Profile of the Greek Cupid

14 Feb

 

Out of the opposites-attract romance of the goddess of love and the god of war sprang forth Eros.  It comes as no surprise that his genes of love and war make him the god of passion!

Early depictions of Eros show him as a stunningly handsome man, but today he’s portrayed as a winged boy.  He is the Greek Cupid.  He has a bow and arrows, which he seems to shoot at random.

Eros is so handsome that he must shield his beauty from his own wife.  Go Greece tells the story:

Problems ensue when Eros (called Cupid in this story) falls in love with Psyche. His radiance is such that for her own safety, he insists that she must never look upon his face, and he only visits her at night. At first, she’s cool with this, but her sisters and family insist that her husband must be a grotesque and dangerous monster. Finally, to shut them up, one night she lights a lamp and sees his glorious beauty, which doesn’t blast her but does make her tremble so hard she shakes the lamp. A few drops of hot oil dribble on her beloved, burning him, and he flies away from her in physical pain compounded by the pain of knowing she doubted him.

The doomed romance of Eros and Psyche reminds me in some ways of the Japanese legend of the Crane Wife, which inspired the eponymous heartbreaking song by the Decemberists.

Provincial wisdom often says love makes you blind.  Too often that rings true.  However, these stories speak toward another type of love that is beautiful and sacrificial, and that sometimes we need to have more trust and more faith in the person we love.

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