“You are what you do, not what you say you’ll do.” 

― Carl Gustav Jung

I always see Cupid makes an appearance at this time, but don’t hear many talking about the mythology associated. It’s a myth that is dear to my heart.

Some of you may know that Cupid is connected to a Roman myth involving his mother Venus and a beautiful woman named Psyche. A “coles notes” version of the story is this … Venus overhears Psyche’s father praising Psyche as the most beautiful princess ever and Venus is pissed! She’s jealous and furious at the idea of a mere mortal being as or more beautiful than herself, so she calls upon her son, Cupid, to shoot Psyche with an arrow to make her fall in love with a hideous beast! Cupid stumbles upon seeing Psyche though and he shoots himself, falling madly in love with her immediately. He knows that Venus will be upset about this news so he hides Psyche  in his castle and visits her only at night, in the dark so that she will not be able to tell anyone who he is. 

But one day Psyche gets curious as her friends find it so peculiar that she’s never seen him and they suggest that he may be ugly, or even a ghost! At night, Psyche goes down to where he sleeps to take a peek and unveil his identity. She is thrilled to see a handsome young man, but he is awoken by a drip of oil from her candle and he takes off, angry that she didn’t listen and he’s now been exposed.

Psyche calls on the goddess of love, who happens to be Venus, for help. Venus, not wanting her to succeed, sets her up with a series of impossible tasks. Amazingly, Psyche finds help along the way from nature and Cupid’s prayers, and gets through them… but on her last task of bringing oils from the underground (some recordings of the myth indicate) she breaths in what is actually a dangerous poison and dies. 

Cupid pleads to the gods, however, to make Psyche immortal and … they do!  So the lovers are married in heaven. 

Like any myth, we may look into this story and ask, “where do I see myself?”

As a culture, we may be more like Psyche’s sisters, questioning love based on how it looks… the image of love… physical attraction being weighed as most important. But those of us in true love ~ with another, or with life ~ know that it’s not so simple. On the outside, it may look as gorgeous as Venus but as filled with insecurity. Or, in the case of Cupid and Psyche that love may be shared in the dark and felt more deeply than anything. The full truth of love is that it involves our surrender, commitment and determination to what may appear as impossible tasks. It is as painful as it is beautiful.

All parts of being human belong to us so if there is any part that seems like a big loud “that’s not me” when you hear the story then … okay, good! You’ve got an adventure ahead of you if you are willing to grab your flashlight and enter the dark.