I was asked to make a sculpting of Medusa as a protective amulet, so after a little research and image gathering I started with a painting of her that I felt drawn to. I started out by putting the clay on the reverse of a mirror. My intention being that once the piece was finished it would become a functional tool to be used to ward off evil for its owner, and those that she was helping to do the same. The name Medusa comes from an ancient Greek verb meaning “to guard or protect”.
Admittedly something about the story didn’t t quite sit right with me. There are suggestions that she was punished for being raped in the temple of Athena and that her hair being changed into snakes was the result of this, and the ability to turn anyone she looked at to stone. I do wonder about the symbolism presented here. Snakes are often used as a symbol to represent wisdom. So if we look at the allegorical meaning of her ‘punishment’ from a different perspective for a moment, perhaps it will become clearer. According to legend she was born a mortal. So presumably she became immortal when she was ‘punished’ by Athena. Editorial poetical license perhaps? What if the punishment was not a punishment at all but the receipt of a gift from the Goddess Athena that would allow her image to become one that would be feared and revered.
Athena is a goddess of War and Wisdom after all so it seems a bit suspect to me that she would punish Medusa for a crime perpetrated against her, surely the perpetrator was at fault and not the victim?
Let’s go with this and see what you think. So Medusa becomes Immortal by the hand of the Goddess Athena and has living snakes in her hair and her stare can turn anyone to stone. Before this she was a beautiful mortal maiden. So beautiful that she ensnared the attention of Posiedin who wanted her for himself. So after the deed in the temple she essentially becomes a ‘monster’ because she can turn the living to stone, and her head becomes a weapon after it is severed? And then….
“From the blood that spurted from her neck sprang Chrysaor and Pegasus, her two sons by Poseidon. The severed head, which had the power of turning into stone all who looked upon it, was given to Athena, who placed it in her shield;”
Let’s consider Athena’s birth for a second. Did she not also spring fully formed from her Father?!
Medusa’s children are the product of a union with a god. So the head of Medusa is given to Athena and she puts it in a shield, which is then used by Perseus to save the queens daughter Andromeda from a Sea Monster. Seems to me this tale has come full circle. I think perhaps there is a little more to the story of Medusa and the powers that she gained from Athena, and her image going on to be used to rescue another maiden. I’m sure there are lots of other parts to her story that could be interesting to unpick, like her being one of three, and the only mortal out of the three until her ‘defaming’ but we will leave that for another day.
This Medusa Mirror was made with the specific purpose of reflection, for those looking into it to see the truth, and as a tool for protection to ward off energy sent with intent to harm. So in essence she is a shield and protector to be wielded by her guardian to assist those who need protection and healing, that involves truth seeking and revealing.
If you would like to commission a God / Goddess altar statue please contact Jade.
©Jade Melany 2021