Monday, January 7, 2013

Goddesses in the Dust: Calendars, Time, Memory and Mnemosyne

An archaeologist unearths the divine feminine, one archetype at a time...
Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Mnemosyne, 1881
The Greek goddess of memory is Mnemosyne, the daughter of Ouranos, or Heaven. But she is also known as the goddess of time, and symbolized the rote memorization necessary to preserve the ancient stories of mythology and sagas of history. The epic poems of The Iliad and The Odyssey were written by the bard Homer in the 8th century B.C., but these stories had been passed down over centuries through oral tradition before they were finally recorded and preserved as the Western world's first works of literature. For that we have Mnemosyne to thank.

At the end of every year, I remove the old calendars on my desk and on my kitchen wall and replace them with new ones...



...and turn the page to the New Year.

But before I do, I look back on the past year, the black squiggles representing birthdays, anniversaries, doctors'  appointments, dinner dates with friends and travel plans with family.

Taking it down, I think of Mnemosyne and am reminded to be grateful for the fullness and beauty of all that life offers. I gather all the memories of the previous year to preserve them in my heart, 

and, gazing into yet another year, blank and full of possibility,

look forward to the richness and possibility of creating many more. 

24 comments:

  1. And without memory, individual and collective, we can't explain ourselves, can't make sense of this moment, can't define our very existence.

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    1. so true. like the nose on our face, we take memory for granted, like breathing. but as you say, how paramount it is to our very existence, both individually and collectively. thank you for sharing this salient point. xx

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  2. Beautiful post as always..full of wisdom and magic !Wishing you a wonderful 2013 Amanda!
    Victoria

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  3. When I first opened your page and saw that look on your face -- and that pose -- on the steps of such transcending architecture, I felt some little imp in my chest leap with amusement and affection. Then I thought about how I would write that emotion to you and how I have never called you by anything other than Amanda because you don't seem like a Mandy to me, or even a Manz. And somehow, 'Panda,' though I know this is a nickname for you, seems too much the province of a family member. But something in me always wants to articulate some term of endearment for you but nothing has ever formed naturally. I will continue to search for that name as 2013 unfurls petal by petal.

    The images of these calendars with the details of your customs and the inner workings of your goddess heart are immensely gratifying to me. I think you are a very special moongirl. There are many moon women that I have come across in my time -- knowing my own kind when I see them -- and you are one I would like to live next door to for all strange eternity.

    Happy new year.

    Love,
    -Suze

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    1. i wish too i lived close enough to meet for coffee and discuss our MANY shared interests, from physics to writing...it would be a true pleasure --- but the cyber coffee shop will have to do for now. i am honored you may devise a nick name for me and will look forward to what (and if) you choose. i have been known by many - mandy was what i was called in high school (but i never liked it.)

      i look forward in 2013 to more of your sublime and ever shapeshifting blog♡

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  4. You had a full calendar in 2012 so I will wish you the same, and more, for 2013. I love that photo of you in that ancient theatre. The smile on your face speaks volumes. Happy new year dear Amanda.

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  5. it is inconceivable - what has happened in the last year.

    it is inconceivable - what might happen in this next.

    the smallest of things. truly, the smallest of things fill the calendar. take this for example, i have just returned from a walk. i should have worn a scarf. the sun broke through the trees like a distant moth promised directly to my heart. just like this! who would have thought! and the wind blew! and the trees swayed! and snow drifted in gusts across tight snow-laid fields in northern ontario like never before! who would have thought! i put even this on my calendar and guard it as well as my marriage date:))))

    and how are you, amanda? and how was your holiday? and what might this next year look like for you? i imagine and know i can not begin to.

    xo
    erin

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    1. i just read your latest post about christmas, and now these words, which move me greatly. what goes on a calendar - the hard cold facts. but what does not......everything else. and everything is life as well, the in-between moments which carry as much, if not more weight. that distant moth and tree-breaking sun are inscribed for all eternity in the timekeeping calendars of our souls.

      amen to that erin. thank you for always sharing your thoughts the same way the sun glances through the window and illuminates my workspace.....just...so.

      xoxo

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  6. Yes, calenders are a strange mean to measure time and life. Usually I buy me one for the next year during the last week of a year, sitting me down during the night and enter the important dates into the new one, while leaving the old calender in a random trash container found on the street; bit as if the year did not pass, or at least I did not realize it.
    Wishing you and yours a great year ahead.

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    1. robert, your deposit of last year's calendar in a random trash container offers a spiritual reminder to me. yes, memory is wonderful, but the buddhist notion of not clinging to the past also warrants our attention. it is eternally fascinating to learn about how others process and metabolize time.

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  7. Marking time. how interesting, how mysterious, how illuminating it all is.

    I do the same with my calendars, and what a useful tool they are for looking back over what was.

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  8. I smile..this is so familiar. I wonder how many of us feel that way as we transition from the past to the future? I have a habit of saving my calendar, it feels strange to part with it. Every year, about July, I say good-bye. I never gave it a second thought, until now. Thank you! Visiting by way of Loree @Stories and Scribbles...so glad I have! Best wishes for the new year... Jeanne :)

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  9. My dad has kept a journal (almost daily) his entire life. He turned 88 on December 31st and I know that I am fortunate to have his laughter in the phone when I call. He is fussing because the doctors told him that he should not have sausage every morning for breakfast but my mom is riding herd on that edict.

    I have kept a journal from time to time and even one in French although it will probably be an amusement if ever read by another person.

    Clinging to a well-noted calendar is my way. I am not sure that I could toss them into the garbage, but admire Robert's approach to the past and future.

    Wishing you a glorious 2013, creative and productive, filled with family and friends.

    Bonne année, ma chère amie.

    Bises,
    Genie

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    1. that is so special that your dad keeps a daily journal. you are fortunate indeed to hear his laughter on the phone ~ i know you treasure it my friend. blessings to you for everything good in 2013, ma chere genie.

      xoxo

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  10. I LOVE your full year calendar layout with the "squiggles." If I could just find a spot in my small duplex for such.... :)

    I also LOVE your header photo. I haven't visited you for a while, and I'm so glad you commented on my current post to nudge me over here. Your posts are always SO interesting. Ah, memory. Without it--no memoirs. I love reading "true" stories.

    Have a wonderful year. Keep in touch, and so will I!

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    1. thank you ann ~ i'm so happy to see you and to know you are back in the blogging world!

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  11. Happy New Year! I like the traditions of saying goodbye to the old year and looking forward.

    Wishing you a fabulous 2013.

    Love the blog header picture, wonderful.

    Minerva x

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  12. I've always looked at blank, new calenders as full of promise as well. All of this empty time just waiting to be filled and this year, I'm vowing to fill my calender with lots more fun :)

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  13. Gorgeous new banner photo! Our family uses a physical calendar too instead of iCal. We pin it the fridge so no one will miss it. I should worship the goddess of memory - I keep forgetting stuff. Middle aged, sleep deprived or too busy? Happy New Year, Amanda! I look forward to more posts from you.

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  14. Dear Amanda, how similar we are in this aspect - true cancerians, very sentimental and romantic.;) I too love reflecting over the year that was...
    In fact, just before the Holidays I finally threw out 12 calendars that I kept at work to organize my day, all the way from the year 2000... I sat for over an hour looking through them before I finally threw them out, still with a heavy heart.;) So many memories...
    Hope you had lovely Holidays and all the best in the New Year to you and yours.;)
    xoxo

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    1. that took some courage to through out those old calendars....i know how much they mean to a cancerian. but i have always been told we need to clear out the old to make room for the new, so i hope that is some solace to you, dear zuzana.

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  15. Oh, forgot to add that I love your new header image.;)

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  16. A new marvelous banner and a great post too!!

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  17. Thank you for all the nice comments about my new header photo - I thought the new year was a good time to display one. This is from Pula, Croatia, where my husband took a shot of me in the Roman amphitheater.

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