The Goddess Medusa was one of the 3 gorgons. Initially beautiful she was then transformed into a terrifying sight with snakes in her hair. Perseus eventually severed her head and used it for Power. Robert Graves reminds us that the Orphic poems referred to the full moon as the ‘Gorgon’s head’. The mask was also worn by young maidens to ward off male lust. The episode of Perseus’ victory over Medusa represents the end of female ascendancy and the taking over of the temples by men, who had become the masters of the divine which Medusa’s head had concealed from them. Medusa represents a part of the female archetype that often brings terror to the male.🌀
Medusa by Sylvia Plath
Off that landspit of stony mouth-plugs,
Eyes rolled by white sticks,
Ears cupping the sea’s incoherences,
You house your unnerving head—God-ball,
Lens of mercies,
Plying their wild cells in my keel’s shadow,
Pushing by like hearts,
Red stigmata at the very center,
Riding the rip tide to the nearest point of
Dragging their Jesus hair.
Did I escape, I wonder?
My mind winds to you
Old barnacled umbilicus, Atlantic cable,
Keeping itself, it seems, in a state of miraculous
In any case, you are always there,
Tremulous breath at the end of my line,
Curve of water upleaping
To my water rod, dazzling and grateful,
Touching and sucking.
I didn’t call you.
I didn’t call you at all.
You steamed to me over the sea,
Fat and red, a placenta
Paralyzing the kicking lovers.
Squeezing the breath from the blood bells
Of the fuchsia. I could draw no breath,
Dead and moneyless,
Overexposed, like an X-ray.
Who do you think you are?
A Communion wafer? Blubbery Mary?
I shall take no bite of your body,
Bottle in which I live,
I am sick to death of hot salt.
Green as eunuchs, your wishes
Hiss at my sins.
Off, off, eely tentacle!
There is nothing between us.