Love is the most glorious of emotions but as with everything that’s truly good or pure in this world, it must be appreciated if its bounty is to be fully grasped.
For some, appreciation comes from having said “good thing” taken from them. For others, the source of goodness must not only be removed, it also must be fought for if there is to be any hope of having it return again.
At this point in the epic tale, our heroine has not only had her source of goodness removed, she also is of the firm belief that all is lost. Little does our leading lady realize how hard she will have to fight, (dare I say labor) to regain what she has loved so purely. And unbeknownst to her, over the course of her labors she will also come to discover how much strength and fortitude she possesses from within to successfully accomplish the near impossible tasks she will be put through.
We return to where we last left Psyche, alone in the chamber of her bedroom following her husband’s abrupt exit and injury.
Psyche remained on her knees, her eyes fixed on the burning lamp which flickered before her. After everything she had been through, how could it all come down to this? The girl was once again abandoned and left utterly alone but this time deservedly so, she thought to herself. Instead of trusting her husband by complying with the only thing he had asked of her, she now had lost him along with any hope of experiencing happiness ever again. And why?
Her fear-mongering, all black wearing, monster conjuring sisters were the driving force as to why Psyche so foolishly lost all that was good in her world.
Remembering her sisters planned on waiting for her at the rocky crag at dawn, Psyche prepared to meet with the two people who used to be closest to her heart as the bed chamber window revealed the night sky had begun to lighten. But before summoning the god of the West Wind to transport her, Psyche made sure she remembered to fetch (and fill) the large satchel her siblings had so generously provided her.
“The deed is done?” asked one sister under hushed breath.
“It is.” Psyche gravely replied as she kneeled before her siblings while untying the heavy satchel.
“We each had our doubts you’d be able to complete such a task, what a surpriAH……..bleck!” Psyche’s sister partially commented, unable to finish her sentence due to a huge wad of mud being flung at her face with much of it landing in her moving mouth.
A similar outcome occurred to Psyche’s other sibling, given her slack jawed reaction along with her slow reflexes from the unexpected shock of their youngest sister throwing large clumps of mud from the satchel rather than revealing the remains of her husband’s freshly severed head.
“That’s the least both of you deserve!” Psyche angrily yelled. “A monster of a husband, indeed! Because of you two my life is destroyed, oh “dearest” sisters.”
The girl’s siblings were both mortified and incensed, indignantly retorting they had acted only with her best interest in mind and that surely Psyche’s abundance of wealth had warped her priorities.
Psyche couldn’t help but ironically laugh aloud as she informed her sisters whatever riches and wealth she formerly possessed had taken leave of her when her husband decided to take leave of their marriage.
A noticeable shift took hold of Psyche’s sisters upon their realization their youngest sibling’s wealthy husband was still alive….and now was technically single.
Both women took on a grandiose tone of false nurturing and over concern, reminding their little sister of how much she had been through, how spent she looked, and how badly things would fare for both the mother-to-be and her child if she didn’t more closely monitor her rest. With their faces still caked with mud, Psyche’s sisters escorted her to the door of their father’s home insisting she rest and promising that when she awoke, all three would work on a strategy of winning her husband back.
Neither sibling informed the other they each planned on wooing Psyche’s husband with the intent of having his castle and riches all to themselves. But their similarity of scheme was soon enough revealed to each other as they both made their way back to the rocky crag, each resolved on searching for Cupid on her own.
“Sister, you cannot be serious! You are already married and are by far the eldest.” scoffed one.
“Need I remind you, sister, that you are already married as well and that barely a year separates my birth from yours.” stated the other.
“That may be so, sister, however when looking at which of us has the better chances of winning this man’s heart there’s no contest, since your looks are far too advanced in age to garner any merit.” she said accusingly.
“Better a woman whose looks are seasoned with age than one seasoned with an excess of weight.” the other said venomously.
And it was precisely then that both sisters remembered having on their persons the “solution tool” they originally planned to use on their youngest sibling – large meat cleavers. To which they wielded and proceeded to use against each other both actively and in self-defense, exactly as the enchanted fountain had shown.
Resulting in both sisters’ greedy, vicious natures hacking each other to bits.
Being back in her father’s house made Psyche realize how imbalanced things had become since she had last lived there. After reviewing the progression of events that marked her development from a girl to a maiden, it was no wonder she incurred the wrath of the gods given the claims made by others of her beauty being “the second coming of Venus”.
And with that understanding a far greater shock of realization came to her almost immediately thereafter:
Psyche had married the Goddess of Beauty’s son which meant Venus was in actuality her mother-in-law.
Her husband’s secrecy. His wings and sheathe of arrows. His fortress made of magical means. His refusal to reveal the source of his divinity by asking her not to directly gaze upon his face. These were details when added together could only refer to one thing – the God of Love, whom some called Eros but whom most called Cupid.
The hardships and struggles which comprised Psyche’s life up until that point suddenly seemed to make sense to her in a remotely odd way. The numerous difficulties she had been through weren’t lessened or made any easier but Psyche realized the pain she had undergone was more than just random reactions to crises that seemed as haphazard as they were outlandish. The girl now saw a running theme at the base of her many misfortunes – the goddess of Beauty’s displeasure.
Psyche then knew what she had to do. If there was to be any chance of winning back her Cupid, she had to face the source of her suffering by submitting to the divinity whom she had offended. Unshakably resolute in regaining her husband’s love, Psyche was willing to sacrifice all, even if it meant certain death.
“I shall win him back or die trying.” she defiantly declared aloud while venturing forth to find the largest temple dedicated to the goddess who ruled over all that was beautiful.
*Cover image “Venus enthroned” by Henrietta Rae, 1902
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.