In cultures where there is no internet nor access to books, social norms are delivered to the people through stories. The storyteller provides a vital link between abstract concepts of social rules and their implementation. The story provides a way for consequences to be revealed should the listener decide not to comply.
Being February, the season of love and Valentine's Day, I thought I would share a story with you from Greek mythology.
Once there was a beautiful young woman named Psyche. She symbolizes the soul's journey on the path of Death/Rebirth as she learns from life's suffering to find the meaning in every experience. As she releases illusion from truth, she matures and becomes wise.
She falls in love with Eros, the god of love and relationships. Psyche's intellect is overpowered by desire. She seeks uniting with her lover above all else. It becomes her single-focused choice. She becomes lost in her desire, so Life intervenes to teach her what she needs to know before she hooks up with Eros - her desire.
However, the Gods assign her four task to complete before this union can occur.
The first task is to sort a huge pile of seeds to teach her discrimination.
The second task is to obtain the golden fleece so she gains courage and perserverance.
The third task is to fill a goblet with water form the River Styx (the route to death) so she gains the ability to manage her emotional and spiritual life.
The fourth task is to go into the Underworld and ask the goddess Persephone for some of her beauty ointment. Through this task, Psyche can gain wisdom by journeying into the depth of her own being.
Psyche performs the first three task through concerted mental and physical labor. However, when it comes to the fourth task, she becomes afraid and runs off to hide in a tower. She sees coming to know oneself as arduous and time-consuming and she wants to just enjoy herself, her loves and the act of sex.
But, life is not about being entertained, so Psyche eventually frees herself from this final illusion and decides to mature and find meaning in her life experiences.
Once the tasks are completed, the Gods allow Psyche and Eros to unite in love. With a deeper understanding of what a relationship really is, Psyche (the mind) and Eros (desire) unite in a mature way that is founded on critical thinking, courage to get through the tough times, control over one's behavior, feelings and action to ensure healthy communication and interaction. And finally, the presence of independence as individuals, within the relationship so each person flourishes towards his/her personal destiny while love binds them together out of mutual respect.
So, you see, there is great advice packed into this myth. It tells us all the ingredients that must come together to create a healthy, loving relationship. It lays clear the fact that each person must embrace his/her own personal journey of suffering and find meaning in the underlying truth, before a stable relationship with another person can come into being.
What a great story can teach us about love,
Adviser Visionary Esoteric Teacher
Guide for Expanding Consciousness
Psyche's Journey of Love
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