Medusa's Transcendence

I'm working on a long and involved post about Westworld, PTSD, suffering, and insight/awaking. In the meantime I found this little tidbit in a journal and thought I would share because it really reflects where I am right now.

I'm still incapacitated with PTSD reactivation. Unfortunately, as we do, the social support begins to wane over time (Ptucha, p. 6-8). It's emotionally exhausting to support someone in crisis, and I've met my quota for the year. This is how brilliant people lose their career, I suppose. Social support is often cited, I've been in many a classroom where this was listed by graduate or doctoral student as a protective buffer for many a chronic disease and social ill. The conceptualization of social support as a static rather than dynamic element of the individual experience is problematic.

If social support is static, then we can move forward after checking a yes/no box without consideration for the future condition of this element. Social support for trauma survivors is often of the chronic nature. PTSD becomes chronic, some researchers postulate, because of the crumbling social support over time. I've been chewing on this, and this is as far as I've gotten. More to come.



Before she was a stone cold monster, Medusa was the mortal sister to two sisters: Stheno and Euryale, immortal Gorgons, a name derived from the ancient Greek word gorgos, dreadful. In the epic tale Metamorphosis, the Roman poet Ovid described Medusa as a ravishingly beautiful maiden who basically have to fight dudes off with a stick. While worshiping at the temple of Athena/Minerva, Poseidon raped her. He'd had his eye on "Becky with the good hair" for a while. Athena was pissed, so she transformed Medusa's awesome locks into serpents, and basically sentenced her to a hellish, immortal, banished existence on an island being gross.

"Then rejoined
a noble with enquiry why alone
of those three sisters, snakes were interspersed
in dread Medusa's locks. And he replied:—
“Because, O Stranger, it is your desire
to learn what worthy is for me to tell,
hear ye the cause: Beyond all others she
was famed for beauty, and the envious hope
of many suitors. Words would fail to tell
the glory of her hair, most wonderful
of all her charms—A friend declared to me
he saw its lovely splendour. Fame declares
the Sovereign of the Sea attained her love
in chaste Minerva's temple. While enraged
she turned her head away and held her shield
before her eyes. To punish that great crime
minerva changed the Gorgon's splendid hair
to serpents horrible. And now to strike
her foes with fear, she wears upon her breast
those awful vipers—creatures of her rage." 
(Ovid, Metamorphosis)

So, Medusa was a beautiful woman. Beauty like that, the envious hope of many suitor, is always a burden. It's hard to find friends, because of the inherently competitive nature of most young people during their fertile years). You never really know if you're loved for you, or for your pretty face, and - in this case, gorgeous hair. Poseidon coveted her, just like good old William in Westworld coveted his Delores. The quintessential "nice guy," right? "I'm a GOD, WTF, she should want to have sex with me! How could she not. If she doesn't, something is totally wrong with her." (Poseidon is like the penultimate privileged dude, am I right?). When she doesn't fulfill his fantasy, she is punished.

When he came to grab her by the pussy, she was already worshiping at the temple of Athena, and I imagine she turned to her for protection. Oh goddess of wisdom. Protect me from these dudes that see me as an object to posses and wield, who think that saying "sorry" after violating you is a sufficient emotional expense for them.

Athena did not protect her. Poseidon raped her on the temple floor. She had nothing left, so she prayed to her goddess for comfort, at least.

Athena transformed her into a monster, with a serpent's body, the beautiful face of her previous incarnation mask-like under a mass of thousands of writhing, biting serpents. She was granted eternal life, in the temple, and given the power to turn men into stone. No woman could enter her sanctuary. Now men sought her for a different reason: to kill her. In a way, killing her is symbolic of a bloody way to posses her completely


Perseus and Medusa

Perseus was a Greek founder of lots of shit and considered the greatest hero before Hercules blew into the pages of history. He was the son of Zeus and a mortal woman, Danaë. He was also the half brother AND great grandfather to Hercules. I know, it's complicated when your dad is immortal.

Perseus sought her head, in a quest that he was sent on by Polydectes because he wanted Perseus to fail, being hot for Perseus' mother (Danaë). Polydectes is king of Argos, and his wife, Queen Cassieopia from Ethiopia, compares her daughter, Andromeda, to the Nereids (sea nymphs). This causes Poseidon (god of the sea) to get pissed off and release a whale-like monster called Cetus. There is a lot more to the story, so for brevity's sake let's also mention that Perseus was literally just flying around on Pegasus for some unrelated reason, sees Andromeda chained to a rock because her parents decide to sacrifice her and he decides to marry her. 

Blood Sacrifice

What interests me is the blood sacrifice of Medusa herself. If she had not been so...beautiful...Becky with the good hair so to speak, and had she not asked for the unwanted attention of a god...if she hadn't been raped, forsaken by the goddess she worshiped....if she had not been judged and sentenced to an eternal hell of bitterness and killing anger...

Well then, Perseus would not have been able to cut off her head while she slept and then return to use it to kill the monster and gain his fame/realize the fulfillment of his hero's quest.

Medusa was supposedly sleeping when Perseus chopped off her head, although I've seen the Hollywood portrayal that involved an elaborate setup using the stone men and a mirror shield to bounce her powers back on herself, but I don't think that would actually work within the context of the myth, being that her powers were specifically to turn men to stone, and we all know that in the world of myths and legends, magic requires very specific instructions or it gets really messy.

I connect to the story. I wonder if she knew he was coming, as she must, being immortal and having lived for so long and being magical and whatnot. Do immortal beings need to sleep? I don't know the answers to these questions. But I can see her knowing he is approaching, and deciding...I'm tired. Too tired now. I've lived long enough.

Or maybe she knew that this was her fate? She met her maker, and suffered for a long time, and knew that in the end she would be the tool used to wreak vengeance on the one who raped her so long ago.


  1. Before reading your post, I only knew about them from the movies 'percy jackson' and 'wrath of the titans'. These are actually very interesting facts.


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