Let Go of the Bull

In Ovid’s Metamorphoses, there is the tale of King Minos:

Poseidon gave Minos a prized bull as a gift. Minos was expected to then sacrifice the bull as an offering to Poseidon: an offering of thanks. Instead of doing this, Minos kept the bull, replacing it with another. In retaliation, Poseidon made his wife mate with the bull, begetting the monstrosity known as the minotaur.

There are times as musicians we take but rarely think about sincere reciprocity. Just as Minos, we replace the bull with some half baked “thank you” and hope nobody knows the difference. We’re afraid to let go of the bull: to lose a gig that we should give to a friend to thank him for letting us play on his bill.

But what if Minos let go of the bull? One would gather that his riches would be that much greater and his troubles would, well, have one less minotaur.

Perhaps the same could be said of us.

Lewis Hyde’s “The Gift” is a great meditation on this idea.


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