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Feb 10

The Story of Cupid

Cupid & Psyche by Canova

Valentine’s Day has a number of different images associated with it: roses, hearts, and Cupid, a little, mostly naked winged kid with a bow and arrow.  Cupid flies around shooting lovers with his magical arrows, causing them to fall deeply in love.  But there’s more to the myth of Cupid than just this.

Cupid was first known in ancient Greece as Eros (Cupid is his Roman name).  He was the son of Aphrodite, the goddess of love, and was charged with spreading love among both mortals and the gods.  While he plays a small role in several myths, usually causing someone to fall in love with someone he or she shouldn’t, Cupid’s name story features how he met his mortal bride Psyche.

Psyche was incredibly beautiful, and unfortunately, many people told her so.  Aphrodite got wind of this and became very jealous—she believed she was the most beautiful being in existence, god or mortal.  She ordered Cupid to hit Psyche with one of his golden love arrows while she slept.  She would then make sure that the first thing Psyche saw when she woke up was a hideous creature.

Cupid made himself invisible and snuck into her room.  However, Psyche woke up before he could shoot her with the arrow, and he accidentally scratched himself with the arrow.  He instantly fell in love with her.  He returned to Aphrodite and told her what happened.  She cursed Psyched that prevented her from ever meeting a suitable husband.

Psyche’s parents went to the oracle of Apollo, who told them that Psyche’s husband awaited her on a mountain.  When she reached the peak, she found a gorgeous palace filled with everything she ever wanted.  Invisible servants took care of all her needs.  There was only one catch: she could speak to her husband, but she was forbidden to see him.  He would come to her in the middle of the night when it was completely dark and leave before first light.

Eventually, Psyche began to wonder what her husband looked like, especially after she visited her sisters.  They made Psyche suspect her husband was a horrible creature, and so one night she hid a lamp near her bed.  When Cupid fell asleep next to her, she uncovered the lamp and saw how beautiful he was.  He awoke, and in anger sent her back to her family.

Later, Psyche realized she was truly in love with Cupid, and she begged Aphrodite to allow the two to reconcile.  Aphrodite give Psyche a series of nearly impossible tasks, but Psyche prevailed.  In the end, Cupid and Psyche reconciled, and she became an immortal so they could remain together forever.

Don’t let your Psyche get away!  Woo her with Valentine’s flowers in Kansas City, MO.

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