The Goddess Medea is the great witch of the Greek myths
She is knowledgeable in herbs, healing and the art of metamorphosis.
Medea was the Princess of Colchis, granddaughter of the Sun god, Helios and niece of the sorceress, Circe.
‘Of all things upon earth that bleed and grow, A herb most bruised is woman’ Euripes, Medea
Medea, a princess of Colchis, was known as the ‘wise one’ for her skill of healing and proficiency at using drugs and herbs. Colchis, which gives its name to Colchicum, the meadow saffron, was a kingdom on the Eastern shores of the Black Sea, considered a foreign, barbaric land through the eyes of a civilized Greece.
Medea’s ancestors were linked to both the sun and healing long before Apollo became the god associated with these realms. Helios, Medea’s grandfather, was the Sun god of the old order, born a Titan’s son. Her aunt Circe was a sorceress, a magician, herbalist and healer who knew the ancient ways of plants and spices and how to cast spells.
Circe had trained Medea as a young woman in the arts of sorcery, magic and herbalism, teaching her how to mix potions, direct spells and rearrange matter. Medea was also a priestess in the temple of Hecate, honoring the goddess of the dark night and magic.
Hecate guided her instincts. As a medical intuitive she knew the magical properties of herbs, the appropriate plants for healing, homeopathic tinctures and the process of preparing and administering these remedies in her caldron. As the surrogate of Hecate Medea knew the timing of the lunar cycle and how to draw down the moon when ritual and ceremony was needed.
However, Medea was unable to withstand the unholy alliance of the goddesses Hera and Athena who petitioned Aphrodite to conspire with them and cause the princess to fall in love with Jason. Medea became enchanted by Eros and fell in love with the Greek hero, who had come to Colchis to retrieve the Golden Fleece. Medea helped Jason achieve this impossible task with the help of special ointments, incantations and timing. Medea enabled Jason, her heroic/lover, to succeed at the trials set before him but in helping Jason be successful Medea had to betray her family and flee her homeland.
On their flight from Colchis Medea visited her aunt Circe who absolved her of her betrayal and eventually Medea arrived at Jason’s birthplace, at the foot of Mount Pelion in Thessaly. When she arrived in her new homeland Medea used her great skill at the arts of magic and herbs to rejuvenate Jason’s father but also used her sorcery to trick the king’s daughters into unintentionally killing their father.
To prepare for this procedure Medea disappeared for nine days collecting the special drugs and herbs that she needed. As the Moon swelled she gave sacrifices to her goddess Hecate, then used drugs to help Aeson, Jason’s father, fall into a deep sleep.
She then cut his throat to let the old blood run out, dismembered him, putting the pieces in a caldron with the liquid herbs she had prepared.
Jason’s father emerged from the caldron rejuvenated, forty years younger.
Medea’s spell captured the daughters of Pelias, the wicked uncle of Jason who had usurped his rightful claim to the throne. The daughters also wished to rejuvenate their father and Medea said she would perform the task again. The daughters prepared their father by dismembering him; however, this time Medea did not put the herbs in the caldron and their father never emerged.
Having been responsible for the murder of the king Medea and Jason once again were forced to escape. While fleeing Medea’s herbal bag broke open, spilling her drugs seeding the plains of Thessaly with an abundance of healing and magical herbs.
As the first sorceress to perform rituals in Thessaly Medea is the seminal figure behind the region being known as ‘the land of the witches’. Her myth intimates that she introduced woman’s herbal knowledge from Asia Minor into Greece.
In later myth Medea is usually remembered, not as the skilled healer, but as a revengeful and spurned partner, a woman caught in the grip of jealousy for which she had no antidote. By the classical period the playwrights depict Medea consumed with rage, murdering her own children to avenge Jason’s infidelity.
However, Medea is more a reminder of the great respect and knowledge of healing, herbs and magic that was brought to the West and then subtly ignored and eventually demonized. Underpinning the myth are fragments of an older tradition. Jason’s name means ‘healer’ and his partnership with Medea complements the old ways of healing before the emergence of rational medicine and the demonization of magic.
As botany evolved away from gathering herbs and digging roots of the pastoral communities to empirical and detailed research, purification ceremonies and the use of herbs became replaced by manmade drugs and prescriptions.
The connections to the more instinctual, earthy and natural ways of healing were left behind. Traces of magic, ritual healing and evoking the spirit of the disease began to disappear in the Western medical tradition. Left to carry the ancient process of magic was Medea, the embodiment of the archetypal witch.
As a heroine Medea champions the feminine wisdom that knows intuitively knows how to cooperate with nature and her cycles. She instinctually knows the right time to perform rituals and ceremonies to evoke the healing spirits or exorcize the demons.
When Medea is prominent in a birth chart she reveals the need to explore the ancient feminine traditions of herbalism, witchcraft and magic ritual. Intuitively we know the natural cycle of the body and what it needs to be well.
Medea reminds us to honor the ancient custom of relating to the plant world, the wisdom of nature and the powerful healing and transforming properties embedded in the natural world. Instinctually the witch is the impulse that draws us to remedies and potions at the right time and is the urge to create ritual and ceremony to evoke the powers of the goddess.
Find out how the force of this goddess may be revealed through your horoscope.
Medea, as the asteroid No. 212, was discovered in 1880. Medea is similar to the archetypes of Pluto and Scorpio, as she understands the process of metamorphosis. Planets in the Eighth House or in aspect to Pluto may conjure up the potent magic of Medea.
Text is from ‘The Goddess Report by Brian Clark & Stephanie Johnson.