Wednesday, January 18, 2012

My Medusa

          Insights from sharing My Medusa, prompted writing for The Daimon.

          “The snake looks like it is swallowing an egg!”  The kindergartener exclaimed while pointing to Ms. Elisabeth’s four feet in diameter mosaic, Medusa, on display at the gallery.
           “She turns people to stone!”  A bright eyed boy spoke with authority.
           Ms. Elisabeth had brought her school children to see her work, the fourth graders helping the kindergartners view the art with investigative eyes. 
           “She has snakes for hair!”  The little ones were amazed.
           Ms. Elisabeth had primed the kindergartners’ knowledge by telling them a secret about her Medusa.  “This looks like stone but it was really made out of paper glued to a board,”              
           And then Ms. Elisabeth whispered, “And My Medusa has snakes on her lips!”
           “Ooooh!” The kindergartners were dying to tell the fourth graders.
           “I created My Medusa after having a dream about her.”   Elisabeth would later tell the viewers at her reception.
           Medusa had appeared to Elisabeth upon awaking, snakes writhing and hissing, bringing a message, “Silence is not the answer to healing.”
           Then while driving down the road after picking up her husband, Max, from his bike ride, it was as if Medusa had been navigating—snakes wriggling to and fro—lashing out against the windshield, banging on the steering wheel.  Elisabeth, weaving in and out of lanes.  Out of control, yet in control of the moment. 
           Feeling overwhelmed by a list of weekend chores, Elisabeth screeched at her unsuspecting husband, “I don’t have time for this!”
           Max had a broken down bike, and Elisabeth, well some might say she was having a broken down nervous system.  Elisabeth would laugh as she told this story during her exhibition presentation, The Sacred Feminine.  She had discovered in her research that Medusa appeared in dreams to women, at midlife, who were coming into their power. 
          “I guess the buzz word in 2010 is reinventing yourself!”  Elisabeth would draw chuckles from other post-menopausal women in the audience.
           Elisabeth read from her writing:  I had stood in my closet before my full length mirror, fingering the hair on the close-up print of Botticelli’s Venus, trailing my fingers along her plaited hair.  I looked up to see serpent heads at the end of the locks.
           Thus, Medusa was born out of love, in Elisabeth’s mind’s eye, as the past, present and future. 
           “I use to call myself a closet artist,” Elisabeth would typically say when asked about her art work, “But Medusa changed that for me.”

           Looking out from under Frida Kahlo-like eyebrows, Medusa casts a roving glance, overseeing Elisabeth’s work at her bench.  A guardian.  Viola had played that role for little Elisabeth.  In midlife, pre-Medusa, Elisabeth had dreamed that she had abandoned Viola: 
           Watching Viola in her white cotton nightie, making her bed with painstaking care, I could see her wrestling with a premonition as she motioned for me to jump out of our second story bedroom window.  Viola would sacrifice herself for me, as the man with the crystal blue eyes and muscle man tee-shirt climbed the stairs in search of a young virgin.


  1. Powerful writing! And so good to see your Medusa mosaic again!

  2. I remember this amazing/beautiful mosaic and all the "Herstory" around it, very powerful, deep writing and work.
    Thank you for letting me into your world of vision and wisdom.
    big hugs

    1. Thanks Janet and Rebecca for appreciating My Medusa. Her myth holds a powerful archetype, I'm happy to share her.