How is the ancient (and timeless) notion of ‘Sovereign Feminine Wisdom‘ connected to the energy, archetype, and story of Medusa – the ‘gorgon-headed’ one of myth?
Why is this both timeless and very relevant right now, in our times?
Intellect informed by the heart has something to do with it.
Let’s start with Medusa. She has some amazing and timely (and timeless) wisdom for us …
The others — the Sanskrit Medhā and the Greek Metis, and even Medea comes to mind — are linked (we can see clues of this in the very names).
What a story Medusa has — and it’s also one that tells the story of what we now call Western culture, a culture in which many reading this will have been ‘pickled’ from birth, and a culture that’s in the throes of radical transformation because it has become not just unsustainable, but deadly toxic and unwell.
So on a personal level, and on a cultural or collective level, we look to Wisdom to:
– show us the gifts of the prevailing culture that can be retained;
– reveal the shadows of the prevailing culture that have become toxic enough to be deadly and must be released or transformed; and
– illuminate the Wisdom and gifts of deep history — our ancestral and our soul inheritance or lineage — that was ‘killed’ by the dominant culture and must be reclaimed to restore wellness, wellbeing, and balance.
No pressure. Really.
We’re eyeball deep in it already; it’s ongoing, and it may well be the Great Work of our time.
But in order to see where we are and where we’re going and what gifts and guidance we might have at our disposal, we have to visit a story from the past.
So back to Medusa & the ‘cranky Paters’ …
In mythic, archetypal, and energetic-psychic terms, Medusa is linked with the bright fixed star Algol, at Medusa’s Third Eye (in the constellation of stars named Perseus).
Algol really freaked out the Cranky Paters of the middle ages, and maybe before that, too.
Why? Because it seemed to wink at them … now you see it, now you don’t.
So in their agitated state of freaked-outedness at the whole winking thing, they designated Algol as the most evil star in the heavens … a Demon star. It was a seriously bad omen.
And it was associated with Medusa’s head, which freaked them out even more.
But they were mistaken, because they didn’t have the ‘Medusa‘ to give them perspective.
(Keep reading and you’ll see what I mean.)
It turns out that this ‘most evil’ fixed ‘Demon’ star Algol is a three-star system — a trinity of stars — and when one of the other stars passes in front of Algol from our perspective, Algol is eclipsed and seems to disappear from sight for a bit. No biggie.
So what else did these particular Paters get wrong, misinterpret through lizard-brain fear, because they just didn’t understand it and they feared what they didn’t understand … or couldn’t control (and really, really wanted to)?
It’s an important question, because we’ve been living with that legacy ever since.
To the Cranky-Paters, Medusa was a She-monster who’d turn men to stone with her very gaze, and other myriad horrors (you know the repertoire; it’s pretty much repeated ad nauseum with Lilith and Pandora and Mary Magdalene and others).
Medusa figures in the myths of Athena — the goddess and ‘good daughter of Patriarchy‘ born out of her father Zeus’s head because Zeus, fearing prophecies, swallowed Athena’s mother, Metis (Medusa), who was pregnant with Athena at the time.
And both Medusa and Athena figure in the story of Perseus, who is ultimately sent — with Masculinized-Daughter Athena’s help — to slay Medusa, chop her head off, and basically turn it into a weapon that serves the new Pater-archy regime and agenda (I’m not making that up; see the history and mythology for yourself!).
Medusa was what we’d now call the dark goddess aspect, with the snakes of renewal and regeneration, and her clear- seeing eyes symbolized the ability of Wisdom to ‘see right through you’ … to cut through the not-you and the not-True.
Kind of like Durga and Kali-Ma — goddesses of ‘no fear’ — and their ability to cut right through the intellectual, ego-centric b.s.
No wonder that wasn’t popular!
The gist, though, is that early on in the Greek mythology, Metis, Medha, Medusa, and the Mother, Feminine Wisdom, were swallowed up and demoted, or disappeared altogether.
That’s ultimately the story of one culture and ethos overtaking another one, and so it did shift from a mater- respecting (matrifocal) and Wisdom-aware culture to an increasingly one-sided (or left-brained) culture that had demoted or negated the Wisdom and the Feminine, as you’ll see below.
You’ll find more of this Medusa story in a Sophia’s Children deep-archives post, She’s Baaaaack – Sovereign Wisdom and Medusa.
But what did we lose in that whole cultural shift? (Like we have to ask, but humor me…)
What’s in a name? What does Medusa really mean?
Suffice it to say that the origin of the word-name Medusa is sovereign Feminine Wisdom (linked also to the Sanskrit Medhā and the Greek Metis).
When we dig past the smear-layer and unearth the original meanings of the words, we also find clues to the lost history, and the lost Wisdom we’re reclaiming now to bring into these crazy-wild, seemingly Wisdom-free times.
Dig further and not only does Medusa, Medhā, Metis mean sovereign Feminine Wisdom that was appropriated, smeared, hidden, squelched, and so on, but Medusa (Medhā, Metis) also means this:
Wisdom, intellect, but even more than that, intellect that is informed and illuminated by Love.*
Medusa. Medhā. Metis. Medea.
Keen intellect that is illuminated by Wisdom, informed by Love, and in service to the wisdom of the Heart.
So when our link to Medusa was severed historically, culturally, and spiritually, what we ended up with over time is intellect divorced from Wisdom, Love, and Heart.
That’s called psychopathy (or one of the other empathy and conscience-free ‘pathys’).
And yes, we can see clear evidence of that just by reading the news, or reading history, or looking around us, or all of the above.
So what we’re reclaiming, remembering, re-embodying, and restoring — what we’re invoking and inviting back into being — is:
Medusa. Medhā. Metis. Medea.
Keen intellect that is illuminated by Wisdom,
informed by Love, and
in service to the wisdom of the Heart.
It’s always present, available to us, when we remember, invite, receive it.
We can invoke and activate, through ritual or prayer or being receptive to Wisdom, the illumination of Wisdom, the restoration of Love and heartfulness — Heart Wisdom — to come alive once again in our awareness and through us, into our world.
Bringing wisdom, love, heart, back to Earth.
As the saying goes, we take one step and the Divine takes a thousand towards us. And the journey of a thousand steps begins with one step, one prayer, one heart-illuminated moment, one Wisdom-Heart-inspired action, and then another, and another, and another …
Thanks for sticking with me on this one!
If you want to check the locale of Medusa and Metis in your chart, use 149 Medusa and 9 Metis (the asteroid numbers) for clues on how this story plays out in, for, and through you.
A blessing on us…
May the eyes and ears of our hearts be illuminated, may we be infused with and guided by
Wisdom, and may we, and all we touch, be made well.
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