Sep 28 2018

Ivan M. Granger – Medusa

Published by at 9:08 am under Poetry

by Ivan M. Granger

Medusa says –

I was wisdom
black as night.

Now they call me:

So I hide
behind this hissing curtain
of hair.

little ones,
breathe easy;
you are free
to not see.

what is a lonely
old lady to do?

I still wait
for some daughter,
      some son,
so wounded by the world,
to seize these snakes
and part my locks wide.

I still wait
for some bold, tired
      wild child of mine,
determined to die
seeing what’s reflected
in my unblinking eye.

— from Real Thirst: Poetry of the Spiritual Journey, by Ivan M. Granger
Or order through Wordery and have it shipped anywhere in the world for free!

/ Image by Emanuello Brigant /

Something to honor the Divine Goddess today–

I don’t do it as often these days, but every now and then I awake early, before the sun. Observing the nighttime before dawn, its embodiment of mystery, the unknown, vastness. Night brings both peace and fear. It does not distract us from ourselves. Whatever we bring with us into the night we must confront…

I read a lot of Greek mythology in my childhood. I loved the fantastical adventures, the heroes, the monsters, the convoluted relationships of the gods. I was fascinated that so many common words and phrases have their origins in the names and stories of Greek myths. It connected me with the Greek ancestry I have through my father.

And I also had the vague, semi-formed idea that there was something deeper being said in these myth stories.

I discovered something several years back that struck me: Medusa, the quintessential monster of Greek mythology, was originally a much loved Goddess. Her name comes from the Greek word “metis” (related to the Sanskrit “medha”) meaning “wisdom.” Her worship is thought to have originated in North Africa and been imported into early Greek culture. She was black-skinned, wore wild, matted hair (with, of course, snakes), stood naked, wide-eyed, and embodied the mystery of woman, the wisdom of the night, the truths too profound or terrible to face in the daylight.

Medusa is, in effect, a Mediterranean version of the Bengali Goddess Kali.

Medusa was eventually subsumed into the safer, patriarchal worship of Athena, who carries Medusa’s head upon her shield.

This discovery inspired me to look at the figure of Medusa more deeply, more reverently. What is the wisdom that terrifies? Why the snakes? Why the petrifying open-eyed stare? And how does such a bringer of terrible wisdom feel about being rejected by her children as a “monster”?

So I hide
Behind this hissing curtain
Of hair.

One way to understand the snakes about Medusa’s head is as the awakened Kundalini energy, having risen from the base of the spine to the skull — something well-understood in the Mediterranean mystery schools of the ancient world. This vital, snake-like energy is the Goddess energy. Medusa, the Goddess, is the Snake Mother.

(The more monstrous aspect of Medusa can also be understood as a rageful expression of the Kundalini, the Divine Feminine energy, when it is repressed in society. A society that does not respect the strength and mystery of Woman, that does not allow the feminine energy to move freely, that society is lost in a state of calcifying fear. Too many societies see only the terrible Gorgon when looking at the Divine Mother.)

In my poem, Medusa has formed of this feminine life-energy a curtain, a veil that hides Her Face from a world not ready to bear witness to Her. This curtain is the veil of illusion that creates an artificial sense of separation between the world and the Divine.

And the curtain does indeed hiss. When you are quiet and your thoughts settle, we begin to hear a soft sound seeming to issue from the base of the skull. Initially, it sounds like a creaking or crackling noise, a white noise, a sort of a hissing. The deeper we go into silence, the more the sound resolves itself. Eventually, we recognize it permeating our whole body and all things.

We must pass through this hissing curtain in order to meet the deep truth waiting for us on the other side.

I still wait
For some bold, tired
      Wild child of mine,
Determined to die
Seeing what’s reflected
In my unblinking eye.

Medusa’s eye does not blink. This is partly what is so terrifying about her gaze. She stares boldly out and sees Reality as it is. She sees it plainly, fearlessly, and without interruption. There is no pause for interpretation or “filtering.” Medusa’s truth is raw. She is the Divine Mother who sees all of Her Creation in every living instant.

Looking in Medusa’s eye, what is it that we see reflected? Our own self, of course. And this truly is shattering, for we see the truth about ourselves. We see the unreality of the little self, the social self, the ego self we imagine ourselves to be. That little self is a phantom, a mental creation only.

Medusa, in her shattering wisdom, does not protect us from this realization. Her love will not allow us to struggle on with such a false notion holding us back from our true nature.

Seeing this truth, we die. The little self dies.

But, in dying to the little self, our true nature suddenly shines forth. The real Self, which is one with the Divine, emerges. Every aspect of ourselves that felt broken and that we labored so long to fix, is suddenly made whole. In fact, we realize that nothing was ever broken in the first place. That sense of incompleteness was the result of denying the vastness we already are while clinging to the illusion of the little self.

This is Medusa’s gift to Her children. This is Her terrible wisdom. It is the truth that blesses us through death, and then gives you greater life than we had previously imagined possible.

Recommended Books: Ivan M. Granger

The Longing in Between: Sacred Poetry from Around the World (A Poetry Chaikhana Anthology) Real Thirst: Poetry of the Spiritual Journey For Lovers of God Everywhere: Poems of the Christian Mystics Diamond Cutters: Visionary Poets in America, Britain & Oceania Poems of Awakening: An International Anthology of Spiritual Poetry
More Books >>

Ivan M. Granger, Ivan M. Granger poetry, Secular or Eclectic poetry Ivan M. Granger

US (1969 – )
Secular or Eclectic
Yoga / Hindu : Advaita / Non-Dualist

Ivan M. Granger is the founder and editor of the Poetry Chaikhana, a publishing house and online resource for sacred poetry from around the world. He is the author of Real Thirst: Poetry of the Spiritual Journey and editor of The Longing in Between: A Poetry Chaikhana Anthology. His poetry and translations have been included in several magazines and anthologies.

Ivan grew up in Oregon and Southern California. He has also lived on the island of Maui. He now lives in Colorado with his wife, Michele.

“Poetry has an immediate effect on the mind. The simple act of reading poetry alters thought patterns and the shuttle of the breath. Poetry induces trance. Its words are chant. Its rhythms are drumbeats. Its images become the icons of the inner eye. Poetry is more than a description of the sacred experience; it carries the experience itself.”


Poetry Chaikhana readers often ask me about myself. Who is the guy behind all those poetry emails? What drew you to sacred poetry? And just what does “Poetry Chaikhana” mean?

As a way to answer some of those questions, I thought I’d post an audio interview I did a few years ago. I talk a little about myself, and a lot about poetry — the transformational power of poetry, the ways poetry naturally expresses the sacred experience, the non-dogmatic nature of poetry. And I read a few poems.

Click to listen: Interview with Ivan M. Granger


Email Ivan M. Granger

More poetry by Ivan M. Granger

7 responses so far

7 Responses to “Ivan M. Granger – Medusa”

  1. Gollanon 28 Sep 2018 at 11:04 am

    A great and profound poem, and even greater is your explnation. I really enjoyed reading it!!

  2. Annaon 28 Sep 2018 at 11:42 am

    When the original masculine and feminine
    archetypal energy patterns are merging in
    balance and harmony on a soul level,
    without the dominance of any of it,
    then this act inspire a beautiful poem
    and sincerely, wise, truthful words…

    We didn’t come here to continually
    “re-Live” the “past” (Unconscious Karmic Loop Cycles)…
    of any existences.

    We came here to REMEMBER IT and AFTER,
    so we could BE and CREATE all new.

    Glad for you, Ivan!


    A little note about the hissing curtain.
    I merely hear very often something like
    a Morze code…bip…biiip….bip…biiiip…
    Did you heard something like that?

  3. Ivan M. Grangeron 29 Sep 2018 at 3:01 pm

    Interesting. Anna, you should learn Morse code to see if you can decode the messages! 🙂 For me, in my quiet states, I tend to hear a, well, hissing sound, like a gentle waterfall. Sometimes the sound seems to focus into something more like a flute or soft whistle. This sound is most clear for me when I’m not distracted by random thoughts. It becomes a good focal point in meditation. Bringing my attention back to that soft inner tone reminds me to not get carried away by the mind’s chatter…

  4. Karen M.on 28 Sep 2018 at 11:57 am

    Wonderful poem, Ivan. You capture it so well. This was my own experience as a young person, trying to part those dark matted locks, and I found the Book of Proverbs, “Wisdom cries aloud in the streets” and no one listens – this began my own journey towards seeking wisdom, and meeting her ‘unblinking eye.’

    Thank you.

  5. Aliceon 28 Sep 2018 at 4:31 pm

    Wonderful poem!

    I find myself observing my own negative and unattractive reactions to things and people and thus forgive myself and, somehow, heal. I realize that I must face my darkness head on, no matter how frightening this can be.
    In doing so, I can forgive and love.

    This poem speaks to me in this way.
    Thank you!

  6. Annaon 30 Sep 2018 at 1:29 am

    Dear Ivan,

    You are such a sweet heart and always make me smile and joyful,
    whatever you are serious or smiling.

    Just your energy signature is so soft and warm, kind, caring, respectful…just freely flows…from an open heart…

    Most people are even not aware, that when they write words,
    the written word carry their own energy pattern,
    and they can’t deceive or lie those who read their words.

    It is so obvious for those who can read energy.

    It is the same with any other communications too, so we should learn
    to be very careful and aware as what we are writing and talking…


    So, about Morze code.

    No need to learn Morze code,lol,
    I just ‘know’, that when I hear bip…biip..,
    that means that I am downloading new light codes,
    ( our ‘junk DNA’ is opening,
    the crystals are activating,
    the body is going to a process of de-densification)

    this is IN_FORM_ation,

    that later need to be integrating within the body,
    and later it just freely start to flows in my mind…

    It was happening many times,
    when I was writing comments for your blog…

    When nothing flows, so I don’t comment.

    It is a feeling, sensations, sometimes ineffable, may be just wordless knowing…

    You know what I am talking about…

    As I remember Rumi has told something like that.

    When he felt the right poem is not coming from THE FIELD,
    about it he wrote is his poem,
    (It is really a Quantum Unifying Universal Field),
    but from the head, he just has stopped to write.


    We all are going in Process of
    re-programming on all levels.

    We must push the button ‘RESET’, as you said,
    very, very often on all levels.
    I am doing this every day, many times…

    Also pushing the button ‘DELETE’ often.
    There are a lot of programs
    that must be erased from our software…
    We can’t take/bring
    the old mentalities with us
    to the New Place…


    About mind’s chatter.

    It took years for me to learn to
    calm down the mind’s chatter.
    I came to the conclusion, that the more
    I engage with outer activities, all kind of communications,
    especially when the two outer senses are active (mentally and emotionally) – sight and audio, then later, all information, gathered from that senses, the mind replay and repeat again and again, entrapped in endless Time Loop Cycles…

    This is what is doing the ‘chattering mind’.

    So, let we rest, slow down and simplify, minimise all our outer activities and focus all our energy inside …and doing our inner work…we have to do a lot of inner work…a lot!

    It is got too long comment, not usual for me…
    If you feel it is very long, don’t post it, or whatever you decide…

    Best wishes and keep going on to listen the flute and the waterfalls …It is so beautiful! You will know…


  7. kristion 30 Sep 2018 at 3:01 am

    Beautifully envisaged, beautifully written. Please share more of your own work with us.

Trackback URI | Comments RSS

Leave a Reply