Who is Cupid? And Should I Tell My Kids?Madeline Holler
Funny. We wring our hands about our kids being exposed to sexual and violent images … and yet, all around the country, elementary school classrooms — even preschools! — hold parties and hand out cookies in celebration of a naked baby poking arrows near unsuspecting victims’ aortic valves.
That’s just mean! And kind of unsettling.
But so goes the annual celebration of love, starring that winged cherub, Cupid, and a million carpal tunnel-inducing construction paper hearts.
According to Wise Geek, Cupid was a bit rambunctious. He’d fly around and piercing hearts, the consequence of which was his victims fell in love with him. In ancient Greece, Cupid, which was his Roman name, was known as Eros, the son of the goddess of love and beauty, aka Aphrodite. For Roman’s, Cupid’s mom was that sexy gal Venus.
All well and good, kind of a Gloria Vanderbilt/Anderson Cooper thing. Until you get to some rather unsettling legends. Cupid’s hardly a model for one half of a solid and loving partnership.
From The Romantic:
Venus was jealous of the beauty of Psyche, and ordered Cupid to punish the mortal. But instead, Cupid fell deeply in love with her. He took her as his wife, but as a mortal she was forbidden to look at him. Psyche was happy until her sisters convinced her to look at Cupid. Cupid punished her by departing. Their lovely castle and gardens vanished with him and Psyche found herself alone in an open field
As she wandered to find her love, she came upon the temple of Venus. Wishing to destroy her, the goddess of love gave Psyche a series of tasks, each harder and dangerous than the last. For her last task Psyche was given a little box and told to take it to the underworld. She was told to get some of the beauty of Proserpine, the wife of Pluto, and put it in the box.
During her trip she was given tips on avoiding the dangers of the realm of the dead. And also warned not to open the box. Temptation would overcome Psyche and she opened the box. But instead of finding beauty, she found deadly slumber
Cupid found her lifeless on the ground. He gathered the sleep from her body and put it back in the box. Cupid forgave her, as did Venus. The gods, moved by Psyche’s love for Cupid made her a goddess.
Sure, no less evolved than most Disney Princess movies. But definitely one worth ignoring on this day of extra kisses, nice chocolates and holographic bits of cardboard featuring wide-eyed kittens in various states of repose.
Happy Valentine’s Day!