Setting the Record Straight on Gorgon Meaning and Medusa
Did you ever see the 1981 version of Clash of the Titans? I did, and you know what? It wasn’t the Kraken that rang my bells. It wasn’t the Minotaur that made me go bonkers. Nope. It was Medusa. That scene with her luminous eyes and slithery snakes left me breathless. To me, she was majestic . Forget Marilyn Monroe – for me, Medusa was the ‘it’ girl.
Maybe that makes me a sicko. I mean, the term gorgon in Greek translates to ‘dreadful’ or ‘beastly.’ But in my defense, I happened to have some background history on gorgon meaning and Medusa before seeing the movie.
Did you know Medusa was once a breathtaking, bombshell of a woman? Yep, her beauty was legendary. That is, until one day Athena turned her into a gorgon.
Picture it, ancient Greece, a lusty Poseidon lays eyes on the ravishing Medusa. Unable to contain his libido in the presence of such loveliness, Poseidon makes a move on Medusa. She refuses his advances. She was quite chaste. As a matter of fact, her name Medusa means ‘to protect’ – and legend states she was quite protective of her purity.
Wanting to keep her virginity, Medusa resists Poseidon as best she can. As a last resort, she runs to Athena’s temple (who happened to be the virgin goddess who held purity in the highest regard). Poseidon eventually wore down Medusa, and forced himself upon her. Athena witnessed the tail end of the violation – not knowing Medusa was a victim. Instead, Athena assumed Poseidon and Medusa laid together in mutual consent, which was certainly not the case.
It was a slap in Athena’s face to see the two together within her temple of virginal purity. Enraged and insulted (not to mention quick to judge), Athena smote Medusa with the curse that made her into the so-called monster we see today.
The big crime here is that before Medusa’s gorgon days, she was quite a sweet girl. She was said to be generous, thoughtful, bright and beautiful. Sometimes nice girls just can’t catch a break. But the irony is, Medusa became quite a bad as* while living as a gorgon and even after her death.
Vengeance, Defense and Gorgon Meaning
Understandably, Medusa became pretty bitter about the whole turning into a monster thing. Part of gorgon meaning deals with a certain kind of seduction with the result being the death of whomever she woos. A gorgon was able to pluck a viper from her coiffure and command it to do her bidding. Sometimes this meant a killing strike upon an unsuspecting passerby. Was she playing dirty pool? Maybe, but maybe she had her reasons.
Another fact of gorgon meaning deals with the whole turning folks into stone bit. Rather than seeing stars, looking into Medusa’s eyes made a body see granite. Yep, meeting Medusa’s gaze turned a body into a boulder.
If you ask me, these are the most epic defense systems a beautiful woman scorned could have. But alas, poor Medusa met her fate when Perseus beheaded her. He did so by seeing her through the reflection of his shield, thus avoiding becoming a rigid rock.
The Legacy of Medusa – Gorgon Meaning That Won’t Quit
Okay, so Medusa’s plight continues to become more tragic after her death. Interestingly, death doesn’t staunch Medusa’s core spirit of generosity. Beneath that gorgon exterior, Medusa was still a giving being.
Even through an incredible, unwanted assault, Poseidon’s attack upon Medusa wasn’t entirely disastrous. Their union caused Medusa to become pregnant. Immediately after Perseus murdered Medusa, she gave birth to Pegasus, the magical winged horse who contributed much to Greek myth.
But that’s not Medusa’s only contributions after death. Here are a few contributions credited to Medusa, even after her beheading.
♦ A grand coral reef was said to be created in the Red Sea when Medusa’s blood trickled into the waters after Perseus set her head down on the shore.
♦ Medusa thwarted an unwanted marriage between Perseus’ mother and Polydectes when Perseus revealed Medusa’s gaze upon Polydectes, turning him to stone.
♦ Medusa had a part in creating the Atlas mountains. While traveling through Africa, Perseus was attacked by a Titan. After revealing Medusa’s stony stare, the Titan was transformed into the Atlas mountain range.
♦ To this day, Greek art depicts the image of Medusa. These pieces are thought to be protection against enemies and bad energy.
Pretty interesting that Medusa’s name means ‘to protect’ – she seemed to do a lot of that after her death.
Closing Thoughts on Gorgon Meaning and Medusa
In the end, I think the moral of Medusa’s story is this: Even the most awful so-called ‘monsters’ serve unexpected purposes. Therefore, it might be a good idea to think twice about the ugly, cranky, outcasts in our lives. I think gorgon meaning is intended to make us reconsider that which is ‘abnormal’ or ‘freakish.’
Look at all Medusa accomplished. Unfortunately, her path was a tragic one, and her greatest hits were celebrated after her death. Nevertheless, her legacy lives forever.
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