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Cupid and Psyche

Cupid and Psyche (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Cupid ((Latin Cupido, “desire”) comes under many guises. As the Roman god of Love, he’s the son of Venus.

The 2nd century Latin writer Apuleus portrays him in The Golden Ass as the lover of Psyche. But the timeless tale of Cupid and Pscyhe goes back at least to the 4th century BCE, where its depicted in Greek art.

Depth psychologists have much to say about the relationship between Cupid and Psyche. In Jungian archetypal psychology Psyche is taken as the cold, somewhat icy soul in need of a “shattering” or “melting” from the warm, sensitive Cupid. Cupid, on the other hand, risks utter destruction unless Psyche’s gaze is tempered with love.

In the language of symbols, the successful union of Cupid and Psyche represents a fruitful togetherness, not unlike the Yin and the Yang, love and knowledge or affection and wisdom.

In art Cupid is usually depicted naked. He’s often winged with bow and arrow, wearing a boyish or cherub-like countenance.

In folklore, Cupid, like the Indian kama, afflicts human beings with a proverbial “dart to the heart.” His marks invariably fall in love or become filled with desire for another person. His chief mythic parallel is the Greek god Eros.

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