ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

The Goddess Psyche in Greek Mythology

Updated on June 3, 2015
Colin Quartermain profile image

Having travelled through Italy, Greece and the Aegean in his youth, Colin quickly became interested in the ancient mythology of the region.

The Story of Eros and Psyche

Psyche was a female figure in Greek mythology, a figure whose name lives on in modern English, with such words as psyche and psychology.

Psyche though was more than just a name, for in antiquity a tale was told about her transformation from mortal princess to Greek goddess of the Soul.

Cupid and Psyche vs Eros and Psyche

Today, the story of Psyche is one more closely associated with Roman mythology, rather than Greek mythology, for the story of Cupid and Psyche is an integral part of Apuleius’ novel The Golden Ass, but centuries before, the story of Eros and Psyche existed.

The various variations of the story though have common themes, and the story of Psyche ultimately ends up with Soul and Love combined.

The Story of Psyche Begins

Psyche was the third daughter of an unnamed Grecian king and his wife. All three daughters were extremely beautiful, but the youngest of the three, Psyche, was the most beautiful of them all. Indeed such was the beauty of Psyche, that people within her father’s kingdom stopped worshipping Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of Beauty, and instead started a cult devoted to Psyche.


William-Adolphe Bouguereau (1825–1905) PD-art-100
William-Adolphe Bouguereau (1825–1905) PD-art-100 | Source

Aphrodite Angered

The actions of the populous of course angered Aphrodite, and so the goddess focused her anger on Psyche; and the goddess of Beauty plotted that she would fall in love with a monster, or a monstrous man. Aphrodite gave orders to her son Eros to arrange this.

At the same time the father of Psyche was worried for his daughter’s future, for her two sisters had been married off to suitable royal suitors, and yet no man dared to approach Psyche, as they were put off by her beauty. Psyche’ father would consult an Oracle, but then he learned that she was destined to marry a monster.

Arranged Marriage for Psyche

Psyche’ father was forced to arrange a wedding ceremony on top of a mountain, for he believed that it was the will of the gods. From the top of that mountain though, Psyche was whisked away by Zephyrus, the god of the West Wind, and deposited in a magnificent palace.

This kidnapping was undertaken at the behest of Eros, for although he went to undertake his mother’s orders, the god of Love had actually fallen in love with Psyche.

Psyche and Her Sisters

Jean-Honore Fragonard PD-art-100
Jean-Honore Fragonard PD-art-100 | Source

Eros Asks for some Trust

Eros though could not reveal himself to Psyche, for he was fearful of his mother’s reaction, and so he only came to Psyche during the night, when it was pitch black, and she could not see him. Eros warned her that if she looked upon him, ruin would befall them both.

Although the palace was everything that Psyche could wish for, she was somewhat lonely, and so it was arranged for Zephyrus to transport her two sisters to the palace to visit her. The sisters though, whilst initially glad to see their sister, they soon became jealous of her and the palace that she was living in.

The sisters started to poison the mind of Psyche, and made her believe that her unknown lover must be a hideous monster, afraid to show his face.

One night, Psyche would take up a lamp to see the person that lay with her, and she was shocked to find that there was no hideous monster, but rather a beautiful god. The shock though made her jolt the lamp, and some oil fell upon Eros awakening him. Eros was angry that Psyche had not trusted him, but the god of Love also realised that the pair could not remain together, and so the god hurriedly left the palace.

Psyche Discovers her Lover

Jacopo Zucchi (1541–1590) PD-art-100
Jacopo Zucchi (1541–1590) PD-art-100 | Source

Psyche Searches for her Lost Love

Psyche, realising the mistake she had made, set out to find her lost love, and she would end up visiting her two sisters. The sisters became even more jealous of their sister when they learned of who her lover was. Both sisters would try and replace Psyche in the attentions of Eros, and both would die when they jumped from mountains, calling upon Zephyrus to take them to Eros; the god of the West Wind ignoring their calls.

Psyche would wander the earth searching for Eros, but the god was not on earth, but was instead lying ill in bed within his mother’s palace; Eros sick with love.

Aphrodite did not know the reason for her son’s illness, but the impact on the world was devastating, for no-one was falling in love. After much wandering though, Psyche would eventually end up at the palace of Aphrodite.

Aphrodite Plots More Punishment for Psyche

Now recognising why her son was ill, Aphrodite became angry with her son, and certainly, the goddess felt no goodwill towards Psyche.

Aphrodite would effectively keep Psyche as a slave within her household giving her impossible tasks to do; and even though Psyche prayed to Demeter and Hera, the other goddesses felt that they could not intervene.

Psyche though had not been totally abandoned though, and in her tasks she would be aided.

In one task, a mixed heap of grains, wheat and barley were put in front of Psyche, and the princess was told to sort them into separate piles. It would have been impossible for Psyche to complete the task within the time limit set by Aphrodite, but ants and other insects came to her aide, sorting the pile for her.

Aphrodite then sets tasks designed to kill Psyche. When Psyche is then told to collect golden wool from the far bank of a dangerous river, the princess is aided by a magical reed growing by the river; and when Psyche is then told to collect water from the River Styx, Zeus himself intervenes and sends forth his eagle to collect the water for her.

Psyche in the Underworld

Aphrodite then sets one last task, for Psyche is told to go to the Underworld, and bring back part of Persephone’s beauty. No mortal is of course supposed to be able to leave the Underworld but Psyche’ first problem was that she did not know how to get there in the first place. Thinking that she would need to kill herself to get there, Psyche is stopped from taking her own life by an anonymous voice, which instructs her in where to go and what to do.

Psyche eventually gets to meet Persephone, and the princess is wary enough not to take the offered seat or food, for both would have bound her to the Underworld forever. Psyche is less wary when she looks in the box given to her by Persephone, believing it to hold the goddess’ beauty, for instead the box contained everlasting slumber.

Eros has of course been aiding his lover in her tasks, without his mother knowing, guiding Psyche as best he could; and it is the god of Love who rescues and reawakens Psyche from her sleep.

Eros Rescues Psyche

Anthony van Dyck (1599–1641) PD-art-100
Anthony van Dyck (1599–1641) PD-art-100 | Source

Eros and Psyche United

Eros knows though that his mother is not likely to give up in her torturing of Psyche, and so Eros travels directly to Mount Olympus to ask for Zeus’ help.

Zeus is taken by the trials and tribulations of Psyche, and also recognises that Eros might be less troublesome and mischievous if he himself is wed. So, Zeus grants Psyche immortality, and makes her the Goddess of the Soul.

Zeus informs all the other Greek gods and goddesses of his decision, including Aphrodite, and his decision is law. Whilst Aphrodite did require some appeasement, Eros and Psyche would be married, and would spend eternity together, Love and Soul intertwined.

The coupling of Love and Soul would also bring forth a daughter, Hedione, the goddess of pleasure and delight.

Eros and Psyche Together Forever

Lusie CC-BY-SA-3.0
Lusie CC-BY-SA-3.0 | Source


Submit a Comment
  • Colin Quartermain profile imageAUTHOR

    Colin Quartermain 

    5 years ago

    Pleasure as always daydreamer

  • daydreamer13 profile image


    5 years ago

    Always grateful for your hubs!!!

  • Colin Quartermain profile imageAUTHOR

    Colin Quartermain 

    5 years ago

    Many thanks daydreamer, always grateful for your comments

  • daydreamer13 profile image


    5 years ago

    Excellent as always!


This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)