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You only have to look at the Medusa straight on to see her. And she's not deadly. She's beautiful and she's laughing. --Helene Cixous

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2017-11-3 On the Wings of Medusa

Yeah.  No one ever thinks about the fact that Medusa had wings.  Everyone is so caught up in the snakes in her hair, that they don't even notice that she can fly too!  

I've been thinking a lot about Medusa.  This was one of my favorite Halloween costumes ever.  The moment at which she realizes the serpents on her head.  I was going to do the curls again this year, and couldn't find the rags that I use when I (really rarely) do rag curls. So I did just the serpents.  

Medusa is endlessly fascinating to me.  Everyone treats her as if she's been cursed but:

  • She has the ability to set and defend her boundaries.  Like - you just don't mess with her - if she says stop or I'll turn you to stone, and you don't stop, well... she'll turn you to stone.  Boom. 
  • She can fly - the ability to rise above it all and move on.  Who can deny there are times when they wish they had the capability to just sprout wings and go?  (Come on, even in rush hour traffic?)
  • She always has company.  Little friends that whisssper ssecretsss in her earssss.  Rumor has it that sometimes she gets tired of always having to feed them baby mice, though.
  • The look that turns men to stone is lightening and when she roars, it's thunder.  Literally.  If you were worried about thunder and lightening storms before? Well... raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens, bright copperhead serpents and freshly shed pythons... 
These things seem way more like gifts to me than they do curses.  

All the myths claim she was ugly, but look at all the paintings and drawings of her (ok, except that one that looks suspiciously Kali-like) -- all the rest of them she's really... actually... quite beautiful.  But then, how often have we walked down the street and been catcalled, and then because when we ignored or otherwise rejected the come-on, was part of the response 'ugly'?  It's not her ugliness, it's their projection of resentment against her self-determinism.  

Medusa's head hung over women's shelters in Greece.  The women all knew - she was a protector and defender of women and her "punishment" was actually her gift.They all also knew that the serpents on Medusa's head had long signified women's wisdom and ways of knowing and being in the world.  In the lands where Medusa was said to live, serpents were said to represent luck and joy.  

I'm being a terrible librarian and not citing my sources.  Things I hate when other people do, I'm going to do right now because of so many reasons. I'm sorry and not sorry.  You don't come here for peer reviewed content anyway, right? 

With love, wings, serpents, and curiosity,
--Susan
Copyright © 2017 The Mythic Librarian, All rights reserved.


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