*The Women who wrote…

Sappho, Greek poet in 650-590 BCE, was worshipped by the ancient world, and an anecdote tells us how Solon the Wise once heard one of her poems and asked to immediately learn it. When asked what the rush was he answered: “Learn this and then die”.

Plato called her the tenth muse.

Sadly, there is not much to find from these ladies-of-words who lived in times gone by. Many perished at the hands of the harsh censorship in that period of history. As Jone Johnson Lewis writes (link below), only fragments of their original papers, or brief mentions in other people’s writing, tell us of their existence and works.

None of these ladies-of-words are held up as interesting or useful commenters on the philosophical, scientific or politico-socio matters of their day, and all are described as ‘poets’ who cover the subject of romance and dreamings, and little else.

I wondered on this, and could see that their thoughts were not valued possibly because they were not in charge of the publications or educations of the mostly male literate groups. But what have we missed from these writers?

Writing itself requires the skills of alphabets and languages, apart from the dexterity for holding a tool to write, and as the majority of people are right-handed, this suggests a left-brain application. Whether the right-handedness of humans is a natural skill, or one that was initiated and perpetuated by scholars, we may never know, but it’s the brain I am interested in, and where that can take us in understanding the mind, which I suggest is something different.

In more modern times, where women have freedom to write in anyway they wish, we find the male and female divide gets very blurred. Writing is essentially a left-brain function. It requires focussed thought, following a learned skill, using sequences and constructs, and an education in both language and grammar. But that’s only the mechanical side of things.

What comes through the pen, or key-board, can be such a variety of subjects, that I suggest the right-brain must be brought into view. To write a scientific journal requires a mental copy-and-past process, unless the author is an entrepreneur of radical research, in which case he, or she, will be up against all sorts of problems, like peer-review, acceptance from the accepted establishments and criticism from the hierarchy of scholars that came before. It is extremely hard to bring new scientific thought into the world, as many can attest.

Creative writing, on the other hand, (aha, a clue!) requires an ability to go where none has gone before, and under the title of ‘fiction’ – i.e. ‘not true’ – just about anything can be written. However, it requires an imaginative mind, an expansive visionary skill that can dream up a myriad of images, characters, locations and story-lines. This is where the right brain is in its element. Unrestricted by sequencing, rationality, logic and accepted views, the creative mind can leave the universe or skip across multi-dimensional realities, and even make complete gobbledygook or outright lies into an accomplished work of art. There are no bounds and no rules in fiction and it is a rollercoaster ride in emotions, diverse thoughts, make-believe and mystery.

Poetry is a form of literary art that needs some specific skill of its own. It requires the juxtaposition of the freedom of the imaginative mind on one side, and the discipline of an ordered form on the other. Poetry is a literary work in which the expression of feelings and ideas is given intensity by the use of distinctive style and rhythm. It requires a knowledge of the workings of the human being and its psyche – its soul-mind – and the innate observations of the poet. I suspect that this needs a co-operation between the left and right brain. Poetry is very often used to express a spiritual perspective in relation to another and deep personal experiences.

I wonder if these hardly remembered female poets of the ancient, classical world intuitively tapped into a mental experience that was closer to the human soul, and an even more ancient past when the whole-soul-mind, the whole-brain, could experience our existence from more than just a self-oriented, rational, material point of view.

To pull ideas and visions ‘out of the ether’, the Mind must be able to travel out of the body, away from the body’s brain, in an altered state of consciousness that transcends the mundane world, and then to bring those transcendental images, insights and revelations back to the brain to process this information into understandable, applicable knowledge. Gnosis is a Greek word that means knowledge, but the true esoteric gnosis was to gain an inner-knowing, or intuition, about our connection with the outer world. Thus, the teachings of the Buddha gave us the means to still the ‘monkey-mind’, or left-brain chatter, find the still silence within, then open the inner eye to receive the in-pouring multi-universe, through the right-brain. In meditation practices we can retrieve our ability to envision, to know and to be.

By living only in the left-brain of our artificially intelligent world, the human being remains a puppet-slave to the master-controllers – those who can steal and manipulate the human mind, having closed down the right brain through fear and brain-washing and trained the left brain to comply, robot-like, to the command prompts of neuro-linguistic programming. Our political, religious and educational systems manage this expertly. Sensory overload on 2-dimensional screens hypnotise the human into a state of zombie-like inactivity, while embedding the symbolic dog-and-pony show with symbolic carrot-and-stick.

Sappho was a noble woman, a wife and mother, and lived at the time of Solon, the grandfather of Plato, who discovered the lost history of Atlantis from an Egyptian priest. These times were rich with scholarly people who had a living memory of a time when our ancestors perished in a global catastrophe. Solon the Wise once heard one of her poems and asked to immediately learn it. When asked what the rush was he answered: “Learn this and then die” What did he mean? Were Sappho’s words so poignant that they could fulfil a man’s yearning for knowledge? What knowledge could that have been? The nature of the whole-soul and its capacity to LOVE?

Listen to the distant call of the women who wrote…

Their poems were about matters of the heart – spiritual aspirations, feelings, emotions and relationships, love – those higher ideals in life that make it worth living.

Wendy Salter,

inspired by Lewis, Jone Johnson. “Women Writers of the Ancient World.” ThoughtCo, Aug. 26, 2020, thoughtco.com/ancient-women-writers-3530818.

Published in: on October 4, 2020 at 9:02 pm  Leave a Comment  
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