What Does Getting A Medusa Tattoo Mean?
10 November 2021, 13:52 | Updated: 10 November 2021, 15:20 Why are people getting Medusa tattoos on TikTok? One powerful interpretation of the figure’s story is behind the meaningful tattoos. If you’ve ever ended up on TattooTok during one of your 3-hour TikTok scrolling sessions, then you may have come across a lot of videos of people getting Medusa tattoos.
- We all know the familiar myths and stories of Medusa: the Greek figure with snakes in her hair that could turn men to stone with just one look;
- There are many variations, retellings and evolutions of Medusa’s story that have been shared over the years, and there are several reasons as to why people get the tattoo;
But one particularly powerful reason appears to be doing the rounds, and it’s very popular on TikTok. READ MORE: What is ’97 percent’ on TikTok? The viral trend explained What do Medusa tattoos mean? The TikTok videos explained. Picture: Thiago Prudêncio/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images, Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images People have been getting Medusa tattoos as a symbol of taking back their power and inverting the narrative of a female being punished or blamed after surviving sexual assault.
Per some writings of Greek and Roman mythology, Medusa was raped by Poseidon, then punished and cursed by Athena because of it. According to The Met , the most common interpretation of Medusa in Greek art sees her as an “apotropaic symbol used to protect from and ward off the negative”.
Medusa represents a “dangerous threat meant to deter other dangerous threats, an image of evil to repel evil. ” Others have interpreted Medusa’s image as a sign of strength, empowerment, determination and safety for women. People are now sharing their Medusa tattoos and their own personal meaning behind them on TikTok.
- 0.1 Is it disrespectful to get a Medusa tattoo?
- 1 Is Medusa a symbol of protection?
- 2 What does Medusa represent in the Bible?
- 3 Why is Medusa so popular?
- 4 What does the story of Medusa teach us?
- 5 Is Medusa a metaphor?
Is it disrespectful to get a Medusa tattoo?
Is the Medusa tattoo offensive? – The Medusa tattoo is not regarded as offensive as it has now been adopted as an emblem of power for sexual assault survivors. Medusa is recognized as a victim rather than a villain, which gives the inkings of her a poignant meaning.
- It has become a symbol for combatting the culture of victim-blaming, as Medusa was a woman made into a monster for her own rape;
- One TikTok user explained: “That’s why a lot of people have this tattoo, because if they were, they are victims, it is like empowering yourself, taking back your power type of thing;
” Medusa is also considered as a mythological figure who has the ability to deter evil forces. Tattoo artist helps people hide stretch marks and burns with unique no ink method – and goes viral on TikTok.
What does Medusa symbolize?
Medusa is an instantly recognizable figure from ancient Greek art. Her face, whether fierce and grotesque or feminine and composed, appears in virtually all media in varying contexts. The most common interpretation of Medusa suggests she is an apotropaic symbol used to protect from and ward off the negative, much like the modern evil eye.
She represents a dangerous threat meant to deter other dangerous threats, an image of evil to repel evil. A close look at her role in Greek mythology and art reveals a nuanced and complex character with multiple iterations and implications.
Medusa is best known for having hair made of snakes and for her ability to turn anyone she looked at to stone, literally to petrify. Multiple works by ancient sources, such as Homer, the eighth-century B. poet Hesiod, and the fifth-century B. lyric poet Pindar, provide a wide-ranging and diverse picture of the fabled creature.
According to Hesiod’s Theogony , she was one of three Gorgon sisters born to Keto and Phorkys, primordial sea gods; Medusa was mortal, while the others, Stheno and Euryale, were immortal. The best known myth recounts her fateful encounter with the Greek hero Perseus.
A dishonorable king demanded that he bring him an impossible gift: the head of Medusa. Perseus set out with the aid of the gods, who provided him with divine tools. While the Gorgons slept, the hero attacked, using Athena’s polished shield to view the reflection of Medusa’s awful face and avoid her petrifying gaze while he beheaded her with a harpe , an adamantine sword.
Such a violent act resulted in the birth of Medusa’s children, the winged horse Pegasos and the giant Chrysaor, who sprung from her neck. The two immortal sisters pursued Perseus with fury, but the hero escaped with his prize using Hermes’ winged boots and Hades’ helmet of invisibility.
Not even death, however, could quell Medusa’s power, and Perseus had to keep her decapitated head in a special sack strong enough to contain it, called a kybisis. On his travels, he used the head to turn his enemies to stone and rescue the princess Andromeda from a sea monster ( 20.
- 16 ), before giving it to Athena for her aegis ( 34;
- 7 );
- Pindar’s Twelfth Pythian Ode recounts how Stheno and Euryale’s angry pursuit of their sister’s killer resulted in another chapter of the Medusa myth;
After hearing their anguished and furious cries, Athena was inspired to invent the flute to mimic them. When the goddess played the flute, however, she discarded it after seeing her reflection; her face distended and became ugly as she played ( 24. 97. 28 ).
While she purposefully and successfully mimicked the wails of the Gorgons, she also unwittingly imitated their wide and dreadful features. The snake-haired Medusa does not become widespread until the first century B.
The Roman author Ovid describes the mortal Medusa as a beautiful maiden seduced by Poseidon in a temple of Athena. Such a sacrilege attracted the goddess’ wrath, and she punished Medusa by turning her hair to snakes. While these stories sound fantastical today, to the ancient Greeks they were quasi-historical.
- Myths, as well as the stories recorded by Homer and Hesiod, were considered part of a lost heroic past when men and women interacted with heroes, gods, and the supernatural;
- Tales from this period were repeated in every medium; the evidence from Greece presents a world saturated with heroes and monsters in poetry, prose, and art;
As such, Medusa was not just a fantastical beast, but part of a shared past and present in the minds of ancient viewers. She signified a historical menace—the story of Perseus vanquishing and harnessing her energy was not just a story, but a chapter in the shared allegorical and historical record of the Greeks.
- Just as Medusa exists in multiple types of stories in the mythological record, she is also portrayed in multiple ways in ancient art;
- Her appearance changes drastically through the centuries, but she is always recognizable due to her striking frontality;
It is rare in Greek art for a figure to face directly out, but in almost all representations of Medusa, despite style and medium, she stares ahead and uncompromisingly confronts the viewer. The term gorgoneion refers to the head and face of Medusa, which was used often as a decorative motif.
It is a prolific symbol of her particular power that appears in architecture , vase painting , and metalwork. The gorgoneion was a pervasive image in temple decoration of the Archaic period (ca. 700–480 B.
Perhaps the largest example comes from Temple C (built ca. 540 B. ) at Selinunte in southwestern Sicily—two monumental gorgoneia, one on the east and one on the west, dominated the pediments of the temple. Medusa’s visage was also used to decorate smaller architectural elements.
In Sicily, southern Italy, and mainland Greece, temples were decorated with numerous antefixes (ornamental terracotta roof tile covers) that bore gorgoneia ( 27. 122. 14 ), a phenomenon especially prevalent during the Archaic period.
During this time, Medusa is depicted as a monster; she has a round face, wide eyes, a beard, and a gaping mouth with an extended tongue and gnashing, sharp teeth ( 39. 11. 9 ). Medusa remains a popular image on later architectural components, but her form is more specifically human and female.
She loses the frightful teeth and beard, but is still recognizable ( 20. 215 ) in Classical and Hellenistic examples with her wild hair and confrontational look ( 98. 30 ). Greek vases, cups, and related terracotta objects sometimes included a decorative gorgoneion as well.
In some cases it was painted at the bottom of a drinking vessel ( 14. 136 ) and served to surprise the drinker as he emptied his cup. Pieces from the seventh and sixth centuries B. are decorated with monstrous gorgoneia that can take up the entire surface ( 31.
- 4 ), similar to those on contemporary antefixes;
- The circular shape of many of these ceramics offers a particularly appropriate space to depict the rotund face of the Archaic Gorgon; it is outrageous, with oversized features that combine the feminine (curled hair and earrings) with the masculine (beard);
The trend of using Medusa’s face to decorate ceramics continued into the Hellenistic period (ca. 323–31 B. She is present as the central decoration on many vases ( 06. 1021. 246a,b ), as well as a repetitive ornamental motif. Just as in architecture , these late fourth- and third-century B.
- Gorgons evolve from the grotesque to the feminine but retain their specific frontal quality;
- The fifth century B;
- saw the emergence of a new artistic emphasis on the ideal form;
- Perfection and beauty became the standards of this new Classical style, and Medusa, despite her role as a monster, was not exempt;
Medusa is truly ubiquitous—she is represented not only in architecture and pottery, but also in metalwork. Her head is a common ornament on the handles of bronze vessels ( 60. 11. 2a,b ). The circular shape and protective qualities of her countenance also lend themselves to jewelry; she appears on earrings, pendants, and rings ( 74.
51. 3397b ). The Gorgon is also reproduced on armor. In the Iliad , her head appears on Zeus’ aegis. Hesiod’s Shield of Herakles describes an illustration of the myth of Perseus and the Gorgons on the hero’s shield.
More commonly, the gorgoneion is the central motif on the aegis of Athena. Depictions of the goddess in both vase painting ( 63. 11. 6 ; 34. 11. 7 ) and sculpture ( 24. 97. 15 ) include the head of Medusa on her chest. The most renowned sculpture of Athena, the gold and ivory Athena Parthenos that once stood in the Parthenon, included two gorgoneia: one on her aegis and one on her shield.
- The Gorgon’s face is not limited to divine armor, however, but also decorated the martial accoutrements of Greek soldiers , such as helmets, shields, and greaves ( 41;
- 74 ; 1991;
- 45 );
- The presence of Medusa on armor reinforces the idea that her presence held significant power to protect the wearer against enemies;
The gorgoneion is not the only artistic representation of Medusa; she is also shown in scenes illustrating the adventures of Perseus. In many cases, the hero flees with Medusa’s head as her body lies nearby, sometimes with Pegasos and Chrysaor at their mother’s side ( 06.
- 1070 );
- A monumental example of this type is the central decoration of the early sixth-century B;
- Temple of Artemis on Corfu, though interestingly this depiction leaves out Perseus and the beheading;
- Other scenes display the moment before the killing;
The iconographic formula consists of Perseus holding his sword to Medusa’s neck, looking away as he delivers the fatal cut to avoid her petrifying gaze. A metope from Temple C at Selinunte depicts such a tableau and includes Athena, who stands by the hero to guide him.
- In later illustrations from the fifth century B;
- , Medusa is asleep while the hero approaches to attack ( 45;
- 1 );
- Here is a rare instance of a nonfrontal, nonstaring Medusa; in sleep, the threat of her power is canceled;
Indeed, she is portrayed as a peacefully sleeping human figure—only her wings suggest that she is a supernatural creature. Some scenes include the other Gorgons, Stheno and Euryale, pursuing Perseus after he has beheaded Medusa. One example, on an early seventh-century B.
- amphora from Eleusis, depicts the two running after the hero while their headless sister’s body lies behind them;
- The Gorgons are often represented in this running pose, known as knielauf , on pottery ( 01;
6 ), in architecture, and on relief sculpture ( 55. 11. 4 ). Even though Medusa’s appearance changes drastically through the Archaic , Classical , and Hellenistic periods , from a grotesque creature to a beautiful female, her “otherness” remains. The legends of the Gorgons cast them as foreign others living outside of the known Greek world and horrific beings to be feared and ultimately vanquished.
Archaic depictions are monstrous and inexplicable—the Gorgon seems to be both male and female, both human and animal. The sixth-century B. antefixes, bronze handles, and vase decorations all depict a creature that is as terrible as it is distinctive.
Classical and Hellenistic images of Medusa are more human, but she retains a sense of the unknown through specific supernatural details such as wings and snakes. These later images may have lost the gaping mouth, sharp teeth, and beard, but they preserve the most striking quality of the Gorgon: the piercing and unflinching outward gaze.
- Alterity is at the foundation of Medusa’s force, which was alive and present in the minds and memories of ancient viewers;
- Her very presence is foreign, dangerous, and potent, as are her specific characteristics;
In the Odyssey , her head was kept in Hades to drive the living from the world of the dead. The Perseus myth provides us with the phenomenon that her face and gaze could turn men to stone. Pindar preserves the tale that the Gorgon’s cries were awesome and awful.
Perseus and Athena were required to control such threatening forces and harness their power. This harness was taken up by ancient Greek artists, who represented the Gorgon across all periods and in all media.
Medusa is a deadly and cryptic other, but she is also ubiquitous, with an undeniable energy that inspired artists to repeat her semblance and story in diverse ways across literature, lore, and art through ancient Greece, Rome, and beyond.
What does Medusa symbolize feminism?
A Feminist Perspective on the Greek Gorgon – Detail from Medusa by Antonio Canova , 1804–06, via The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York T he stories of ancient Greek and Roman mythology have, over the years, been rediscovered, repurposed, and reinterpreted in more modern contexts. Often times, this has allowed us to garner some sort of fable-like lesson from the stories of the Illiad or Metamorphoses. The story of Medusa continues to provoke renewed perspectives on its symbolism — including through the lens of feminism and psychoanalysis.
From a feminist perspective, Medusa’s story seems a cautionary tale of the symbolic decapitation of women and a loss of one’s power. In order to unpack the feminist implication of the mythology, let’s begin with the narrative of her story.
Medusa was one of three daughters — born with extraordinary beauty and stunning hair. She becomes a priestess to her sister Athena and vows to her sister to remain pure. Athena grows jealous, as many men flock to her, only to glance at Medusa instead. Eventually, Medusa attracts the attention of Poseidon, who subsequently rapes her.
Although Athena had the power to prevent this, she chooses not to. Athena is one of Poseidon’s sworn enemies, and through raping her sister, he is able to take power from her. When Athena discovers that Posidon has raped Medusa, she chooses to blame her rather than him.
In order to punish her, Athena curses Medusa by replacing her beautiful hair with a head of venomous snakes and making it so anyone who looks into her eyes will be turned to stone. At this point, Medusa’s head became a desired trophy for many warriors who wanted to brave her fierce monster-like powers.
Many warriors are sent to kill her, including Perseus. It is only with help from all of the gods that Perseus is able to not only kill but fully decapitate her. Without the support of the gods, he would have been petrified like every other warrior.
Perhaps one of the most fascinating aspects of Medusa’s story is that she was pregnant with Poseidon’s child when she was killed. From her severed neck, her child Pegasus is born. As we’ve mentioned, the myth of Medusa can be interpreted in various ways, but I think perhaps the most fascinating analysis is done through a feminist perspective because it unveils just how swift we are to circumvent female rage. turinboy/Flickr/CC BY 2. 0 D espite her origin story being one of purity and renowned beauty, Medusa has come to connote only malevolence and her role as a gorgon, or mythical monster. She is the opposite of what Michael Foucault called, ” docile bodies. ” A concept in which women are expected to conform and submit to the enforced codes and structures of a patriarchal society.
During the late 20th century, feminists began to reassess the myth of Medusa. In the 1994 book, Female Rage: Unlocking Its Secrets, Claiming Its Power , the authors claimed that “when they asked women what female rage looked like to them, it was always Medusa…who came to mind…In one interview after another they were told that Medusa is ‘the most horrific woman in the world.
‘” None of the women they interview could remember the details of the myth, and perhaps, had they been able to, they would have had a different perspective. Our image of Medusa is one of pure evil, but in reality, she is raped and impregnated by her rapist.
- She is then cast out and cursed by her own sister;
- Only to be stalked and haunted constantly by status-seeking men, and inevitably, murdered by Perseus;
- Then her ” severed head, capable of transfixion even in death, is carted away to help him defeat the villain of his story;
” There is a painful recognition in the fact that Medusa’s head — the center of her knowledge and power — is taken from her in order to empower a man and to fight his battles for him. She is the symbol of what female power looks like in the face of threatened male authority Ancient Greek artists originally portrayed Medusa ” as an almost comically hideous figure, with a lolling tongue, full beard, and bulging eyes.
” This image of Medusa began to shift when ” mustache stubble was replaced by smooth cheeks, and fangs concealed by shapely lips ,” as Classical artists began to feminize her once again. There are numerous images of Medusa in an almost angel-like state, or even once she had been cursed, images where the snakes in her hair function as more of an accessory rather than something fearsome.
Through these renditions of her visage, Medusa is painted into a half-human, half-animal monster. She is both feminine and monstrous. While she may be known for her monstrosity, her beauty remains just as dangerous. In ancient Greek society, which was ” a male-centered society, the feminization of monsters served to demonize women. Source: Damien Hirst and Science T his is exactly why the story of Medusa continues to captivate us — because she is a character that demands to be reimagined, she pushes back against the story that places Perseus at its center, who claims him to be blameless and heroic. Medusa is so alluring to us, because she is the ” image of intoxication, petrifaction, and luring attractiveness. ” She is seductive to us in her contemporary application and dimensionality. Medusa remains of temporal importance because she is the symbol of what female power looks like in the face of threatened male authority.
- ” Medusa is, in other words, the ultimate femme fatale;
- She is a woman who ” represents a conflicting view of femininity, one that is seemingly alluring but with a threatening or sinister underside;
- ” The femme fatale archetype has found permanence in our storytelling, and confirms to us that: to be both beautiful and fearsome — to be a woman who has bodily autonomy and anger — is not at all normative and that those women must be cast aside or have power taken from them;
As Elizabeth Johnston claims in her 2016 Atlantic essay, Medusa may be ” the original Nasty Woman. ” In 2020, it might be easy to chastise the women in the 90s who called Medusa “the most horrific woman,” but perhaps we would be better suited to remind ourselves just how recently things have begun to change.
After all, we are in a post #MeToo moment, when we can clearly recognize Medusa’s myth as a rape narrative — one in which the victim is blamed and cast out by her community for crimes perpetrated against her.
In 1976, Hélène Cixous, a noteworthy French feminist theorist, wrote an essay called ” The Laugh of the Medusa ,” in which she unpacks this myth. She calls women to write and express themselves fully. Throughout the essay she encourages women to come closer in relation to “her sexuality, to her womanly being, giving her access to her native strength.
” She goes on to say that in doing so she will get “back her goods, her pleasure, her organs, her immense bodily territories. ” Cixous continues on, saying that for too long women’s bodies have been occupied and deemed guilty — “guilty of everything, guilty at every turn: for having desire, for not having any; for being frigid, for being ‘too hot’; for not being both at once,” perhaps even from being both woman and angry.
Cixous emphasizes the importance of the female voice, of women’s story, she urges women to urgently learn to speak; because after all “a woman without a body, dumb, blind, can’t possibly be a good fighter. ” Herein, we see Medusa’s head, cut from her body, being held up by Perseus, “she is reduced to being the servant of the militant male, his shadow.
” In what insidious ways are women made to be in a man’s shadow? How might women’s stories actually be centered around women? Throughout all of her work, Cixous decries phallocentric storytelling and histories — in which men and the psychoanalytic lens of phallic imagery are centered in women’s stories.
Of course, one must never mention psychoanalysis and phallic imagery without then mentioning Sigmund Freud, who, during the 20th century, wrote prolifically about the intersection of sexuality and psychology. In 1950 his uncompleted essay, “Medusa’s Head,” was posthumously published.
He poses the idea that ” to decapitate = to castrate. ” Through this framework, Freud posits that the female head is akin to her genitalia — keeping in mind that Medusa did in fact “give birth” to her child from her severed neck.
Within this context, it seems as if both the male genitalia and female head are their respective centers of power. Thereby, to castrate a man is to severe his most vital organ; and to decapitate a woman is to take her most vital source of power. SLAVA GERJ / WITR / SHUTTERSTOCK / ZAK BICKEL / THE ATLANTIC The incomplete essay becomes far more phallocentric as it continues — explaining how the sight of female genitalia instills fear of castration, how Medusa’s snake-like hair is (of course) a phallic symbol, and finally that Medusa’s ability to cause onlookers to become stiff, is a representation of an erection and therefore a confirmation of their manhood and of still having a penis — it is in essence, their final confirmation of manhood. From Freud’s telling, the entire story takes place through the perspective of the man in the story, reducing Medusa to something sub-human. Medusa’s beheading is the ultimate offense because it involves a complete dismemberment, a permanence within the male gaze, and a “double darkness.
” According to Hélène Cixous’ article “The Laugh of Medusa,” she claims that, The mythologically beheaded woman is seen (or at least partially seen) does not see; she is blinded and those who have beheaded her are blinded to her real nature.
She is transformed from a seeing subject to merely seen object, a demeaned and faceless body. Freud’s analysis of the Medusa myth is that she was decapitated because she represents castration anxiety through phallic symbolism. According to Freud, it is for this reason that Perseus must decapitate her.
- Cixous disagrees with this analysis;
- She argues that decapitation is not a symbol of castration anxiety, but rather a result of it;
- In other words, symbolic decapitation, “is a symptom of the real dangers that women face in a culture that is anxious about the powers of masculinity;
” Cixous demonstrates these points by claiming Freud himself is reductive and neglects to address the female experience in the Medusa myth, thereby erasing her experience, or, symbolically decapitating her as well. In her book Put A Bag Over Her Head: Beheading Mythological Women , Wendy Doniger posits that — if men fear castration of the penis, then women fear decapitation of the head; therefore the penis and the head become the locus of power within the man and woman respectively.
Doniger claims that “beheading equals the release or termination of sexuality, male or female. ” Doniger submits that through the sexualization of the female head, (i. the mouth becoming the vagina) the woman, in essence, loses her voice, or rather she is denied of her voice.
If the sexualization of the female head causes subjectivity of the woman, then I argue that Freud’s analysis (i. the hair as a phallic symbol) is also a sexualization of the female head. If women venture to claim control over their heads, then they become a threat to the phallic, male-dominated structure.
- Because Medusa refuses a fate of silence and subjectivity, Perseus is left with no option but to decapitate Medusa for wielding her power;
- The myth of Medusa lies at the nexus of conversations about symbolism, feminity, rage, and the ways women are symbols of generativity, desire, and power;
There is an alluring nature to Medusa, as she is both siren and saint — she is the complicated woman we all understand and fear. The phallocentric understanding of Medusa that attempts to claim her as an erotic object denies her of her full power of speech, thought, and importance.
Her decapitation is in direct result of male anxiety about maintaining power and control. Google any famous woman’s name, perhaps Angela Merkel, Nancy Pelosi, or Hillary Clinton along with the word “Medusa.
” For centuries ” women in power (or fighting for power) have been compared to Medusa, from Marie Antoinette to the suffragettes. “It’s clear — in our society the sexually and intellectually independent woman is a fearsome sight to behold..
Is Medusa a symbol of protection?
Because Medusa’s head was placed on Athena’s shield and her blood was revealed to hold the power of both life and death, her head became a symbol of protection.
Are Medusa tattoos common?
Medusa Tattoo Meaning – Medusa is a singular figure in mythology, but she brings a lot of meanings with her. People who get a Medusa tattoo can use one or all of the meanings we go over on this page, though they’d be very complex people if they did that.
- Medusa tattoos have plenty of different designs to choose from, too, which is why it is a tattoo that has gained some steam over the years;
- Medusa is a gorgon, a creature of ancient Greek myth characterized by her fatal gaze and head of snakes;
Her image is meant to terrify, turning onlookers into stone. With this Medusa tattoo meaning, owners might want to give off the impression that they are unapproachable. They could also use the tattoo to mean that people who get to close to them usually get hurt. One of three sisters, Medusa is the only mortal and therefore, the only fallible gorgon. Some people might get their Medusa tattoos to show their vulnerability. Medusa seemed as if she could not be killed but she was just as vulnerable as any human. Many of us, as human beings, come off a little gruff or unapproachable. This could be for many reasons but this version of the Medusa tattoo is a way to show that people are vulnerable and they might be trying to protect themselves.
This is a tattoo of someone that hasn’t dealt with all of their demons yet and maybe socially shy or uncomfortable. These tattoos have special characteristics, but at the end of the day they are human beings who need the essentials just like everyone else.
Funny enough, this Medusa tattoo meaning is one to show a person’s “normalcy. ” Medusa’s eventual beheading lead to the birth of Pegasus and the lesser known Greek figure Chrysador, a giant with an enormous sword. In this way, Medusa can be a symbol of fertility although her body only produces offspring following her beheading. She can be depicted either as a beautiful maiden or horrifying hag, depending on the intended tone of the image. In fact, some people try to capture both sides of Medusa in the same tattoo. In this way, they are showing that they have a good and bad side. We all have a side that we are afraid to let out to the surface. It might be sadness or anger but we usually carry some sort of baggage with us throughout our lifetime.
- Her death becomes a process of regeneration, connecting her further with Gaia;
- This might seem like an odd way to represent fertility but many people thrive on being different and cryptic;
- The confusion on why someone picked the tattoo they did is always a fun way to start up a conversation;
This tattoo can be used as a warning to others to treat them the right way or else they are going to see the angry version. Her myth is tragic, a woman who was born of the gods but cast into mortality and cursed as a hideous, snake-haired woman. Interestingly, both this and the opposite meaning can be used when someone gets a Medusa tattoo.
- They can get the tat to symbolize the fact that they feel different in a bad way, or they can get it to mean that they like being unique no matter what they look like;
- Of course, some people will get it to mean both sides of that coin;
In the same light, this tattoo might represent remorse for a decision one made in the past which was the reason something changed in their life. In Medusa’s case, she was cast down by Athena for being the apple of Poseidon’s eye. This wasn’t necessarily her fault but it cost her the beauty she once had and her immortality.
The Medusa tattoo might represent what we have turned into because of our decisions. She is eventually beheaded but remains an iconic figure of protection as well as female wisdom. You simply aren’t going to find too many better symbols of female power, which is why the Medusa tattoo has been getting more popular.
Medusa was strong and formidable. Many of us hope to take on those traits but because of the woman’s oppressed past, she might use this as a symbol of strength and reminder to not let any person hold you down. If the right meanings are used, the Medusa tattoo is a great image if you want to represent feminism in a new way.
Countless relics from Ancient Greece depict the image of the snake-haired Medusa as a symbol of protection. It was ritually used on armor, weaponry, entrances and doorways as a means of warding away evil.
The image of Medusa itself definitely makes people hesitate, which is exactly what some people want when they get this tattoo. It’s not necessarily an aggressive image, though it could be used in that way. Instead, it is there to make people pause and act with caution. The grimace of Medusa’s face petrifies any malevolent spirits in their tracks, keeping those who brandish the image safe. For this reason, some people will get their Medusa tattoo to feel safer in their own skin. As an ancient protection symbol, the Medusa in this way also symbolizes aspects of the mother goddess, especially as a child of Gaia, the creator. In a more modern sense, her image can be used as a warning to keep others at a distance.
Dark tones enhance her hideous features and present the visage of Medusa as a frightening monster. The snakes around her head are often shown as coiled and ready to strike, emphasizing her power. This is yet another Medusa tattoo meaning that is used to show someone’s strength.
Contrarily, Medusa can be portrayed as a fair-faced, mortal woman. There are multiple meanings that can be used with this image. Some will use it to show that it’s important to find the beauty in people, while others will want it to mean that they see the beauty in people. Various versions of the myth of Medusa recount her rape by Poseidon, which leads to her transformation into the horrifying monster. Someone who has suffered an extreme hardship might use the Medusa tattoo to both remember and get past the event. This is an uncommon Medusa tattoo meaning, but someone who both likes the image of Medusa and has had something bad happen to them might find it to be the perfect representation.
- Neither is an obvious Medusa tattoo meaning, but they are strong meanings nonetheless and important to someone that has used this idea to portray their message;
- The Medusa tattoo is one that can be tattooed in many styles and it is;
From realism to new school, the Medusa tattoo is a very popular Greek mythology tattoo and there are a lot of popular characters to choose from. We suggest taking your time in the search for a tattoo artist and when you think you’ve found one, have a consultation with them.
The most important fault about getting your tattoo is to make sure that you feel comfortable with the people tattooing you. This is important because it will be a memory you have forever. If you have been searching for a long time and are still having trouble finding an artist, reach out to the team at Tattoo SEO.
We have years of experience of connecting artists and customers. We make sure the match is fitting and that both artist and customer will bond over the new tattoo. If this doesn’t help give you some ideas, check out the list of pictures below to get some new ideas for your next tattoo. .
What does Medusa represent in the Bible?
Lessons from Medusa’s Story –
- Silencing Powerful Women – The beheading of Medusa can be seen as symbolic of silencing powerful women who voice their sentiments. As this article from the Atlantic puts it: “In Western culture, strong women have historically been imagined as threats requiring male conquest and control. Medusa is the perfect symbol of this”.
- Rape Culture – Medusa has been stigmatized and has unjustifiably been blamed for the consequences of male lust. She was unfairly blamed for “provoking” a god with her beauty. Instead of punishing her abuser, Athena, supposedly the goddess of wisdom, punished her by turning her into a hideous monster. It can be said that Medusa is an ancient representation of sexual stigma that still happens today.
- Femme Fatale – Medusa is the archetypal femme fatale. Medusa symbolizes death, violence, and erotic desire. Once an enthralling beauty she was turned into a monstrosity after she was raped by a god. Such is her beauty that even powerful men couldn’t resist her charms. She can be equally enchanting and dangerous, and in some cases, she can be fatal.
How does Medusa relate to today?
Medusa in Modern Culture – In modern culture, Medusa is seen as a powerful symbol of female intelligence and wisdom, related to the goddess Metis, who was a wife of Zeus. The snake-like head is a symbol of her cunning, a perversion of the matrifocal ancient goddess who the Greeks must destroy.
Why is Medusa so popular?
From Renaissance times, Medusa’s power and femininity has made her an enticing subject for Western artists. Her beheading is portrayed as an act of heroism, as in Alexander Runciman’s Perseus and the Sleeping Medusa (1774).
Why is Athena a virgin?
by Erik Collins – Athena is the goddess of the defense of Athens, wisdom and women’s crafts. She is a virgin warrior goddess, one of many throughout mythologies of the world. Since the Greek world was patriarchal, her status as a warrior goddess was limited.
Her power was specifically in defense of Athens. Perhaps because Greece was conquered at the end of the Bronze Age, Athens alone was among the Greek cities that survived. her status is also limited because of her service to her father, Zeus.
She acts with his consent or she does his will, so that whatever her powers are, they are also his powers. Her role as the goddess of wisdom is accounted for in myth by her birth narrative. Her mother Metis, the goddess of cleverness, was swallowed by her father Zeus.
He himself became impregnated with Athena, whom he bore from his head in full armor with the aid of Hephasestus’ axe. Originally, Athena was the goddess of womanly wisdom, but her role was expanded to wisdom in general.
Hephaestus’ appearance in the story also helps account for Athena’s role as the goddess of women’s crafts. Althought Athena is a virgin goddess, she mothered the god Erichthonios by Hephaestus. According to myth, she went to Hephaestus wanting some weapons forged.
- When Hephaestus tried to rape her, she protected her virginity and he ejaculated on her leg;
- She wiped it off with a piece of wool, throwing it onto the ground;
- Erichthonios sprouted from the discarded wool;
Athena gave the baby to the daughters of Pandrosus in a chest, which they were forbidden to open. They opened it and became mad, throwing themselves from the Acropolis. Athena then raised her son. In myth, Athena became the patron of Athens through a contest with Poseidon Athena offered the city the olive tree and Poseidon offered a fountain of water, though the water was salty.
- The citizens consulted an oracle about what the signs meant and found that they were supposed to vote between the two;
- At this time, both men and women voted, according to the myth;
- The vote split along gender lines;
The women outnumbered the men and Athena became the patron goddess of Athens. Poseidon became incensed and flooded Athens until Athenians conceded to limit the status of women. This serves as a charter myth for how Athenian politics were patriarchal. It may also represent a real choice that Athenians made at a point in their history to depend more on agriculture than on trade.
Athena also deals with Poseidon in the Odyssey. She champions for Odysseus, as she did for the Achaeans in the Trojan War. She asks Poseidon to allow Odysseus’ return home after ten years. Poseidon had prevented his return in retaliation for his blinding of the Cyclops.
Athena’s aegises are the owl and the bear. her breastplate bears the head of Medusa. Medusa’s head was either given to her by Perseus, whom she aided in his quest, or given to her through Perseus by Zeus. The head represents her power to defend, since it strikes fear in enemies.
What does the story of Medusa teach us?
The Moral of the Story – The story of Perseus and Medusa is told to teach various life lessons. Perseus is cast out into the sea in a wooden chest with his unfaithful mother, yet they survive the rough seas by praying to Poseidon for the seas to be calm.
- Once landing on the island of Serifos, Perseus grew into a strong man with noble character and great intelligence;
- As King Polydectes ordered the near-impossible task that Perseus bring him the head of Medusa, Perseus dedicated himself to fulfilling the demand to save his mother;
As the son of Zeus, Perseus had help from the gods during his journey to find Medusa. Perseus used these gifts to locate Medusa and behead her, but it was also his strength, courage, and intelligence that helped him succeed. His courage, strength, and intelligence was also the reason that Perseus saved Andromeda from the Cetus and returned home with her, slaying both Phineus and Polydectes with the head of Medusa by turning them into stone.
The story of Perseus and Medusa is a story of perseverance, bravery, and dignity. Perseus personifies the length one would go to in order to save the ones you love. Perseus shows the authenticity of his character when he rescues the helpless Andromeda from the Cetus and the attachment to the rock.
The bravery and courage of Perseus are shown as he beheads Medusa, as well as his defeat of Phineus and Polydectes..
Is Medusa a metaphor?
The myth of Medusa and Perseus put a series of very interesting symbols into play. Medusa represents a woman cornered by the feminine power and Perseus is the symbol of a person who manages to overcome fear by projecting it in a mirror. For some people, the myth of Medusa and Perseus is a metaphor for horror and how it’s actually possible to save yourself from it through art. For others, on the other hand, it represents a feminine myth, in which mistreated women become monstrous. This image, without a doubt, terrifies and stuns anyone who stands before it. There are several versions of the myth of Medusa and Perseus. However, the most classic one tells that both had a tragic background.
- Medusa was one of the three gorgons, all daughters of Forces and Keto;
- Out of the three, Medusa was the most beautiful and also the only mortal one;
- Her beauty sparked admiration between gods and men;
- Some say that she captivated Poseidon so strongly that he raped her on the marble in the Athena tempo;
Athena, however, didn’t tolerate such desecration and, as a consequence, decided to turn Medusa into a horrible monster, just like her sisters. She gave her metal hands and sharp fangs. Suddenly, Medusa’s beautiful hair turned into snakes. In addition, she gave her eyes from which a terrible light came out. .
What is Medusa the goddess of?
Interesting Facts About Medusa –
- Born to the sea god Phorcys and Ceto (Phorcys’ wife and sister), Medusa (queen or ruler) was one of the three Gorgon sisters. The other two sisters were Stheno (strength) and Euryale (wide-leaping).
- Greek poet Hesiod wrote that Medusa lived close to the Hesperides in the Western Ocean near Sarpedon. Herodotus the historian said her home was Libya.
- Medusa’s sisters were immortal but she was mortal.
- Medusa wandered Africa for some time. Legend says while she was there baby snakes dropped from her head and this is why there are plenty of snakes in Africa.
- Many artists made Medusa into a work of art.
- Leonardo da Vinci did a painting of her using oil on canvas.
- She was made into marble and bronze sculptures.
- From c. 200 B. : In Pompeii’s House of the Faun, Medusa was on the breastplate of Alexander the Great in the Alexander Mosaic.
- The coat of arms of the Dohalice village from the Czech Republic depicts Medusa’s head.
- The flag and emblem of Sicily also features her head.
- Two species of snakes contain her name: the venomous pitviper Bothriopsis medusa and the nonvenomous snake called Atractus medusa.
- Medusa represents philosophy, beauty and art.
- The Medusa head is part of fashion designer Gianni Versace’s symbol.
- She has been featured in movies, books, cartoons and even video games.
- There are several versions of the Medusa myth.
- In almost every version of the Medusa myth, King Polydectes of Seriphus sent Perseus to return with her head so that Polydectes could marry his mother. The gods aided Perseus in his quest and he was sent golden winged sandals from Hermes , Hades’ helm of invisibility, a sword from Hephaestus and a mirrored shield from Athena.
- Perseus the hero slayed Medusa, the only mortal of the Gorgon sisters, by viewing her in the reflection of the mirrored shield of Athena. Perseus then beheaded her. At this moment Chrysaor , the giant with a golden sword, and the winged horse Pegasus sprang forth from her body. These are her two sons.
- In feminism Medusa is known as a symbol of rage even though she was originally exceedingly beautiful.
- A Roman cameo from the second or third century contains her head.
- A tepidarium from the Roman era has a mosaic floor with her head at the center.
- Her profile is engraved on coins of the reign of Seleceus I Nicator of Syria from 312-280 B.
- The Artemis temple in Corfu depicts Medusa in archaic form. She is a symbol of fertility dressed in a belt of intertwined snakes.
- A story says that Hercules acquired a lock of Medusa’s hair from Athena and gave it to the daughter of Cepheus, Sterope, to protect the town of Tegea from being attacked. Her hair held the same powers as her head so that when it was exposed it caused a storm which chased away the foes.
Medusa is one of the most famous characters of Greek mythology. This has been proven because she continues to be portrayed in pop culture. She is not only immortalized in stories but also in history. She is immediately recognizable, a classical figure and an exciting symbol of a monster.