This is part of a series of articles, beginning here:
Venus Goes Retrograde: The Myth of Eros and Psyche
Upon first discovering that Eros really has gone, Psyche panics. We know this because the first being she encounters after her husband’s flight is Pan, the woodland goat-god. The word “panic” is rooted in Pan, because he is a god of madness. Psyche finds herself talking to Pan because she is nearly mad with grief and confusion. Pan gives Psyche good advice, however—he tells her to go straight to Aphrodite and apologize. Psyche is afraid and wanders around visiting a bunch of other gods’ temples before she finally ends up at the temple of Aphrodite.
Naturally, Aphrodite is very annoyed that Psyche is still alive. “Why didn’t that good-for-nothing son of mine kill her as he was supposed to?” she wonders. But a true supplicant cannot be ignored, and Aphrodite cannot just do away with Psyche in her own temple. So she sets about giving Psyche four impossible tasks, hoping that she’ll die before completing them.
That Psyche meets Pan is fortuitous for another reason: she needs to understand how to handle panic, because she’s about to experience a lot of it. Aphrodite has nothing but trouble planned and Psyche will have to cope with her first panicky response to each step of this difficult journey. It’s better to learn it sooner rather than later! And what Psyche learns is “have your panic, but don’t be attached to it. Let the feelings move through you and help will be near.”
Psyche’s Four Tasks, Four Duties On The Way To Reclaiming Love
Psyche must complete four tasks before she can be restored to Eros, or true love.
The First Task is Sorting the Seeds
The Second Task is Gathering the Golden Fleece
The Third Task involves the Waters of Forgetfulness
The Fourth Task involves an Underworld Journey
(. . . because what tale of lost love would be complete without an underworld journey?)
Watch for more about these tasks coming next in “Sorting the Seeds“. . .