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Politics

Eros and Psyche, and the Secret of True Love

February 12, 2018
Dimitra Pontoporou

Eros fell in love to Psyche, the soul. This myth reveals more than their strong connection. Psyche was a king’s daughter, so beautiful that Aphrodite grew jealous. She called her son Eros to pierce her with his arrow, when she was asleep. Mortals, when shot by the arrow, fell in love with the first one they looked at. Aphrodite would make sure that, when awake, she would see someone undesirable, or an animal.

Eros, invisible, flew into Psyche’s chamber, preparing his dart. Psyche must have heard some noise, because she opened her eyes and, though she couldn’t see him, looked straight into his. The dart slipped and Eros scratched his own arm. For the first time he, who spread love, fell in love himself. Psyche was from now on the most wonderful and the most precious person to him.

His mother grew rage. She casted Psyche into an invisible hedge of thorns that would prevent any suitor from approaching her. Eros turned so furious against Aphrodite that he refused to shoot arrows anymore. How would the world be without love, that inspires happiness to work, create, interact and live? People didn’t marry, didn’t have children; the world grew dull and melancholic. The farmers didn’t plant seeds in their fields and the fishermen didn’t cast their nets. People stopped praising Aphrodite.

She had no choice but to fulfill her son’s desire. She made Psyche’s parents, who were desperate for their unwanted daughter, go to the oracle. There they found out that Psyche was not meant for any mortal. They had to take her to the mountain to become the bride of him who vanquishes both men and women. Psyche, in her white bridal gown, arms full of flowers, was calm and fearless, when the wedding party left her on the mountain. Zephyrus, the west wind, lifted her in his arms. She was brought to a silver castle. Without the presence of any human, the gates opened wide for her and a floating torch led her into her beautiful room. Dinner was served by invisible hands. Then she heard a powerful voice speaking, yet so soft as if the words were her own thoughts. “I am your husband.” “Where are you?” She felt warmly embraced by great muscular arms and a sweet swoon of happiness clouded her mind.

When she awoke next morning, she was alone, but felt a terrible joy. She laughed, danced across the rooms and sang all day. At night her husband returned. That went on; lonely days, exciting nights with her invisible husband. “Are you happy, love? Can I give you something, do something for you?” She claimed that she only needed to see him. “That will be. But not yet. It is too soon.” Bitterly longing for him during daytime, she began to question what did he do during the day? Why wouldn’t he let her see him?

The days grew longer in her loneliness. Therefore, Eros brought on a cloud her two sisters to keep her company. She was happy to be with them, but they couldn’t understand why her husband was hiding during the day. “He’s probably a monster. You must save yourself.”, they insisted. “I am ashamed of you.” said Psyche and ordered the wind to take them back home. Nevertheless, jealousy began to grow at her. She knew her husband was good and loved her, but did he have other brides too? If she could only see him! Her doubts would be resolved.

That night she tiptoed into his room and held the lamp over him. She recognized Eros, the most beautiful of the gods, still wearing his quiver while sleeping. She leaned over to kiss his lips, when a drop of hot oil from her lamp fell on his shoulder. “Oh, Psyche. I am love itself, but you are not ready to accept love. I cannot be, where I am not believed.” Eros disappeared, the castle too, and Psyche stood alone in the woods. For Psyche the erotic experience was not enough without face to face contact, while Eros didn’t want to go beyond the erotic without first establishing believing.

What became of Psyche? One version says that she was turned into owl that cries in the dark Who?… Who? Or into the bat, that during daylight stays in the caves and haunts in the night. Our unconscious Psyche, lives in the dark and can be seen by us at night.

Another version says that Eros finally forgave her and she now helps him. Regretful, she reveals the secret of love to the lovers.

Outsiders’ interference can decisively influence a relationship. When their family or friends tell them “First see, then believe!”, Psyche, invisible, whispers into their ears “Believing is seeing.”

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