I met Medusa the other day. Or, more accurately, I met Medusa who was posing as a timid and nervous woman.
This woman, in a soft and shaky voice, told me a story—a common story that has been repeating itself throughout human history for about the last 5,000 years. A story that I hope we are on the verge of rewriting. A story of a girl who died inside before she could become the potent and powerful woman she was meant to be.
As a little girl, this woman loved to dance, sing, perform, and run wild. She was confident, funny, and full of life.
Then a boy became intimidated by her powerful, wild, crazy, girl-ness and took it upon himself to take her down. He told everyone that she was Medusa and that if they looked at her, they would turn to stone. Word spread around school, and soon no one would talk to her. She was both ridiculed and shunned for years, until she completely shut down.
This wild and confident girl-child would grow up to become a woman who would have panic attacks at the sound of her own name.
When she told me this story she said to me, “I don’t know what he saw in me that made him call me Medusa.”
But I knew.
The Medusa that most of us know through Greek mythology is not the true story of Medusa. Medusa’s origins lie in North Africa where she was known as the crone goddess of the dark moon. Her face was the representation of divine female wisdom, and she was linked to divination, healing, magic and the sexual serpent mysteries associated with death and renewal.
The Greeks twisted her story into one of a young woman who was:
- Turned into a monster by another woman over jealousy
- Murdered by Perseus
What do women learn from the Greek version of the Medusa story?
- Our sex is dangerous
- Other women are our enemy
- Men are dangerous and have total power over us
Basically, we learn as women that we are victims.
In my last blog post, I wrote about an addiction our culture (myself included) has to victimhood. This addiction is particularly strong in women and I think this is why. Our once powerful images and stories were turned into helpless victim stories—and we’ve been spoon fed these stories since childhood.
I said this in a previous post, but I want to say it again: We women did not create these stories but we have internalized them, and allowed ourselves to fall under their spell.
I desperately want to wake up from this spell, and I want to take all of you other forgotten Medusas with me.
I wish there was a magic wand I could wave to break this spell. But, the only way I know how to wake up is to vigilantly dismantle this internalized story, make friends with my inner Medusa, and surround myself with other women willing to do the same and men who desire potent women.
The waking up out of a victim spell requires us to stop being a victim to the spell itself, and use our own volition to dismantle it.
The whole world is suffering from the absence of powerful and potent women.
May we all remember the forgotten Medusa, and may all little girls grow up to be the powerful and potent women they were meant to be.