Sunday, February 14, 2010

Eros and Psyche

Good afternoon, my friends and a very happy Valentine's Day to those who celebrate.  I'm not expecting anything today, nor do I want anything.  Hubby's finding employment is all the gift I need.  I'm not going to share about traditional Valentine's Day stuff today; instead, I'm going to be a bit different.  Hey, I am getting old...eccentricity is allowed.  LOL!!!  I've loved  mythology since I was a child, and one of my favorite myths is that of "Eros and Psyche."  Many think of it as a love story, but if you read between the lines, it is the story of the ultimate dysfunctional relationship...and the growth that can occur when the parties involved choose to work on themselves.

Eros.  Today we know him as "Cupid", and Valentine's Day is his most important time of the year.  His name brings forth an image of a chubby little winged baby who is flying about, a mischievious child whose arrows pierce the hearts of his victims and cause them to fall deeply in love.  Oh, if it was only that easy, right?  But, who was Cupid, really?

Eros was the son of the goddess, Aphrodite, and Ares, the god of and war.  He was a youthful boy, slender and handsome, and as if paying tribute to his parents, he just 'loved' creating romantic troubles for unsuspecting mortals.  Eros would go flying about,  shooting his love arrows randomly at people, thinking it hilarious; that is, until he finally gets a taste of his own medicine.  Then, he shows himself to be the same love sick fool as everyone else he had shot.  As it happened in the tale of Eros and Psyche, Eros is flying about and sees the most beautiful mortal maiden he has ever seen...Psyche...who was changed to a rock below.  And then he grew careless and wounded himself with one of his own arrow; he fell madly in love.  He swooped down out of the sky and scooped Psyche up, rescuing her from her fate....the super hero saving the damsel in distress....but what we learn is that Eros was not the hero type.  Heroes make dramatic entrances, but Eros has no idea of how to make that triumphant entrance with the beautiful Psyche on his arm. 

In fact, Eros is totally unprepared for this and immediately, his inner critic begins to work overtime with a string of excuses.

"I can't marry her; she's only a mortal."  (Projection of his own imagined flaws onto Psyche.  He feels he is not good enough).

"Everyone will laugh at us...god and mortal."  (Fear of rejection).

"Mother will be furious if I marry a mortal."  ((Fear of growing up and standing up to his morther and other authority figures.)

Just what is happening here?  Well, let's take a look at Psyche.  Her name means 'soul', and Eros has just discovered that falling in love is really about touchning another's soul.  No one has ever gotten that far under his skin, before Psyche, that is, and now he is beginning to panic.  Someone will finally be close enough to see him for who he really is, and his self-worth is so low.  So far he has been able to hide his flaws under the guise of his mischievious behaviors.  In dysfunction families, Eros plays the role of the "Mascot", the family clown.   Now, he finds himself about to be exposed.  He is afraid to let her in for fear that others will finally get to see what he is like inside and be disappointed.  What does he do next?

Well, just as he was about to have 'his wings clipped', he devises a plan to control Psyche...and, because she is not without her own self-esteem issues, she goes along with it willingly.  He carries her away, surrounded by a dark cloud so that she cannot see him, and brings her to a beautiful palace high on the mount.  Here, the servants have already bee sworn to silence, leaving the only communication that Pyche has to when Eros comes to her....and he only comes during the night when she cannot see his face. He doesn't want to give her the chance to truly know him.  Why, the two are even married in the darkness.  Eros fully expects to be able to carry off this chirade indefinitely, for Psyche is the perpetual victim, the 'Lost Child" in dysfunctional families.  To her, the world is an unsafe place so the world that Eros has created for her has becaome her refuge.  No one can hurt her here.  It never occurred to either one of the pair that others might find their arrangement a little strange and make their opinions know. 

But that is exactly what happened when Psyche's sisters came to pay a visit, and they were appalled at the way their sister was living, how she passively accepted his total lack of information.  "How can you live this way?" they asked.  "You know nothing about him.  He keeps you in the dark about what he does with his life".  Alas, their visit served as a wakeup call for Psyche; well, at least their visit piqued her curiousity.  One night, while Eros was a sleep, she crept into his room with a candle, hesitating long enough that a drop of hot wax falls on him and wakes him.  He then panics and flies out of the window, the 'flight response' we feel whenever we feel that we have been exposed. 

It is now that Aphrodite, the force of love,  steps in.  Now, it was Aphrodite who first set this chain in motion.  So jealous was she of Psyche's beauty, that it was she who had chained the damsel to the rocks.  Aphrodite puts Psyche through a series of tests that makes her a stronger person and eventually, Psyche is elevated into an immortal...and, as an immortal, she can now face Eros down and demand his honesty.  Surpisingly enough, he gives it.  He's realized that no one is perfect, when one loves another, the perceived flaws seem to disappear.  So, with her persistence, Psyche has won love...when Eros finally accepted her and let her inside. 


  1. One of my many favorites. Thanks, Mary. :)

  2. Hope you and your partner have a good day. X.

  3. Cool! Something else learned from you today...
    Thanks Mary (O:

  4. Wow - that is an interesting story - lots of insight into relationships there!

    Hope you had a wonderful day!


  5. "He is afraid to let her in for fear that others will finally get to see what he is like inside and be disappointed."

    i have heard those words from many so many times...this was a wonderful twist on valentines day...thank you for sharing...i hope your day was filled with much love yesterday and always...brightest blessings~

  6. Always loved that story, thanks for sharing Mary =)

  7. love the story especially they way you told it.... hope you had a wonderful valentines day