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.

Eros flight.

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" ...

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