Psyche is the wife of Eros, as well as the goddess personifying the soul. Initially, it was a human princess who was later elevated to the rank of goddess.
Psyche is the daughter of a king. It is so perfectly beautiful that it excites the jealousy of Aphrodite, to whom it is compared. She has two elder sisters, of great beauty also, but on which Psyche wins by far; However, unlike her sisters, she does not find a husband, for the crowds are content to come to contemplate her as a work of art and venerate her as a goddess. Aphrodite, jealous of this rival and offended by such a sacrilege, asks Eros to make her in love with the most despicable mortal. However, as the god prepares to fulfill his mission, he falls in love with Psyche by hurting himself with one of his own arrows.
Psyche's father, desperate to see that his daughter found no husband, went to Didymes to beg Apollo to allow Psyche to marry. The oracle is categorical: Psyche must be abandoned on a rock at the top of a hill, where will come to look for her future husband, a monstrous flying serpent. Sorry, but resigned, the father of Psyche executes the divine orders and abandons Psyche to his fatal destiny. However, Zephyr, the gentle wind of the west, takes the young woman to a marvelous valley. He delicately placed the princess in the tender grass, not far from a magnificent palace. Psyche enters and discovers a delicious feast awaiting him; It is served by invisible characters, whose voices it only hears. She then sleeps in a sumptuous room.
Later in the night, her mysterious spouse (Eros) joined her, asking her never to seek out her identity, hidden by the darkness of the room. Every night, he visits her and then leaves before the dawn. The young woman appreciates more and more the embraces and the sweet words that they exchange then. Nothing is wanting to the happiness of Psyche, except to know the face and name of her nocturnal lover, and to see her family again. Her two sisters, brought to the palace by Zephyr, are mad with jealousy of so much wealth and happiness. They try to persuade Psyche that her husband is nothing but a horrible monster who will eventually devour her. Terrified at this idea, she takes advantage of the sleep of her lover to light an oil lamp in order to unravel the mystery. She discovers then the most radiant young man she has ever seen. But a drop of burning oil falls on the shoulder of the sleeping god, who immediately wakes up and runs away, furious at having been betrayed. Mad with grief and remorse, Psyche throws herself into a river. But the river, compassionate, lays it on the bank, where the god Pan is seated. The latter advises Psyche to do everything possible to reconquer the love of Eros. Then the princess goes in search of her lover. Finally, she reaches the palace of Aphrodite, which subjects her to all kinds of trials, like a slave:
"First, she must sort out, in one evening, an enormous pile of grains of different varieties. Fortunately, ants, taken with pity, help him accomplish his task, and the pile is sorted in time.
Then she is compelled to bring back to Aphrodite sheep's wool with golden fleece, which graze in a meadow beyond a dangerous and deep river. A reed, moved by the misfortune of the young woman, indicates to her the course to be followed.
- Then she must bring back water from the Styx, drawn from the source. The latter is located at the top of a high mountain guarded by dragons. This time, Zeus' eagle comes to the rescue of Psyche as she climbs the mountain. The eagle will fill a vial with Styx water, and return it to Psyche.
Finally, the young woman must put in a box a piece of the beauty of Persephone, the Queen of Hell. Exhausted, Psyche is again tempted to put an end to her days. She is about to throw herself from the top of a tower when suddenly the tower begins to talk to her, convinces her to stay alive and even tells her how to pass this test. Thus, it manages to recover a piece of the beauty of Persephone. But her curiosity loses her: thinking that the beauty of the goddess will help her to reconquer Eros, Psyche opens the box and, at once, plunges into a deep sleep, like death.
Meanwhile, Eros escaped from the palace of Aphrodite, who had locked him there. Always enamored of Psyche, he revives her gently with the point of one of her arrows. Then he takes her to Zeus himself, who summons the gods of Olympus (including Aphrodite, who realized that her struggle is in vain), and publicly announces the marriage of Eros and Psyche. She is invited to consume ambrosia, which gives her immortality. The god and the new goddess are then united in the presence of the whole Pantheon, and a marvelous banquet ensues.
Some time later, Psyche gives Eros a daughter, called Pleasure.
Psyche is a sweet and generous but also modest young in spite of its great beauty (unlike Aphrodite who never ceases to boast of it). She is also, very compassionate towards humans (having herself was human, formerly). But for her, what passes above all, is "love" (and thus her husband). She feels for Eros a love so strong that she is ready to sanctify her life for him.
She also maintains a good friendship with Persephone, who had agreed to help him during his journey to hell. But, although no longer enemies, his relations with Aphrodite remain conflicting.
PS: Zeus offered wings of butterflies to Psyche when she became a goddess.
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