The word muse originates from Greek mythology. The Greek god Zeus had nine daughters called the Muses. The nine daughters were of one being in heart, spirit and thought. If the muses loved a man, then it was said the man’s worries instantly disappeared and he was inspired to create beauty. The word actually means “to think” and inspired thinking, of course, is what led to the creation of the arts.
Referring to a real woman who inspires creative thinking as a “Muse” is a later idea.
But throughout the history of the arts, men and women have been inspired by their own muses. Look close enough and most artists have one. There are two aspects of our existence which have the same special insight and expression of our philosophy: love and art.
The two are inseparable.
We don’t so much fall in love with a person, as much as we fall in love with the fundamental way that person faces their existence. Stripped down, that’s basically the essence of a personality. How we face existence. We fall in love with a person’s character and how it reflects in their behavior. We fall in love with the style of their soul.
We see them as a spiritual mirror. The style of our soul loves the style of their soul, and our affection is an expression that‘s totally unique to our consciousness.
Art is also a highly unique expression of our soul. It is the voice of our soul. And it is subject to the same aura of mystery, the same tragedy and glory, as romantic love.
Photographer Pattie Boyd didn’t intend on being someone’s spiritual mirror when she rode the train to the set of the 1964 movie A Hard Day’s Night. But that’s exactly what happened when The Beatles got on at a small station, sat down in her carriage, and introduced themselves. She was only 19 years old and very naïve, and these guys were the most famous lads in the world. Pattie Boyd felt that magical chemistry and immediately connected with the quiet Beatle, George Harrison.
After they were married, she adjusted to life with a professional musician. Most of the time, he just sat around the house and played guitar. She never really gave it much attention.
A few years later, during the recording of The Beatles White Album, George came home from the studio with a cassette tape and played her Something.
In his understated, shy way of talking, he said: “I wrote this about you.”
One of George Harrison’s closest friends was Eric Clapton. He also was in love with that something in the way Pattie Boyd moved.
The song Layla is based on a 12th-century Persian poem about a man who is in love with an unobtainable woman. Pattie wasn’t so happy when Eric wrote it for her, especially since she was still married to George at the time. She felt exposed. She was trying to hang on to her marriage, and here was this other guy lavishing public attention on her.
The song was fantastically painful and beautiful.
When her marriage to George Harrison ultimately hit the skids, they divorced and she married Eric Clapton. Writing a definitive rock anthem makes a big impression.
But Eric also spent most of his time sitting around the house and playing guitar. One night, while waiting for his wife to get dressed, he did what he always did. He played guitar. She took forever trying to make herself presentable and was panicked about her hair, her clothes, everything. She finally came downstairs expecting her husband to be angry with her. Instead, he asked her to listen while he played what he’d just written.
In the time it had taken his muse to get ready, Eric Clapton had created Wonderful Tonight.
So get romantic and fill up your glass with rose champagne. Here’s a toast to rock’s greatest muse. Wait. A better idea is to pour two glasses and give one to your significant other while you replay one of the songs Pattie Boyd inspired.
Then offer a toast to your own muse.