Reclaiming Medusa was born in 2005 as one of my early attempts at blogging. I regretfully gave it up when I started the Feminist Peace Network (FPN) blog, because it was one project too many. It was a necessary choice, but at the time I promised myself I would eventually get back to it. And eventually is now.
The following is an updated version of the introductory essay I wrote for the original blog, along with a postscript. What I wrote in 2005, and the necessity of the spirit of Medusa, is even more true today than it was then:
I first crossed paths with Medusa at an Audrey Flack exhibit. It was of course the hair that caught my attention, I knew immediately that this was one Goddess who refused to be defined by revisionist mythology. Medusa means sovereign female wisdom and according to Alicia Le Van’s The Gorgon Medusa, her
“mask was used to guard and protect women and the secret knowledge of the Divine Feminine. It literally warned men to “Keep Away! Female Mysteries.” It was erected in stone,(corresponding to her look of stone), on caves and gateways at sacred sites dedicated to the Goddess.”
But of course Medusa’s power was incompatible with the myths of male power that were necessary to explain the rise of patriarchy and she had to be destroyed. La Van explains,
“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.”
Not so metaphorically, in both global and very personal terms, we are living the fate of Medusa. Women in particular face a relentless struggle for economic empowerment. Violence, particularly against women and children is an escalating epidemic. The right of women to control their own bodies is under siege and the degradation of this planet with all manner of chemical and nuclear poison endangers our future. We are in danger when we question the patriarchal system from which dominating power and identity are derived and when we honor the wisdom, rights and lives of women. In the face of these threats to our existence, we need to continue to relentlessly tell our stories, name our needs and speak our truths. We need to reclaim the discussion.
Postscript: In recent months I have wanted to write about a number of topics that are somewhat outside the focus of the Feminist Peace Network blog. I believe passionately that the FPN blog should continue to focus primarily on misogyny and the intersection between violence and women’s human rights, so I intend Reclaiming Medusa to be a place to explore other topics that are not a good fit for FPN.
Before undertaking this project, I gave a lot of thought to simply posting to blogs on other sites, but if there is one thing I’ve learned over the last few years, it is that it is urgently necessary for women to have their own spaces in the ever-evolving media universe and I chose to be a part of that effort.
I’m not sure yet what the rhythm of this blog will be, probably less posts than FPN and some combination of quick hits to provide links to other things that should be read and lengthier pieces when I find the time, so be patient as I find the path and feel free to offer your thoughts, they are always welcome.
Go here to learn more about me, including contact info and check the links in the sidebar for copyright and comment policies. Be sure to join the Fan page I set up on Facebook for the blog, I’ll be posting some links there to things that I think might be of interest but that I’m not going to address on the blog.
Feed your soul: Click here to learn more about Goddess symbolism.