Front Page News
February 11, 2015
Cupid’s Connection To Love
Hearts tend to be aflutter on Valentine’s Day, and Cupid
just might be the scoundrel behind those starry-eyed feelings. Just
who is this arrow-wielding Cupid and how did he become associated
with Valentine’s Day?
God of love and desire
Ancient Greeks and Romans were prolific storytellers and used
mythology to explain many of the mysteries of life. Certain feelings
and happenings on Earth were attributed to the moods and actions of
Gods who presided over the people.
In Roman mythology, Cupid was the god of desire, erotic love,
attraction and affection. His Greek counterpart was Eros, while in
Latin Cupid was known as Amor. According to myth, Cupid was the son
of the winged messenger Mercury and Venus, the goddess of love.
Cupid’s machinations were often guided by his mother’s hand, and
matchmaking remained his most well-known trait.
As time went on and Christian influences pushed out ancient Greek
and Roman beliefs, Cupid was seen as an angel of heavenly and
earthly love. Cupid could easily be mistaken for many other angelic
cherubim portrayed in artwork during the Renaissance period.
Eventually Cupid became a popular icon of Valentine’s Day.
Cupid has appeared in different ways in illustrations and other
artwork throughout history. Sometimes he is depicted as a winged,
chubby infant carrying a bow and a quiver of arrows. Classical Greek
art depicts Cupid as a slender, winged youth.
The reason Cupid has wings is because lovers are known to be flighty
and change their moods and minds with some frequency. He is boyish
because love is irrational, and he carries arrows and a torch
because love can both wound but also inflame the heart.
Cupid has traditionally been portrayed as benevolent, if not
mischievous. After all, his goal is to bring two lovers together.
His arsenal was equipped with two different kinds of arrows. People
pierced by gold-tipped arrows would succumb to uncontrollable
desire. Those afflicted by an arrow with a blunt tip of lead desired
only to flee.
“Cupid and Psyche”
Cupid may have been responsible for bringing many people together
with his special arrows, but he also was granted the opportunity to
experience love himself. According to the myth of “Cupid and
Psyche,” Psyche was a beautiful woman whose appearance rivaled even
that of Venus. People grew enchanted by her beauty and started to
neglect the worship of Venus. Jealous of this attention, Venus asked
Cupid to make Psyche fall in love with a monster. But when Cupid saw
how beautiful Psyche was, he accidentally dropped the arrow meant
for her and pricked himself instead. He immediately became enamored
Psyche, who had not been able to marry like her other sisters,
feared she had been cursed by the gods in some way. She was sent
away to avoid the premonition of marrying a monster, but Cupid,
hidden from sight, ended up visiting Psyche and gaining her trust
and affection. The pair then married, although Psyche had never seen
her husband in the light of day because he forbade her to look upon
him. After all, he was a god and she was a mortal.
One night Psyche disobeyed Cupid’s edict and snuck a peek by
candlelight. She was amazed by his beauty and became startled,
wounding herself on one of his arrows. Psyche ended up dropping hot
wax on Cupid, which woke him up and he ran off.
Psyche wandered endlessly trying to find her lost husband and had to
go through various trials established by a still-jealous Venus. In
one of her trials, she ended up getting put to sleep, but Cupid
revived her and pleaded with Jupiter to make Psyche immortal and let
her be his true wife. Jupiter ultimately granted that wish.
Cupid will forever be connected to the concepts of love and
affection, which is why he has become an unofficial symbol of