The Scorpio Myth- The Myth Of Medusa
The Medusa myth
Medusa is a very interesting creature in Greek mythology. Her characteristics can certainly become strongly attached to the sign of the Scorpio since she deals with treason, with violence and danger, and has a charcateristic of very strong resentment.
Medusa lives inside a marshy and untrustworthy place, which we can interpret as being the psychological cloth of the darkness in which she is condemned for life.
Medusa was a fantastic girl, full of joy and of life, yet she did not know her potential and, above all she did not know the power of anger that, when it becomes stagnant and it reaches the impossibility of moving and of coming alive, takes on cleanly destructive and self-destructive features. In practical terms, to develop rage is a way to remain imprisoned inside a dimension of pure destruction that prevents us from seeing any other possibility or alternative and then it returns to imprison us.
The myth clearly represents this quite visible destruction by rage that results from impossibility of movement, almost a kind of paralysis psychologically referable to a grudge, to hate, that denies access for the progressive and improved functions of the psyche.
Of course, Medusa is a wounded and betrayed woman, apparently with the outside world, but we know that the outside world cannot be our dimension and, therefore, it is important to try to interpret her myth in a clear manner.
Medusa is a young girl who has devoted herself to the Goddess Athena. She is a maid who, as well as her services, also offers her purity and integrity in gifts to the Goddess.
One day, while she was walking in a thicket consecrated to Athena, she was caught and raped ferociously by Poseidon.
The girl, in prey of panic, runs madly to Athena to explain what happened in search of comfort.
Athena instead does not show compassion but she unloads on the girl all her rage and indignation accusing her of having violated her sacred space.
These were pointless justifications that Medusa and the Goddess in fact decides to avenge herself transforming her into a Gorgon, a being condemned to darkness and to the drama inside a marsh.
Arnold Weinstein tells of this transformation:
“The soft Medusa back with blunted horrible wings,
her delicate hands became bronze claws,
tusks were there where once white teeth at one time shining,
her long tongue was dangling on her chin.
Instead of her soft, bright hair,
snakes and vipers were twisting
and they were surrounding the already delightful features of Medusa.
And the Goddess put at last a look in Medusa’s eyes,
a look that would change men to stone”.
This is obviously a story of great treason that is apparently consumed by a Goddess towards her follower.
We try to read nevertheless this difficult stroy from a psychological point of view.
Athena is a very rational Goddess, with scarce “motherly” abilities; she embodies the logos received in inheritance from her father Zeus. She is a woman who was born from her father’s head, completely adult, defended and armoured; she had no mother and or even a childhood; this is why she is someone who shows hardness and angularity that exclude softness and compassion.
Thus we can see a certain insensitivity in her and a lack of empathy (shortcomings of the Moon) that leads her not to understanding what Medusa is experiencing after the rape. She is attentive to her “limits”, those that the mind decides and establishes expecting them not to be violated.
It is the limits of the conscience on which she is on her guard; Athena can be interpreted as the SUPER I who establishes what is fair and what is not based on rigid conventions, often imperative and therefore, without exception; it is internal, that censor that observes and that beats and whci, above all, tries to hold firm the limits beyond which the forces of the unconscious are hidden, always ready to claw the fragility of the conscience.
Medusa is overwhelmed by Poseidon who, for the occasion had changed into a vigorous stallion; we can see the side of the God as the chaotic part and more purely bestial than the girl- that side that moves dangerously in the phase of adolescence but that is not always manageable or recognisable – it is something that acts under Medusa’s conscience and that does so in order to finds the courage to push beyond the limits, to try to seize something of the unconscious, transcending as such into the ordinary and the laws of the conscience, in practice infringing the dictates of law, perhaps also completely incautiously. In fact, in adolescence archetypes are activated that push towards sexuality that represents the phase of initiation that will lead to adult life.
It is about something that obviously happens completely out of Medusa’s conscious; but the myths also remind us through tragic vision and brutal events that it is not possible to face Hade’s reign incautiously and not without preparation, a ritual, a companion, because in that case the risk becomes more accentuated; also Inhanna – that is a Goddess of the skies – is sentenced practically to death when entering without due preparation into the kingdom of hell of her sister Ereshkigal.
We can interpret this as a law of the psyche that if on the one hand requires the conscience and a gradual realignment of oneself, puts us nevertheless on guard from the dangers of not chosen, not prepared crossings of the frontier, as if there must be authorisation and full acceptance so that the consequences are accepted, because there will be consequences and it will be necessary to pay.
Athena obviously embodies the Super I of Medusa, that mature and also censored part that represents the inflexible law, something not easy to understand but that is the judging aspect of each one of us, ready to criticise and to sentence any sinking instinct and passion.
In the myth, moreover, the condition of innocence seems to be assigned inevitably to the violation. Also Core is an innocent creature who is raped by Hades, and she also seems to pay for the consequences of his unconscious unconventional and sensual side with the door inevitably inside the kingdom of Hell but in conditions of difficulty and of passivity.
The myths that regard the sign of the Scorpio teach us that sooner or later the borders must be crossed, but to do so, it is necessary to accept the risk of the loss of virginity, a necessary condition that does not fall into the trap of wanting to maintain integrity without paying a price, which is obviously unacceptable.
The Scorpio reminds us that there is an I which must leave his false naivety and the illusions of omnipotence and of immortality and will have to meet his darknes, also when he does not want to recognise it because it seems too far from the image that it has cultivated for so long.
Thus, Medusa, who recognises herself in her virginal side, seems to undergo double treason firstly from Poseidon and then Athena; still, on the psychological level this myth reminds us that chaos, disorder and all that belongs to the reign of the instincts are always ready to ambush us inside s, especially when we are not “switched on to our actions” with exact decisions; when the conscience cannot accept these contents of the psyche, then we risk being overwhelmed by them;, the Super I still will not accept everything and then it will try to throw out what has been acted or endorsed despairingly into the unconscious, trying to maintain an intact mask.
The lesson is in thinking that I too often is disguised by masks that are used for covering and for renouncing the impulses that can be kept back beyond the frontiers of the conscience. When this happens therefore, borders are also the too rigid and, rather than be crossed, they will be swept away by the forces that live in the areas in which the darkness reigns.
Perhaps the myth simply wants to say that also the unconsciousness has its consequences and that only acceptance will carry the transformation, and with it, absolution from sin.
Perhaps Medusa is far from the acceptance of her primitive and sexual side and therefore is punished by a condemnation into the darkness by her Super I who sees her like a monster.
The image of the Gorgon that lives in a putrid marsh, with snake masses instead of hair, able to petrify with her look whoever dares to challenge her, is the representation of the rage and treason that each day Medusa brings on herself when she does not accept her energy and vital side; until there is condemnation it will never be possible for a transformation and therefore she will be banished and renounced and this seems to become a total and eternal state.
Medusa is certainly the representation of what can happen if we do not respect the darkest sides of our nature, trying to see them, accepting them and honouring them; in fact in her these denigrated contents become little by little an expression of destruction and of hate before preventing them from undertaking the path to return and the path to integration, or contacting those sides of the psyche that would bring recovery and consequent rebirth.
This myth reminds us that at a certain point it will be necessary to go down into the marsh accepting the loss of virginity that this journey imposes: then the miracle will happen that will consist beforehand in trying pain and sadness for the illusions that must go away, but from this act of humbleness and of resignation to the loss of innocence and of the virginity of I, a consciousness will develop that will travel towards a discovery of completeness in which light and darkness grant profitable and incredibly full exchanges.