We mortals are flawed. There are those choice times where despite a person being in their physical prime and having the best of intentions, it simply is not enough. It is during those particular times when the situation extends beyond the realm of mortal control where one must have faith.
Faith is the ability to see oneself at a point in the future that is completely unlike where one is at present. A futuristic point where things are much improved and the improvement that’s come about has little or nothing to do with you or your active efforts.
The situation noticeably improves for your benefit through that inexplicable, immeasurable force known as divine intervention.
For those who reside strictly from within the material plane, Faith can be quite problematic. This holds equally true for those who are hyper-rational or wholly scientific due to we mortals having to submit to forces which are outside of this realm of existence.
The tricky aspect behind finding faith almost always involves its taking place precisely when our minds have exhausted every possible option resulting in a most bleak perception that all is lost or not a thing can be done that will help or improve things.
One must be willing to fully let go by surrendering all control if Faith is to make its presence known.
Our heroine is about to become very well versed in the concept of Faith by being placed in various situations which transcend mortal solution and are humanly impossible to achieve but transform into successful triumph none the less. Each problematic situation ends successfully as a direct result of divine intervention along with assistance from members of other realms which co-exist alongside our own, namely the worlds of plants and animals. Faith is an asset every mortal possesses which shows that so much more exists in this life than strictly what can be concretely seen or heard as well as teaches us that everything within this world is intrinsically connected to everything else.
We return once more to Psyche’s plight.
As stated in Episode I, despite ruling over all that was lovely and beautiful, Venus was the deity feared most by both mortal and immortal alike due to the severity of her vindictive nature. Psyche’s lack of awareness regarding the dualistic nature of the Goddess would prove to be quite juxtaposing for her as well both positively and negatively. On one hand the girl’s ignorance of the matter did not inhibit her from wanting to fearlessly enter the largest of sanctuaries dedicated to her mother-in-law. On the other hand, Psyche proceeded to do just that upon reaching the grandest of temples built in honor of the goddess.
The girl had barely taken two steps inside the vast sanctuary before the sound of loud, raucous cackling could be heard echoing throughout the entire place.
“By the clouds of Mt. Olympus! My mortal competition honors me with a visit! The same mortal who dared to steal my worshippers’ away from me and over to her plain, sniveling self? Now that you have the gall to finally present yourself, may I just say – You are no beauty.”
Psyche silently stood with her head bowed low. She knew better than to give any kind of response.
The goddess of Love and Beauty slowly sauntered out into the open from behind a massive Doric column as she openly stared at her daughter-in-law directly in the eye sardonically saying, “And now that this excuse of a girl actually stands before me, I’d be amazed if she could turn anyone’s head in her general direction let alone steer any of Venus’ devotees away from her temple, so dull and drab is she.”
The goddess paused, hoping to elicit an angry reaction from Psyche but all Venus heard was silence.
“Well then, never let it be said the Goddess of Beauty is not hospitable to her guests. Summon my handmaidens! Trouble! Sorrow! Tend to this pathetic wench by tidying her up in my presence. Your Queen commands you!”
“Venus’ handmaidens, Trouble and Sorrow, beat Psyche” by Unknown
Psyche barely had time to lift her head before two extremely tall, dour faced women equipped with whips approached her. One grabbed Psyche by the shoulders and held her stationary as the other placed the handle of her whip in her mouth before using her two bare hands to rip open the posterior of her dress, leaving her back fully exposed. Still keeping the girl stationary, Trouble gruffly angled Psyche’s body downward as Sorrow removed the whip from her mouth, stepped 5 paces back, and proceeded to viciously whip her from behind.
It all happened so quickly there seemed to be an exaggerated delay of time between Psyche hearing the cracking of the whip and feeling its intense sting as it slashed across her skin. Despite the crippling pain, Psyche made not a sound and barely blinked while looking upwards at her mother-in-law as the goddess watched her being tortured with a wry grin of amusement.
The next thing Psyche knew ice cold water was being thrown into her face to resuscitate her. Her body still stood upright and remained held in place by Trouble’s tight grip despite having fainted from the overpowering pain.
“Enough! Clearly she is too weak to continue any further.” Psyche perceived Venus’ command as if it were uttered at the end of a long tunnel. The concentrated pain had temporarily distorted her senses, making it seem as if the goddess was distantly far and perched high above her.
Through the thick haze of her suffering, the poor girl then perceived Venus’ voice being spoken directly at her. “Hear me, homely and impudent girl! You shall repent your haughty ways by being in servitude to me as my slave.” Venus sneered. “Beginning tomorrow you will entreat upon the first of four very simple tasks that I shudder to think what will happen if your pathetically drab self isn’t able to complete them. In any case, the goddess of Beauty does not suffer mortal secretions to desecrate her temple. Sorrow! Salt her wounds!”
What happened immediately following Venus’ proclamation is anyone’s guess due to Psyche losing consciousness once more from the salt’s searing pain being applied to her body as if being whipped anew all over again.
*Cover image “Psyche at the throne of Venus” by Edward Matthew Hale, 1883
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.