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Encyclopedia > Cupid and Psyche

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Cupid And Psyche

Psyche was one of three sisters, princesses in a Grecian kingdom. All three were beautiful, but Psyche was the prettiest. Aphrodite, the goddess of love and beauty, heard about Psyche and her sisters and was jealous of all the attention people paid to them. So she summoned her son, Eros, and told him to put a spell on Psyche. The Birth of Venus, (detail) by Sandro Botticelli, 1485 For other uses, see Aphrodite (disambiguation). ... Look up eros, Eros, EROS in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ...

Always obedient, Eros flew down to earth with two vials of potions. Invisible, he sprinkled the sleeping Psyche with the potion that would make men avoid being bound in marriage to her. Accidentally, he pricked her with one of his arrows (which make someone fall in love instantly) and she startled awake. Her beauty, in turn, startled Eros, and he accidentally pricked himself as well. Feeling bad about what he had done, he then sprinkled her with the other potion, which would provide her with joy in her life. Marriage is an interpersonal relationship with governmental, social, or religious recognition, usually intimate and sexual, and often created as a contract, or through civil process. ...

Psyche, although still beautiful, could find no husband. Her parents, afraid that they had offended the gods somehow, asked an oracle to reveal Psyche's future husband. The oracle said that, while no man would have her, there was a creature on the top of a mountain that would marry her. Consulting the Oracle by John William Waterhouse, showing eight priestesses in a temple of prophecy An oracle is a person or persons considered to be the source of wise counsel or prophetic opinion; an infallible authority, usually spiritual in nature. ... For other uses, see Mountain (disambiguation). ...

Surrendering to the inevitable, she headed for the mountain. When she came within sight, she was lifted by a gentle wind and carried the rest of the way. When she arrived, she saw that her new home was, in fact, a rich and beautiful palace. Her new husband never permitted her to see him, but he proved to be a true and gentle lover. He was, of course, Eros himself.

After some time, she grew lonely for her family, and she asked to be allowed to have her sisters for a visit. When they saw how beautiful Psyche's new home was, they grew jealous. They went to her and told her not to forget that her husband was some kind of monster, and that, no doubt, he was only fattening her up in order to eat her. They suggested that she hide a lantern and a knife near her bed, so that the next time he visited her, she could look to see if he was indeed a monster, and cut off his head if it was so. This article does not cite any references or sources. ...

Her sisters convinced her this was best, so the next time her husband came to visit her, she had a lamp and a knife ready. When she raised the lamp, she saw that her husband was not a monster, but Eros! Surprised, he ran to the window and flew off. She jumped out after him, but fell to the ground and lay there unconscious.

When she awoke, the palace had disappeared, and she found herself in a field near her old home. She went to the temple of Aphrodite and prayed for help. Aphrodite responded by giving her a series of tasks to do -- tasks that Aphrodite believed the girl would not be able to accomplish.

The first was a matter of sorting a huge pile of mixed grains into separate piles. Psyche looked at the pile and despaired, but Cupid secretly arranged for an army of ants to separate the piles. Aphrodite, returning the following morning, accused Psyche of having had help, as indeed she had. An assortment of grains The word grain has a great many meanings, most being descriptive of a small piece or particle. ...

The next task involved getting a snippet of golden fleece from each one of a special herd of sheep that lived across a nearby river. The god of the river advised Psyche to wait until the sheep sought shade from the midday sun. Then they would be sleepy and not attack her. When Psyche presented Aphrodite with the fleece, the goddess again accused her of having had help.

The third task Aphrodite set before Psyche was to get a cup of water from the river Styx, where it cascades down from an incredible height. Psyche thought it was all over, until an eagle helped her by carrying the cup up the mountain and returning it full. Aphrodite was livid, knowing full well that Psyche could never have done this alone! Styx may refer to: Styx (band), an American rock band popular in the 1970s and 1980s Styx (album), the first album released by the band Styx in 1972 Styx forest, a forest in Tasmania, Australia Styx (Game), a 1983 game by Windmill Software Styx (MUD), a text-based game Styx... Genera Several, see below. ...

Psyche's next task was to go into Hell to ask Persephone, wife of Hades, for a box of magic makeup. Thinking that she was doomed, she decided to end it all by jumping off a cliff. But a voice told her not to, and gave her instructions on making her way to Hell to get the box. But, the voice warned, do not look inside the box under any circumstances! For other uses, see Hell (disambiguation). ... Proserpine by Dante Gabriel Rossetti, 1874) (Tate Gallery, London In Greek mythology, Persephone (Greek Περσεφόνη, Persephónē) was the Queen of the Underworld of epic literature. ... Hades, Greek god of the underworld, enthroned, with his bird-headed staff, on a red-figure Apulian vase made in the 4th century BC. For other uses, see Hades (disambiguation). ...

Well, Psyche received the box from Persephone and made her way back home. But, true to her nature, she was unable to restrain herself from peeking inside. To her surprise, there was nothing inside but darkness, which put her into a deep sleep. Eros could no longer restrain himself either and wakened her. He told her to bring the box to Aphrodite, and that he would take care of the rest.

Eros went to the heavens and asked Zeus to intervene. He spoke of his love for Psyche so eloquently that Zeus was moved to grant him his wish. Eros brought Psyche to Zeus who gave her a cup of ambrosia, the drink of immortality. Zeus then joined Psyche and Eros in eternal marriage. They later had a daughter, who would be named Pleasure. For other uses, see Zeus (disambiguation). ... In ancient Greek mythology, Ambrosia (Greek ) is sometimes the food, sometimes the drink, of the gods, often depicted as conferring immortality on whoever consumes it. ...


Psyche is the daughter of a queen and king who have two other beautiful daughters but Psyche’s beauty is unsurpassed. People even dare to compare her beauty to that of Aphrodite.

Soon enough Psyche’s sisters are married but no one dares to ask for Psyche’s hand in marriage because she is so gorgeous that people look upon her as a goddess. From Olympus Aphrodite looks upon the whole situation with disdain. Why should a mortal woman be the peer of a goddess?

The parents go to the Oracle of Delphi for counsel. The oracle replies to the parents that Psyche is to be sacrificed to a horrible monster. Nothing is to be done, one must follow the advice of an oracle. Psyche is clothed in a wedding gown and brought to the mountain where she is to be sacrificed. They leave Psyche there to sit and dry her tears in her bridal veil all alone.

Suddenly Psyche feels a warm breeze that takes her to a valley of flowers, with a green meadow and a calm spring. Midst it all stands a magnificent castle that no mortal men could have ever built. When she enters the castle, unseen riches appear before her as the most pleasant voice says: "All this is yours, sit down at the table and eat". And then a exquisite banquet appears.

When night comes, Psyche settles in a bed of ivory and the light is blown out. A warm breeze arrives once more and Psyche finds herself in the arms of her lover. She cannot see him, only hear his loving voice and feel his warm embrace. This occurs several times and Psyche is quite content with her situation – being waited on hand and foot during the day and savoring the warm embrace of her lover at night.

The word of Psyche’s happiness reaches the ears of her sisters who become very jealous. Even though married to kings, Psyche’s sister are not content while their men are old.

Psyche misses the company of her sisters and desires to see them. Her invisible lover warns her. He says that her sisters will try and force Psyche into finding out what her husband looks like thus ruining the marriage. But after crying and pleading, Psyche is allowed to see her sisters.

The sisters arrive to the top of the cliff where Psyche herself has stood on her wedding day. They scream and shout, not knowing how to get to Psyche’s home. The warm breeze takes them swiftly the valley where Psyche awaits with goodies and splendor that impresses the sisters and makes them pea-green with envy. Instead of congratulating Psyche on her fortunate marriage that is blessed with wealth as well as love, they sow a seed of doubt in her soul. The sisters convince Psyche that her husband must be a monster since she has not seen him and advice her to check that very night in the light of the oil lamp.

Nighttime comes and her lover is in Psyche’s arms again. He asks her whether or not she has promised her sisters anything and when she denies, he says: "It will be the misfortune of all three of us." "Three of us?" Psyche replies and her lover answers:" You are with child. Our child." Psyche is thrilled about the thought of having a baby with the man she loves.

Her lover falls asleep and Psyche ignites the lamp fearing what she might see. Who lies there? A horrible snake? An abomination? No, a young man with milky white skin and dark curly hair. She sees wings, arrows and a bow lie beside the bed. It is the love god Eros himself. Being quite taken with the sight, Psyche drops a drop of hot oil on Eros who awakens. When he sees that she has broken their promise, he puts on his wings and flies away.

Psyche sits on her bed crying realizing how she has fallen for the tricks of her sisters. Psyche gets revenge by seeking the oldest sister and telling her of the whole situation but adds that Eros now wants the sister for wife instead. The older sister consoles her younger but as soon as Psyche is out of the door, the oldest sister rushes to the cliff and thinking that Eros will catch her, she throws herself from it and dies. The middle sister suffers the same fate.

Psyche seeks her beloved everywhere but he is nowhere to be found. She prays at all the temples, asking, begging for the help of the gods. Everyone refuses her because they do not wish to awaken the wrath of Eros’ mother Aphrodite who is the one who frames Psyche. Eros has sought the consoling shelter of his mother and knows not of Psyche’s desperate search. At last Psyche is forced to confront the goddess herself.

Aphrodite receives her with an ice cold smile and will not help her but puts her to the test. "Let us see if you are a suitable housewife. Sort out these seeds and put them in to order. Psyche then receives a pile of poppy, wheat, peas, beans and many other seeds to separate from each other.

Psyche is devastated and starts crying not knowing how to overcome the task. An ant comes up to her and asks of her troubles. He calls the help of his friends and they sort the out the piles for her. When Aphrodite returns that evening she is extremely vexed with the sight of the piles but hides her disappointment by demanding another task carried out. Psyche is to collect the wool of some golden rams.

The next morning Psyche sets out to collect the wool. The reed-mace warns her of their wildness and recommends her to come to the pond in the afternoon and take the wool that they shed instead. Psyche does as advised and returns with the golden wool.

Aphrodite is still not satisfied and demands water from the spring at the top of a cliff. Psyche starts a long climb and hears whispers that say: "Turn back, turn back" and the sound of a dragon spitting flames. She gets scared and sits down and cries. An eagle sores in the sky, takes her container and fetches water from the spring high above her.

Aphrodite is astonished and then demands Psyche to go to the Underworld and fetch a box of beauty from the goddess Persephone. Psyche realizes the impossible in this request and decides that she might as well end her life since she knows that one can never return from the Underworld. Psyche ascends a tall tower but when she gets ready to jump, the tower says "Don’t! I know of a way you can return alive! Descend to Hades at Tainaron in Southern Greece with a cookie in each hand and two coins in your mouth."

"When you arrive at the barge of the ferryman Charon, let him take a coin out of your mouth and you will be sailed to Hades. At the gate give one of the cookies to the guard dog Cerberus. When Persephone invites you to dinner, do not accept anything but a scrap of bread and do not sit at her table but ask to sit on the floor. Ask for the box Aphrodite wants, return the same way you came, give Cerberus the other cookie and Charon the other coin. No matter what you do, do not look into the box."

Psyche does as the tower has said but when she reaches the light of the mortal world, she is tempted by curiosity to look in the box. The box is opened but nothing is to be seen. Out flies the Sleep of Death. Psyche falls asleep and her body stops breathing. Zeus has watched the hardship of Psyche from Olympus and has had enough. Zeus orders Aphrodite to leave poor Psyche alone, fetches Psyche and gives her ambrosia who then becomes immortal.

The myth takes its final form in the 2. Century A.D. in the work by Apuleius.

  Results from FactBites:
XI. Cupid and Psyche. Vols. I & II: Stories of Gods and Heroes. Bulfinch, Thomas. 1913. Age of Fable (3168 words)
Psyche gave ear to the admonitions of her vocal attendants, and after repose and the refreshment of the bath, seated herself in the alcove, where a table immediately presented itself, without any visible aid from waiters or servants, and covered with the greatest delicacies of food and the most nectareous wines.
Psyche resisted these persuasions as well as she could, but they did not fail to have their effect on her mind, and when her sisters were gone, their words and her own curiosity were too strong for her to resist.
Psyche obeyed the commands of Ceres and took her way to the temple of Venus, endeavoring to fortify her mind and ruminating on what she should say and how best propitiate the angry goddess, feeling that the issue was doubtful and perhaps fatal.
ARC ARTicles - Cupid & Psyche - Sharrell E. Gibson - Page 1/1 (1842 words)
Psyche was the daughter of a king and queen who had become famous for her unparalleled beauty.
Psyche was given a drink of Ambrosia, which endowed her with eternal immortality, and most importantly, eternity with Cupid.
Cupid and Psyche appear to be less connected, and clearly of different worlds.
  More results at FactBites »



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