The Gorgon and the Caveman

There are two figures that are particularly important in terms of the relationships they inhabit. They are not so much linked to particular astrology charts or even personality types charts but rather seem to be universal. In a sense they represent images of two archetypal extremes. One is masculine, the other feminine and they inhabit their own relative positions and express themselves in peculiarly negative masculine and feminine ways. Which one comes first it is not possible to say but each seems to awaken the other.
 
The feminine pole of this pair appears as the figure of the gorgon. The theme of the gorgon is common in folklore. The most common myth in which a gorgon appears is of Perseus who must slay the Medusa.The Medusa was once a beautiful woman transformed thus as punishment for laying with Poisidon.
 
So it is with other gorgons, perhaps a goddess is jealous or some injury is done to her, not uncommonly a rape. Here begins a sense of terrible outrage and the need to avenge this primal violation.  The gorgon appears across cultural boundaries  and has certain cross-cultural, universal characteristics.  For example she always has her tongue stuck out in a very phallic way, and sometimes her hair is made of snakes, as in the case of the Greek Medusa. She also has those large staring eyes that can turn life to stone. She is the archetypal image of primal outraged, violated nature.
 
How then does she manage to appear in relationships, it is not as though she is invited? Rather She simply appears, is there and takes over, if you like, becomes her, indeed she may not even be aware of it, certainly not at the time. The outrage and venom are there though and men recoil and react to it  immediately, not surprising really since it is usually targeted at them. The tone of voice, the sense of injury and and rage, overt and covert, eating away and poisoning at all female to male interactions.  
 
One of the things women seek in their men is relationship, and the need to be seen, heard and valued within that relationship. Recognised, valued and related with for who they are. If this is lacking it can be seen as the husband’s fault. In time what rises from beneath the spoken complaints, which are commonplace enough in settled, comfortable relationships is a deep, ancient and underlying bitterness.  The ancient bitterness of women feeling invisible and ignored and the pain of thousands of generations right down the matrilineal line. From the gorgon's point of view she has a right to be outraged and vindictive. She believes it's all the fault of men. In some stories the gorgon's face has frozen into a hideous grimace, because she cannot let go of her outrage.
 
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The gorgon has a male counterpart, and whenever one surfaces within a relationship they seem to have the capacity to evoke the other. If women seek quality relationships from their men, then men seek above all acceptance an validation from their women. When this is met with the constant undermining criticism of their mate then something else takes over. 
 
This male shadow principal we can call the caveman. The caveman man is hard, distant and impenetrable. He too is a mythic figure and his poison and his wound is his inability to be touched emotionally. As if made of stone he is incapable of expressing anything at a feeling level.
 
The interactions that these dynamics create are unmistakable, ancient, poisonous and anti life. You can see immediately when the dialogue between these two figures begins, being of course most noticeable in others. It's a lot harder to hear that dialogue when it is your own. The personal man and the personal woman seem to disappear, and the gorgon and the gaveman enter the scene. The gorgon begins to rage, and the caveman withdraws. Punishing and crippling of everythng feminine in his mate, all that is feminine inevitably disappears. The more he hardens and distances himself the more she rages or seethes. Both of the protagonists here are reasonable people, children, siblings, parents, neighbours yet become something other, as if possessed, when in relationships with the people they were perhaps once, or still are at other times, most close to.
 
When in full play they feed of each others personal grievances and can destroy, for a while, or for ever, any possibility of positive, enabling relationship. His cool distancing cruelty is as potent as the constancy of her endless critical negativity. The one evokes the other, the gorgon slithering unnoticed from her cave and the caveman wielding his inarticulate emotional clubs brutish and primitive with stoney distance.
 
Both of these figures have a way of inserting themselves into relationships with extraordinary regularity. This is the thing each fears in the other and it is the thing each would prefer not to recognise about themselves. The gorgon conjures all of the ancient themes of the castrator and devourer which are related to this figure. Like the ancient Hag she can suck the very life force from a man. She is a sort of shadow of the feminine principle.  While the caveman, distant and unassailable renders his mate inconsequential beyond all measure, meanwhile nothing touches him. He might label her irrational and overemotional, she him, cold, hard, brutish, unfeeling and incapable of meeting her needs, and both are right. All that remains is this mutual punishing and crippling of the other.
 
Clearly something has to give and again the Perseus myth is instructive, to avoid being turned to stone Perseus must approach the gorgon backwards seeing her reflection in his polished shield. For to stare at it directly is to be either overwhelmed by ones darkness or else deal with it by continued projection. This capacity for reflective thinking then is necessary, the capacity for coming at things from a different angle, is essential to break the circuits between gorgon and brute.  When the gorgon is finally overcome by Perseus a winged steed bursts forth, this being the steed fathered on her by Poisideon but that in her hate and spite she was unable to give birth to. 
 
The winged horse is a bridge between opposites, between the earthly and the divine, the beauty and the beast, an earthly creature that can provide a bridge to the divine. Releasing the gorgon also releases the caveman who might become once more loving homo sapiens.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              
 
In future posts I will look at some of the footprints and indicators these figures might leave in a birthchart. Stay tuned.
 

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