All Beliefs are Welcome Here!
Joseph Campbell, the author of The Hero with a Thousand Faces, admitted that the myths that he discusses in his book were, almost exclusively, recorded by men with a man's point of view. I would like to take a more balanced approach to myth which appreciates and values both the woman and the man. I wish to illustrate this approach with a retelling of the myth of Perseus. In the myth of Perseus, Athena gives the hero arms and armor and instructs him. Perseus kills Medusa and uses her image, fixed to his shield, to kill the sea monster Cetus. He is able to save Andromeda from her torment and marries her. In a retelling of the myth from a woman's perspective (this is original to me) Medusa secretly wishes to die because she senses that through death she can be transformed and reborn in another form. She fights Perseus fiercely because only a true hero can be allowed to kill her, and not a man who lacks courage and insight. Perseus must prove to her that he is that hero. Perseus uses the hideous image of Medusa to kill Cetus and rescues Andromeda. But Andromeda is actually Medusa. Andromeda is the form that Medusa longed to have in order that she could love Perseus. Her battle with Perseus disguised the fact that she actually loved him. But Medusa and Andromeda are also identical with Athena. Athena "used" Perseus in order that something within her, something horrible that she could not let the world see, could be transformed into a beautiful woman. Through this transformation the cold, intellectual Athena becomes Andromeda, who is capable of love. Although Athena is, in a way, using Perseus as a tool in order to solve her personal crisis, she has the greatest possible respect for his heroism and in the end her transformation enables her to love him, which she wanted to do but could not do because of her emotional aridity. In this version of the myth of Perseus the feminine has the greatest respect for the masculine, and the masculine is invaluable to the feminine.
Everyone of us can benefit immeasurably by valuing both the masculine and the feminine within ourselves. My retelling of the myth also cautions us against the fallacy of believing that any one form of the goddess is her "real" form. The goddess is continually transforming herself and her name and form are constantly changing. The life of the goddess is an adventure of continuous transformation as she becomes more deeply herself.
The true Perseus and the true goddess are inner realities. The failure of most people to look inside themselves can only result in the externalization of the myth in a bedroom fight between a neurotic Perseus and a neurotic Medusa. Both have what psychologists today politely call a "personality disorder" because they see the villain in each other and not where it really is.
This is my beautiful Perseus.