The words "eros" and "psyche" are commonly used in english, and relate to love, eroticism, the human mind, and the soul. They are also the names of central figures in a greek myth that symbolizes the human soul's search for love, its all-encompassing blinding nature, and the great trials that the soul will go through to secure that love. According to legend, Psyche was a princess that was said to be so beautiful that she challenged the beauty of the goddess of love, Aphrodite. Aphrodite couldn't tolerate this competition and sent her son and winged messenger Eros (also known as Cupid) to make Psyche fall in love with the ugliest, most repulsive monster on earth. However, as Eros was targeting Psyche, he accidentally pierced his own heart with one of his love-causing arrows, leading him to fall madly in love with her. An oracle foresaw that Psyche would become the wife of a serpentine monster, and she was chained to a sea cliff to be sacrificed. Just when she thought she was approaching her end, a wind spirit put her to sleep and carried her away to Eros's castle. When she awoke, she could feel the presence of her new husband; she could hear his voice, and at night, she could feel his touch. She could never see him, yet his love always accompanied her. Their love continued to blossom until one day, Psyche's sister visited and planted doubts in her head; this invisible force was not a loving husband but instead a beast too ashamed to show his proper form. Psyche denied this idea until her curiosity got her, and she held a candle to her husband's sleeping form. There, the beautiful frame of Eros was revealed, but her gasp woke him from his sleep. When he saw his wife looking upon his body by candlelight, Eros was heartbroken by this betrayal of his trust and vanished through the window with a wordless glare. Psyche fell apart when she realized her error, how deeply she violated her bond with her lover. Her despair drove her to seek out Aphrodite, who sent her on three trials to prove her love for Eros, including entering the Underworld and facing death. Eventually, she conquered every challenge, and Eros and Psyche were reunited. As a wedding present, she was gifted eternal life and youth and granted butterfly wings so that she could fly around the world with her husband.
“How was it possible to be afraid, when the two of them grew stronger together every day? And every night. Every night was different, and every morning. Together they possessed a miracle.”
― Patricia Highsmith
In Greek mythology, Hyacinthus was a prince whose beauty was so great it caught the eyed of the god of the sun, Apollo. They became lovers, and Apollo passed his skills with the lyre and archery to Hyacinthus, and they also bounded over spending time in the gymnasium. Unfortunately, this became their downfall when a ricocheting discus thrown by Apollo hit Hyacinthus in the temple and killed him. Apollo tried everything to revive Hyacinthus, even feeding him the nectar of the gods, but he could not change what the Fates had chosen. To remind himself of his dearest mortal lover, Apollo created a flower out of the spilled drops of Hyacinthus's blood, the beautiful bloom we now know as the Hyacinth.
“I found you in the clarity of the moon, not the rigor of the sun. Not in the light, where it’s easier to see, but when the world is blind and loves eyes are free.”
―Malika E. Nura
Odin and Frigg were the highest royal couple among the Norse gods. Odin was the king of gods and the god of war, poetry, knowledge, and sorcery. Two ravens named Huginn (meaning "thought") and Muninn (meaning "mind"), are also famous in Norse mythology for their role as Odin's familiars and their role in bringing messages and information from earthly and heavenly realms to him. He is also known for taking many disguises, most commonly an elderly wandering man. Frigg was Odin's queen and was worshipped as a goddess of marriage; some believed that she could even see the fate of living creatures. In contrast to numerous other pantheons where the king of gods is licentious while the queen remains chaste, Frigg was also known for her infidelities, even engaging with Odin's brothers. Perhaps instead of their common portrayals as cheaters, Odin and Frigg actually may be a happy non-monogamous couple!
According to Greek myth, Pygmalion was a sculptor who became so disgusted with women that he decided to dedicate his life to his craft. However, as he worked on his masterpiece, it began to take the shape of a woman, a woman free from all the mortal flaws that nauseated him so. Eventually, this new being carved out of ivory was so beautiful that he fell increasingly in love with his creation with every stroke of his hammer. When he finished his work, his love was solidified, and Pygmalion treated his statue as a living woman, even bringing it the kind of gifts that a woman would like. Naturally, Aphrodite, the goddess of love, noted Pygmalion's passion and allowed the statue to become flesh, creating Galatea. Pygmalion and Galatea were happily wed and made sacrifices to Aphrodite every year to show their gratitude for her mercy.