Who Was Cupid? Posted on 6 Feb 12:48
Who Was Cupid?
By Michael Wernicke
Henkerman - Classic High Quality Luxury Hangers
It may not be something you've thought much about, however now we've asked the question, I bet you're interested to learn a little more about this historic character whose very image signifies Valentines Day love.
Whilst the mention of the name Cupid typically conjures images of a Cherub like baby wielding a bow and arrow, Eros as he was known to the Greeks and Cupid as he later was renamed by the Romans, struck at the hearts of both gods and mortals alike using his quiver filled with arrows to play with their emotions. Sharp golden arrows would arouse desire, whilst blunt lead arrows would ignite aversion and cause one to flee.
THE STORY OF CUPID & PSYCHE
In the Roman novel "Metamorphoses" written in the latter half of the second century, the story of Cupid and Psyche was told.
It is said that that the Greek Goddess of love and beauty, Aphrodite was born near the island of Cyprus. She was a jealous goddess but also very passionate. She loved and was possessive over the men and gods in her life and also her own sons and grandchildren. Her possessive instincts became too much for her when her son Cupid found a mortal to love named Psyche - with a beauty to rival her own. Overcome with jealousy, Aphrodite did everything in her power to prevent the marriage.
How Cupid & Psyche met?
In her homeland, Psyche was worshiped for her beauty which also drove Aphrodite crazy. So much so she sent Cupid to shoot Psyche with an arrow so that she may fall in love with a vile and hideous monster from a plague she unleashed out of anger. But when Cupid sees Psyche in all her radiant glory, he is overcome by her beauty and decides to scratch himself with his own golden dart, which makes any living thing fall in love with the first thing it sees. Consequently, Cupid falls deeply in love with Psyche - disobeying his mother's order and rescuing her.
The Mystery Surrounding Cupid
Sadly for Cupid and Psyche, Aphrodite wanted to bring the couple's love to an end, but she wasn't the only one. Psyche had two sisters who upon seeing the way Psyche's life had been transformed, became as jealous as Aphrodite.
Whilst Cupid was a wonderful lover and good husband, he was always wary that Psyche may not find him handsome enough for her, so he would never let Psyche see him in the light. Pysche however never seemed to mind as her life with Cupid was so fulfilling with all the luxuries she could ever want, that she was happy to only see Cupid in the dark.
However, when the sisters learnt of Psyche's luxurious and extravagant lifestyle, they began urging their sister to begin prying into the areas of Cupid's life he had kept hidden from her.
Psyche's sisters didn't know Cupid was in fact a God. What they did know is Psyche's life was much happier than their own. Knowing their sister well, they began preying on her insecurities and persuaded Psyche that her husband was in fact a hideous monster. At first Psyche didn't believe them, however over time she started to have her doubts. One day Psyche decided to satisfy the curiosities of her sisters. While her husband slept, she took a candle and shone it in his face.
Cupid Abandons Psyche
Psyche saw that Cupid's form was in fact divine, and while transfixed on him some candle wax dripped onto her husband. At that Cupid abruptly awakened - and feeling disobeyed, irritated and injured - he flew away.
Upon meeting his mother Aphrodite, she exclaimed: 'See, I told you she was a no-good human. Now you'll have to just be content here among the other gods.'
Whilst Cupid was happy in separation. Psyche was not. Impelled by the love of her beautiful husband, she implored her mother-in-law to give her a chance. Aphrodite agreed, with some conditions.
The Epic Trials of Psyche
Aphrodite had no intention of playing fair however. She devised four tasks for Psyche to carry out. Each task more exacting than the last.
The tasks being:
1. Sort a huge mount of barley, millet, poppy seeds, lentils and beans within and an allotted time.
2. Gather a hank of wool from the shining golden sheep all without being killed by vicious animals.
3. Fill a crystal vessel with the water of a spring that feeds the Styx and Cocytus.
4. Bring Aphrodite herself a box of Persephone's 'special' beauty cream.
Whilst Psyche passed the first three challenges, the last became too much for her. When trying to retrieve the special cream, the curiosity and temptation to use it to make herself even more beautiful became overwhelming. Psyche reasoned that if the perfect goddess Aphrodite needed this cream, how much more beautiful could it make an imperfect mortal women like her? Thus, after retrieving the box, she used it - only to fall into a deadly sleep - just as Aphrodite predicted she would.
Cupid and Psyche - How It Ended!
Upon discovering this, Cupid once again rescued Psyche and brought her to Olympus where with the approval of Zeus was given nectar and ambrosia - so she too could become immortal. At that, in the presence of the other gods Aphrodite reluctantly reconciled with her now pregnant daughter-in-law Psyche - who thus, became Greek Goddess of the Soul.