Cupid The Most Famous of Valentine Symbols
Cupid has always played a role in the celebrations of love and lovers. He is known as a mischievous, winged child, whose arrows would pierce the hearts of his victims causing them to fall deeply in love. In ancient Greece he was known as Eros the young son of Aphrodite, the goddess of love and beauty. To the Roman’s he was Cupid, and his mother Venus.
One legend tells the story of Cupid and the mortal maiden, Psyche. Venus was jealous of the beauty of Psyche, and ordered Cupid to punish the mortal. But instead, Cupid fell deeply in love with her. He took her as his wife, but as a mortal she was forbidden to look at him. Psyche was happy until her sisters convinced her to look at Cupid. Cupid punished her by departing. Their lovely castle and gardens vanished with him and Psyche found herself alone in an open field.
As she wandered to find her love, she came upon the temple of Venus. Wishing to destroy her, the goddess of love gave Psyche a series of tasks, each harder and dangerous than the last. For her last task Psyche was given a little box and told to take it to the underworld. She was told to get some of the beauty of Proserpine, the wife of Pluto, and put it in the box.
During her trip she was given tips on avoiding the dangers of the realm of the dead. And also warned not to open the box. Temptation would overcome Psyche and she opened the box. But instead of finding beauty, she found deadly slumber.
Cupid found her lifeless on the ground. He gathered the sleep from her body and put it back in the box. Cupid forgave her, as did Venus. The gods, moved by Psyche’s love for Cupid made her a goddess.