Multicultural Muses



Muses to Inspire Creativity

The Fount of Inspiration: Muses of Water

Muses and deities associated with the element of water and the creative arts.

By Molly J. Anderson-Childers | Updated May 5, 2018


The perfect day to begin working on this piece dawned rainy and gray; a perfect day to hole up in my studio and do a little research, and begin to write about Muses and deities associated with the element of water and the creative arts. I found quickly that water goddesses and Muses associated with rain, lakes, streams, and oceans — exist worldwide, forming a great part of the mythology and culture of many diverse societies from all over the world.

I have chosen to narrow my focus here, honing in on Celtic muses and goddesses from Ireland. (I found so many different mermaids, nymphs, sirens, seal-women and blue-headed serpent goddesses that I was forced to choose a tiny area of focus, to avoid turning this into a book of my own!) It is a rich topic, indeed, and I researched it sitting in the window-seat and gazing out at the rain when I needed a respite from the words on the page.

The rain itself served as one of my Muses, creating in me a dreamy, contemplative and sweetly sad mood that was perfectly suited to writing about Lenan Sidhe and Moriath, Cliodhna, and the rest.

Try This!

If the rain inspires you, or you find yourself exalted by the view of a river, write a poem or a story to honor these Muses from the natural world, and their many gifts.

Or, paint a rainy landscape, using your favorite paints. I like watercolors best! You can even paint your poem, framing it in the center of the page with a border of clouds and raindrops. Walk barefoot through the new grass in the rain in springtime for a heady dose of inspiration, straight from Mother Earth. Watch the rain fall from a snug little corner, sipping hot chamomile tea. Write a poem to honor the Rain Goddess in chalk on the sidewalk, and watch it fade away in the storm.

Here is my haiku about a rainy Saturday morning:

Rain Falling in the Forest
There is a lovely
Melancholy in the rain
Blackbirds singing sweet

Leanan Sidhe, the Faerie Sweetheart, is beloved and feared by Irish poets and singers. A darkly beautiful Faerie Muse, she is often seen near water, and lures young men into her arms with a song sweeter than honey. Once they have fallen under her fatal spell, the poor lads are doomed to despair, often committing suicide or merely wasting away when they are separated from their faerie lover for too long.

This has earned Leanan Sidhe a terrible reputation; some say that she is deadly and is best avoided. For a more thorough discussion of Leanan Sidhe and ways to work with her energy safely, revisit Leanan Sidhe: Irish Faerie Muse. I have found that she inspires mystical watery landscapes, and darkly lovely poems, and that she is dangerous when crossed.

Another dark and mysterious figure is Canola. Despite her unlikely name, she was an important and powerful Celtic goddess. According to Irish legend, it was Canola who crafted the first harp from the skeleton of a whale. This was a mighty gift to mortal musicians, and they show the generous side of this little-known deity.

Moriath, a Celtic goddess associated with water, magic, the arts, and healing, was also generous to mortals, and helpful by nature. It is said that she could create magical music which could make anyone who heard it go to sleep. This enchanting music was also known to restore the power of speech to those who had lost the ability to speak.

Listen to the wind — Moriath is calling your name. Let her song rock you to sleep. Dream beautiful deep blue dreams and write them all down, paint their portraits, tie them to kites and butterflies' wings and set them free to soar.

Next Muse: Earth: Creative Bedrock: Standing on Solid Ground

It seems that Ireland is full of water-spirits, river-goddesses, and sea-nymphs. Every well and bog seems to have its own attendant spirit. There were many to choose from, and I could not name or explore them all here. The book, "Goddesses in World Mythology" by Ann and Imel, was a great help in finding information about these obscure and sometimes little-known Muses.

©2009 Molly J. Anderson-Childers. All rights reserved.