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The Goddess of the Soul - Psyche

Updated: May 27, 2021

The stories of Cinderella, Snowhite, and Beauty and the Beast are such famous tales. Today, read to children for generations, but where did these stories originate from?

The tale I am writing about should sound familiar, for there are many similarities. The love story below is about a beautiful lady named Psyche. You may be familiar with this story; however, if you are not and are a sucker for romance, I would advise you to carry on reading.

Psyche (pronounced sy - ki) was the youngest daughter of a Greek King and Queen. She was so beautiful that she was often compared to Aphrodite, the Greek Goddess of love and beauty. With many people preferring to worship Psyche instead, Aphrodite was none too pleased. As a punishment to Psyche, Aphrodite sent her son Eros (the God of love and Cupid) to cast a kind of spell, ensuring Psyche would fall in love with a hideous, vile beast. Unfortunately for Aphrodite, the moment her son sets eyes on Psyche's pure and innocent beauty, Eros had no choice but to refuse to carry out his mother's awful request.

Psyche's older sisters were not very fond of their younger sister, making it clear they were envious of her natural beauty. Having both been lucky enough to marry future kings, Psyche's father was baffled as to why his youngest, beautiful, kind, and loving daughter had never been asked for her hand in marriage? Not wanting her to be left a spinster, he consulted the Oracle of Delphi, the religious sanctuary to the God Appollo, for a solution. Apollo suggested he take his daughter in black attire to the tallest rock spire, for there she would marry a beast even the Gods would fear. Devastated by what he heard, Psyche's father agreed with these astonishing orders and, with a heavy heart, took his daughter to the spire, leaving her cold, alone, and terrified of her fate. Having waited for her hideous future husband to appear, Psyche waited and waited, but nobody came. Anxiety rising and unable to wait any longer, she threw herself from the spire in the hope of ending it all. Fortunate for her, Zephyrus, the Greek Lord of the west, was waiting in the wings about to save her from death.

Zephyrus gently lowered a sleeping Psyche towards a beautiful meadow facing Eros' castle with the softest breeze. When she woke, she could not believe her eyes. Guided by its beauty, Psyche walked towards the shimmering castle, and with the whisper of the breeze, was told to enter the castle and not be afraid. On entering, she would automatically become the wife of the owner. Here she was treated like a queen and was so very happy. However, she eventually became sad, missing her family and not seeing or knowing anything about her new husband. She put in a request to see her sisters. Having felt sorry for Psyche, Eros eventually agreed and allowed her sisters to visit, but on one condition, she was not to allow them to put doubts in her mind. Delighted her request had been accepted and promising Eros her sisters were called for. Jealousy and envy creeping in, the sisters decided to quiz Psyche about her husband. Knowing very little, she didn't have an awful lot to tell them. Unsatisfied with her answers, they told Psyche that the marriage didn't sound very loving and she should, of course, be concerned about whom she married; he may well be the beast Apollo had in mind for her to originally marry.

Terrified by this thought, Psyche made a plan to sneak up on her husband and catch a glimpse to make sure he wasn't who her sisters had said. Knowing her husband would be asleep, Psyche took her candle and walked quietly towards his bedroom. Ensuring to be quiet not to wake him, she opened the door and walked to his bedside. Psyche lifted her candle high enough to see her husband's face with her hands trembling slightly and unknowing of what she would see. The image of her husband left her heart full of joy; he looked so beautiful, handsome, and peaceful. However, with her hands still trembling, a hot piece of wax fell from the candle onto Eros; awakening in pain and extremely disappointed his wife went against his wishes, he left his room and the castle.

Psyche was beside herself, asking herself why she had listened to her sisters and why she hadn't put her trust in her husband as a dutiful wife should? Not knowing what to do, she visited her mother-in-law Aphrodite to ask for her help. Instead of helping, Aphrodite thought his son could do much better than her rival. Eventually agreeing to help, she set Psyche several impossible tasks to complete to prove her genuine love for her son; if she succeeded, she would send Eros back to her. Having achieved these tasks with the help of other realms, Psyche brought the last task back to her mother-in-law. Furious with her success and going back on her word, Aphrodite refused to help, which angered several Gods.

Hermes, the messenger god, was sent to Eros to tell him the awful tasks Psyche had to undertake to prove her love to him. Touched by her genuine love and determination to succeed in winning him back, Eros was led to his mother's garden, where he found Psyche. The love between them could not be denied, heading back to their castle to continue married life together; they were later blessed with a baby daughter, Joy.

With the help of Psyche, Eros forgave his mother for punishing his wife. Pleasing the Gods with her forgiveness, Psyche was gifted the incredible opportunity to taste ambrosia, the drink of the Gods, where Zeus agreed for Psyche to become immortal alongside her husband, where they would live together forever.

A true love story that would make any heart smile. Myth or not, we've all grown up with these tales, believing one day we'll meet our one true love. This story, I guess, is ever so slightly convincing than the classics tho. Not all siblings get along, husbands and wives argue and storm out, and the mother and daughter-in-law don't always see eye to eye. However, there is also a precious lesson in this story, refusing to let negativity and negative people come between you and your love. If you are destined to be together, you will be, just like Psyche and Eros; they had their ups and downs but didn't give up and, with a little bit of help, eventually got through their differences. This story is full of hope, yes life can be very trying, but by not letting go of that faith and determination, you may get your happily ever after we all deserve.

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