fbpx Skip to Content

The Tale of Medusa and How Society Did Her Dirty

The Tale of Medusa and How Society Did Her Dirty

I think we’ve all heard the household name Medusa. There isn’t a lesson on Greek mythology that doesn’t cover her.

Even though she isn’t considered a goddess, she still plays a very important part in Greek mythology.

With her beautiful locks of hair. I mean, locks of serpents, and her striking features, she is a very recognizable figure we can all easily visualize.

While she is a remarkable figure, she isn’t traditionally worshipped. Instead, she is used as a symbol to ward off evil, acting as a dangerous threat to other dangerous threats.

Let’s see what kind of symbolism the image of Medusa carries and what really happened to her!

Medusa’s Origins

Contrary to popular belief, Medusa wasn’t just a hateful old snake who liked to turn people to stone just ’cause she was bitter.

And Perseus wasn’t the prince on a white horse who swooped in to save the day.

It’s not a secret that patriarchal values dictate our lives. They are fully woven through stories, whether they are historical facts or made up fairytales.

And when we talk about Medusa, do we ever really ask how she became what she was, or do we just believe that she was born a hateful hag?

Medusa was once beautiful, born as one of the Gorgon sisters. She was kind-natured and lovely all around. Because of this beauty, she caught the eye of Poseidon (God of the Sea).

She rejected his advances since she was a loyal servant of Athena and instead of being mature about it and taking no for an answer, he decided to violate Medusa in Athena’s temple.

After being left there, abandoned and weak, Medusa asked Athena for help. Athena, feeling betrayed since her servants remained virgins and didn’t take husbands, cursed Medusa.

She sent her off to a faraway island and cursed her with the image we are given today.

Basically, Athena isn’t a girl’s girl.

Spiritual Meaning of Medusa

Even though Medusa is still represented as a terrifying Gorgon, she is also a symbol of feminine power.

She fights the traditional notion of what a woman should look like and she offers an alternative archetype of powerful women.

A monstrous representation of Medusa went on for centuries, depicting her with huge glowing eyes, sticking out her tongue and of course, snakes for hair.

This image of her was used as a protective talisman to ward off evil spirits and negative energy.

Closer to the end of the 20th century, Medusa’s image got a makeover. People started to embrace her as a symbol of feminine empowerment and survival of domestic violence and rape.

Medusa In the Modern World

The traditional myth of Medusa has many questionable morals and it enabled centuries on centuries of men to demonize women and put the blame on them.

Medusa was used as a warning sign for ‘unruly‘ women because look what happened to her! She got beheaded!

Even in today’s society, you can find images of powerful women being photoshopped onto statues and images of Medusa

Historically, powerful women have always been a threat to fragile masculinity and the tale of Medusa has been used to say things like:

  • Don’t be too angry,
  • Don’t talk that much,
  • Don’t make him feel small, etc.

Even though women are reclaiming Medusa as a sign of power, many people still try to use her image to frighten powerful women and keep them ‘in their place.’

How to Work With Medusa

As we mentioned, Medusa is a symbol of power and protection. She is also a very scorned woman.

She can be a powerful deity and when you work with her, you will feel that power.

Here are a couple of ways that you can work with Medusa:

  1. Set up an altar for her– by doing this you are indicating that she is welcome in your life. Set up some candles and stones and you’re good to go!
  2. Give offerings– it’s very important that you give appropriate offerings to Medusa. Since she is a sea spirit, you may give her sea salt and seawater, sea shells and wine work well too!
  3. Stand for women’s rights– knowing the full story of Medusa, it’s obvious why you should follow this step.
  4. Spells– invoking the spirit of Medusa while doing spells may bring fruitful results, especially if you’re casting spells that fall into the following categories: protection, banishing, beauty and justice.

All in All

Medusa‘s myth never gets old. We are able to interpret it in a myriad of ways, from her origins to modern culture. But it’s no secret that she is a force to be reckoned with.

Through exploring her myth, we are faced with the power dynamic between man and woman and the complexities of human nature.

She ultimately empowers us to face our fears, speak up for ourselves and try to find beauty in places we never even thought to look.