In my last storytelling post, I wrote about how a lot of my paintings come with stories of their own. I usually just let it stay in my head, but I thought I might have some fun and actually tell you, dearest readers, some of the stories.
Medusa is considered a monster, she is assumed to be so ugly that just looking at her face turns you to stone. But before she was ugly, she was beautiful. She had long lustrous hair, which is why it was changed in order to punish her. Her gorgeous locks turned instead into hissing snakes. But in her metamorphosis she went from being a victim to being a being of fear. Sometimes it is in change that you find yourself. For Medusa, metamorphosis is the meaning of her life, her own change and the change she brings on others. She commemorates this with a tattoo of a flying butterfly on her shoulder.
In Orkney, one of the most malevolent creatures is the nuckelavee, a half-human-half-horse creature. Its lizard-like flesh it rotting from its bones. In the land to the East there are rumors of beautiful creatures who hide their true faces behind silks and paints. So the Nuckelavee flees, and learns to hide. But beneath the beauty of its paint and wigs, it is still a rotting corpse and its true nature cannot hide. See how the cherry blossoms whither where they touch its putrid flesh. No one said all the stories were pretty.
They tried to suppress her inner flame. They tried to tell her to be ashamed of it, to cover it up. They told her to tone it down in public. For a while she let them curb her flame, even believed it was the right thing to do, till one day she felt it start to smother. She freed herself from the chairs of expectations and let herself blaze in all her glory. The woman on fire, she let herself burn brightly and ignited a fire that spread from person to person and changed the world.
Everyone knows the story of Pegasus, who sprang forth from Medusa’s neck after Perseus removed her head. Not many know about what happened after. As her life’s blood drained into the soil, it turned it to mud. Along with severing her neck, Perseus’ sword hard severed two of the snakes atop her head. As they fell wriggling to the ground, the venom from their fangs dripped and mixed with the mud. Unbeknownst even to Medusa herself, the snakes atop her hear carried the waters of life and death which could cure any injury and restore life. It was within her power to free all who she transformed. The blessed mud formed and became a child. Raised by the gorgons, his mother’s sister, he learned to listen to his snakes. They whispered secrets to him, teaching him medicine, and poetry, and husbandry, the language of beast and fowl, and the language of music. He is Atheris, the Bush Viper.