It’s a debate whether Medusa was once a beautiful goddess or always a gorgon monster. Some myths claim she was one of three sisters born to Echidne who was half snake. Others say she was a beautiful woman whose parents were Ceto and Phorcys.
The tales of Medusa include rumors of her being so stunning that many men courted her. She was a priestess in the beautiful goddess Athena’s temple. Athena was offended by her beauty as she attracted the lust of the sea god named Poseidon. Rumor had it that she had intimacy with the god Poseidon on the altar of the goddess Athena. Some say she seduced him but other stories suggest he attacked her. The story may be a classic one of jealousy between females. Since Athena may have been mad at Poseidon but ultimately punished Medusa instead.
Athena was so enraged by Medusa’s mesmerizing beauty and behavior in disgracing her holy altar that she cast a curse on Medusa. Her spell made Medusa have snakes for hair, the body of a dragon and a face that turned those that looked at her to stone. The tale speaks to beauty being on the one hand a gift, and on the other a curse.
Medusa was a woman of both beauty at her prime, and rage once she become a monster. Like many in Greek mythology hers is a story of tragic fate as a serpent goddess. As a gorgon monster she was extremely powerful. She had snakes for hair. She could turn men to stone if they forced unwanted attention on a woman.
Eventually a Greek hero named Perseus was sent to kill Medusa with a mirrored shield so that he could not be turned to stone. Tales say that once Medusa was beheaded her blood sprang to life in several forms. The winged horse Pegasus and the warrior Chrysaor are said to have been born of her blood. Also, as Perseus traveled with Medusas head blood dropped along the way giving birth to poisonous serpents. When Medusa’s blood dripped into the sea water it created red coral and the water became known as the Red Sea.