Mix one part Venus, the very incarnation of vanity, with one part Mercury, messenger of the Roman Gods, and Cupid is the result. The winged delivery boy of love linked forever with Saint Valentine’s Day. Although depicted as a chubby cheeked cherub wearing nothing but his diaper and quiver of heart tipped arrows, Cupid was, in fact, a Roman God. The very embodiment of all things beautiful and erotic. Let’s found out more on how does cupid tie into Valentine’s Day!
Who is Cupid
Cupid, or Eros as he is called in Greek Mythology, was the epitome of sexuality. Our word erotic comes from Eros. Cupid typified sex, lust, and beauty. He portrayed and honored these traits above love, even. Cupid’s quiver carried two vastly different arrows. His golden tipped arrows immersed their victim in lust. His lead tipped arrows cursed their victims with a deep hatred. Legends of Cupid, and his Greek counterpart, are filled with dark erotic interludes. Quite opposite from the flitting baby angel helping people find true love.
Cupid: child flinging hearts
The well-known image of the perpetual child flinging hearts was born out of romantic prose. The idea lingered and became the iconic Valentine’s Day symbol. The putto, or childlike angel, conveys love as innocent and pure. Giving love the personification of a baby allowed the emotion to be celebrated openly. The true Cupid remains a dark shadow of this lighthearted loveable Cupid. An alter ego adopted by the commercial powerhouse behind today’s Valentine’s Day.
The Goddess, Venus
Storytellers describe Cupid as mischievous on his own accord, yet he had Venus to thank for that reputation. Cupid spent his life doing his mother’s bidding. The Goddess entertained herself by mismatching lovers at her son’s hand. Then, she sat back and enjoyed the drama her conflict enflamed; however, his mother’s games and vanity collided and her actions turned on her. Venus grew intolerably jealous of a human woman named, Psyche. People compared the girl’s beauty to that of the Goddess.
Venus commanded her son to pair the innocent child with the most hideous creature alive. Unforeseen by Venus, once Cupid laid eyes on Psyche he was smitten. Some legends say he scratched himself with his own arrow others say it was truly love at first sight. Either way, Cupid could not turn away. He hid himself from Psyche to conceal the relationship from his envious mother. When Psyche snuck a peak at her lover’s face, instead of the horrible ugliness people teased her with, she saw the true beauty of Cupid. She immediately returned his love, even through the trials Venus forced on her. Later, the Gods allowed Psyche to become immortal and wed Cupid. A true love story. One that would sell in the millions to this day.
Saint Valentine within the Roman church
Love stories captivate people, survive the ages, and travel across the vast oceans. Until all hear of the obstacles a couple overcame and the long lasting life together that followed. History teaches of several Saint Valentines within the Roman church. There was only one who performed secret marriage services for soldiers, who Roman rule prohibited to wed. A law created to force a soldier to focus in war. How can a man put himself fully into battle while his thoughts linger on the wife he left behind? This concern drove young men to take their wives privately.
Father Valentine sympathized. Later, when the priest had been incarcerated for his disobedience, young lovers slipped notes and flowers to him through the prison bars. Symbols of appreciation for the love he helped them find. On February 14th, Father Valentine was executed. His last act was to send a love letter to the daughter of his jailer. A love letter to this young girl ‘From Your Valentine’.
History of Valentine’s Day
The history of Valentine’s Day remains a mystery. The legend of secret marriages and the brave priest personify the celebration of love and romance we all want and need. Perhaps it is pure fiction or partly true. Perhaps it is even greater and sweeter than this tale. Whatever the reason, a single day each year is set aside to lift up the one we love more than any other.
As a Valentine you give and receive tokens of love and affection. Our children exchange small cards and notes on candies. Our parents hold hands after fifty years spent together, while friends plan romantic outings. Whether the marketing giant Cupid hits you with his painless heart shaped arrow, or the legendary Eros pierces you with the fiery tip of his golden arrow, share cupid’s gift with your loved one. Valentine’s Day only comes once a year!