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The Lover's Path: Awakening - Cupid and Psyche

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The Lover's Path: Awakening - Cupid and Psyche


Card #19 of the Major Arcana, Awakening, shows the glorious moment when after many trials Cupid and Psyche meet as equals. This card, equivalent to The Sun in traditional decks, is also the key to the suit of Arrows (like Swords), which Kris Waldherr places in Air. Psyche is the Greek word for Soul. The arrows of Cupid or Eros are the vehicles of the love potion within this story, and the adventure of the Soul with Love itself has the potential to raise the lover's Soul to wisdom. I will use the Greek name Eros since Cupid has some rather banal associations for me.

At a psychological level, Psyche dreams of Eros, of Love. The Soul knows her lover only in the darkness of the night, and she is told that this is how it must be. She disobeys the instruction, with devasting consequences. But it is not foolish for her to want to know her lover by the light of her lantern, it is part of a necessary growth into maturity. This is the stage of withdrawal of the animus projection, by which she releases the image she has superimposed on her man, allowing her to come to terms with both him in his essential personality, and allowing her to discover the source of masculine energy within herself.

It is the Soul's awakening that brings her to fuller consciousness, to recognize Love in all its glory. Her animus has emerged, compelling her to begin the hero's journey by which she will bring her dreams into waking reality. She must complete several seemingly impossible tasks, including a journey into the underworld. The awakening continues as she engages in her journey, and culminates when she sees her lover again: in her completeness she encounters Love as the god he is.

The synopsis is again located at our favourite mythology site. The climax comes when Psyche must retrieve some of the beauty of Persephone, in other words she must find the essence of the dark feminine within. But Psyche is overcome by its power.
Quote:
Now Psyche would have slept for ever, had not Eros, now recovered from his sickness, come to her and awakened her, which was bound to happen. For there is no place for Love to dwell except in the Soul, who animates all things, and there is no meaning for the Soul to live and be awake except for the sake of Love.
John Haule also has a short passage on Eros and Psyche:
Quote:
...in the myth of Eros and Psyche, the maiden Psyche loses her god-lover whom she has known only unconsciously and sexually. He visits her bed every night, and she is forbidden to look upon him or to ask for his name. When, out of self-doubt, she violates this rule and his visits cease, she has to suffer a quiet, helpless abandonment and loneliness for some time before she is finally given tasks and therewith the hope of winning him back. These tasks symbolize the inner work that must go on in our depression. Furthermore, they are beyond Psyche's powers to carry them out. Instead, she has to allow herself to be assisted by ants, a reed, and an eagle -- indication that the important work is being done by her unconscious and not by her ego. In her isolation and loneliness, her inner self seeks her.
In the scene of the card, it appears that Psyche may have been dreaming of her lover. She is clothed in the gold of transformation, wrapped in a red cape of passion and resting on a red cushion with a design that somehow reminds me of a dragon or a lion. Psyche awakens and reaches out to her Eros who now appears in daylight to embrace her. His beauty matches hers, but he is a creature of fire. His passion burns in his tunic, his wings and his hair. But what is really fascinating is that interface where their bodies overlap in the painting. The lower part of her dress actually appears to be on fire, gold flames rise up and embrace and mingle in his orange! I didn't notice this at first in a conscious way, but now its unmistakable.

In the distance, dawn rises on a city that looks very much like Venice. It may well be an image of Venice since Kris Waldherr mentions how much she was inspired by the city on page 9 of The Lover's Path book. Venice is the porta orientalis - the "gateway to the East" or "door of the sunrise" - a beautiful reinforcement of the theme of Awakening.
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darwinia  darwinia is offline
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I am amazed as I go through the book for this deck how Venus appears in many of the stories. She's a schemer, she hates her husband, she's interfering with her son. It's a bit of a contrast to Gustav Holst's lovely music portraying her as the Bringer of Love.

She seems like a hateful and manipulative crabapple of the first order. Oh yeah and then there's Tannhauser. Let's capture and imprison men and have gobs of sex with them and then get angry when they tire of the game and want to go home. It's hardly a loving archetype according to the mythology; she's a controlling, manipulative gorgon.

Cupid and Psyche are one of the few who find happiness at the end. Or are they the only pair that does? It seems to me they might be the only ones. But then she ended up with the mother-in-law from hell.

I wonder how Venus got romanticized so completely that she came to represent love? She's really quite awful and frightening. Maybe that's what men think of women unconsciously?

I've never really understood the idea of "anima/animus." The idea of projection seems important when you are speaking of masculine and feminine ideals but the actual inner anima/animus seems murky to me as a defining part of a person.

And yet, I think it must be so.


*********

Hey, there's a font called Tannhauser which I quite like:
http://www.itcfonts.com/fonts/detail...073&PID=939805
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Quote:
Originally Posted by darwinia
I wonder how Venus got romanticized so completely that she came to represent love? She's really quite awful and frightening. Maybe that's what men think of women unconsciously?
Yes! Many men have an overwhelming fear of the feminine. The whole Greek Pantheon, male and female, is a very misogynistic projection of society: the gods are adulterers and rapists (particularly Zeus) and the goddesses tend to be "gorgons" as you say. Greek mythology is one of the pillars of western civilization, but the stories came from a society built on wholesale slavery, violence, oligarchy, and the abuse of women and children. Earlier mythology was more balanced. I see it as part of the role of the contemporary equality movement to recover the essence of partnership sociology which lies under the layers of the Classical Greek distortions. I think it would be a good idea to open a thread on the Queen of Arrows to discuss Venus more specifically.

Quote:
Originally Posted by darwinia
I've never really understood the idea of "anima/animus." The idea of projection seems important when you are speaking of masculine and feminine ideals but the actual inner anima/animus seems murky to me as a defining part of a person.

And yet, I think it must be so.
I use these terms as a convenience, but really that part of the contra-sexual psyche which directs one to an external lover is better termed "the inner beloved". There is a lot more to a person's contra-sexual psyche than this one entity.

The inner beloved became a conscious reality for me before I knew about the Jungian model. The model was a practical guide to what I had already experienced. In my personalized model, I think that the inner beloved normally functions with a two way mirror. The inner beloved stands behind us in a darkened room. We look through the mirror to see our lover standing outside. But superimposed on our outer lover's image is the subtle reflection of our inner beloved. Eventually we realize that the lover does not seem to conform to this overlay - we feel betrayed by and disillusioned with our lover, but in time we may adapt to what is really there. Seldom do we realize that there is an inner source to the illusion - and this seems especially difficult for men to perceive.

But if we turn around into the darkness, we see the source of the image in all its splendour. We realize why we could never be fully satisfied by any outer lover. Having faced the darkness, we may connect with the source - but only if we are willing and able to sacrifice our present identity. To receive the inner beloved in her or his pure form is overwhelming and life changing, for not only is the inner beloved a supremely potent distillation of erotic love but she or he unlocks all the treasures and skeletons that lie in the contra-sexual unconscious.

Now we look back at our outer beloved and for the first time see with perfect clarity. No longer are we betrayed by any illusion: we can accept the lover as she or he really is. But in this unmasking, we may or may not see in our outer lover a continuing foundation for love. But offsetting the loss of the illusion, the outpouring of inner love demands an external expression, so more than ever we are drawn to seek an outer counterpart.
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I wonder what would have happened if Psyche hadn't burnt Cupid with the oil from her lamp? Part of the reason Venus was so furious with her was that she had injured her beloved son... like every good mother-in-law she probably would have found a million and one other reasons why this girl just wasn't good enough...

I don't think Venus is so awful... she just reflects the female nature


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I do think the myths seem to focus on the negative feminine. For example, the story was initiated when Venus wanted to take revenge on Psyche for being too beautiful. But from a contemporary point of view, I think its important to try to mine these myths for the underlying truths, many of which are positive. In doing so we begin to release the collective unconscious from centuries of misogyny. I believe Kris Waldherr makes a wonderful attempt at doing this.

Apart from the motives of Venus, her role in the story brings Psyche to her awakening, she is the maturing force. If we personify this force as Venus, it is difficult to justify the vindictive actions of a character who puts the pregnant Psyche in mortal danger. If we see Venus as representing the part of the Self whose lifelong agenda is to bring the whole psyche to self-realization, then the story reveals a central truth. It is an unfortunate reality that transformation is almost always painful and often dangerous. And ultimately Psyche and Eros are transformed by their love - their inner Venus - awakened to themselves and to each other.
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