Eros and Phyche vs St. Valentine

14 February 2023

Thousands of things over the centuries have been written and told about love that with some released arrows strikes the souls of the people, to dedicate only one day per year for it. In ancient Greece love was so important that it had an active religious role personalized as one of the Olympic gods, the winged Eros. His name is what the greek language uses to describe the romantic love between the souls.

Eros had also the role of the creator in mythology, the first organizing power of the world, since he had the powerful skill ulcerate the entities between them. According to Hesiod, he was the most handsome of the immortals and he could also tame the hearts of gods and people, to defeat even the most wise of the advices and to be destructive to every logic.

The story of Eros and Psyche (the Soul) is a characteristic ancient allegory to describe the heartbreaking search of all of us to complete as a personality through romantic love. Psyche is so beautiful that the jealous goddess Aphrodite commands her son Eros to make her fall in love with the despicable man. However, Eros falls in love with Psyche himself. Her father, concerned that there was no suitor for her to be married, because due to her beauty no one dared to ask her hand, consults the oracle of Apollo. The prophecy said that the future husband of Psyche is a terrible monster and that she has to be abandoned on top of a mountain. The west wind Zephyros rescues her and carries her to Eros’ palace. He visits Psyche only during nighttime and forbids her to make any attempt to see him. But Psyche was curious about her lover’s appearance and fearful after her three jealous sisters convince her that Eros is a serpentine monster. When Eros is asleep, Psyche illuminates his beautiful figure with a lamp but a drop of hot oil accidentally wakes him. Angry and shocked as he was, he flies off with Psyche clinging desperately to his ankle. She wants to end her life and drown herself but Pan tells her to win back Eros’ love. Aphrodite sets Psyche a series of difficult tasks and although she failed the last one, the gods decide to make her immortal and she is reunited with Eros.

Soul and Eros might be interrelated and fatal for each other. The soul is looking with bravery for love, despite the physical, psychological and social difficulties it suffers. Love has no gender, age or nationality. Love in bound to the soul.

By Dimitra Fotinaki

Photo: Terracotta complex of Eros and Psyche from the Agora (market place) of Pella. Archaeological Museum of Pella. 1rst century BC.