Sweet Muse of Madness
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Like her older sister, Gamelia faces a crucial decision no young person should have to make. She can spend her nights in the Sacred Grove with her parents, Ilithyia and Phanes, and risk death in order to become the new God-Queen, or she can marry a commoner and live on the farmhold Thessalia with her grandparents, Cybele and Attis.

In the novel Sweet Muse of Madness, we learn that Gamelia prefers the simple life of an everyday mortal. She loves her uncle, Educas the Ponderer, but that love is complicated by the selfish manipulations of her sister, Parthenia, and also by the arrival of a strange and compelling youth, the acolyte Hypsistos. Seeking a pathway through her confused emotions, the naïve and vulnerable Gamelia participates in the Maddening, a seasonal festival that is both deadly and wondrous, only to discover that she has set upon a course for which she is ill prepared, in mind as well as in body.


In the world of mythology, there is often a two-way street between meaning and character. A word or phrase may refer to a general aspect of life or a particular human quality, and then, over time, crystallize into the name of a specific mythic individual who embodies that aspect or quality. But the reverse also happens; a compelling character may, with the story’s telling and retelling, lend her or his name to the language, so that the name becomes a descriptive word in regard to a given dimension of human experience. Among the highly imaginative Greeks, adjectives, metaphors and personifications were constantly engaged in a beautiful mythological dance, and so it may be that many words developed with both a descriptive and character driven function simultaneously.

Such a word-name is Gamelia. Did the Greek words “gamete,” which means “wife,” and “gamos,” which means “marriage,” evolve over time into Gamelia, an appropriate name for a character representing life-long commitment? Or did the goddess of marriage Gamelia lend her name to the above descriptive words? Indeed, is Gamelia a distinct deity in her own right, or nothing more than a pseudonym for Hera in her role as the eternal mate of Zeus?

We’ll let the linguists explore the specific etymology of these words. In the meantime, we may speculate that long before classical Greece, the character of Gamelia, as an aspect of the Female Life Force itself, represented all women as highly regarded partners in any marriage, equal to their mates. However, as the patriarchal gods swept through Greece, and much of the rest of the world, for that matter, the idea of “wife” took on a subordinate, even demeaning, connotation. The status of “Gamelia” in our time remains in our own hands.

In modern biology, a “gamete” is a cell that does not reproduce by simply dividing into two identical cells, but rather must “mate” with a similar but different cell in order to make a third, unique cell. In other words, gametes provided the foundation of sexual reproduction in the evolution of life on Earth. The word “gamic” applies to beings developed only through sexual union. In a sense, we can thank Gamelia for bio-diversity.

We humans, however, have evolved into creatures who seek more than mere mating. Whether our “marriages” are institutionally recognized or simply established through personal commitment, we yearn for a relationship on which we truly can rely. Thus the young mortal woman Gamelia in Sweet Muse of Madness journeys from one object of loyalty to another, considering even a “marriage” to a patriarchal god, in a desperate quest to validate her existence in the eyes of a genuine lover, and finally bring her loneliness to an end.