Psyche's Third Task: The Waters of Forgetfulness
This is part of a series of articles, beginning here:
Venus Goes Retrograde: The Tale of Eros and Psyche
Aphrodite has another task for Psyche. This time, she is to fill a crystal goblet from the Fountain of Forgetfulness and return with it to the goddess. But the way to the fountain is up a high, craggy mountain with no path at all, and guarded by monsters. Psyche’s first response is overwhelm and panic, just as usual, but by now someone else entirely has noticed her dilemma, and that’s Zeus. Otherwise known as Jupiter, King of the Gods, Zeus happens to be Eros’ father and by now he’s decided that Aphrodite has taken this whole thing too far. He decides to step in and sends his eagle to help Psyche gather the Waters of Forgetfulness. Upon the eagle’s back, Psyche flies to the mountain’s top and the eagle stretches out his wing so that Psyche can climb out on it and safely catch some of the waters in the crystal vessel. Then she returns with the goblet to Aphrodite who is, of course, livid.
What Does It Mean?
Now why on earth would waters from the Fountain of Forgetfulness matter—and why would it take help from an eagle to get them? The eagle is a bird with uncanny eyesight—it can spot prey from extreme heights and swoop down to capture with great accuracy. The eagle, and its extraordinary vision, represent perspective. With the help of Zeus’ eagle, Psyche gains perspective on her situation. This gives her access to the ability to forget.
And why, you ask again, would the psyche want to forget? Because when love is lost, hurtful things are said and done. We already established in the previous post that aggressive action doesn’t serve anyone. But what to do with all those hurtful memories? Forget them. Yep, that’s right. Forget. Saving up a list of hurtful things to throw back in your partner’s face will not bring love back. But moving on and refusing to dwell on them begins to create an environment into which love can return.
Does This Apply To You?
Are you willing to forget the painful words and actions of your lover? Are you able to put aside and deliberately forget hurtful things your lover has said or done? Can you use eagle’s eye vision to gain a broader perspective on the situation, so that you may know what to remember and what to forget?
This task may seem related to Water, but actually it’s related to Air. The eagle is a bird, a creature of wind and lightness. The eagle gets the perspective that comes with distance. This task is about conscious awareness and deliberate forgetting—and these are mental actions. It’s about getting the eagle’s-eye view of things, a higher perspective. It’s about consciously choosing where to cut your losses. It’s about deciding to forget about the stuff that doesn’t really matter.
When you love someone deeply, you see into his soul, right down to the very bottom of it. And when you visit the bottom of a person’s soul, sometimes things are said that your lover might wish to take back. Some of those things may be related to their own soul-work, they may predate your appearance in their life, they may belong to him alone. Certainly it was rude of him to splatter his ancient soul-slime all over you, but it’s just as rude of you to hold him to words spoken when he was in the pit of despair. Everyone’s pain belongs to him alone and when you have shared another’s pain with him, sometimes the kindest thing you can do is forget.
Read about Psyche’s Fourth task here: The Underworld Journey . . .