Cupid, Psyche, In-Laws & Chocolate
By Bonnie Wurst – mtltimes.ca
Valentine’s Day has arrived and with it the beloved Cupid. Oh, and chocolate, lots and lots of chocolate.
Cupid is the son of Venus, the Goddess of love in Roman Mythology, but also known in Greek mythology as Eros, the son of Aphrodite. He was a mischievous child, one with wings, who went around shooting arrows at the hearts of unsuspecting couples, making them fall in love.
Although Cupid has always been related to Valentine’s Day, he has no relation whatsoever with the patron Saint himself. The only connection is love.
Enter Psyche, a mortal girl who Cupid has fallen in love with and she returns his passion. Of course, relationship issues follow. And it all started with the mother-in-law, Venus.
Psyche was a very beautiful princess, so much so that people started to worship her as they would Venus. Well, Venus became jealous so she sent Cupid to pierce Psyche with a magic arrow, one that would make her fall in love with a dreadful, ugly man and ruin her reputation. Cupid being a devout Mama’s Boy, dutifully headed out to perform the task at hand.
When he saw Psyche, who was blissfully asleep at the time, things got a bit complicated. She was a knockout and he hesitated, sealing his fate. She woke up and Cupid being completely distracted, pricked himself with his own arrow and fell instantly in love with her. But with Psyche being mortal, he returned home after his failed mission. Mama, using her divine connections, still managed to make sure nobody else ever fell in love with Psyche.
After a while Psyche’s mother (Cupid’s future mother-in-law) became concerned about her daughter’s extended single status and consulted an Oracle. According to some versions of the tale, she was instructed to take the princess and leave her on the peak of a rocky crag. Psyche was carried off by the wind and transported to a mysterious castle, one where she was served by invisible helpers who did everything to make her happy and comfortable. But the bottom line – she was a prisoner of the palace.
Now Psyche already had a taste of immortal love-making and thanks to Cupid, who finds her and manages to visit her every night as an unseen, mysterious lover – it only fuels her chocolate fondue set. He always leaves before the sunrise and forbids her to look at him. Eventually curiosity gets the better of her. One night she decided to take a peek at her lover, lit an oil lamp and in the process accidentally burned him. He freaked out, disappeared into the night and did not return. After much trial and tribulation, the star-crossed lovers eventually found their way back to each other and in the end she became a goddess too.
In other words; boy meets girl, makes girl pregnant and immortal, they get married and live happily and eternally ever after. But there are more Valentine’s Day players in this story.
Enter Richard Cadbury, the man who put sweet into Valentine’s Day back in the 1800’s. Richard was the creator of the first box of chocolates made expressly for Valentine’s Day – shaped like a heart, the most common symbol of this holiday because it was believed that the soul lived inside of it. For that, he deserves god-like status.
And chocolates may do the heart good in more ways than one. Had those chocolates been around during Psyche’s time, perhaps gifting Venus with a box might have warmed up the Goddess’ reception towards her future daughter-in-law. Studies do show that eating chocolate regularly lowers blood pressure and Venus was one pretty tense deity.
As for whether chocolate will boost your libido on Valentine’s Day, the jury is out. Scientists have no proof of this legend – at least proof that can be measured under a microscope. Like Casanova who ate the chocolate delectable to improve his love-making, give me a box of dark chocolate truffles, make it Knipschildt at $2600 per pound, and I’m your mortal slave. But I wouldn’t mind having the castle to go with it.
Wishing you all a box of infinite, heart filled, delectable love. Enough to share with the world.
Bonnie Wurst is a reporter, a weekly columnist and feature writer for the Montreal Times newspaper. She is a novelist, ghost writer (not the scary kind) and humorist. Her book “Damaged Goods Re-Stitched” can be found on Amazon.com. For ‘HUMOR SOUP FOR THE SOUL’ speaking engagements & workshops, please contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org