Since Time began, the Universe has functioned best whenever a particular dynamic is present – “duality”, or said another way, the joining of polar opposites. We mortals usually are either too distracted or too limited in scope to fully perceive duality actively at work in our world. Most people at any given moment focus their energies on just one end of the dualistic spectrum, unaware that happiness is found at its balancing midpoint.
Within this epic tale, Love has so far been displayed from the dualistic ends of negative and positive expression; from the goddess Venus distorting the strongest of Man’s emotions with her jealous insecurities and dualistically to Cupid’s romantic glorification of the mortal girl Psyche and her otherworldly beauty.
The heroine of our epic story must now walk a thin line between Love’s opposing polarities by encountering true ecstasy from her most enamored of admirers but also by enduring pain and extreme suffering from that same admirer’s vindictive mother. For it is only by experiencing the very best and worst sides of the strongest of human emotions that the leading lady of this tale will be able to transcend the veil of tears that is her mortal existence and become dualistically divine through the purity of Love’s power.
We return once more to Psyche and her unfolding journey of intrigue, high romance, and extreme danger.
Psyche was stunned by the sheer size of the Great Hall upon venturing into the castle she had been invited to enter. Every item in sight seemed to glisten either from being made of the highest quality of material or from being polished to perfection and/or in a state of impeccable cleanliness. Almost immediately after crossing the fortress’ threshold did it become readily clear to Psyche that this wondrous place was not built by human hands. As she made her way deeper into the castle, the mythic beasts stenciled into the walls of griffins, dragons, and chimeras would magically move alongside her person as if they were her protective guard.
In either direction from where the girl stood were sumptuous chambers constructed by magical design. To the right of the Great Hall was a spacious study lined with books recounting tales of adventure which told of heroism among men and hallowed stories praising the glory of the gods. This unique athenaeum was vast yet at the same time intimately comfortable by virtue of the room’s immense chairs, plush couches, and arabesque throw pillows fragranced with jasmine, lavender, and sandalwood.
To the left of the castle’s entranceway was a sitting room the likes of which Psyche had never before seen. Despite being a tangible part of the castle’s structure, the room’s outer perimeter appeared to be without a roof or four walls. Mirroring the landscape surrounding the castle grounds, this special chamber gave the illusion as if one were lounging outdoors. Depending on the time of day, one could repose on one of the room’s divans draped in purple crushed velvet as if basking beneath the Sun as it made its daily trek westward during daylight hours or admire the firmament of stars which dazzled the evening skies above – all without extreme variables of temperature or exposure to the elements.
As she explored the wonders around her, Psyche couldn’t help but soon enough notice…she was very much alone. Despite the castle’s luxuries, not a soul was present. This noticeable absence caused Psyche’s utterances of delight to echo in a most hollow way throughout the place, which soon therein felt as empty as it was massive.
Psyche abruptly opened her eyes as her body jolted upwards. She had barely positioned herself upon the largest divan in the sitting room to take in the lovely vista all around her when she had fallen into a deep, restful sleep. Noticing the charmed roof was tinged with fuschia, orange, and pink, Psyche surmised the sun was about to fully set and that evening had just begun. The gentle voice which had bid her to enter the castle spoke from out of the air once again.
“Ascend the castle’s main stairs, my betrothed. Upon reaching its summit thou shalt come upon our boudoir with a fragrant bath drawn just beyond. After refreshing thyself, thou wilt find robes befitting the mistress of this place along with a feast of food and drink most satisfying. When thou art satiated, await thine bridegroom in our bed chamber, he shalt join thee anon.”
Psyche could only respond by nodding her head in agreement to what she’d been told. After everything she had been through would this be the end, she wondered? Would tonight be her very last? Recalling the oracle of Delphi’s doomed words would the bridegroom make his terrible presence finally known to her by taking her life? Reminding herself once more that this was the will of the gods, Psyche bravely accepted her fate and began to ascend the castle stairs.
She sat upright in a state of nervous vigilance as she positioned herself in the castle’s sprawling bedchamber. After taking a rejuvenating bath of sweet water and rose petals followed by an excuisite meal of the finest food and ambrosian-like drink, Psyche waited for the master of this most mysterious house to finally arrive. Unexpectedly she made a startled noise when the room’s candles were all simultaneously extinguished, save for one in the furthest, darkest corner of the boudoir.
A man had entered the room. A man who appeared tall and lean, bearing massive wings that were fully outstretched and proportionate in size to his sinewy frame.
Psyche lowered her head, unable to stop the tears which filled her eyes. She deeply desired to beg for her life by beseeching the mercies of the stranger who stood before her but remained silent. She felt her chin lifted upwards by his hand.
“Why dost thou cryest, my beloved? Art thou not pleased?”
Steadfastly staring at him, Psyche answered “I am at thy will, my lord. If thou must take my life, so be it. The gods wish it so.”
She felt his hand gently caress her face as the winged youth lowered himself to his knees before her feet while lovingly admonishing her saying,
“Dearest Psyche, there are no other words more vile to mine ears than those which speak of taking thy life. If thou wilst, provide my own life its meaning by allowing the humble servant who kneels before thee to make thine glorious self the god of his idolatry by becoming his wife.”
Confused, Psyche shyly replied “Be it thy will, my lord. Know that I am untouched by man.”
He then swiftly rose to his feet and cradled the girl fully into his arms while whispering, “It is my will to makest thou my wife now and forever more, my love.”
With Psyche fully clasped in his arms, the winged youth blew out the room’s last lit candle and entreated with her to his bed.
*Cover image “Cupid and Psyche” by William Adolphe Bouguereau, 1895
*Text image “Psyche Sleeps” by Errol le Cain, 1977
*Brad Kronen’s book “Love in the Stars” published by Llewellyn Worldwide, Inc. is available for purchase at your local book seller or online at amazon.com at the link listed below.