The love story of Psyche and Cupid (Eros in Greek mythology) is one of a beautiful soulmate relationship brought to us from Greek/Roman mythology. Psyche is the Greek word for butterfly, as well as soul, and as we examine the story of Psyche and Cupid, or Eros, as the case may be, we are touched by the tale of an eternal soulmate relationship. As the butterfly symbolizes transformation, as the caterpillar cocoons itself to become a butterfly, it also symbolizes the transformation we all must make as a result of having soulmate relationship in our lives. And Psyche symbolizes the eventual happiness and joy received as the reward for all the suffering endured on the road to that soulmate relationship.
Psyche, then, is the human soul, which is purified by sufferings and misfortunes, and is thus prepared for the enjoyment of true and pure happiness. (From Bulfinch’s Mythology: The Age of Fable, chapter XI)
Psyche, a mortal princess, was the youngest of three daughters, who was known for her beauty. She was so beautiful that people began to worship her, rather than worshiping Venus (Aphrodite in Greek mythology), the goddess of love and beauty. Venus was enraged that she had lost the admiration of her people for a mere mortal and many of her temples began to crumble because there was no money to repair or sustain them.
She was also very jealous of Psyche’s beauty so she summoned her son, Cupid (Eros in Greek mythology) to put a spell on her so no man would ever marry her. When he sprinkled the potion on her, he was so startled by her beauty he pricked both of them with an arrow. Her older sisters were married, but there was still no suitor for Psyche, so her parents consulted an Oracle, to see if she would find a husband. Aphrodite wanted revenge and convinced the Oracle to tell them Psyche would marry an ugly, evil monster. Yikes! Lesson number 1: Never piss off a goddess!
Psyche resigned herself to her fate and would sit on top of the mountain every night and await her husband, who was so hideous that he would only come to her in total darkness so she could not see his face. One night, after being encouraged by her sisters, she decided to look at his face. That night when he came to her, she raised the lamp to his face, only to discover she was married to Cupid.
Surprised, he ran to the window and flew away, and she fell to the ground unconscious. When she awakened she went to seek the help of Venus, who gave her three impossible challenges to complete. After completing the first two challenges, she was given the final challenge to descend to the Underworld and return with a box of beauty from Prosperine (Persephone in Greek mythology), the wife of Hades (Pluto in Greek mythology). Even though she was told by Prosperine to keep the box closed, she could not resist the temptation to look inside. It was filled with darkness and she fell into a deep slumber.
Cupid had to take action and appealed to Jupiter (Zeus in Greek mythology) to grant immortality to Psyche. Jupiter was so moved by Cupid’s love for his wife, he gave her a glass of ambrosia, the drink of immortality. Cupid and Psyche were joined in eternal marriage, soulmate relationship, and continue to live happily ever after. The story of Cupid and Psyche is the basis for the fairytale, Beauty and the Beast.
As we review the story of Psyche and Cupid, we can see the reality of their soulmate relationship. Even though she believed him to be hideous, she still had unconditional love for him. They had to overcome obstacles to be together, and through it all their love for each other won. Psyche had many adversities and life lessons, even going up against a goddess! Cupid loved her so much he asked Jupiter to grant her immortality so they could live eternally in their soulmate love.
In reality, all soulmate relationships are eternal. When we are in a soulmate relationship, we have a sense of wholeness and completion, even though we must overcome tremendous obstacles to reach relationship status. As Psyche and Cupid have shown us, they take work, overcoming challenges and facing obstacles. But at the end of the day, the happiness and contentment that comes from a soulmate relationship is worth the effort.