldrons of Body (the Maiden’s Cauldron of Warming), with its chakras in the feet, base and sex; Soul (the Mother’s Cauldron of Vocation), with its chakras in the navel, solar plexus, and heart; and Spirit (the Crone’s Cauldron of Knowledge), with its chakras in the throat, brow, and crown. (See also Caitlin Matthews, “The Three Cauldrons of Inspiration,” in Chapter 7 of The Encyclopedia of Celtic Wisdom, by Caitlin and John Matthews.)

This poem celebrates the Initiatory cycle of Ascension, envisioning the cycle of the Wheel as beginning with Body, and then progressing upwards into Soul and finally into Spirit. It thus aligns with the months of (Taurus, Cancer, Virgo, Scorpio, Capricorn, and Pisces).

As the energies move upwards through the nine chakras, one ascends the Norse world-tree Yggdrasil, with its corresponding nine realms. As the World-Tree is the Tree of Trees, the poem also integrates the twenty sacred Ogham tree-letters, associating each with one of the points of the four interlaced pentacles of the Rorian calendar, essentially in the order endorsed by Robert Graves in The White Goddess, but using the newer B-L-F-S-N, rather than the older B-L-N-F-S, version.

Each of the Nine Muses is herself a Triple Goddess, ruling three of the numbered lunar days. The poem’s 27 numbered lines thus represent the 27 numbered days in the Synodic Lunar Calendar: three days to each Muse or Maiden.

The final three lines of the poem (in parentheses) represent the three unnumbered days of unmanifest potential at the Dark of the New Moon (corresponding in the solar wheel to the 40 or 37 1/2 days around Mid-Winter Solstice, between Early-Winter and Late-Winter, and in the earthly day to the 2 2/3 or 2 1/2 hours around Midnight, from 10:50 P.M. to 1:20 A.M.), which is Ceridwen’s time of Initiation. One might say that Ceridwen is the Tenth Muse, transcendent and yet embracing all the rest.

Rightly or wrongly, we are pronouncing Terpsichore as “Terp-SIH-Koh-REE,” Brigit as “BREE-yit,” Sylvia as “SIL-vyuh,” Nidavellir as “NEE-dah-VEL-ur,” Euterpe as “You-TURP-ee,” Arawn as “AH-rawn,” Nuadha as “NOO-ah or NOO-dhah,” Swartalfheim as “SWART-alf-HIGH’M,” Thalia as “THAH-lyuh,” Gwydion as “GOOD-yun,” Clio as “KLEE-oh,” Muspelheim as “MUSS-pell-HIGH’M,” Arianrhod as “Ahr-YAHN-rod,” Cailleach as “KYLE-eek” or “KYLE-yech,” Calliope as “Kah-LYE-oh-PEE,” Lugh as “LOO,” Jotunheim as “YOH-tun-HIGH’M,” Erato as “eh-RAH-to,” Alfheim as “ALF-high’m,” Polymnia as “Po-LIM-nyuh,” Vanaheim as “VAN-ah-HIGH’M,” Melpomene as “mel-PO-meh-NEE,” Amaethon as “Ah-MY-thon,” Urania as “You-RAH-nyuh,” and Ceridwen as “Keh-RID-wen.”