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Monday, December 6, 2010

Mnemosyne - memory

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In Greek myth. Mnemosyne was the goddess of memory and the mother of the Muses*. She resided over a pool in Hades where dead souls could drink and recover their memories of life in some place other than Earth - some would call it Paradise or the Elysian Fields.

Most dead souls were supposed to drink from the river Lethe in order to forget their earthly sorrows, so they would not remember their past lives when they reincarnated.

Initiates into the Orphic mysteries were encouraged to drink from the pool of remembering, without drinking from the river of forgetfulness. In that way, they could remember all their past lives, including their life in Paradise or the Elysian fields.

Sometimes I think that I should have drunk from the river of forgetfulness. I have distinct memories of playing in a room filled with white light, waiting to be born into this life. I did not want to choose the family that Grandfather showed us on the screen, and neither did any of my five companions, but Grandfather refused to let any of us get born until one of us chose that family.

Grandfather looked like the Bible illustrations of Moses - tall, white hair and long beard, wearing a white robe and carrying a walking stick. He spent most of his time working in the garden just outside our play room.

We were all children, about 6 years old, and although we had fun in the play room, we all wanted to get born.

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* The nine Muses were the children of Mnemosyne and Zeus. Three of them, the best known Muses, were those who spun the thread of life (Clotho), measured that thread (Lachesis) and cut the thread (Atropos).

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