From W B Yeats ‘Hound Voice’ –
“And in that terror’s name obeyed the call, And understood, what none have understood, Those images that waken in the blood.”
But ‘Stag’ is a celebration, even in death, of Medb’s (Medusa) power and beauty, and of the battle that looms on the horizon … the Feminine Apocalypse.
As in Blake’s ‘Vala’, or The Four Zoas (1797 …) and Shelley’s poem on the Medusa (1824), the opening scene turns Medb’s death into an apocalyptic event, distinguishing the forces of heaven and earth, of light and darkness.
But it is an Apocalypse where opposites are not in opposition but are struggling to attain balance. Medb’s beauty heals but it is a healing that entails embracing the reality of death and destruction, in order to transform a violent and corrupt form of civilization. She demands a total contemptus mundi and challenges us to look within and place our faith in that unknown divinity, our own buried lives.