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Psyche


The story of Psyche (Soul) and her love for Eros (Love) is contained in the novel Metamorphoses, which was written about the middle of the second century AD, by Apuleius, a Platonist. The story, while making for pleasant reading, has significant philosophical symbolism.

Psyche was the daughter of a king, and she and her two sisters were very beautiful, but Psyche out shown her sisters. Her radiant charms seemed more than human, and people came from far and wide to admire her, and then they began to worship her as if she was a new Aphrodite. Psyche's sister had no difficulty in finding husbands, but Psyche remained in her father's house without suitors. The king despaired of ever finding a husband for her, and he consulted the oracle, which gave a sinister reply. It said to adorn the girl as though for her wedding and lead her in a procession to the mountainside, where she was to be abandoned on top of a rock. There a monster would come for her and take her. Psyche's parents were in despair. Yet they had to obey the decree, which was evidently the will of the gods.

(The story of Psyche and Eros legend is continued in Eros.)

A.G.H.


Sources:

Grimal, Pierre, Larousse World Mythology, Secaucus, New Jersey, Chartwell Books, 1965, p. 173