Essay: Medusa



I am familiar with a variety of legendary details describing ill-fated Medusa: Tales where she is one of three sisters who stayed on a lone island far from the shores of men; and she the ugliest of the sisters, was a monstrous and hideous hag with gross serpents twining about her head – where her hair should have been!

More rarely, although more interestingly, I know of other tales of Medusa; tales where she is beautiful and wise – an elder Devi of legendary repute; a priestess of the serpents, with gorgeous, knowing snakes crowning her head…

Regardless of the superficial artifact of her polarized physical extremes (hideous or beautiful) unanimously in all the tales, the repercussions of those who dared to seek Medusa’s head are shared – they were turned to stone!

Of all the invaders, of whom all were said to be men, it has been told that one look upon her face (whether horrid or gorgeous) would immortalize the invading assassins forever in stone – preserving them in the moment of their murderous intent – when they stole upon her island, to take her head!

How very strange to immortalize so perfectly, these brutal young men – explicitly keeping them forever frozen in their heinous moments of trespass; and thus showcasing their greedy, murderous intent.

Even stranger still is how – in no tale can I find there is warrant for the men’s attack upon Medusa; no great affliction has she caused upon any village or town; yet, persistently she is accused – only of making a paralyzed waste of men who would hunt her! Indeed, her self-defense seems reason enough again and again for men to seek to kill her.

I wonder what reasons really did the men come to take the head of a snake woman?

Perhaps what the men truly feared was not her metaphoric looks, but rather the old words,

… “May ye be as wise as serpents”…

Dear reader, remember those old words carefully whenever you think of Medusa.

(Image Credit: Unknown)


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