Psyche 16

Psyche was a royal princess, of astounding beauty and grace. So lovely was she that the residents of her city came to reverence and adore her, neglecting their proper worship of Aphrodite.

Scorned and offended, the goddess of love ordered her son Eros to shoot Psyche with one of his magic arrows, which forced those so wounded to fall hopelessly in love with the first thing they see, and then to cause her to fall in love with something hideous, as her punishment.

But Eros pricks his arm with an arrow by accident, and upon first sight of Psyche, falls passionately in love himself. Meanwhile, Psyche has yet to find a husband, despite her beauty, and her worried father consults the oracle of Apollo, who tells him not to expect any human son-in-law, but some feared and vicious monster, who will kill both her and her child. Wishing to avoid this fate, Psyche is richly dressed and then taken from the city to a high peak, to be exposed and left to die.

Eros persuades Zephyr, god of the west wind, to save her and whisk her away to an enchanted abode, a gorgeous palace in a beautiful garden, where all her needs and wants are met. A disembodied voice, really Eros, instructs her to make herself comfortable, and Psyche is treated to a feast that serves itself, and music from an invisible lyre. Eros visits her nightly, consummating their marriage, but always leaves before dawn, and refuses to allow her to see him, stating she must trust that this is best.

The only thing Psyche lacks is human companionship, for which she pines, so Eros permits Zephyr to transport her sisters for a visit. Overwhelmed by their sister’s dazzling surroundings and envious of her good fortune, they prey upon Psyche’s insecurities, causing her to doubt her mysterious husband, stating that he must be the hideous monster foretold by the oracle, and this is why she can never see him.

Troubled and suspicious, Psyche adopts their advice, and prepares herself with a dagger and a lamp, which she hides in their bedroom, so she can both see and then kill the monster who is her husband. That night, when Eros has fallen asleep, she steals from the bed and retrieves her tools – but she is astonished when the lamplight falls upon him, only to reveal the most beautiful creature she could imagine. Startled, she grazes herself with one of Eros’ arrows, and immediately falls passionately in love. But she spills some of the hot oil on Eros, who wakens, denounces Psyche for her lack of faith in him, and flees.

When he does not return, a disconsolate Psyche sets out to find him, but after being turned away from the temples of several goddesses when she seeks aid, eventually realizes that she must appeal to Aphrodite herself. Aphrodite is still angry with Psyche, and sets four impossible tasks for her to complete, before she will forgive her. Psyche is aided by various insects, animals, and deities, and successfully performs the tasks. Eros, now repining for his lost love, pleads in vain to be reunited with Psyche. When Aphrodite still refuses, Eros takes his case to Zeus, who agrees to their union on condition that in future, Eros will always help him when an attractive maiden catches his eye. Psyche is taken to Olympus, given ambrosia, the drink of the gods which conveys immortality, and she and Eros are wed.

Astrologically, Psyche represents the trials and tribulations on the path to true love; the need for trust in relationships; a strong mental connection between partners; and deep, intense passion.

Alex Miller is a professional writer and astrologer, author of The Black Hole Book, detailing deep space points in astrological interpretation, and the forthcoming Heaven on Earth, a comprehensive study of asteroids, both mythic and personal. Alex is a frequent contributor to “The Mountain Astrologer”, “Daykeeper Journal”, and NCGR’s Journals and “Enews Commentary”; his work has also appeared in “Aspects” magazine, “Dell Horoscope”, “Planetwaves”, “Neptune Café” and “Sasstrology.” He is a past president of Philadelphia Astrological Society, and a former board member for the Philadelphia Chapter of NCGR.

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