Showing posts with label huntress. Show all posts
Showing posts with label huntress. Show all posts

Saturday, 15 July 2017

Diana - The Accursed Hunteress

Diana Emphasises the Monstrous/Terrible aspect of Woman’s nature. 

Nevertheless, because of her vows of virginity, she was endowed with a morally GOOD character.

Diana - The goddess of woods, related to nature in general and to fertility and wild animals.

She bears the Greek name of Hecate, meaning ‘She who succeeds from afar’, and she is therefore linked with the ‘Accursed Hunter’ (such as Wotan). 

Accompanied by dogs, she becomes a night-huntress, in turn linked with the demons of chthonian cults.

It has been pointed out that her characteristics vary with the phases of the moon: Diana, Jana, Janus. 

This is why some mythological and emblematic designs show her as Hecate with three heads, a famous, triform symbol which—like the trident or the three heads of Cerberus—is the infernal inversion of the trinitarian form of the upper world. 

According to Diel, these threefold symbolic forms of the underworld allude also to the perversion of the three essential ‘urges’ of man: 

Reproduction and 
Spiritual Evolution

If this is so, then Diana emphasizes the terrible aspect of Woman’s nature. 

Nevertheless, because of her vows of virginity, she was endowed with a morally good character as opposed to that of Venus, as can be seen in the Hippolytus of Euripides.

The Latin designation, popular in Europe since the Renaissance, for the goddess of the hunt, in Greek Artemis, who by this time had only allegorical or symbolic meaning. Statues of Diana with the crescent-MOON in her hair, bow and ARROWS in her hand, accompanied by hunting DOGS, adorned especially the gardens of the baroque period. 

On occasion, the legendary scene is represented in which ACTEON, having observed the chaste Diana bathing, is transformed into a stag (see DEER) and tom apart by his own hunting dogs. 

The crescent is explained by the fact that the early Italian goddess Diana was originally the goddess of the Moon and only later were the myths relating to Artemis, the mistress of the animals (potnia theron), carried over to her. 

Diana seems to have lived on not only in garden sculpture but also as a mythical figure in Italy. 

The American mythologist Charles G. Leland (1824-1903) reported in his book Arcadia (1899) about a cult of "WITCHES" (streghe) who revered Diana and appealed to her as a great goddess: "Diana! Diana! Diana! Queen of all magicians and of the dark night, the stars, the moon, all fate and fortune! You, mistress of ebb and flow, who shine at night upon the sea, throwing your light upon the water! You, commander of the sea, in your boat like a half-moon. . ." (from a hymn appearing in a legend in which Melampus has his mother ask that he be given the art of understanding the language of SNAKES). 

Diana's mother 'called her a whore for sleeping with Muslim men'

P17:06, 14 Jan 2008, updated 13:04, 15 Jan 2008
The mother of Princess Diana called her a 'whore' for dating Muslim men, her inquest has heard.
Frances Shand Kydd made the 'disgraceful' comment when she discovered her daughter was in a serious relationship with heart surgeon Hasnat Khan.
The pair did not speak again before Diana died two months later, according to her butler Paul Burrell. 
The sensational revelation came on the day that he told how:
 • Diana was planning to marry Dr Khan;

Her romance with Dodi Fayed was just a '30-day' fling;

Prince Philip did write 'cutting' letters to the princess but would not have ordered her murder;

The [So-Called] Queen warned him of mysterious 'powers at work' - but he had no idea what she meant.

The 49-year-old former butler revealed that Diana's bitter conversation with her mother happened in June 1997, during the last throes of her relationship with Dr Khan and just two months before she and Dodi died in Paris.
Mr Burrell told the High Court that the princess had held up the phone as they sat together on the sofa of her Kensington Palace apartment so that he could hear her mother's rant.
He said Mrs Shand Kydd, who died in 2004, was a 'formidable lady' who often expressed herself 'in extremely forceful terms about Diana's consorts, especially if they were Muslim'.
Asked to describe what he had heard on that particular day, he hesitated.
It was only when the coroner, Lord Justice Scott Baker, interjected, saying: 'This is relevant', that Mr Burrell replied: 'Well, she called the princess a whore and she said that she was messing around with f****** Muslim men and she was disgraceful. She said some very nasty things.'
Mohamed Al Fayed's barrister, Michael Mansfield, asked: 'It was shortly after one of these telephone calls that the princess decided she did not want to talk to her mother again?'
'Yes,' Mr Burrell confirmed. 

Mrs Shand Kydd went through a bitter divorce from Diana's father Earl Spencer, after she left him for wallpaper tycoon Peter Shand Kydd. 
She endured a rocky relationship with her youngest daughter and had no idea how serious Diana's relationship with Dr Khan was.
In fact the princess had been planning to marry the man she described as her 'soul mate' just months before she embarked on her high-profile relationship with Dodi Fayed.
Mr Burrell told the court that he discussed the matter in confidence with Father Anthony Parsons, a priest from a Catholic church near Kensington Palace, without Dr Khan's knowledge.
But the pair split up the month before Diana died in a clandestine night-time meeting in Battersea Park, South London.
As he took the stand yesterday, Mr Burrell appeared nervous. His voice was barely audible and he failed even to remember the date of his wedding with wife Maria, who worked as Diana's dresser.
As he went on, however, he gave a voluble account of his time with Diana and her troubled personal relationships, describing Dr Khan as the love of Diana's life.
'The princess said that this was her soul mate, this was the man she loved more then any other and it was a very deep spiritual relationship,' he said.
'I witnessed it at first hand and they were very much in love.'  The couple met in 1995 when the princess visited a friend at the Royal Brompton Hospital in West London, where Dr Khan was working as a heart surgeon. 
At first they held secret rendezvous, with Mr Burrell smuggling the consultant into Kensington Palace in the boot of his car.
But towards the end of their two-year relationship Dr Khan had, Mr Burrell said, become part of the 'fixtures and fittings' at Kensington Palace.
There were even plans to prepare some of the rooms in Diana's apartment for her lover. Dr Khan's identity was also well known in the upper echelons of the Royal Family.
Princess Margaret - Diana's closest neighbour at the palace - was, in particular, aware of all her 'clandestine comings and goings'.
Most importantly, the surgeon had been introduced to Diana's sons with the intention of paving the way for something more permanent.
However the couple split during an emotional rendezvous shortly after Diana's 36th birthday in July 1997.
'I remember it coming to an abrupt halt because it happened in a park, in Battersea Park, late at night, and the princess came home that night very distressed and said that she had had it. She had tried everything she could to bring this man out into the public spotlight and he was having none of it.
'He did not want to become a public name, he didn't want to become known, and they had reached a stalemate situation.'
Later the butler had a meeting with Dr Khan.
'He explained to me one day he worked very hard and had come from nothing to achieve what he had and had now become an eminent heart surgeon. 'He was achieving what always dreamed of and wasn't prepared to put that on hold for the princess.'
Days later, a distraught Diana flew off with Mohamed Al Fayed on holiday, where she met his playboy son for the first time.
While she quickly became fond of Dodi, the relationship was dismissed by Mr Burrell yesterday as a '30-day' fling.
Diana's highly public romance, he insisted, was part of her attempt to 'get back' at Dr Khan.
Asked why she would want to humiliate a man she had cared for so much, Mr Burrell replied: 'I don't think that a relationship that lasted for 18 months was gone overnight.
'The princess was still burning a candle for Mr Khan. She was still in love with him.'
Mr Burrell was dressed in an ice-blue shirt and tie, his face tanned from the sun in Florida, where he has bought a luxury home on the back of two tell-all books about his former employer.
He was subsequently accused by her sons, William and Harry, of a 'cold and overt betrayal' by bringing out the books. He has also been a contestant on I'm A Celebrity ... Get Me Out Of Here!

Friday, 7 July 2017

The Roman Diana and Apollo


Moon goddess. Roman. Living in the forests,
she is a huntress and protector of animals, also
the guardian of virginity. Generally modeled on
the Greek goddess A RTEMIS , she had a sanctuary
on the Aventine Hill in Rome and, under
Roman rule, took over the Temple of Artemis at


Goddess of forests and hunting. Romano-Celtic
(Continental European). Known only from
inscriptions and figurines in the Ardennes
region. Depicted riding on the back of a wild
boar and presumed to be a guardian deity
of boars. Identified by the Romans with the

goddess DIANA .

The sixth king, Servius Tullius (578–534 B . C .), organized Roman society by rank and divided the population into classes. Men who owned property had political power and could join the military. He also established the earliest and most important shrine of the Latin deity Diana on the
Aventine Hill. Diana was concerned with the affairs of women and later became associated with the Greek goddess Artemis, who was the goddess of the moon and hunting.

Apollo was a god of many things and was one of the most worshipped of the Greek and Roman gods. He was god of the shepherds, god of light and truth, god of healing, god of prophecy, god of music, and god of archery. His most important daily task was to harness his four horses to his chariot and drive the sun across the sky.

Apollo was the son of Jupiter and the goddess Latona,known as the “hidden one.” Apollo’s twin sister was thegoddess Diana. Apollo and Diana were very protective oftheir mother and quick to defend her.

One day, Queen Niobe of Thebes, the principal city in Boeotia, an early Greek territory, bragged to Latona that she was a superior woman because she had given birth to fourteen children and Latona had only given birth to twins.

Angered by the queen’s smugness, Apollo and Diana decided to make the queen childless so that their own mother would be the better woman. The queen had seven boys and seven girls—so Apollo killed the boys, and Diana killed the girls.

Although Apollo was known to have had many romances, some legends say that he never married. He was, however, one of the first gods to fall in love with a member of the same sex—a handsome Spartan prince named Hyacinthus, who was also loved by Favonius, god of the west wind. Hyacinthus returned Apollo’s love, but he would not return the affection of Favonius. So one day when Apollo and Hyacinthus were out in a field throwing the discus, Favonius blew the discus toward Hyacinthus’ head. It struck the young prince in the skull and killed him. 

In the pool of blood that formed beside his head, Apollo made a flower spring forth from the earth: a hyacinth.

Other legends claimed that Apollo loved a beautiful young woman named Daphne, who would not return his love. Daphne, in fact, became irritated by the god’s persistent attentions. When Apollo refused to leave her alone, she asked her father, the river god Peneus, for help.

Because water gods always had the power of transformation, Peneus transformed his daughter into a beautiful laurel tree. Apollo then claimed the laurel tree as his own, and laurel leaves became his symbol.

According to another legend, Apollo eventually married a nymph named Larissa. The couple was very happy, and Apollo believed that, at last, he had found true love. But one day his favorite bird, the crow (who, at that time, had pure white feathers), came to him and told him that his beautiful wife had been unfaithful to him. Apollo flew into a rage and shot Larissa with one of his sharp arrows. Although he had not intended to kill her, Larissa was fatally injured and Apollo could not make her return to life. Angry that he had lost the woman he loved, Apollo turned on the crow that had delivered the news and changed his white feathers into black. Then, he forbade the crow to ever fly among other birds.

Apollo’s symbols are a lyre, which represents harmony, and a bow, which represents his power to destroy. Apollo was known to be kind and forgiving, but mean and vicious, as well.

Sunday, 22 January 2017

The Hunter and The Goddess

" As a virgin, Artemis had interested many gods and men, but only her hunting companion, Orion, won her heart. 

Orion was accidentally either by Artemis or by Gaia.

Alpheus, a river god, was in love with Artemis, but he realizes that he can do nothing to win her heart. So he decides to capture her. Artemis, who is with her companions at Letrenoi, goes to Alpheus, but, suspicious of his motives, she covers her face with mud so that the river god does not recognize her. In another story, Alphaeus tries to rape Artemis' attendant Arethusa. Artemis pities Arethusa and saves her by transforming Arethusa into a spring in Artemis' temple, Artemis Alphaea in Letrini, where the goddess and her attendant drink.

Bouphagos, the son of the Titan Iapetos, sees Artemis and thinks about raping her. Reading his sinful thoughts, Artemis strikes him at Mount Pholoe.

Sipriotes is a boy, who, either because he accidentally sees Artemis bathing or because he attempts to rape her, is turned into a girl by the goddess.

The childhood of Artemis is not fully related in any surviving myth. The Iliad reduced the figure of the dread goddess to that of a girl, who, having been thrashed by Hera, climbs weeping into the lap of Zeus.

A poem of Callimachus to the goddess "who amuses herself on mountains with archery" imagines some charming vignettes: according to Callimachus, at the age of three years, Artemis, while sitting on the knee of her father, Zeus, asked him to grant her six wishes: 

to remain always a virgin; 
to have many names to set her apart from her brother Apollo; 
to be the Phaesporia or Light Bringer; 
to have a bow and arrow and a knee-length tunic so that she could hunt; 
to have sixty "daughters of Okeanos", all nine years of age, to be her choir; 
and for twenty Amnisides Nymphs as handmaidens to watch her dogs and bow while she rested. 

She wished for no city dedicated to her, but to rule the mountains, and for the ability to help women in the pains of childbirth.

Artemis believed that she had been chosen by the Fates to be a midwife, particularly since she had assisted her mother in the delivery of her twin brother, Apollo [work that one out...].

All of her companions remained virgins, and Artemis closely guarded her own chastity. 

Her symbols included the golden bow and arrow, the hunting dog, the stag, and The Moon. 

Callimachus tells how Artemis spent her girlhood seeking out the things that she would need to be a huntress, how she obtained her bow and arrows from the isle of Lipara, where Hephaestus and the Cyclops worked.

Okeanus' daughters were filled with fear, but the young Artemis bravely approached and asked for bow and arrows. 

Callimachus then tells how Artemis visited Pan, the god of the forest, who gave her seven bitches and six dogs. 

She then captured six golden-horned deer to pull her chariot. Artemis practiced with her bow first by shooting at trees and then at wild beasts. "

Friday, 13 January 2017

No Plan

Data-Ghosting as Electronic Voice Phenomenon - Nor really so much an afterlife as much as what you would call an après-vie.

Yeah, right - No Plan, indeed....

Talitha Cumi - Do U No who Eye am...?

Eye am The Arm.

There you went,
1 Magickal Movement
From Kether to Malkuth

(Iam in a World of Shit)
(Look at those cavemen go! It's the freakiest show!)


From pure air, we are descended,
Going up and down,
Intercourse between the two worlds

Animal life

Fell a victim


This is the Formica table-top,
Green is its colour

With this ring, I/Thee wed

I burn with the fury of my own momentum - FIRE WALK WITH ME


I'll heel U with my life-bag...!
You may think I've started acting sane - but I promise U :
U shall rize, again...!!!

There U Go,
U fly like an angel
From Station to Station

In Judy's name, I pray - In nomine matris, filiae et magna mater.

Thrice-blesséd goddess Hecate, Work Thy Will : Huntress, Priestess and Divine Temple Whore, I invoke thee my Queen,

Watch over thy pilgrim on the high, lonely path,
On his fearless adventure, 
To visit all the nine realms.
Remain as constant as The Northern Star, 
That he might always know the way back Home by thy light, thy wisdom and thy grace.

on the MOVE

Mike IS The Man...!

You took everything but nothing more Now the room is dark Feels like pain again You could feel my breath You opened my eyes For I could not see When I met you When I met you I could not speak You opened my mouth You opened my heart My spirit rose become the centre of my world The seeds of my life The streams of daybreak Now the wounds The peck of a blackened eye An eye for the crowd When I met you I could not speak When I met you met you My spirit rose My kind of truth could not exist When I met you Now it's all the same It's all the same The sun has gone It's all the same But when I met you When I met you When I met you When I met you 

When I met you [You were afraid] When I met you [She stole your heart] I was the walking dead [She tore you down] I was kicked in the head [She tore you down] It was such a time [When I met you] It was such a time [When I met you] I was crushed inside [When I met you] I was torn inside When I met you When I met you I was too insane Could not trust a thing I was off my head I was filled with truth It was not God's truth Before I met you 

Here there's no music here
I'm lost in streams of sound
Here am I nowhere now?
No plan

Wherever I may go
Just where
Just there
I am

All of the things that are my life
My desires
My beliefs
My moods
Here is my place without a plan

Second Avenue
Just out of view
Is no traffic here?
No plan

All the things that are my life
My moods
My beliefs
My desires
Me alone
Nothing to regret
This is no place, but here I am
This is not quite yet" I staggered through this criminal reign I'm not in love, no phony pain Creeping through this tidal wave No warm embrace, just a lover's grain This symphony This rage in me I've got a handful of songs to sing To sting your soul To fuck you over This furious reign

I'm falling, man

I'm falling, man I'm choking, man I'm fading, man And broke and blind I'm falling, man I'm choking, man I'm fading, man Just killing a little time I love the sound of an empty room The screams of night, the end of love Two beating hearts, one labored scarred One open wound, wasted and drowned No sympathy This furious reign I lay in bed The monster fed, the body bled I turned and said "I get some of you all the time All of you some other time" This rage in me Get away from me I'm falling, man I'm choking, man I'm fading, man And broke and blind I'm falling, man I'm choking, man I'm fading, man "

Look up here, I'm in heaven
I've got scars that can't be seen
I've got drama, can't be stolen
Everybody knows me now

Look up here, man, I'm in danger
I've got nothing left to lose
I'm so high it makes my brain whirl
Dropped my cell phone down below

Ain't that just like me?

By the time I got to New York
I was living like a king
Then I used up all my money
I was looking for your ass

This way or no way
You know, I'll be free
Just like that bluebird
Now ain't that just like me?

Oh I'll be free
Just like that bluebird
Oh I'll be free
Ain't that just like me?

Sunday, 20 November 2016

Thug Life

'Medusa herself is only a shadow'

...the remoteness of desire degenerates into dangerous enjoyment. 

This partly explains Tournier’s condemnation of image and photography in La Goutte d'Or (1985). He explicitly links their power to Medusa's petrifying fascination and contrasts them with the art of writing which is the art of education and the route to wisdom 'par excellence'.

It would seem that the fear experienced at the sight of Medusa's head is the terror of 
discovering the secret behind the representation of the image.
From Companion to Literary Myths, Heroes, and Archetypes. Ed. Pierre Brunel., 1996. Copyright © 1996 by Routledge

" Do you understand,  
I had to call my wife up, and  apologise  to her for raping her, 
because I didn't know  that when you're married to somebody, 
that didn't allow you permission to just take The Pussy... 

I didn't know that.

Nobody had taught me that. "

- Bro. Dick Gregory

" There are those who theorize that Hecate is as old as the early Egyptians.  She possibly evolved from the Egyptian midwife goddess know as Hequit, Heket or Hekat, a goddess with Nubian roots.  It is said that this goddess took her attributes from the "heq" ("heka") or tribal matriarch of pre-dynastic Egypt.  This wise woman was believed to command the "hekau" or "(M)other's Words of Power", giving power to the sacred word.
"....  - for the emanations of Hek Ka, the mighty 
energies of a million hearts, are contained within her...."


The goddess Hekat birthed the sun each morning and was called the "most lovely one" - a title of the moon.  Her totems was the frog, a symbol of the fetus

"....  Oldest of the Old, amphibian being that swims in the 
water, yet walks upon the dry land...."

This goddess, in turn, was connected to the goddess Nut.  She was the sky and the heaven and was invoked with many names.  The Great Deep,  The Starry One,  Cow Goddess,  Mother of the Gods,  Mother of the Sun,  Protector of the Dead,  Guardian of the Celestial Vault.  These titles all relate to Hecate in her association with the moon, the night sky and the underworld.

The worship of Hecate may also have passed through the fertile crescent of the Israelites and Sumerians.  Hecate may have been related to the Sumerian Goddess of Death and Magic.  

She may have influenced or been influenced by the legends of Lilith, the first wife of Adam who was demonized as "the accursed huntress" and the dark phase of the moon - also attributes of Hecate.

Hecate had elements in common with other female manifestatitions/elements of this region.  The feminine spirit of knowledge, Sophia, has been depicted with three heads as was Hecate who as the Crone is considered the Wise Woman.  Hecate has even been linked to the Virgin Mary through Mary's indirect link to Lilith (as the second Eve) and through the association of both with the holy day of August 15.  This is the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin when Mary is petitioned to avert storms so that the fields can ripen.  A festival for Hecate was held on August 13.  She too was invoked for help in preventing storms so that the harvest could be gathered.

In Greek Myth
medusa1.jpg (59124 bytes)Medusa, one of the three Gorgons, daughter of Phorcys and Ceto. She was the only one of the Gorgons who was subject to mortality. She is celebrated for her personal charms and the beauty of her locks. Neptune became enamoured of her, and obtained her favours in the temple of Minerva. This violation of the sanctity of the temple provoked Minerva, and she changed the beautiful locks of Medusa, which had inspired Neptune’s love to serpents. According to Apollodorus, Medusa and her sisters came into the world with snakes on their heads, instead of hair, with yellow wings and brazen hands. Their bodies were also covered with impenetrable scales, and their very looks had the power of killing or turning to stones. Perseus rendered his name immortal by his conquest of Medusa. He cut off her head, and the blood that dropped from the wound produced the innumerable serpents that infest Africa. The conqueror placed Medusa's head on the shield of Minerva, which he had used in his expedition. The head still retained the same petrifying power as before, as it was fatally known in the court of Cepheus. . . . Some suppose that the Gorgons were a nation of women, whom Perseus conquered. 
From Lempriére’s Classical Dictionary of Proper names mentioned in Ancient Authors Writ Large. Ed. J. Lempriére and F.A. Wright. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul.

Camille Dumoulié

Medusa's head, an apparently simple motif linked to the myth of Perseus, was freed through being severed and cut loose from its 'moorings' by the hero in the remote depths of the world. There is something paradoxical about the story since the monster was all the more indestructible because it had been killed. Indeed, the figure of Medusa is characterized by paradox, both in terms of the actual mythical stare, which turned men to stone, and in the interpretations that have been given to it. The fascination that she exerts arises from a combination of beauty and horror. Her head was used, in Ancient times, as an apotropaic mask -- a sort of talisman which both killed and redeemed.

As well as being the very symbol of ambiguity, Medusa's head is also one of the most archaic mythical figures, perhaps an echo of the demon Humbaba who was decapitated by Gilgamesh. Everything implies that it is a 'representation' of the most meaningful aspect of the sacred. Insofar as it is the role of literature to assume responsibility for the sacred, each era, when confronted with the mystery of the 'origins', has re-examined Medusa's head with its mesmerizing stare as something which conceals the secret of the sacred.

If ambiguity is the hallmark of the sacred, the role of myths, as René Gerard purports in his La Violence et le Sacré (1972) is to generate differences and contrasts, to distinguish between the two faces of the sacred. Therefore, from the viewpoint of the oldest texts which are true to the spirit of the myth, Medusa is a representation of the Other by virtue of her absolute and terrifying difference. At first sight, her monstrous ugliness and her petrifying stare certainly bear this out.

In La Mort dans les Yeux (1985), Vernant demonstrates that, for the Greeks, Medusa represented the face of the warrior possessed by battle frenzy. In The Shield of Heracles (232-3), Hesiod describes the wide-open mouth, the fearsome hair and the Gorgons' shrill cries which conjure up her terrifying aspect. Thus Medusa's mask frequently appears within the context of amedusa2.jpg (56438 bytes) battle. It is present in the Iliad on the shields of Athena (V, 738) and Agamemnon (XI, 36), and also during the Renaissance, e.g. on Bellona's helmet described by Ronsard in the 'Ode á Michel de l'Hospital' (Premier Livre des Odes, 1560). The Gorgon also represents what cannot be represented, i.e. death, which it is impossible to see or to look at, like Hades itself. In Hesiod's Theogony (275 et seq.) and in the Odyssey (XI, 633-5), Medusa is the guardian of terrifying places, either the nocturnal borders of the world or the Underworld. She reappears in this role in Dante's Divine Comedy (Inferno, IX, 55-7) and Milton's Paradise Lost (II, 611). Guarding the doorway to the world of the dead, she prevents the living from entering.

In Christian symbolism, Medusa represents the dreaded enemy and death, and thus becomes an embodiment of the Devil. She appears in this guise in a passage in the Book of Arthur which belongs to the cycle of the Holy Grail (Vulgate version of Arthurian romances, Vol. VII, Washington, 1913). In fact, this is a female monster, the 'Ugly Semblance', who lives at the bottom of a river. She does not exercise her powers by turning people to stone, but by causing the waters to swallow them up. 

Similarly, a play by Calderón, which tells of the adventures of Andromeda and Perseus (Fortunas de Andromeda y Perseo), has the hero, a new incarnation of the Saviour, defeating Medusa who is the personification of Death and Sin.

At first glance, therefore, Medusa's head is very much a representation of the terrifying Other, of absolute negativity. She continues to fulfil this function in the twentieth-century trilogy by the Greek writer Pandelis Prevelakis, The Ways of Creation, which comprises The Sun of Death (Athens, 1959; Paris, 1965), The Head of the Medusa (Athens, 1963) and The Bread of the Angels (Athens, 1966). In the trilogy, the Gorgon represents both 'Nietzschian nihilism' and the foreign ideologies which threaten Hellenism. The hero sets out to free Greece once again from the monster, but he fails and realizes that there is no longer a single piece of untaited land in his country. Everything points to the fact that the malady specific to modern Greece, and the country's inability to accommodate, change, have provoked this monstrous 'representation' of the Other. Medusa's head does indeed seem to be a mask which serves to justify her absolute and evil strangeness.

The fact that Medusa is a mask and that this mask hides a more human face, is borne out by the way in which her portrayal is developed from the pre-Classical era to the Hellenistic period. There is a dual transformation i.e. the disappearance of both facial quality and ugliness (see Images de la Gorgone, Bibliothéque Nationale, 1985). Beneath the mask lies what could be called Medusa's 'tragic beauty'.

Many elements of the myth suggest, through its basic ambiguity, the tragic nature of Medusa. One of the most revealing of these is the gift from Athena to Asclepius of two drops of the Gorgon's blood, one of which has the power to cure and even resurrect, while the other is a deadly poison. Medusa's blood is therefore the epitome of the 'pharmakon', while she herself -- as is shown by the apotropaic function of her mask -- is a 'pharmakos'. As has been demonstrated by René Girard, the 'pharmakos' is the scapegoat whose sacrifice establishes the dual nature of the sacred and reinforces the separation of the monster and the god. However, it is for literature and the arts to reveal the close relationship between opposites and the 'innocence' of the victim. In this respect, the myth of Medusa is revealing. In his study The Mirror of Medusa (1983), Tobin Siebers has identified the importance of two elements, i.e. the rivalry between Athena and the Gorgon, and the mirror motif.

According to Ovid (Metamorphoses, IV. 779ff), the reason for the dispute lay in Poseidon's rape of Medusa inside the temple of the virgin goddess. The goddess is supposed to have punished Medusa by transforming her face, which therefore made Medusa an innocent victim for the second time. 

However, another tradition, used by Mallarmé in Les Dieux antiques (1880), stressed a more personal rivalry: Medusa had boasted that she was more beautiful than Athena. Everything points to the face that the goddess found it necessary to set herself apart from her negative double in order to assert her 'own' identity. Common features are numerous. For example, snakes are the attribute of Athena, as illustrated by the famous statue of Phidias and indicated by certain Orphic poems which refer to her as 'la Serpentine'. Moreover, the hypnotic stare is one of the features of the goddess 'with blue-green eyes', whose bird is the owl, depicted with an unblinking gaze. Finally, because she has affixed Medusa's head to her shield, in battle or in anger she assumes the terrifying appearance of the monster. Thus, in the Aeneid (11, 171), she expresses her wrath by making flames shoot forth from her eyes. These observations are intended to show that Athena and Medusa are the two indissociable aspects of the same sacred power.

A similar claim could be made in respect of Perseus, who retains traces of his association with his monstrous double, Medusa. Using her decapitated head to turn his enemies to stone, he spreads death around him. And when he flies over Africa with his trophy in a bag, through some sort of negligence, drops of blood fall to earth and are changed into poisonous snakes which reduce Medusa's lethal power (Ovid, op. cit., IV. 618). Two famous paintings illustrate this close connection between the hero and the monster. Cellini's Perseus resembles the head he is holding in his hand (as demonstrated by Siebers) and Paul Klee's L’esprit a combattu le mal (1904) portrays a complete reversal of roles -- Perseus is painted full face with a terrible countenance, while Medusa turns aside.

In this interplay of doubles, the theme of reflection is fundamental. It explains the process of victimization to which Medusa was subjected, and which falls within the province of the superstition of the 'evil eye'. The way to respond to the 'evil eye' is either to use a third eye -- the one that Perseus threw at the Graiae - or to deflect the evil spell by using a mirror. Ovid, in particular, stressed the significance of the shield in which Perseus was able to see the Gorgon without being turned to stone, and which was given to him by Athena. 

Everything indicates that the mirror was the real weapon. 

It was interpreted thus by Calderón and Prevelakis, and also by Roger Caillois in Méduse et Cie (1960).

Ovid was responsible for establishing the link with Narcissus, a myth that he made famous. It seems that the same process of victimization is at work here. The individual is considered to have been the victim of his own reflection, which absolves the victimizer (Perseus, the group) from all blame. This association of the two myths (and also the intention of apportioning blame) appears in a passage in Desportes' Amours d’Hyppolite (1573) where the poet tells his lady that she is in danger of seeing herself changed 'into some hard rock' by her 'Medusa's eye'. Even more revealing is Gautier's story Jettatura (1857) in which the hero, accused of having the 'evil eye', eventually believes it to be true and watches the monstrous transformation of his face in the mirror: 'Imagine Medusa looking at her horrible, hypnotic face in the lurid reflection of the bronze shield.'

Medusa's head is both a mirror and a mask. It is the mirror of collective violence which leaves the Devil's mark on the individual, as well as being the image of death for those who look at it. Both these themes -- violence rendered sacred and death by petrifaction -- are found in Das Corgonenhaupt (Berlin, 1972), a work by Walter Krüger about the nuclear threat.

However, when considered in terms of archetypal structures, Medusa's mask still retains its secret. What is the reason for the viperine hair, the wide-open mouth with the lolling tongue, and, in particular, why is Medusa female? What relationship is there between violence, holy terror and woman?


Robert Graves (Greek Myths, 1958) believes that the myth of Perseus preserves the memory of the conflicts which occurred between men and women in the transition from a matriarchal to a patriarchal society. In fact the function of the Gorgon's mask was to keep men at a safe distance from the sacred ceremonies and mysteries reserved for women, i.e. those which celebrated the Triple Goddess, the Moon. 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.

Although it may have become less intense, the battle of the sexes was not resolved. The feminine continued to remain a source of fear for men, and the association of women with Medusa, evoked an aspect of the sex which was both fascinating and dangerous. Medusa often appeared in Renaissance poetry, e.g. Ronsard's Second Livre des Amours (S. 79, 1555), but the stare which turned men to stone was often only a conventional metaphor for the lover's 'coup de foudre'. The comparison took on a deeper meaning during the nineteenth century. Baudelaire's Les Fleurs du Mal (1857) and 'decadent' literature such as Lorrain's M. de Phocas (1901), provide illustrations of the dangerous fascination exerted by woman, with her deadly stare and mysterious hair. But it was Goethe's Faust Part I (1808) which supplied the real significance of this connection. During the 'Walpurgis night,’ Faust thinks he sees Margarita but Mephistopheles warns him that it is Medusa and explains that 'magic deludes every man into believing that he has found his beloved in her'.

This terrible woman, the paragon of all women, whom every man simultaneously fears and seeks and for whom Medusa is the mask, is in fact the mother, i.e. the great Goddess Mother whose rites were concealed by the Gorgon's face. Countless texts illustrate Medusa's affinity with the depths of the sea and the terrible power of nature, e.g. Hugo's Les Travailleurs de la Mer (1864), Lautrémont's Chants de Maldoror (1869) and Pierre Louÿs' Aphrodite (1896), but the most explicit example is probably the text written by Freud in 1922: Das Medusenhaupt -- 'Medusa's Head'. He presents her as the supreme talisman who provides the image of castration -- associated in the child's mind with the discovery of maternal sexuality -- and its denial. The snakes are multiple phalluses and petrifaction represents the comforting erection.

From this point onwards, the myth of Perseus takes on a new psychological meaning. It tells of the exploit of the hero who, because he has conquered ‘castrating' woman and armed himself with the talisman of Medusa's head (seen here in its comforting, phallic role), is able to conquer Andromeda, the terrifying virgin, and kill the sea monster which represents the evil aspect of woman. This motif is also found in the Christian legend of St George (Jacques de Voragine, La Légende dorée, (1264) as well as in the anthropological legends concerning the fear of the 'dentate vagina'. A 'sacred' man must perform the first sexual act with a woman.

Two texts illustrate this aspect of the myth. One is, the Book of Arthur (op. cit). in the passage devoted to the 'Ugly Semblance'. The monster occupies the lands of a maiden who not only asks the king for the assistance of a knight but also for a husband whom she describes as though he had always been intended for her. The task that he performs seems to have been the necessary requirement for his union with the Virgin. The story stresses the association of the monster with the element of water and, in particular, with the sea into which it has to be driven back. The second text is a short story by Döblin, Der Ritter Blaubart -- the 'Knight with the Blue Beard' (1911). Because the hero has had mysterious and intimate relations with a primitive monster -- a giant medusa -- he is forced to either kill all the women he loves or allow them to be killed. However, one of them, because of her purity, confronts the monster in the secret chamber where it lurks. In this last example, the character seems to have been unable to free himself from the maternal influence and fear of the feminine.

Finally, this association of Medusa with castrating woman is very evident in a passage in Chêne et Chien (1952) by Queneau: 'Severed head, evil woman/ Medusa with her lolling tongue/So it was you who would have castrated me?' However, the myth reveals -- and this seems to be obscured by the Freudian interpretation -- that woman's 'castration' is a result of the violence imposed on her by the original hero. Woman only appears in the story divided by separative decapitation, casting off the feminine in the remote depths of the world. Cast down, the feminine remains unrecognized within its innermost recess and it is this 'abject' void which maintains the theatre of the world and the logic of the talisman. In this theatre, woman occupies the two opposite extremes of evil (castration, sorcery) and their cure (the phallus, the Virgin), i.e. of the abyss and the Ideal. That is why, despite her terrifying power, she is fascinating. 'Fascinum' means 'charm' and 'evil spell', but also 'virile member'. Between the 'emptiness' and the Idol represented by the division of woman, yawns the gulf of male Desire. This persistent ambiguity can be found in the classification of the creature called the medusa. It owes its name to its resemblance to Medusa's head (Apollinaire, Bestiaire, 1920), but is included in the Acephelan category. Medusa keeps her secret behind the ambiguous mask. Although she is 'representable', she is never 'presentable' and even Perseus only sees her reflected in his shield.

She is the hidden presence, absent from the world, which enables the scene to be played out. In his 'heroic comedy' Le Naufrage de Méduse (1986), Ristat shows Perseus searching for the Gorgons and meeting Hermes, the 'Guardian of Resemblances', who proves to the terrified hero that 'Medusa herself is only a shadow'.

However, the hero remains trapped in the interplay of images and the logic of the talisman, just as he remains fascinated by the Gorgon mask. Thus Medusa's head becomes, for the man who takes possession of it after severing it from the terrifying woman, and in accordance with the principle of the 'pharmakon', the complete opposite, i.e. the 'skeptron' -- the sun.

In the same way that there is a hidden similarity between Athena, Goddess of Wisdom, and Medusa, a similarity also exists between the sun, symbol of the Ideal and the Gorgon's mask. Although they are both objects of desire, Athena and the sun are unapproachable and terrifying for those who come too close. This danger is illustrated by the Platonic myth of Phaedrus (247-8e) in which the downfall of souls is brought about by an overpowering desire to see the sun. Certain structural elements from the myth of Medusa also reappear in the myth of the Cave (The Republic, 514-7a), i.e. fascination, averted eyes, violence inflicted on the philosopher, etc.

In his poem (op. cit.), Queneau maintains that the sun, like the Gorgon, is fearsome and castrating: 'The sun: O monster, O Gorgon, O Medusa/O sun'. In this way, Medusa herself can become an incarnation of the Ideal, i.e. of Virtue (Du Bellay, Epithalame, 1559), of Beauty (Baudelaire, op. cit., 'La Beauté') and of Truth (Kosmas Politis, Eroica, Athens, 1938). Surely the sun itself is the severed head that, like the head of St John the Baptist, only soars in the zenith: 'In triumphant flights/from that scythe' (Mallarmé, Hérodiade, 'Cantique de saint Jean', 1913). Whoever seeks Athena, finds Medusa's head. Whoever approaches too close to the sun discovers its castrating and castrated monstrousness (Bataille, L’Anus Solaire, 1931).

Although Nietzsche had embarked upon the destruction of all idols, he too, in this way, recognized the desire for death inherent in the desire for truth at any cost. The philosopher who wants to examine all things 'in depth', discovers the petrifying abyss. The destiny of the man whom Nietzsche refers to as 'the Don Juan of knowledge' will be paralyzed as if by Medusa, and will himself be 'changed into a guest of stone' (Morgenröte i.e. the Dawn of Day, 327, 1881). This is also the destiny of the 'lover of truth' who, in the Dionysos Dithyramben (1888) appears to be 'changed into a statue/into a sacred column'. Nietzsche, who was aware of the necessity 'for the philosopher' to live within the 'closed circuit of representation' (Derrida), to seek the truth even if he no longer believes in it, without ever being able to attain it, devised his own version of the 'truth', his Medusa's head, the Eternal Return: 'Great thought is like Medusa's head: all the world's features harden, a deadly, ice-cold battle' (Posthumous Fragments, Winter 1884-5).

All thinkers who reflect upon the nature of representation, as well as on thought which pursues the 'eidos' are in danger of confronting Medusa's head. Thus, Aristotle, in The Politics (VIII) differentiates between instructive and cathartic music which is associated with Bacchic trances, whose instrument is the flute and which should be avoided. To prove his point, he refers to the myth of Athena. When she played the flute, her face became so distorted that she abandoned the instrument. It was in fact she who had invented the flute to imitate an unknown sound, virtually unrepresentable, i.e. the hissing of the snakes on Medusa's head as she was decapitated (Pindar, The Pythian Odes, XII, 2-3). As she played, she noticed in a spring that her features were becoming distorted and assuming the appearance of the Gorgon's mask. This once more introduces the Narcissistic theme and the blurring of the difference between Athena and her rival, which here arises from tragic art. Therefore, in terms of philosophy, art should remain in the service of the 'eidos' by continuing to represent the image that arouses desire for the Object.

But it is also condemned if it presents the object in such an obvious manner that the remoteness of desire degenerates into dangerous enjoyment. This partly explains Tournier’s condemnation of image and photography in La Goutte d'Or (1985). He explicitly links their power to Medusa's petrifying fascination and contrasts them with the art of writing which is the art of education and the route to wisdom 'par excellence'.

It would seem that the fear experienced at the sight of Medusa's head is the terror of discovering the secret behind the representation of the image.
From Companion to Literary Myths, Heroes, and Archetypes. Ed. Pierre Brunel. Routledge, 1996. Copyright © 1996 by Routledge