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.
The Battle of Karbala is one of the most significant battles in Islamic history and of extreme importance to Muslims. This battle pitched Hussain, the grandson of the Prophet Muhammad, against Yazid, the second Caliph who ruled over the early Muslim nation. Hussain's party of about 70 was slaughtered by Yazid's army of 1000, and the death of Hussain and his family are commemorated and mourned annually to this day. Because of this event, the name "Yazid" is equivalent to evil itself for millions of Shia Muslims. We think it is very telling when so many foundational stories of a religion take place during wars and battles. Perhaps a religion that promoted the use of a different kind of spear on the battlefield would have lent itself more readily to the improvement of mankind.
Nowadays, Christians are not generally known for their knee-jerk outraged reactions to blasphemy of their faith, especially in comparison to the Christians of yore. Surprisingly, a simple bikini is what set them off. When global TikTok star Addison Rae posted an image of herself wearing a white bikini with the words "Father" and "Son" on each breast and "Holy Spirit" on her nether regions, suddenly, this was the moment for the Christain community to spring into action! The backlash was swift; her "blasphemy" against the Holy Trinity was decried, and she quietly deleted the photo without addressing the "disrespect." Little did she know that Mother Mary herself was quite the fan of that little bikini; she wears it to all the latest bapstisms.
The Japanese Shinto goddess Amaterasu is famed for being the highest deity, quite literally because she is the goddess of the sun. A prominent legend about her is that one day she became frightened by her brother and hid within a cave, plunging the world into cold darkness and chaos. The other gods begin to plot how to entice her to leave the cave. Eventually, they have Amenouzume, the goddess of comedy, dance and perform outside of the cave, and hundreds of gods sing her praises, causing great envy in Amaterasu. When Amaterasu began to peak outside the cave to see if this goddess was more powerful than her, the other gods held up a mirror, tricking Amaterasu. When she emerged more fully, the gods yanked her out of the cave, bringing light back to the world. This mirror became one of Amaterasu's most important symbols and also a symbol of the Japanese imperial family, who claim direct lineage and divine legitimacy from the sun goddess herself. Here, Amaterasu has been bound in shibari, decorative Japanese rope bondage, to prevent her from returning to the cave and plunging the world into darkness again.
It is a shame that so many people have spent decades of their lives denying themselves pleasures for the sake of finding peace within heaven, when for many heaven can be found within the embrace of their lover.
In Filipino Visayan mythology, the Goddess Dalikamata is the thousand-eyed diety of health. The eyes covering her body have given her the power of omniscience, for she can see all the good and bad within a person. People often worship her in the hopes of being granted good eyesight, and it is believed that she curses the cruel and unkind with blindness. According to legend, morning dew is a result of Dalikamata crying over all of the evil deeds of mankind that she witnesses. The indigenous priestesses, known as the Babaylan, would collect this morning dew for use in their healing and divination practices. Babaylan were exclusively either cisgender or transgender women who held crucial roles in pre-colonial society. Following the colonization by the Spanish, they were demonized as witches and were persecuted. Here we see Dalikamata meeting with one of her devoted priestesses. While the babaylan would often offer Goddess Dalikamata incense flowers as a token of their devotion, here this priestess has decided to offer herself instead.