• Flux Magazine

"The Myth of Eros & Psyche: Part 1" by Katherine Breeher

Psyche, the youngest of the king’s daughters, possessed an unparalleled beauty so alluring that the people of her father’s kingdom had taken to worshipping her, a mortal, over Aphrodite. The goddess Aphrodite despised this. 

So Aphrodite sent her beloved son, Eros, to earth with an arrow destined to make Psyche fall in love with a hideous monster. It was the perfect revenge plot. But nobody could have predicted that hideous monster would end up being Eros himself.

He always followed his mother’s orders, Eros. But on this fateful day, he made a grave mistake. Accidentally pricking himself with his own arrow, Psyche was the first creature Eros saw and thus he fell madly in love with her.

Afraid to tell his mother what had happened, Eros decided to disguise himself as a mortal and live like a beggar on the streets of Psyche’s father’s kingdom for a few short days. He had to fix his mistake before Aphrodite found out. He began to scheme and plot a way out.

Yet, no matter how hard he tried, Eros could not stop thinking of Psyche. His own magic was too powerful for him to overcome. At the dawn of the third day, Eros snuck into the castle and stole Psyche from her bed, carrying her resting body off to his palace in the clouds.

When Psyche awoke from her false slumber, she found herself in a place more glorious than she’d ever seen. Her bedding was stuffed with goose-feathers and wrapped in silk linens. Gold, ivory, silver, and porcelain lined the walls and furniture. This palace was far too luxurious to be her own. But she saw no sign of another person and remembered nothing that would tell her how she got here.

Carefully, Psyche picked up the oil lamp on her bedside table and tiptoed barefoot out of the bedroom. Elaborate tapestries lined the corridor, but the palace was dark, as if it had never seen the sunlight.

The sound of fluttering bird’s wings approached Psyche from behind. With a fright, she shrieked and dropped the oil lamp, setting the carpet on fire. A figure quickly stomped out the flames and the corridor was subsequently bathed in darkness.

“Who are you?” Psyche asked, her voice weak and powerless.

“Eros,” the figure spoke. Psyche’s jaw dropped in disbelief.

“Why have you captured me and taken me here?” she pressed, tears forming in her eyes. She wanted nothing more than to go home and see her family.

Eros stepped closer. For the first time, Psyche could feel his body heat against her skin. She could smell his intoxicating aroma. He reached out a hand and touched her shoulder.

“I’m in love with you, Psyche,” he spoke frankly.

“How can you love me when do you do not even know who I am?” Psyche questioned, staring intensely in Eros’ direction but unable to make out his features in the darkness.

Eros took Psyche’s hand and led her down the twisting, turning corridor. Every so often an oil lamp mounted on the wall would illuminate a sliver of Eros’ body or face, but Psyche could still not tell what color his eyes were or what his smile looked like. Eros told her of how madly he’d fallen in love with her as he had watched her in her father’s garden, picking flowers and weaving them into her hair.

“Why must it be so dark?” Psyche finally spoke once Eros opened the door to his own bedroom, even more lavish than the one Psyche had woken up in.

“You cannot look upon my face yet, my love,” Eros said.

“That’s silly.”

“It is, but it’s also necessary. You’ll understand why soon enough.”

“Are you afraid you aren’t beautiful enough?”

“Not exactly.”

“I’m afraid I’m not beautiful enough,” Psyche sighed. “They all say I’m the most beautiful of all my sisters. Yet they are all married and I have yet to receive one suitor. How could I be so worshipped but so unwanted?”

Eros stepped closer to Psyche, pausing for a moment before kissing her pink, innocent lips. A kaleidoscope of butterflies erupted inside of her. With one kiss, she fell madly in love with Eros, like he had a magic love potion smeared onto his lips.

Wrapping her arms around him, Psyche felt the soft wings on his back. It really was Eros, the god of love and desire, son of Aphrodite.

He requested that she sleep with him that night, but Psyche refused. Though perhaps hard to believe at her age and her status, Psyche had never been so intimate with another person before. But Eros did not force her into his bed. So they each slept alone that first night.

In the morning, Psyche explored the palace once again with the natural sunlight illuminating her luxurious new home. But after searching every room, she still could not find Eros. Surrounded by luxury but left unsatisfied.

“Eros!” she cried. She wandered the corridors calling his name. Not a single living thing was in that palace except for her. And though its beauty was captivating, Psyche found herself hating the walls that encapsulated her more and more.

Finally, his sweet voice rang out. “I’m here, my love.”

Psyche whipped her head around, but she could not see him anywhere.

His disembodied voice spoke once more, “I cannot reveal myself to you in the daylight.”

“I want to go home, Eros,” Psyche said to the ceiling, crossing her arms tightly over her chest. “I don’t like it here. I miss my family.”

Eros worried to himself. He knew that his mother, Aphrodite, would figure out any day now what had gone wrong. He didn’t have long to get Psyche to fall in love with him so he could go to Zeus and ask to be wed to her. Only then would Aphrodite be incapable of separating them.

“I’m sorry you’re not enjoying yourself. What can I do to make you more comfortable?”

Psyche whirled around, throwing her fists in the air. “Show me your face, you snake! How can I trust you if I cannot see you?”

Eros disappeared, ashamed and apprehensive. With only silence surrounding her, Psyche collapsed to the floor and wept.

Later that night, Psyche tossed and turned in her bed, unable to sleep. In a dreary haze, she felt something slither into bed beside her. Before she could scream, a hand covered her mouth. She saw Eros’ outline beside her and could smell his musk. It captivated her.

“I’m sorry,” he whispered. “I wish things didn’t have to be this way.”

“I just don’t understand,” Psyche whispered back once he’d removed his hand from her mouth.

He gently kissed her pure lips. “I just want to talk with you. Beauty and appearances cloud the mind. I want to know everything about you on the inside. Show me your mind and bear me your soul.”

For hours, days maybe, Eros and Psyche poured themselves out onto the bed sheets, absorbing each other’s every breath. Neither of them had revealed so much to another person. Every secret, every bad habit, every flaw, every happy memory. Time passed by immeasurably. The room stayed dark the entire time. They laughed and they talked until their throats were sore and they slept beside each other innocently. Only when they’d confessed and shared everything they possibly could did they finally evolve their ludus into eros.

Several more days passed, each indistinguishable from the rest. Eros would disappear during the day and Psyche, after getting her eyes adjusted to the light, would explore the palace to pass the time and think about her family. She felt her heart fall more and more helpless to Eros. Eros was out imploring his most trusted friends for advice about Psyche. And asking his closest confidants, he concluded that he must give her what she wanted. So he returned to the palace and lay beside her in bed. He told her that her sisters would come to visit her tomorrow. Psyche was elated to hear the news.

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