What is a Gorgon?

You may have seen the film Clash of the titans and so have some knowledge of at least one gorgon. In this film you see Ray Harryhausen's image of one Gorgon in particular: Medusa. However there was more than one gorgon. A gorgon should be seen as a type of being rather than just one person. The various legends and portrayals of gorgons have been different. The various legends have more than one description. Some things are similar to all. The most important points being that gorgon are all female: there are no male gorgons. All gorgons have snakes instead of hair. There face is that of a hideous woman. But there are other details, such as in some descriptions a gorgon would have wings. So there are many differences in opinion in exactly how a gorgon looked. It is normally accepted that in legend anyone looking at a gorgons head would be turned to stone. Medusa has typically been seen as mortal, but her two sisters were not: being immortal. But again there are different legends as to how they came about. Some link them to the underworld. They have also been linked to being the daughters of a god and goddess.

Other legends tell of how they were turned into gorgons. In the film Clash of the titans Medusa was said to have been born a beautiful female and was turned into a gorgon by a jealous goddess. The film clash of the titans is the most important portrayal of a gorgon in fiction: this is because it laid the way for all others. It provides the image we have of a gorgon. Naturally there is no evidence that gorgons existed at all: there are no skeletons. But gorgons were not all bad. They have been thought as guardians of the underworld: the land of the dead. The image of a gorgon has been used as a protective amulet and many representations of a gorgon were used for protection. They were used on shields etc. But the image we have when we think of a gorgon is the work of Ray Harryhausen. This is what we see in our minds eye when we think of a gorgon. But it could have looked quite differently.

At one time a gorgon was thought of as having wings, having brass hands, etc. So what is a gorgon? Is it the ancient monster of, Greek, legend? Or is it the image of the Medusa linked to the work of Ray Harryhausen? Is Medusa a monster born from a family of monsters, or the later Greek idea of being mortal woman punished by, a jealous goddess? However you view a gorgon. It is without doubt a monster. But its monstrousness lies in its, humanity. If it had simply been a creature that was ugly and could turn people to stone by a stare, it would not have been so frightening. No, the fear it provokes is due to its humanity. It is more than a creature. It is very nearly human. A creature of human intelligence, that looks nearly human.

It is not a lizard or a dragon. It is a woman; a woman who was not just hideous, but who turned people to stone simply by being looked at. When we think of it we must ask: what would it be to be trapped in such a body and face? To have snakes for hair: which may bite us as we lived our daily lives; each snake with its own brain and fangs. We imagine the terrible despair of being in such a state. So maybe being turned into stone is not so bad after all? We may come to realise that however fearful a gorgon may seem, whatever terror we may have of it: it would be much worse if we were on the inside looking out.

Written by: S Rob, an occult consultant, UK

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Edited by: Rajesh Bihani ( Find me on Google+ )

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