Alicia Le Can, asteroids, astro-flash, Astro-LOA, astrology, athena, conscious, ego, Embracing Fragmented Self, Eros, feminine, learn astrology kim Falconer, Maureen B Roberts, Medusa, neptune, sacred, Scorpio, Shamanic explorations, unconscious, Women in Antiquity
Medusa and Eros are conjunct @ 3-4 Scorpio this week. Astro-LOA Flash: Eros and Medusa square the Sun bring high levels of passion and power. Anything getting in the way of what you want is a target but maybe put down your spear and rethink the situation. What we resist persists. What we fight against persists. The sooner you get okay with everything, the sooner you achieve your goals. Seriously.
Asteroid 149 Medusa is a “Main Belt” asteroid, taking 3.21 years to orbit the sun. She is a tiny body, only 19km in diameter yet her symbolic impact may be anything but small. Those with planets or points at 0-6 Scorpio or the early degrees of the fixed signs (Taurus, Leo, Scorpio, Aquarius) may get some real insights into the depths of their unconscious through the rich imagery of Medusa and Eros.
Medusa, which means “cunning one” was the mortal sister to Stheno “strong” and Euryale “wide roaming”. All were daughters of the sea titans Porcys and Ceto. Medusa was the youngest of the girls, extremely wise and most beautiful—she had particularly striking hair. Men found her enchanting and came to ask her ‘favor’ but she was devoted to her service as priestess to Athena and ignored them.
One who would not be ignored was Poseidon, god of the sea and rival to Athena for the domain of Athens. He raped Medusa (some versions say she was willing) in Athena’s temple and for the offense, Athena punishes the girl. She transformed her, and her sisters, into beasts with dragon wings, scaly skin and snakes for hair. Whoever looked upon these gorgons was instantly turned to stone.
The young man Perseus, with the help of Mercury, Pluto and Athena, slew Medusa by severing her head. He avoided looking at her directly by using Athena’s shield as a mirror to see the sleeping gorgon without being turned to stone.
From the blood of Medusa was born the magnificent winged horse, Pegasus and from her severed neck came the giant, Khrysaor. Paradoxically, her blood held both venomous and healing powers. Medusa’s head was eventually placed on Athena’s shield where it continued to turn men into stone if they glanced upon it. Medusa became a symbol not for devotion and beauty but for fear, hatred and onslaught.
This myth says something very profound about the sacred feminine. Certainly, Medusa embodies the outrage of subjugated women over millenniums of time. She is raped, angry and poisonous with a stare of fixed rage. Any man who sees the “gorgon” in a woman is instantly turned to stone (petrified–immobilized). Barrett L. Dorko, P.T. writes in his paper, Perseus’ Shield:
“The meaning of the Medusa myth is clear. To directly face an event that is full of fear and powerful emotion is most likely to produce the immobility, the “turning to stone” that the trauma originally created. Better to approach the memory obliquely, symbolically, gently and with our “shield” of understanding held high.”
Jung speaks of the symbolism of the mirror as the capacity to “see” aspects of the unconscious that otherwise would render us immobile.
Only through the unconscious can such a view (which often shocks and upsets the conscious mind) be obtained–just as in the Greek myth of the Gorgon Medusa, whose look turned men to stone, could be gazed upon only in a mirror.
Alicia Le Van in her paper on Women in Antiquity reminds us that Athena has roots in the Libyan Amazon Serpent-Goddess-Trinity. In pre-Hellenic myths Athena was said to have come from the uterus of Lake Tritonis, (meaning Three Queens), the same place that Medusa is said to have ruled, hunted and led troops in Athenian myth. The older myths are more specific, they say that Athene was born of the Three Queens of Libya themselves, the Triple Goddess, with Metis-Medusa as her destroyer aspect.
Although Athena’s image is altered and “civilized” by the Greeks and their patriarchal rule, in art she is consistently associated with snakes as they appear on her shoulders and on her armor, along with Medusa’s face as the central image. Le Van suggests the the entire Medusa myth was used to explain the appearance of Medusa’s head on Athene’s shield and that the decapitation of the gorgon is in essence the truncation of the sacred feminine.
“The Perseus myth was invented to explain the appearance of Gorgon Medusa’s face, or mask, on Athena’s shield and aegis, the image of Athena that was inherited from the pre-Hellenic period.”
She also states that the demise of outraged Medusa is the definitive subjugation of women:
“The mythological beheading of Medusa symbolizes the ultimate silencing of female wisdom and expression. It is the act which stops her growth, limits her potential movement and cultural contributions. She is obliterated and her severed head is flaunted on the Acropolis and other works of art in pride of her and all women’s subjugation by violent men. She is broken and her body enslaved. Her spirit, her mind, her spiritual powers are killed. Her once honored forces of female creativity and destruction are halted. Her role as dynamic mediatrix degraded. Her life-giving, death-wielding powers and wild forces of nature are controlled, tamed, and mastered by the male order. The cycles of life and nature are made to conform to his linear perspective.”
Le Van also links Medusa’s blood to menstruation.
“The snakes, her dreaded face, her look of stone, and her magical blood all correlate with the ancient menstrual taboo. Primitive folk believed that the look of a menstruating woman could turn a man to stone. Menstrual blood was also thought to be the source of all mortal life and also of death, as the two are inseparable.”
In yet another approach to Medusa, Maureen B. Roberts, PhD states in her exploration Embracing the Fragmented Self: Shamanic Explorations of the Sacred in Schizophrenia & Soul Loss:
“As a second parameter in the assessment of the overriding effect of pathology, placing woundedness in its mythic context, it’s worth bearing in mind, for instance, that Osiris and Dionysus were dismembered, that Psyche had to journey to the Underworld, that Prometheus had his liver repeatedly torn out by Zeus’s eagle, and that Medusa was beheaded. As well, in terms of the psyche’s ultimate goal of attaining wholeness, ‘centredness’ and integration, fragmentation is a blow to the hubris of the stable ego, which must relinquish its sense of a fixed identity and must eventually step aside in order to allow the paradoxical Self to displace it as the centre of consciousness.”
With such rich imagery and connotation in mind, what might it portend, the cojunction of Eros and Medusa?
Medusa is no stranger to erotic relationship. She surfaces with her extreme counter-part, the “Ice Man” where she expresses severe rage against the wall of rational detachment. Read this wonderful and humorous summary, adapted from Liz Greene and Stephen Arroyo’s lectures on “The Ice-man and the Medusa” at Dr. Z’s site. Click here for “Getting a Clue”
It is possible that Eros may bring love to Medusa’s outraged heart. It is also possible that Medusa will extricate Eros from a trapped or contained situation, bringing previously repressed material up from the depths of the unconscious. Where the Sacred feminine is repressed, love (Eros) cannot flourish. It may be the outrage of MEDUSA that blows open areas in our life where patriarchal ignorance (to ignore!) by both men and women has taken over.
Eros had the power to touch the gods and mortals, monsters and daemons alike. Sometimes it’s as easy as letting go of your old story! Note where 3-4 degrees of Scorpio falls in your natal chart and feel free to comment!
Date | Eros | Medusa |
25 Jul 2012 | 2 sc 14 | 3 sc 3 |
26 Jul 2012 | 2 sc 47 | 3 sc 19 |
27 Jul 2012 | 3 sc 19 | 3 sc 36 |
28 Jul 2012 | 3 sc 51 | 3 sc 52 |
29 Jul 2012 | 4 sc 24 | 4 sc 9 |
30 Jul 2012 | 4 sc 56 | 4 sc 27 |