The unrecognized power couple of the gods

Discussion in 'Greek Mythology' started by Munnin13, Apr 18, 2016.

  1. Munnin13

    Munnin13 New Member

    The Unrecognized Power Couple of the Gods



    Co-Written by Ishamael and Semirhage



    To understand the origins of this power couple, one must reexamine the Medusa Poseidon myth with a less human perspective. Generally mankind sees something that occurs in their lives of an unwanted and unexpected nature to be a bad thing. Many would even go so far as to call it a curse. Often a desire can be granted in an unexpected way that is not always seen for the granted wish it actually is. Ever gotten unfairly fired from a job only to find a far better one that you like much more? Looking back that firing doesn't seem so unfair does it?

    Consider what Athena did to her priestess when said priestess and the goddess's uncle fell in love. Medusa was 'cursed' to turn everyone she set eyes upon to stone. She was given a head full of snakes to tangle with her beautiful lustrous hair, and they would be a part of her forever. She was banished to live alone in the middle of the ocean as a result. To the unobservant eye it would appear she was dealt a rather hard lot while Poseidon was left basically unscathed. Is this just another example of it always being the woman's fault, and the man never taking responsibility? Once again, this appears to be a very human perspective.

    Instead consider these new attributes Athena granted to Medusa in a clearer and more flattering light. Medusa was granted by her goddess like power of her own in the ability to turn anyone to stone. This power can easily be used to aid her love, Poseidon, in protecting the sea and defending it from anyone who would cause it harm. Her new home being right in the middle of said sea, so always close to her lover also seems more convenient than a punishment. In such a light, what Athena bestowed on Medusa would appear to be a blessing rather than a curse.

    There is more interesting supporting evidence to the mostly unsung love between Medusa and Poseidon in that they share many connecting attributes. Poseidon himself always dwells in water while Medusa is described herself as living on an island, thus close to the sea.

    Aside from their geographical proximity, Poseidon having the ability to calm waters is perhaps not very different from Medusa's ability to turn a person into a stone, which like the calm waters, can be symbolically said to represent the still emotions.

    Medusa's ability was widely used on Athena's aegis as means of protection. Likewise Perseus the slayer utilizes her gift against the rampaging guests of Acrisius turning them into stone. Even though Medusa was supposed to be a frightening monster, many myths still mention her ability producing positive results when properly wielded.

    Equally true is that Poseidon was frequently invoked by fishermen for help and ancient healing sanctuaries
    might have been dedicated to him even before the spreading popularity of the cult of Apollo.

    Additional connections can be made to indicate children they had together as well. The less known Krysaor becomes the king of Iberia while his brother, the famous Pegasos is associated with the Muses as well as the Spring of Inspiration itself.

    In Greek mythology it is commonplace for marriages having being cursed by the gods to produce destructive, horrifying offspring or an entirely cured family line as in the case of Kadmos of Thebes. Clearly that is not the case with Poseidon and Medusa whose offspring perform valuable social functions instead of the debilitating ones that could be accepted from an unsanctioned act of coupling.

    While it is true that Medusa gift is awe striking as is her appearance, such descriptions merely relegate her to the status of a recognized Other by humans, which according to several ancient civilizations, from Greeks to followers of Lao Tze, could signify a superhuman entity, a monster but with equal frequency, even a god.

    In modern terms, the most famous of Gorgons may have difficulties integrating into society, but human rejection of her notwithstanding, Athena's curse might contain in equal measure elements of perhaps unwanted and yet useful gift that ensures her status as much as it does her power, making her a worthy partner to one of the most interesting Olympians.
    Last edited: Apr 23, 2016
  2. Myrddin

    Myrddin Well-Known Member

    I never thought of it that way, but I like it. Of course, I also heard the story differently, Medusa and her sisters being punished strictly for Poseidon's actions against Medusa. We also have to remember that Athene is the one who provides Perseus with the sword in which he is to use to take off Medusa's head. Depends on how the story is told, I guess. I like the one above much better than any other I've heard.

    You mean myths don't you? Medusa wasn't part of any legends that I am aware of.
  3. Munnin13

    Munnin13 New Member

    Glad you liked it. Appreciate the correction too. As for Athena providing the sword, I felt it to be a common motif when a deity is invoked to protect against, in a manner of speaking, some darker version of themselves, either because of the duality involved in the functions of most Olympians, or else, because as a newer generation, they are replacing the older version of themselves, meaning a different god with similar functions within the respective pantheon, but without corresponding popularity through worship. For example, Athena herself sometimes seems to share attributes with Themis, Apollo may have inherited from Pytho if such was an independent deity at any point, and Poseidon, holding sway over all the monsters was just as likely to be a successor to their progenitor, Phorcys. Not that I can prove any of those due to lack of connecting evidence, but seems fun to speculate on at any rate.
  4. Myrddin

    Myrddin Well-Known Member

    The thing about these myths is, you don't have to prove anything. It mostly is about speculation, what you as an individual take from it. That's how I see it, anyways.
  5. Munnin13

    Munnin13 New Member

    That is a good point. I like to present evidence when I can, but the possibility of an insight is one of the things that draws me to mythology

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