Last Updated on December 18, 2017 by Coven of the Goddess
There was a time long ago when Medusa’s people worshiped Her as a Goddess. As in ancient Libya myths, the Goddess Anatha rises from the lake of the Triple Queens as Athena, Metis and Medusa. Athena, a New Moon Warrior Maiden who inspires courage, strength, and valor, the Sea Goddess Metis, a Full Moon Mother of wisdom who, in later mythical tales, conceived Athena from Zeus and Medusa, Dark Moon Goddess and Crone. All three aspects of Goddess Anatha worshiped by the Libyan Amazons as Serpent Goddesses of female wisdom.
Serpent-haired Medusa ruled over the regenerative mysteries of sex and death, and protected these magical rites from being discovered and abused by the uninitiated. As the third, crone/destroyer aspect of the lunar triad, Medusa’s message was one of wisdom, and it concerned the inevitability of death. AS an Ocean Goddess of the West She guarded the gateway of death and granted safe passing to all souls entering the oceanic entrance to the underworld.
In Greek mythology, the patriarchy, in their fear of the wise woman of death, and of the magical sexual power of the menstruating feminine, demonized Medusa (as they did the other dark goddesses) into a monstrous figure of the devouring, castrating mother. In this tale, Medusa was one of three Gorgon sisters born from ancient sea deities. Two sisters were born immortal and ageless, Medusa was born mortal. They lived near the border of life and death at the ocean’s edge near the edge of the world. Tales of their beauty was told all over the world and many suitors called upon the sisters. From the many suitors it was Poseidon that Medusa took as Her lover one day in the temple of Athena.
The tale continues of Athena’s anger due to Medusa daring to compare her beauty to that of Athena or that Medusa dare sleep with Her most bitter rival in the sanctuary of Her temple. Athena transformed Medusa and Her sisters into ugly hags, winged monsters with glaring eyes, huge teeth, protruding tongues, brazen claws, and serpent locks. Medusa, receiving the majority of Athena’s wrath, became the most terrifying of the three. Her face was made so hideous that a glimpse of it would turn men into stone. Tales, embellished with danger, spread far and wide. Tales of the lands and caverns of these fearsome sea monsters abounded with the rigid shapes of petrified men and animals and the Gorgons were feared for their deadly power. Hence the death of Medusa became a worthy heroic quest for the patriarchal solar heroes.
This classic Greek myth is also infused by patriarchal-dominated invaders of mainland Greece. It was their hero Perseus who beheaded our Goddess Medusa. Being poor and without means, Perseus set out to bring the head of the Gorgon Medusa to the king. Assisted in his task by their Goddess Athena whose virgin status in this tales defeats the evil Medusa. It is also believed in these portrayals of Athena, Her shield and head-dress retain the legends of Goddess Anatha if one looks closely enough. Goddess Medusa’s snake locks and head are carried on upon Her shield and Her breast-plate is made of goatskin reflecting the shape shifting abilities of Goddess Metis.
Earlier tales of Medusa, dating from the seventh century BCE tells of small, slender mare-woman who, although masked with a Gorgon’s Head, shows none of the frightful aspects of the classical Gorgon. It was the face of the Moon the people expressed in the Gorgon mask and the horse as well were sacred to the indigenous people who worshiped Her. In this story it is Poseidon’s rape of Medusa in the form of a stallion that tells the story of the first wave of invading Hellenes from Greece. Riding large vigorous horses they forcibly married the Amazon Moon Priestesses and took over the rainmaking rites of the sacred horse cult through the birth of Pegasus.
This is only one of many stories that appear all over the Mediterranean Crescent around this time, a testament of transition of Goddess worship to God. The supremacy of the Great Goddess who took the young God as her Consort/lover was overturned and the God matures and then usurps her power by forcibly raping, marrying and subjugating her and by suppressing her worship. Poseidon’s soldiers likewise raped the Amazon priestesses, and they ignored the injunction of the aegis and Gorgon mask to stay away unless invited. The Gorgon mask then turned into the portrait of horror, fear, and rage frozen on the faces of these warrior women resulting from their forceful violation.
It is in all these tales we seek Goddess Medusa as we turn towards the Wheels end. Medusa, wise crone who holds the secrets of sex, divination, magic, death and renewal we seek the truth. It is Her Gorgon mask worn by the Priestess of old in celebration of Moon worshipping Rituals in Her honor we paint upon our face. Masks of glaring eyes, bared fanged teeth and protruding tongue that shall cast out the doubt and demons of self.
In day of old these mask held the secret of the blood mysteries that gave women their healing powers and tonight we shall seek to heal self. To die off the old and carry forth into the new all that is well. As primitive tribes believed the menstrual blood of a woman could turn a man to stone so shall the demons of self die in Her presence. As the Gorgons stood watch at Delphi so shall the Gorgon mask stand guard at our shrines of self. As the Gorgons initiated souls into death so shall our Gorgon mask protect us in our journey.
Image Source: Wikimedia