Τετάρτη, 11 Μαρτίου 2015
The allegories in the Myths of Aphrordite, Eros and Psyche
Venus is the second in distance from the Sun, planet of our Solar System, and closest to the Earth. It has been known since ancient times, as the brightest star in the night sky as it is easily visible by naked eye from the Earth. It took the name of Aphrodite, the goddess of love and beauty, as the brightest star accompanying the moon.
Pythagoras called it "the other sun” (Sol Alter), thanks to its wonderful radiance. Due to the fact that Venus is visible in the Night sky early in the morning, at dawn before sunrise and shortly after sunset, it also received the names of Lucifer ( he who brings the light or Dawn) and Hesperus. The ancient imagined Lucifer and Hesperus as two people, holding a torch each , announcing in succession, the coming of day and night.
Lucifer flying in the morning sky, preceded the sun’s chariot, bringing the morning light (dawn) before the sun rose. Lucifer was the son of Eos (Dawn) and Astraea, brother of Hesperus, father of Telauges and Kifkos. Lucifer married Kleovoia and had two daughters, Telauge and Filonida. Hesperus with his golden hair, appears in the night sky and dominates the other stars with its brilliance and light. Hesperus was the brightest star. When he lived on the earth, he was an outstanding , for the gifts and virtues, young man. Brilliant, and handsome, honoring the gods , he was distinguished for the nobility of his character, wisdom and compassion. The gods, decided once, to turn him into a shining and illuminating early in the evening, star, so that he is never forgotten and lost.
With the advent of Christianity, Eosphorus was replaced by the morning star, while Hesperus by the evening star. It was then that Lucifer took exactly the opposite symbolism. From a teen of incomparable beauty, preceding the Sun’s chariot to herald dawn - meaning the life on Earth, accompanied at times by the Moon, sometimes as an infant in the arms of Eos - he took a monstrous form, now symbolizing the darkness and destruction having the same meaning as the Hebrew word «satan», «Satan."
However, it should be noted, that this is a common practice of all religions, as no religion arises from a human spiritual parthenogenesis. (Common archetypal patterns are repeated over time on global level). Religions and their followers , change over the years, and finally the new religion born , distorts and uses the previous one to prevail, tailoring its own religious and devotional context. Regarding Aphrodite’s progenitors, there are two prevailing interpretations of the ancient Greek myth making . In the first and oldest one , Aphrodite is the daughter of Uranus and Hemera (day) . In the second version Uranus’ severed genitals, thrown into the sea , gave birth to Aphrodite.
The Birth of Venus
Goddess Venus is constantly young, forever amorous, supervising Cosmos’/ the World’s sexual copulation , to ensure natural becoming. As a planet due to its brightness in the sky, it symbolized on the one hand the harmony and beauty of the universe, and on the other " Urania Aprodite’s " inner call, which generates love in the human soul, uniting with the universal soul, the place of its origin and destination. “Eros”, "love", symbolizes the power of attraction, thanks to which the elements connect and shape the forms of beings and thus life is produced; Eros is Aphrodite’s son ( conceived with Uranus according to Sappho or Ares according to Simonides of Ceos).
Eros in the pre Homeric years as mythology says, originates from the primary creative cosmogonic universe as he was born before the gods of Olympus, composing the unifying power of the universe. Thus, not only does Eros symbolize the power of erotic love , responsible for lust , love and sexual activity in human terms, but also the first-born Light , responsible for the existence and order of all things in Universe on a cosmogonic level . For this reason Eros was considered a god because of his position in the natural process of existence. As a result he was also worshiped in the Eleusinian Mysteries, as Primitive, ie he was who was first-born.
The Greeks were the only people who proclaimed Eros a god. They, only, did understand the enormous importance of Eros in the process of being. By this action on a cosmogonic level, not only does Eros mark the synthesis and mixing of the elements that cause perpetual evolution in the universe, but , in human terms , he also has a deep subversive character.He is represented as a beautiful winged boy, armed with a bow and arrows, aiming at people’s hearts igniting love .
Like Aphrodite, his mother, Eros is eternally young, as he constantly and perpetually attracts and unites the cosmogonic elements, to give birth to forms. Eros,on a natural planetary level, acts primarily in spring, when nature is rampant and life is regenerated with the help of his supporters Imeros, Lust and Persuasion.
According to Plato, love is the desire of the previous mortal soul to pass to immortality. Psyche has a direct connection with Aphrodite and her son , as she is Ero’s wife. A myth rife with symbolisms. Psyche according to legend, was one of the three daughters of a king. Unlike her two sisters, no one dared to marry her, because of her beauty.
Many people believed that Psyche was a new Aphrodite, and several people set out from different parts of the world, to meet her and pay divine honors something which of course in the ancient Greek outlook was regarded as hubris. Though humble Psyche was not to be held responsible, Aphrodite could not endure the fact that she was superseded by a common mortal being. Thus she decided to order God Eros, her son , to aim his arrow at Psyche’s heart to make her fall in love with the ugliest man in the world! Meanwhile, Psyche’s father, worried about his daughter’s fate , appealed to the oracle of Apollo at Miletus, asking what to do to finally marry off his daughter.
According to the oracle he had to lead Psyche to a rocky crag, in a wedding attire, where the groom , a monster, would come to meet her. Father and daughter climbed to the highest rock, where Eros was waiting to execute his mother’s orders , but seeing the beautiful Psyche , he got flustered and was pierced by his own arrows ; as a result he fell in love with her at first sight.
Then he took her to his celestial palace, where invisible servants gratified her desires, even before she had the chance to think. At night a mysterious unseen lover god Eros, reclined with her. Psyche fell in love with the mysterious stranger, who not only did he refuse to reveal his true form, but he also demanded that she promise him she would never attempt to discover his identity. Time went by and Psyche, enjoying her lover’s companionship , under protection of night only, lived alone in the palace.
Cupid and psyche
Despite her happiness she missed her family. Thus she asked Eros to let her meet her sisters. Eros had strong objections to that , stressing that it was dangerous to make known to people from the world outside , that she had escaped her fate. Psyche was adamant and eventually she visited her family. But as time passed, Psyche’s sisters were overcome with jealousy realizing that the person they thought of as an unfortunate sister, had stood much luckier than themselves She lived in wealth and opulence, with a wonderful , generous but obscure spouse.
When later, unsuspecting Psyche became pregnant, she begged Eros to let her see her sisters, since she wanted to share her joy with her loved ones. Once again, the God’s objections had no effect , so wind Zephyrus carried the two sisters to the palace. This time feeling jealousy and curiosity about Psyche’s strange man, they persuaded her to discover if her spouse was indeed the monster, mentioned by the oracle of Apollo. They advised her, to hide a lighted lamp, and while her strange spouse would be sleeping, to illuminate his face to see who this person is. She was also given a sharp knife to defend herself, in case she was in danger. So the next night, when Eros fell asleep by her side, Psyche approached with the lamp in one hand and the knife in the other. Bending over him she found out that her partner, the man who had been sleeping with her all that time, was Eros, the beautiful god. Startled, she made a sudden movement, dripping hot oil on his bare shoulder. Eros awoke, and in pain took to flight and never returned.
Aphrodite furious with Psyche, sent the women in her retinue to find her, and then she was subjected to severe strain. In the first task Psyche was to sort a heap of jumbled grains - barley, peas, lentils , poppy seeds ,wheat -from lots of different plants, all in one day. She would never have managed, but for the ants’ help, that took pity on Eros’ beloved. The second trial was to fetch a flock of wool from the Golden fleece in a herd of wild sharp-horned rams with poison in their mouth, grazing behind the rapid stream, in the steep basin of a dangerous forest. Nymph Syrinx, who was transformed into a reed to escape god Pan’s love, helped her in this task. She told Psyche to wait until the afternoon as the rams can’t stand the heat and would then go to sleep. That was the right time for her to gather the tufts of wool that had been caught in the shrubs and reeds.
The third task, as expected, was the hardest one. Psyche had to fetch water from a frozen spring located on a high, slippery, steep rock guarded by some vigilant dragons. Zeus sent his eagle to help Psyche with this task.
Aphrodite, doubted Psyche’s success, believing that she had received help. Therefore she assigned Psyche, a much more difficult task compared to the previous ones. Psyche must descend to the Underworld to gather a box with some miraculous beauty ointment from Persephone, Hades’ wife, This act seemed so impossible that Psyche thought about committing suicide. However, a mysterious voice, advised her how to descend to Hades, how to give the coin to Charon and how to coax Cerberus, so that she can return to the world of the living. This voice explicitly warned her not to open Persephone’s box , under any circumstances. Following the advice given, the mission was successful but Psyche opened the box to see its contents. And in no time, she fell asleep. This was not an ordinary sleep but a death-like-sleep. Psyche remained asleep for some time , but not as long as Aphrodite had wished. Despite his anger Eros, regretted his harsh behavior and started looking for her.
Eros finds Psyche (Reunion).
When he found her, he freed her from the bonds of death. Psyche eventually became immortal and eternally his wife, giving birth to Hedone (Pleasure). The myth is fraught with symbolisms, having to do with heavenly immortal Psyche’s journey into the world of matter, and the final reunion with her celestial cradle. Briefly, we could indicate some facts. Eros on a cosmogonic level, as mentioned above, symbolizes the perpetual unifying force evolving the universe . Psyche in human terms, has two other sisters, something which refers us to the triune human nature. (Mind, body, soul). The soul in the lower nature, partakes of the divine love, unaware , it is subjugated by human passions, and commitment of matter, forgetting about its celestial origin.
Due to this fact it must be submitted to trials before obtaining the communion and blessedness of immortality. In the first test it is indicated that divinity is inherent and breathes life into every part of the universe, no matter how trivial it may seem. Consequently, in such a context, Man must realize, that he/she is part of a whole which, in turn, is connected and dependent on other sets within the broader ecosystem. In the second test, although human souls partake of the Divine (horns suggest contact with the Divine), Man’s perceptual powers (and their way of expression, speech) focus on the satisfaction of the ego , and its lower nature. During sleep only , the soul, unconsciously, has the ability to travel beyond the limits of time and space.
The third test is related to catharsis (water - source), and curbing of passions (dragons) that the soul must undergo, before the ascent ( Zeus’ eagle) to the celestial cradle. Finally the descent to Hades and resurrection, (a common archetypal motif in all initiations) indicates that the end of the earthly cycle is simply a transition from one form to another, and proclaims the eternity of the soul. There is no left over in nature. What, characteristically, Anaximander professed : "Whatever is born in nature ,has a penalty to pay when decomposed, thus giving new life" ...