Autumn’s August
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Autumn’s August

Psyche, Aphrodite and the Ambrosia: a Story of Love, Envy and Union

She was always admired but never desired.

Love Stories can stem from anywhere. They’re not bound by culture or time or geography. They’re universal and always have something to offer to their audience.

One such great love story can be found in Greek Mythology and it’s a story of none other than “The God of Love” himself. This story is fun and interesting because we get to watch Cupid, who can make anybody fall in love, get struck by his own arrow.

There was once a king with 3 daughters, the youngest called Psyche. Psyche was the most beautiful woman to look upon, she was considered to be so exquisite in her looks that Venus or Aphrodite, the Goddess of Love and Beauty became jealous of her. Suitors and others alike would come to catch a glimpse of the all-too-beautiful Psyche. As a result, Aphrodite’s altars were vacant and mortals were no more worshipping her.

Aphrodite’s ego was hurt that a mere mortal could garner more attention and praise for her beauty and so, she devised a plan to remedy the situation. She called on her son, Cupid (or Eros) and told him to strike Psyche with one of his arrows and make her fall for the vilest and cruelest of men on this earth. But while giving instructions, Aphrodite showed Cupid the sight of Psyche and didn’t consider what her beauty could do to him.

As you can guess now, Cupid fell for Psyche instantly. He didn’t tell his mother about it and left, leaving Aphrodite with the feeling that she’d taken care of the problem.

Later on, Aphrodite saw that Psyche didn’t fall in love with a wretched man, in fact, nobody fell for her either. Meanwhile, Psyche’s sisters got married but Psyche didn’t get any offers. Psyche was always admired but never desired.

Psyche’s father grew worried over this and went to an oracle of Apollo, where Apollo told him that his daughter’s destined husband was a winged serpent, stronger than the Gods and that they were supposed to bid her farewell on the mountain top from where Psyche’s husband would take her. Apollo had already been approached by Cupid and had agreed to help Cupid marry Psyche.

The king did as he was told and took Psyche to the mountain top to be left alone. Psyche was devastated by her fate and was sobbing on the hill when a wind called “Zephyr” came and lifted her off the ground and took her to a palace. There she heard voices who told her that this palace was for her and she shouldn’t be afraid and could dine and relax. From the looks of it, Psyche had a feeling that this was her husband’s palace and that he would be visiting her shortly.

As suspected, later that night, her husband visited her and soothed her fears, even though she could not see him but only hear his voice. Psyche knew in her heart that her husband was no terrifying creature but a loving soul for whom she had longed forever.

Even though Psyche loved her husband, she was growing discontent with the way her relationship was, he always spent time with her at night and disappeared during the day. One day, she begged him to let her sisters come and visit her. Cupid knew this would bring trouble but gave in to her wishes to make her happy. When her sisters came, they were overjoyed to see their younger sister but were soon overcome by envy and jealousy when they took in the sights and the comforts of the palace Psyche was living in. On their second visit, they advised Psyche to light a lamp and see if her husband was really a serpent who could devour her anytime in her sleep.

Psyche didn’t doubt the love of her husband but was curious to see as to why he would never show himself. After her sisters left, that night, Psyche got up from her bed and lit a lamp. She was stunned by what she saw, a beautiful man lying on her bed. Her hands trembled at the sight of her strikingly handsome husband and because of that, the oil from the lamp fell on Cupid’s shoulder, awakening him with a start.

He immediately got up and left, even though Psyche ran after him and begged for him to come back. He said, “Love cannot live where there is no trust” and left Psyche wailing in his absence.

But Psyche was determined to get her husband back. She decided to beg Aphrodite to ask her son to come back. Cupid had indeed gone to Aphrodite’s place to get his wound healed. Aphrodite took Psyche’s situation as a chance to make her pay for hurting her honour. She gave her a number of impossible tasks, the first one being to separate a mix of grains like wheat, millet and poppy and sort them into their individual piles. Psyche despaired at the task in front of her as she knew it would take her forever to separate one grain from the other. Just then, she heard an army of ants talking, saying they wanted to help her and soon, the entire heap had been cleaned and separated.

When Aphrodite came and saw different mounds of grain, she was surprised. She gave Psyche another task, which was to get golden fleece from a herd of sheep near the waterfall. When Psyche went near the water, she heard a reed say that she should wait till the evening for the sheep to come out of the bushes and there she would find plenty of golden fleece. Just like the reed said, that’s what happened. Aphrodite was shaken but knew that somebody was helping her.

Her next task was to go to the underworld and get some of Persephone’s beauty in a box. Psyche went to a tower that guided her on the way to the underworld, such as giving a penny to Charon, the ferryman to take her across the river of death and bribing Cerberus, the three-headed dog who guarded the doors with a cake to let her pass.

Psyche accomplished her task and was returning to Aphrodite but curiosity got the better of her and she opened the box. She fell into a deep slumber as she opened it but Cupid came to her and woke her up from the spell. Later on, he went to Olympus to ask Zeus to make Psyche an immortal and officially marry her in front of all the Gods. Zeus agreed and Psyche drank ambrosia to become an immortal.

It’s true that Love and the soul can never be apart forever as this story suggests, since Psyche means the soul. Their love story portrays that if love and soul decide to be one, then no barrier can hinder their union.


  1. Mythology: Timeless Tales of Gods and Heroes by Edith Hamilton
  2. TED-Ed: The myth of Cupid and Psyche- Brendan Pelsue



The best way to gain perspective is through other people’s stories. We’re all different and have unique experiences to share. So, go ahead, share what’s in your heart and maybe you’ll stumble upon a place called home.

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