The Gorgons  

Posted by Stella Clark

The Gorgons Image
THE THREE "GORGONS "WERE ORIGINALLY SO UNBELIEVABLY BEAUTIFUL THAT ANYONE WHO LOOKED AT THEM WAS TURNED TO STONE. THEY HAD GRACEFUL GOLDEN WINGS ARCHED ABOVE THEIR SHOULDERS AND LONG, FLOWING HAIR. THE THREE SISTERS WERE THE DAUGHTERS OF PHORCYS (THE SEA GOD) AND CETO (DAUGHTER OF GAIA AND PONTUS). THEIR NAMES WERE:

"MEDUSA", THE CUNNING ONE. HER NAME MEANS "RULER."
"STHENO", THE STRONG ONE. HER NAME MEANS "FORCEFUL."
"EURYALE", THE "FAR ROAMING ONE."
TWO OF THE SISTERS WERE IMMORTAL; MEDUSA WAS NOT.

AS NOTED PREVIOUSLY, ORIGINALLY THE GORDONS POSSESSED GREAT BEAUTY AND GRACE...UNTIL MEDUSA DREW THE WRATH OF ATHENE BY GETTING CAUGHT MAKING LOVE TO THE THE DARK GOD OF THE SEA, POSEIDON, IN ONE OF ATHENE'S SANCTUARIES. ATHENE, IN A FIT OF RAGE, HENCEFORTH RENDERED HER MORTAL AND TRANSFORMED MEDUSA AND HER SISTERS INTO UGLY HAGS. THEY HAD LIZARD-LIKE SCALY SKIN AND HISSING SNAKES FOR HAIR; THEIR TONGUES PROTRUDED BETWEEN BOAR-LIKE TUSKS WHICH SERVED AS THEIR TEETH. MEDUSA WAS SINGLED OUT AS THE MOST UGLY AND TERRIFYING OF THE THREE.

THEY LIVED IN A DEEP, DARK CAVE, AND ALL AROUND THE CAVERN COULD BE FOUND THE STONY FIGURES OF MEN AND ANIMALS ALIKE WHO HAD CHOSEN TO CATCH A GLIMPSE OF THE SISTERS AND, AS A RESULT, HAD BEEN PETRIFIED BY THE SIGHT. IN THIS REGARD, THE GORGONS CAN BE VIEWED AS GUARDIANS, AS THE PROTECTORS OF THE BOUNDERIES OF THE PRIMAL ANCIENT MYSTERIES (THE DARK CAVERN). IN FACT, IT IS QUITE PROBABLE THAT GORGON MASKS WERE WORN BY THE PRIESTESSES AT THE CELEBRATIONS OF THE MYSTERIES TO FRIGHTEN AWAY THE UNINIATED. CARVINGS OF GORGON HEADS WERE OFTEN PLACED ON THE WALLS OF THE GREEK CITIES TO TERRIFY THEIR ENEMIES...STILL ANOTHER EXAMPLE OF THE PROTECTION OF THE BOUNDARIES.

IN THE LATTER PATRIARCHAL MYTHOLOGY, THE HERO PERSEUS IS SENT ON A MISSION TO OBTAIN THE HEAD OF MEDUSA; WITH THE HELP OF ATHENE AND THE LOAN OF A PAIR OF WINGED SANDALS FROM HERMES, A HELMET OF INVISIBILITY FROM HADES, AND ATHENE'S POLISHED SHIELD, PERSEUS IS ABLE TO ENTER THE REALM OF THE GORGONS. FINDING THEM ASLEEP, HE CREEPS UP TO THEM AND WALKING BACKWARDS, LOOKS ONLY AT THE REFLECTION OF MEDUSA'S HEAD IN THE SHIELD SO HE DIDN'T HAVE TO LOOK AT HER DIRECTLY. WITH HIS SWORD GUIDED BY ATHENE, HE IS ABLE TO DECAPITATE MEDUSA AND ESCAPE. HE BRINGS THE HEAD SAFELY STOWED IN A MAGIC WALLET AND PRESENTS IT TO ATHENE WHO WEARS IT AS A PRIZE ON HER BELT.



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This entry was posted on 21 January 2011 at Friday, January 21, 2011 . You can follow any responses to this entry through the .

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