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Myths, Medusa and Malediction: Why Cast a Curse?

By Emily Campbell

Green Snake

Throughout history, whether false or fact, curses have played an essential part in legends, myths and biblical stories. From Ancient Greece to the Egyptians, curses were seen as a way to punish criminals or disadvantage others out of spite or jealousy.


Firstly, what is a curse? A curse is often referred to as a spoken word or phrase used to cause adverse, often unchangeable effects to the receiver. The perpetrator harnesses a supernatural force to place the curse on the victim, with the aim of limiting their freedom and making them suffer.


The most well known curse that comes to mind is Medusa. This story has been told in the present day through different forms of popular culture such as film and literature. For those that haven’t heard of the Greek myth, Medusa has snakes for locks with the power to turn those to stone who dared to look into her eyes.


In some versions of the tale, Athena cast the curse on Medusa because of her affair with her own love interest, Poseidon. This curse was dual ended, affecting Medusa and those she came in contact with. People stayed as far away as they could because even the sight of her could kill them. It ensured she could not build connections with others. Athena made Medusa a social recluse, ensuring she could never be loved again.


Perseus was set on a mission to kill her and succeeded by beheading her, which was feasible because she was a mortal gorgon. Even after the death of Medusa, the curse was continued in smaller fragments. For example, Hercules is said to have used one of the locks as a protective weapon because it still held the powers of the curse.


Ancient Greece was full of curses. Looking at the inspiration behind Frankenstein, we can draw on the curse placed on Prometheus by Zeus for gifting fire to humankind without his permission. The curse made an eagle devour his immortal liver every day whilst Prometheus was chained permanently to a rock. This curse is an assertion of power and a lesson to others who think about betraying the Gods.


So, there you have it – curses, weaving their mystical tales throughout our history. I've just scratched the surface with a handful of these enchantments, but trust me, there's a whole array of curses sprinkled across different historical periods. Dive into the enchanting world of the supernatural with this quick read, and get ready for more cursed stories in Issue Two: Cursed of Divinations Magazine! 🔮✨



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