Far from the monster of legend, today we understand Medusa as a survivor of violence, bondage and oppression. Once thought to be the most beautiful woman in the world, Medusa was attacked by Poseidon in Athena’s temple – and was viciously punished by Athena for having provoked the great sea god with her beauty. Her flowing hair was turned into a headful of snakes, and she was cursed with a gaze which would turn any living being to stone. Banished to live in a cave with her gorgon sisters, Medusa was eventually beheaded by Perseus; a tragic and brutal end to a very sorry tale.
And yet, despite having been so desperately wronged, Medusa refused to play the victim. Her perseverance and tenacity became legendary, and she stubbornly refused to feel sorry for herself and her plight.
This inspirational card shows up when the querent too is in bondage to someone or something, being wronged, oppressed, trapped or restricted in some way. Sometimes Medusa appears to talk of addiction and the way it enslaves us against our will; sometimes she appears in situations of violence and fear. Often, the Medusa card appears in a reading when the odds are against us, but tenacity will win the day.
The Medusa card speaks to dignity in dire circumstances, and to sheer strength of will as being among the strongest assets anyone can possess. Although Medusa herself came to a terrible end, her card inspires others facing fear, restriction or oppression to stand firm for their rights, and to hold their heads up high. Ironically, after Medusa’s death, Athena had her snake-haired image depicted on her shield, perhaps in an all-too-late and backhanded sign of respect for this strong young woman.
Just as Medusa could turn people to stone with her gaze, those who oppress you will also be paralyzed by your strength of character and refusal to be a victim. The Medusa card reminds us that nobody can make us a victim without our permission.
When you draw the Medusa card, ask yourself the following questions: who or what is trapping you, enslaving you or oppressing you? Are you addicted to someone or something? Can you dig deep and find dignity and tenacity despite your circumstances? What do you need in order to stand tall once again? How can you best embody the spirit of Medusa as you deal with your issues?