Due to three years of Latin, a year of Classical Civilizations and a childhood obsession with Percy Jackson, I’ve come to know quite a bit about ancient Greek and Roman culture. Myths, language, customs-I learned a little bit about everything. However, this also means I will never be able to appreciate the modern interpretation of Cupid – that being a baby in the diaper.
the story of this little shit
Cupid(or, by his greek name, Eros) makes an appearance in the story of Psyche, who, may I just say, was a badass. She was greek, and became really famous for being beautiful. Unfortunately, she had two sisters, who weren’t so beautiful. and were bitchy and jealous. Anyway, Psyche was just living her life, but people kept saying she was a goddess, which pissed off Aphrodite, a common reoccurrence in greek myth. Aphrodite seriously needs to take a chill pill. So Aphrodite commanded her son, Eros, to find Psyche and make her fall in love with a monster, in an effort to make her regret her beauty. Aphrodite didn’t really understand the whole born-with-it concept. Meanwhile, Psyche was at home, but the beauty thing kind screwed her over, and because everyone thought she was unobtainable, she wasn’t offered any marriage proposals, though her sisters both did. Soon, she was alone at home, and her parents weren’t pleased. So, of course, as people always do in greek myths when they don’t know what to do, Psyche’s dad decided to consult the oracle at Delphi. And, instead of offering good news(as they rarely do) the oracle spoke a prophecy stating that Psyche would marry a monster, and that her dad should dress her ‘as though for a funeral’ and push her off a cliff. Happy, right?
When Psyche’s dad got home, the family cried, but they listened to the oracle, dressed psyche in a metric fuckton of black and shoved her off the cliff. Everyone cried, thinking she was dead.
Instead of plummeting to her death, however, Psyche was picked up by Zephyrus, the god of the west wind. Zephyrous brought Psyche to the palace of his master. Can you guess who his master was? Wild guess?
Ding ding ding, if you guessed Eros, you were right.
Anyway, so he dropped Psyche off at the palace and disappeared. SO there was Psyche, alone in an empty palace and confused out of her mind. And then she got more confused when she realized she wasn’t alone, but the palace was filled with invisible servants. Logic, right? The invisible servants told her that her husband would be home soon, which you can probably guess, confused the shit out of Psyche. I guess she didn’t remember that trip to Vegas.
When the sun went down, and it was dark, her apparent husband came home. He refused to show her his face, or tell her his name, because if Aphrodite knew she’d go ballistic, but for some reason psyche didn’t mind. But apart from impending death, they were both ok with the situation, so Psyche decided to go along with the situation. He told Psyche that he was invisible, as an extra precaution to ensure she never saw him, but he wouldn’t be if he was asleep, so she could never look at him asleep. Again, greek myths love their logic.
Psyche was happy for a few weeks, living with the invisible servants and faceless-nameless husband. But she missed her family, particularly her sisters-guess it was a case of not knowing what you have until it’s gone. Because Psyche wasn’t allowed to leave the palace(something about Aphrodite smiting her), her husband set up a visit with her sisters. Psyche was super happy to see her sisters, until she realized that her sisters were just as jealous and bitter as they always were. But she made the best of it, showing them her new home and explaining the situation. They asked a ton of questions about Psyche’s new husband, but their visit drew to a close quickly. They set up another visit and were sworn to secrecy, but when they were home Psyche’s sisters agreed that it must be a trick, for in the very least that psyche didn’t deserve such a life. so they developed a plan. the next visit, the informed Psyche that her husband was a dragon. And that she must kill him. For some reason, Psyche believed them.
That night, Psyche prepared to kill her husband. first, however, she wanted to ensure that he was, in fact, a dragon. So when he went to sleep, Psyche snuck into his room and lit an oil lamp. Being a good greek citizen, she recognized Eros immediately. Shocked, she dropped some of the lamp’s hot oil on Eros’ shoulder. He woke up, and realizing the situation, fled.
The oil continued to cause him pain, which was really strange, being an immortal and all.
Psyche, back at the palace, wandered aimlessly, knowing that Eros wasn’t coming back. She tried to drown herself, but was saved by Pan, a nature god, who was just randomly chilling on the grounds of the palace. He told her that if she was having issues with her love life, the pray to Eros. Fat lot of help that would be, right? But Psyche, after her second failed attempt at suicide, decided she may as well try. She pledged to find him and get him to forgive her. But first, she had to find her sisters.
Psyche travelled to the home of her oldest sister, and telling her the story, decided to change the ending, because she felt like being a shit disturber. She told her sister that Eros wanted to marry her, now that Psyche had ruined their marriage. So, logically, Psyche’s oldest sister jumped off the cliff to get to the palace of Eros. But, instead of Zephyrs catching her, she fell to her death. Oops. Psyche continued her journey, eventually coming to the home of her second sister. she told her middle sister the story, and decided to change the ending, because she felt like being a shit disturber. She told her sister that Eros wanted to marry her, now that Psyche had ruined their marriage. So, logically, Psyche’s oldest sister jumped off the cliff to get to the palace of Eros. But, instead of Zephyrs catching her, she fell to her death. Double oops. Guess Psyche wasn’t as nice as she seemed. Psyche continued her journey to find Eros.
Eros, however, was a bit of a mess. the oil Psyche had dropped on him? Well, turns out it was burning his godly essence, leading to his slow death. Happy, right? The wound meant Eros couldn’t travel, so he went to Aphrodite. To say Aphrodite was pissed is an understatement, but Aphrodite just knew that some girl had caused this, not that it was psyche. I’m guessing she had some choice words to say to the girl, so she demanded her son tell her who it was. and my god, was she mad. but Eros was half dead, so she set aside her anger and tried to heal him. Strangely, nothing could help, so Aphrodite pledged to make Psyche suffer.
Needless to say, Psyche has bad luck. Turns out, she was pregnant. But she continued to search for Eros, and Aphrodite searched for Psyche. It was like some weird game. On her travels, Psyche found an old temple to Demeter and cleaned it up. Turns out, goddesses like it when you clean their abandoned temples, so Demeter showed up to say thanks and tell Psyche that Aphrodite was out for her blood. In a desperate attempt for protection, she prayed to Hera, the goddess of family, who told Psyche she had to face Aphrodite. She went to Aphrodite, who immediately tried to kill her, but she survived long enough to ask Aphrodite to give her a punishment-she thought it may show her devotion to Eros. Aphrodite, overjoyed at the idea of Psyche dying even more painfully, set her three tasks to prove herself-the catch? Psyche failed, Psyche died. In the first task, she forced Psyche to sort grains, one by one, in a time limit. Impossible, right? Except, turns out Psyche had friends, and ants came to help, kinda like the mice in cinderella. They sorted the grains, and Psyche passed the first challenge. Secondly, Aphrodite made Psyche get wool from magical-aggressive-poisonious-golden sheep. Ever heard of the golden fleece? Yep, this is it. Psyche realized, however, that the sheep were shedding, and collected the wool they had already shed, and presented it to Aphrodite. Once again, Aphrodite was pissed that Psyche hadn’t failed.
Remember, all this time Eros is dying and in agony. Aphrodite has the best priorities, always. Eros, hearing of the quests, prayed to Zeus, and called in on a favour.
For the third task, Psyche had to bring a pitcher of water to Aphrodite from a sacred spring. So off Psyche went, and when she reached the bottom of the falls(the spring was at the top) she realized she would not be able to climb up the falls. It was humanly impossible. But then a golden eagle(hint-that’s the symbol of Zeus) came out of the clouds, grabbed the pitcher from Psyche and slew to the top of the falls. It filled it from the spring and brought the pitcher back to Psyche. Psyche, in return, brought it back to Aphrodite.
Aphrodite, once more angry at Psyche’s competence, decided, Fuck it, and set a fourth task. because why not. She told Psyche to go to the underworld and get her a box of beauty ointment from Persephone. Here’s the thing-Psyche only knew one way to get to the underworld. Death. Just as she was about to jump off a cliff, she heard the voice of Eros, pleading her not to do it. Instead, it told her to to enter the underworld through Mount Taenarus, and to bring two Drachmae and two honey cakes. Psyche thanked to voice, and continued on her journey. She went under the mountain, and was greeted by Charon, a gatekeeper of the underworld. She paid him off with the drachmae, and crossed the river Styx into the underworld without an issue. She then came upon Cerberus, the giant three headed guard dog of Hades, to whom she fed the cakes. too bad she didn’t have any sticks, Cerberus probably didn’t get to play fetch much. Finally, Psyche came upon Persephone, who she begged for the box of beauty cream. Upset that Aphrodite had involved her in her drama, Persephone handed Psyche a box of stygian sleep, told her not to open the box, and set her on her way.
Psyche sucked at following instructions.
She opened the box on the way home, in the hopes of being beautiful enough for Eros, and immediately begin to die as the stygian sleep overtook her.
So now we have two lovers, both half dead-though Eros had begun to improve after his talk with Psyche. He was alive enough to tell that there was something wrong, and went to Zeus to demand justice. Spoiler alert? Zeus doesn’t do justice. He does just about everything but(including every possible mortal and a couple of animals), but not justice. And he doesn’t get ordered around. ever.
For some reason(he probably just wanted to piss off Aphrodite even more), Zeus complied. However, as he wouldn’t be able to heal her, there was only on option-allow Psyche to become immortal, a goddess. Demeter and Hera, both feeling that they owed Psyche, agreed, and Zeus pulled through.
So Psyche became the goddess of the human soul and grew butterfly-like wings, her counterpart to the bird’s wings of her husband. She and Eros lived happily ever after.
I know, weird, huh? it doesn’t end with dismemberment? or sacrifice? or murder? Really doesn’t sound like a greek myth……..