Medusa. I am 99.7% confident you have heard of this 'word' before but do you actually know who she was and the history behind her 'image'!?
As Medusa is one of the 5 incredible females in History that feature in our 'Phenomenal Women' collection of pendants we're here to teach you a little more about why she's so awesome and why she is now one of our best-selling pendants! From fighting off the evil, ultimate Protection' powers and a head full of snake hair, keep reading to learn more on this legend of history....
What is the story of Medusa?
Medusa, whose name probably comes from the Ancient Greek word for ‘guardian’, was one of the three Gorgons and daughter of the sea gods Phorcys and Ceto. All of Medusa’s siblings were monsters by birth and, even though she wasn’t one herself, she had the misfortune of being turned into the most hideous of them all.
It was written that Medusa’s face was so hideous and her gaze so piercing that the mere sight of her was sufficient to turn a man to stone….
But it wasn’t always like that. Medusa was unique from her sisters in the fact that, unlike her sisters, she was born with a beautiful face. Her lush long hair was claimed to be the “most wonderful of all her charms.” The great sea god Poseidon seemed to have shared this admiration because he couldn’t resist the temptation and managed to impregnate Medusa in the temple of Athena. Furious, the virgin goddess transformed Medusa’s enchanting hair into a coil of serpents, turning the youngest Gorgon into the monster described above.
Soon after she was impregnated, Perseus was sent on a quest to 'Fetch me the head of Medusa' commanded by Polydectes With the help of Athena, Perseus reached the land of the Gorgons ready for his quest. When he arrived, Medusa was asleep so Perseus using the reflection in Athena's bronze shield (so as to not look directly at the Gorgons and be turned into stone), managed to cut off her head with his sickle – Hectic!
Because Medusa was pregnant at the time of her death, her two unborn children, Chrysaor and Pegasus suddenly sprang from her neck. The Gorgons (aka Medusa’s sisters) were awoken by the noise and did their best to avenge the death of her, but they could neither see or catch Perseus because he was wearing Hades’ Cap of Invisibility and Hermes’ winged sandals (Epic!)
Now that Perseus had Medusa's head in his bag, he went back to Seriphos. However, while he was flying over Libya, drops of Medusa's blood fell to the ground and instantly turned into snakes; it is because of this that, to this day, Libya is filled with serpents…. When Perseus arrived in Seriphos, he used Medusa's head to turn Polydectes and the vicious islanders into stones; the island was well-known long after for its numerous rocks.
Always the protector of heroes, Athena put aside a lock of Medusa's hair for Heracles who ended up giving it to Cepheus' daughter to use it to protect her hometown. Supposedly, even though it didn’t have the power of Medusa's gaze, the lock could still cast terror into any enemy unfortunate enough to even accidentally behold it.
Does Medusa have any other names?
Medusa was also called Gorgo and she was one of the three monstrous Gorgons sister called Medusa, Stheno and Euryale who were all often depicted together in Greek Mythology.
Where did Medusa hail from?
Medusa is apart of the huge intertwining stories of ancient Greek Mythology.
What was Medusa most known for?
Because Medusa’s head was placed on Athena's shield and her blood was revealed to hold the power of both life and death, her head became a symbol of protection. In fact, Medusa’s head went on to inspire one of the most powerful talisman of it's time – the Gorgoneion to which we have now created an amulet for!
Whats up with the snakey curly hair of Medusa?
Right!? Kind of cool though… ish? Her hair of snakes and reptilian skin are symbolic of the natural cycle of birth, death and rebirth. Snakes are used due to their shedding of skin, their rebirth to a new skin. This cycle is paralleled with women's natural cycle of menstruation, which was believed to be synchronized with the cycles of the moon and tide (And we love the Moon & it’s effect here at Luna & Rose) Medusa's ability to turn men into stone is an important facet of her feminine power. This is the power over all life, the ability to return life back to the earth from which it came. This is the power which must be reigned in by the patriarchal Greek gods, for it represents a total control over the natural cycle.
Where would one traditionally find a depiction of Medusa?
Medusa, her sisters, and other Gorgons, have been featured in art and culture from the days of ancient Greece to present day through art, sculpture, writings, poetry and carvings. She has been variously portrayed as a monster, a protective symbol, a rallying symbol for liberty, and a sympathetic victim of rape and/or a curse. You will find paintings and carvings of her in history museums (mostly in Europe),a lot of history online and today, in one of our beautifully hand-carved pendants.
Why did we decide to made Medusa into a beautiful pendant?
We love the story of Medusa and her powers to protect from and ward off negative energy. Our Medusa Pendant is a symbol of Protection, Strength, Femininity, Female Empowerment and the Natural World. All beautiful qualities we love to carry with us through a day in the life!
You can shop our beautifully carved Medusa pendant as part of our Phenomenal Women collection over here.
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