Origin of Cupid


Have you seen a mischievous winged figure shooting arrows through the sky lately? Felt a prick on your arm followed by a sudden feeling of romantic desire? If so, you may have just been struck by one of Cupid’s arrows.

While generally depicted as a plump winged boy, this god of love is fully equipped with bow and arrows. Once hit, gods and humans alike are filled with an uncontrollable desire for another person, bordering on obsession.

In Greek Mythology, Cupid is known as Eros, son of Aphrodite. In Roman Mythology, he is known as Cupid, son of the goddess Venus.

Mythology also provides an interesting tale about how Cupid fell in love with his mortal wife, Psyche. The story begins when Venus, jealous of Psyche’s beauty, asks Cupid to strike her with one of his arrows. Venus plans to then place a vile creature in front of Psyche so that, when she wakens, she will to fall in love with it.

Cupid goes ahead with the scheme, but, before he can complete his mission, Psyche wakes up. Startled, Cupid scratches himself with his own arrow and instantly falls in love with Psyche.

With her original plan a failure, Venus curses Psyche so that she will never be able to find a husband. Unlovable and alone, Psyche ends up sequestered on a mountain where she expects to die alone.

As we have long come to expect, however, the damsel in distress is saved by a man: Zephyrus, the west wind, carries her to a palace where, at long last, she will find her husband-to-be: Cupid.

When Psyche and Cupid meet, the romance begins well, though Cupid asks that she not look at him. At the bidding of her jealous sisters she looks anyway, however, and just as she discovers her lover’s identity he flies away.

Unable to find Cupid, Psyche turns to Venus, who gives her a series of four tasks, each more dangerous than the last.

After completing the first three tasks, on the fourth Psyche finds herself trapped in the underworld. That is precisely when Cupid swoops in to save the day, delivering his love from the jaws of death and then convincing the other gods to let them stay together. Psyche drinks a potion of immortality, she and Venus forgive each other, Cupid and Psyche have a daughter and they all live happily ever… until the next divine drama.

And you thought your love life was complicated!

In short, Cupid may seem like an innocent child, but those arrows are lethal! It is probably best to keep an eye out for the little rascal this Valentine’s Day.  

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