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Cupid: A god in Love

Updated on May 4, 2010

Our modern image of him is the cute cherub having his bow and quiver of arrows. Being blindfolded, he shoots his magical arrows of love to unsuspecting persons causing romantic feelings to arise within them for another - 'Love is Blind' it is often said. No one knows when and into whose heart he will fire his golden tipped arrows speaking of the unpredictability of love. His purpose is the innocent and childlike matchmaking in the world especially on Valentine's Day, but what many may not know is that his legend is far darker and mysterious deepening into 3 millenniums. Interestingly, Cupid himself fell in love.

He is an ancient Greco-Roman god of sexual love & beauty, known as Cupid/Amour (Roman) and Eros (Greek). In Roman mythology, Cupid is more in tune with how he is seen in our age even though he is a teenager, but the Greek version is far more terrible as Eros is a much older, more terrible god with the power to manipulate sexual lust and romantic desire within people driving them to betrayal, suicide and murder. Nonetheless, his Greek image softened, as philosophical views evolved. He is the son of Venus (Roman)/Aphrodite (Greek) who is the goddess of love. Cupid's father is not quite clear, as his mother had many lovers, of which the most prominent were Mars (god of war) and Mercury (god of trade, profit and commerce). Mercury is the one perceived to be the more likely father, as he was Cupid's Teacher.

The Legend of Cupid's Love Affair

Venus delighted in the worship from mortals, as they were awed by her indescribable beauty but she realized that there was one mortal Beauty that caused a shift in attention. Psyche was the focus of Venus' venomous envy that drove her to mastermind a plan to eliminate competition. As great a task as it was, she convinced her son to commit to the plan of manipulating Psyche's love to be directed to an undesirable hideous mortal or creature. Cupid flew into her room invisibly to touch her with a golden tipped arrow, but upon seeing how incredibly beautiful she was, he became sympathetic, and somehow accidentally touched himself with the arrow meant for her curse. Cupid was now inflamed with love and desire for the most beautiful woman on earth. A forbidden relationship between god and mortal was now emerging and had to be kept in secret.

The drama intensifies with Venus learning of the news, and puts a spell upon Psyche that no man would find her desirable as a wife even though they would be amazed by her beauty. The god in love became terribly angry and refused to administer romantic love throughout the earth until his mother reversed the terrible curse. Eventually, Venus decided to roll back the curse when she realized that the earth was lacklustre because of the absence of love affairs. Once again with a quiver of gold tipped arrows to arouse love, and lead tipped arrows to muster hate, Cupid actively shot arrows throughout the earth for matchmaking and match-breaking.

He also paid nightly visits to his lover and warned her not to use a lamp to see him until the time was right, which she promised not to. As mortals tend to do, she yielded to the temptation with the advice of a vindictive step-sister and in effect broke her promise to her lover. Cupid went away from her feeling utterly betrayed, and now a lovesick and sorrowful Psyche went on a heart wrenching journey to find her one and only Cupid even with the willingness to consult Venus; sacrifice her beauty, and trod into the realms of Hell and Death in the Underworld.

This is a glimpse of the epic love story of Cupid and Psyche/Eros and Psyche told by an old woman in the ancient Latin novel The Metamorphoses of Apuleius (The Golden Ass) written by Latin author Apuleius.

An interesting thought for Valentine's Day, that the cute 3000 year old toddler-god in diapers had a Valentine too. Cupid: a god of love; a god in love.


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