Easter 2018: Rejoice.

One of two carved limestone Easter Island heads at the entrance to Thornton Park in Bedford, Indiana

Mamacita says: Happy Easter, everyone.

What? Oh, oops. . . . .

Vintage Easter card

Here. This is more like it. I do love those vintage Easter postcards. I hated growing up and finding out that those baby kittens were probably going to eat those baby chicks. I would also hate to have to tell you all how old I was before I realized that the bunnies weren’t really responsible for all those eggs.

THIS is Easter.

But ultimately, this is Easter to me.

And isn’t it wonderful that so many of us, with so many different beliefs, can hang out here in the Blogosphere and get along great and love each other without having to constantly proselytize and try to sway each other to our own beliefs?

Even after the election. . .   Well, in spite of all that, we’re still all pretty nice.  Those who aren’t, well, who wants to sit by them?  “Those” people aren’t what the rest of us are all about.

Oh, sure, those people are online too, but I don’t pay much attention to them.  You shouldn’t, either.  Let them rant.. .

It’s the people whose beliefs are quietly lived every day, the people who show me by example what their values are, who get my attention.

And who says God doesn’t have a sense of humor? If you don’t believe me, just look around for a minute or two. Think of your family.

And if you’re alone, look in the mirror.

See?

Happy Easter, dear internet people. Eat chocolate. Smile. Have some eggs. Rejoice over something.

It’s a good day for rejoicing. . . .

Quotation Saturday: Easter

quotation saturday, mamacita's blog, jane goodwin Mamacita says: It’s Easter weekend, and Quotation Saturday begs your leave to take full advantage of said fact. Nah, I’m kidding, Quotation Saturday does what it wants; sometimes it makes itself known when it’s not even Saturday.

Easter is a wonderful, special time of year. For some, it marks the end of harsh winter and the beginning of beautiful spring; for others, it’s the holiest of holy days, and for still others, it’s a children’s holiday full of bunnies, chickies, candy, and colored eggs.

Quotation Saturday wishes to please you all.

1. We are told to let our light shine, and if it does, we won’t need to tell anybody it does. Lighthouses don’t fire cannons to call attention to their shining- they just shine. — Dwight L. Moody

2. Easter is very important to me, it’s a second chance. — Reba McEntirehe is not here, he is risen

3. The first thing that stuck in the minds of the disciples was not the empty tomb, but rather the empty grave clothes – undisturbed in form and position. — Josh McDowell

4. I have always wanted a bunny and I’ll always have a rabbit the rest of my life. — Amy Sedaris

5. I’ve got great people who handle my schedule, and everything does revolve around the children. If there’s a parents’ night or an Easter bonnet parade or a Nativity play, whatever it might be, then I plan everything around that. — Victoria Beckham

6. I read the Scriptures at the American Cathedral on Christmas and Easter; that’s it. It’s a task I love. — Olivia De Havilland

7. Easter is reflecting upon suffering for one thing, but it also reflects upon Jesus and his non compliance in the face of great authority where he holds to his truth – so there’s two stories there. — Michael Leunig

8. Do not abandon yourselves to despair. We are the Easter people and hallelujah is our song. — John Paul II

9. Christmas and Easter can be subjects for poetry, but Good Friday, like Auschwitz, cannot. chicks, cat, Easter, devour, Scheiss WeeklyThe reality is so horrible it is not surprising that people should have found it a stumbling block to faith. — W.H. Auden

10. If anyone or anything tries to curse or kill the Goodness at the Center of all things, it will just keep coming back to life. Forever Easter. — David Housholder

11. Easter is never deserved. — Jan Karon

12. Love paid a price so hope could become a reality. — Susan GaddisPeeps, pink, Easter, Scheiss Weekly

13. Two thousand years ago Jesus is crucified, three days later he walks out of a cave and they celebrate with chocolate bunnies and marshmallow Peeps and beautifully decorated eggs. I guess these were things Jesus loved as a child. — Billy Crystal

14. So with Easter. It was fun, as a child, to bound down the stairs to find seasonal sweet-treats under each plate, but again, with the passing of time, and the shadow of death over our broken family circle, I’ve seen Easter as highest necessity. If chocolate bunny, Easter, Scheiss Weeklyhope is to flourish, it had better be true. –Gerhard Frost

15. The joyful news that He is risen does not change the contemporary world. Still before us lie work, discipline, sacrifice. But the fact of Easter gives us the spiritual power to do the work, accept the discipline, and make the sacrifice. — Henry Knox Sherrill

16. Easter tells us that life is to be interpreted not simply in terms of things but in terms of ideals. — Charles M Crowe

17. The resurrection gives my life meaning and direction and the opportunity to start over no matter what my circumstances. — Robert Flatt

18. Let every man and woman count himself immortal. Let him catch the revelation of Jesus in his resurrection. Let him say not merely, “Christ is risen,” but “I shall rise.” — Phillips Brooks

19. You’ll wake up on Easter morning, And you’ll know that he was there, When you find those Easter lamb, Scheiss Weeklychoc’late bunnies, That he’s hiding ev’rywhere. — Gene Autry

20. The resurrection asserts a truth which is by no means always written legibly for all men on the face of nature. It tells us that the spiritual is higher than the material; that in this universe spirit counts for more than matter. — H.P. Liddon

21. The impossible often has a kind of integrity which the merely improbable lacks. — Douglas Adams

22. It is spring again. The earth is like a child that knows poems by heart. — Rainer Maria Rilke

23. If people did not love one another, I really don’t see what use there would be in having any spring. — Victor Hugo

24. It’s spring fever. That is what the name of it is. And when you’ve got it, you want—oh, you spring flowers, Easter, Scheiss Weeklydon’t quite know what it is you do want, but it just fairly makes your heart ache, you want it so! — Mark Twain

25. Strange as it may seem, the association of eggs and bunnies at Easter time are actually connected and, to discover more, we must once again turn our attention to the Saxon fertility Goddess, Eostre. — Carole Carlton

26.  There would be no Christmas if there were no Easter.  — Gordon B. Hinckley

27. The first thing that stuck in the minds of the disciples was not the empty tomb, but rather the empty grave clothes – undisturbed in form and position. — Josh McDowell

28.  Unfortunately there is nothing more inane than an Easter carol. It is a religious perversion of the activity of Spring in our blood.  — Wallace Stevens

29.  There are two kinds of people in the world. Those who love chocolate, and communists. — Leslie Moak Murray

30. The stone was rolled away from the door, not to permit Christ to come out, but to enable the disciples to go in. — Peter Marshall

Happy Easter, bunnies, chicks, eggs, Scheiss Weekly

Use Your Gifts. Don’t Be Boring.

Do it. Do it now.  Use your gifts. Don’t be boring.

Mamacita says:   Since my activities have been so severely limited since the wreck, which was a year ago and I’m getting pretty impatient bordering on debilitating fury, I’ve been doing things I’ve never done or thought about doing or wanted to do, two of which are becoming more and more appreciative of silence, and discovering what a genuinely boring person I am.

I am that kind of sad woman in movies and books who dedicates her life to her students and children and neglects her own and then one day she wakes up as from a trance and thinks “Well damn, that went by fast, and who is that hag in the mirror?”

How boring am I?  I don’t drink, or smoke, or do any kind of illegal recreational drugs, or drive over the posted limit, or litter, or get in the 20 items line with 21 items, or park in a handicapped spot without a hangtag. I put my cart in the corral, I don’t use any kind of outside guide or cheat sheets when I play Scrabble or Trivia, and I drive old people around town whenever they call me. I bring my mother three meals a day (plus snacks) and take her to all her appointments. I might sort of bully her into telling her doctors things she wouldn’t tell them otherwise because she hates bothering them. I’m not sure where my iron is, although I’m pretty sure I do own one, and the mop I bought just after Christmas still has the cellophane around it. (I had to buy a new one; the old one still had the same sponge it had when my kids were at home, which means something or other about my supposed housekeeping skills.) I buy more peanut butter and ketchup than most families with teens. I go through a big bottle of cheap yellow mustard every couple of months. The healthy food is for other people. (I don’t want any of it, please, don’t ask me again.)

I don’t think I could actually harm another person unless said person put a violent hand on a loved one thus releasing the Mama Grizzly, but I think spattering the guilty with permanent ink so everyone would have fair warning would not be amiss.

I love to cook and bake but I have no desire to own any kitchen machines other than the major appliances and a really old hand mixer i get out every November for Thanksgiving mashed potatoes. So you see: boring. I rest my case.

P.S. I’m working on the snark and the language, really I am, but I have also come to the conclusion that I enjoy them and am not trying all that hard to do better. One of my degrees is in English; I know lots of words and combinations thereof. Don’t cross me.

(If you know me personally, you will also already know that even my clothes and shoes are boring.) (I’m boring myself with this long drawn-out whiny post.) What happened to me? Where’s the long-haired chick with the bandannas who used to ride around on the backs of motorcycles, march in protests, wear ERA Today shirts to prayer meetings, and pay my sister to antagonize boyfriends when I got tired of them? Eh, she gone. Or is she, entirely? Even at the time, it was like a dream world, too good to last. I’ve always been kind of boring. A better question would probably be, why did it take a major wreck for me to realize the extent of my boring-ness. And maybe to decide it might be time to get a little of the old life back. . . . But wait. That would take energy. Well, pass the Diet Coke. You know, if I had a time machine, I would probably waste the opportunity. Like Dumbledore with the Time-Turners. I need to get back to work. I do not like all this leisure time. Please sign up for my classes, people.  This sort of thing just can’t be allowed to continue.  I’ve started watching TV, for crying out loud.

I know I’ll never get my life back.  The woman who disregarded her stop signs put an end to that part of me.  But something has to be done.  Oh, I have to do it myself; I know that.  Maybe with enough Diet Coke, I’ll be able to do it.

I’m still waiting for the miracle.

. . . anarchy is loosed upon the World. . . .

Oh please, I beseech Thee, not again. Oh never again. . . .

How many times, oh Lord, will I be called upon to repost this piece of writing? Once was too much. Now, the world is engulfed in the kind of horrific chaos no novelist could ever hope to duplicate.

Not again. Oh surely, not again.

And yet, again.

====

Mamacita says:  The following article was written back in April of 2007, a few days after the shooting at Virginia Tech.  I never thought it would be relevant again.

A lot of things I think will never happen again, happen again.

Oh, and please don’t think I’m wasting any pity on the gunman.  Any gunman.  Life is full of choices, and a gunman who opens fire on innocent people has made the choice to side with evil.

However, please don’t think I believe the guns acted alone.  Just as a spoon didn’t make me fat all by itself, neither does a gun destroy unless a person chooses to use it for careless or evil purposes.

Let’s try not to put blame on anyone or anything but the one who made that conscious choice to destroy life instead of nurture it.  The only thing that is to blame for this tragedy is the person who did it.

I will also blame those who made access to the murder weapon so easy.

++++++++++++++++++

This was originally written after the Virginia Tech tragedy.  I never dreamed it would be timely again, over and over.  

I think that if we take the time and trouble to look around us, wherever we might be, we will see a number of people who are very much. . . alone. Some people claim that they prefer to be alone. Some people are alone not because they choose to be, but because their caustic personalities, or nasty whining, or vicious gossip, or incessant meddling, or some other personal choice they’ve made somewhere along the line, drives other people away. And some people’s minds have crossed the borderline between sane and insane.

Perhaps some of those overlooked people, those friendless people, those depressed, lonely, ignored, neglected people, can only be that way for a limited time. Maybe, after a certain amount of time has gone by, they either adapt, change, crack, or blow.  However, a person’s mental state is no excuse for murder.

I would like to think that the incident at Virginia Tech and all of the inexcusable incidents thereafter had nothing to do with gun control, no matter how hard some people are trying to make it so, but I am torn.  Firm believer in people deserving all and any of the consequences they earn and therefore deserve, I can’t help feeling that violent mindsets begat violent actions, and these actions are choices, and choices have consequences, and we all deserve the consequences we have chosen to earn.  However, I also believe that these mentally unstable people will find a weapon one way or another, and no amount of legislating or safeguarding or waiting periods will make any difference. This is not a gun control issue. This is a self control issue. And it is people who have no self control who ruin everything for all of us.

People with no self-control take up more than their fair share of an airline seat. People with no self-control eat all the Hostess cupcakes. People with no self-control talk in the movie theater, and they grab for things they want, and they scream and cry when they don’t get their own way. People with no self-control see no reason why they should obey the rules or, when they’re older, the laws. People with no self-control use their cell phones as they drive.  People will no self-control have temper tantrums when they’re grown up.  People with no self-control want what they want when they want it. People with no self-control tend to blame everything and everyone but themselves when things go wrong.  People with no self-control never quite grew up somewhere in the brain.  People with no self control find weapons and use them when things don’t go their way.  People with no self control are selfish.  Selfish to the extreme.  People with no self control are often violent.

And when they’re got it really bad, people with no self-control get hold of guns – or knives or tire irons or rocks or fists or arrows or pipes – and they plot and plan to kill people who seem to have all the things the insane person always wanted and couldn’t seem to get. Sometimes, these people with no self control erupt and whoever is unfortunate enough to be in their path becomes their victim.

People with self-control might think about doing such things, but they never would. All of us think such things at times, but the difference between us and people like this kid is simple self-control. Sane people – people with self control – don’t act on every impulse they feel.

Whether his anger drove out his self-control, or whether his immature lack of self-control caused a lot of the anger, or whatever theory or combination of such, he decided to do it and planned for it well in advance. This wasn’t a spur-of-the-moment deed. He may have had no self-control (a negative trait in any adult) but he was able to delay the self-gratification of it for a little while. He also had, as do many people lacking in self-control (look at me, see me, see me, look at me!) a bit of the ham actor in him, and made sure the world would know his name AND his face.  This description might apply to any of the mass murderers who tresspass into our schools and of their own free will, often planned well in advance, and brilliantly so, turn what is supposed to be the safest place in the neighborhood into blood bath.  There is no excuse.  There might be reasons, none of them viable, but there are no excuses.

People are also saying that if only other students had reached out to this student, maybe he would have found friendship and good company instead of a loaded gun. But students DID try to reach out to him, and he would have none of it. If you’re one of the people who is trying to put some of the blame on this guy’s roommates and classmates, shut up. It’s not their fault. It’s nobody’s fault except this guy himself. It’s not his innocent parents or sister, or anybody else’s fault. He did it himself. It’s HIS fault.

It is always the shooter’s fault.  Nobody made him do it.  He decided to do it and he did it.  Let the consequences fall.  Justice is what is required here.  Absolute justice, not perfect justice.  Look up the difference.

And what kind of hell must his family be going through at this time. . . . a hell just as bad as the hell the families of all the slain students are going through, but quite different.  Facing the fact that a child, flesh of their flesh, blood of their blood, their beloved child, is a monster, has to be the worst feeling in the world.

“He was such a sweet child.”  Well, he’s no longer a child, and the sweetness is gone.

Anything anyone says now is, of course, from the point of view of hindsight, and as we all know, hindsight is 20/20.

In reality, this student went out and bought a gun, and of his own free will, made the choice to take that gun and destroy some 33 of his fellow students, and some teachers. He then turned the gun on himself, thus ensuring forever that no one will ever know the real reasons behind his bid for notoriety. Yes, he mailed a lot of pre-made horrors before he did it, and made sure that his after-the-fact information would freak out the world. If there was anyone on the planet who sympathized with him, that evidence of callous diva-ness should have taken care of that.  Those schoolhouse murderers who left themselves alive will, I hope, face a judge who has children and who will not even think about letting a child-killing beast loose.

Am I callous? I can be, yes. When it comes to the lives of my students, or my children, or my friends, or anyone I love, I can be very callous indeed. If someone threatened any of you, you can bet I would do whatever I could to take that person down. Yes, I could kill him myself, if it would save others. I could take out someone who broke into my house or my car OR MY SCHOOL, if they threatened my kids, or any of you. You will not see me shrink back or say something such as “Oh, I could NEVER harm another human being no matter WHAT!!!” Cry me a river. You wouldn’t lift a finger to defend your kids? Each other? Shame on you.  If an intruder enters my house and becomes agitated or violent, you can bet that I will subdue that bastard with the handy piece of pipe I keep by my bedside for just such purposes.  If the intruder becomes violent, I will shoot him.  Cry me a river.

Ordinarily, I am meek as a lamb and the biggest sissy this side of Planet Saturn. But if someone threatened my kids or any of you, or raised a violent hand to any of you in any way, and I am there and able to reach that person, he or she would remember me for a long, long time.

They would probably gun me down as I charged, but you can bet that I would charge.  At least, I hope I would charge.

All of those beautiful children, blown away by one student’s vicious insanity. Graduation was in two weeks, for some of them.  Bright and hopeful futures were supposed to be in their future.  It makes me think about the Holocaust, where the children were usually incinerated first, right off the train, because, you know, children can’t work and who cared and it was what someone wanted to do. . . even liked to do.  Some of them went home after a busy day murdering other people’s children to their own children, and pretended they were loving, decent fathers.

Every continent on the planet has now been represented in the violence that the lack of self-control will bring.

And the image in my mind’s eye of that lovely man who tried to block the door with his own body to save his students will be with me forever. He survived one Holocaust, but not the second. .And yesterday, yes, again yesterday, the coach and the other teachers who tried to shield their students with their own bodies and lost their lives in the doing.  They are heroes.  Heroes. . .

After 9/11, people everywhere softened a bit towards one another, and tried to reach out, and help, and understand. Then some time passed, and people started to forget. And now, perhaps people will remember again, and this time, maybe they won’t forget, at least, not so soon.  Except, of course, they do, and they have.  All the mass school murders since Virginia Tech. . . the monsters still among us, armed with machines the likes of which our Founding Fathers never dreamed of.  Machines that old fat white guys will throw your baby under a tank to keep legal.

The only thing that separates Virginia Tech, or Columbine, or Sandy Hooke, or that Colorado theater, or yesterday’s Florida school, from any other place is the arm of coincidence. It could just as easily have been our college, or your friend’s college. Or a grocery store. Or a kindergarten classroom. Or a hospital. Or a movie theater.  Or your home. Or WalMart. Or the preschool where your twins are napping.  Monsters don’t really care where they slaughter.

Let us ever strive to be kind. Everyone we meet is struggling. And all of those spams and forwards about how we never know when a simple smile will be the difference between life and death for a stranger? They’re true.

Let’s notice one another. Let’s smile. Don’t behave like a Bob Evans greeter (holy scheisse, those people are annoying!) but just be nice to people. Include people. Ask people to join you. Reach out.  Make eye contact.  Make it plain to someone that you are glad to meet them, and would be happy to join them.

Say a little prayer. Call someone you’ve been avoiding and ask them to meet you for lunch. Phone your mother. Send a card to your sister.

My college held a vigil Thursday afternoon after the Virginia Tech massacre.  The commons was packed, and several students spoke. All of them had the same theme: Love one another.
They plagiarized that, but I’m not going to do anything about it this time.  And threading through my head during this lovely gathering was the thought that such a lovely gather would be the perfect location for a mass shooting that would give yet another psycho some media attention.

Sometimes, when a tragedy this large happens, and we are lucky enough that it is far away and involves people we do not know personally, we tend to not identify with any part of it. This time, it happened on a college campus, where all of you go every day. The location and the victims, this time, were far more personal for all of us. Something else, too. . . .

Sometimes, in the course of the class time, someone’s cell phone rings, and it can be annoying if it happens too much. I have never gotten upset over that, because you are all adult students and you have families who often need to contact you.

Now, if your cell phone rings in class, don’t be surprised if I have to wipe away a tear.
As emergency workers performed the grim task of removing the bullet ridden bodies of the slain from Norris Hall, their sad work was accompanied by the incessant chirps, beeps, voices, songs, birdcalls, and little bits of music from cell phones.

The phones were in the victims’ pockets, purses, backpacks. . . and hands.

Their parents, spouses, children, and friends were calling them to see if they were okay.

The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned…
WB Yeats
The Second Coming

===

I don’t ever want to run this essay again.  Let us all ever strive to treat each other with as much kindness as we can.  None among us has a perfect life, and some of us are really struggling.  Kindness costs nothing; therefore, we can all afford to use as much of it as we want.  We can only hope that most people will want to be kind all the time.

And now my students know the real reason I allow them to keep their cell phones on during class.

My sincere condolences to all the Aurora, Colorado, victims and their families and friends. Blessings upon the families of the beautiful students in Florida.

Condolences to the family of the monster.  Nobody expects their beloved child to be a monster.  Realizing that he is, has to be horrible.

I hope none of you is ever on either side of this dreadful fence.

Love each other, my darlings.  Love each other, and behave, and try to make the people in your inner circles behave, too.  And if you notice someone who has no circle, invite him/her into yours.  It might be the difference between life and death.

Valentine’s Day: The Story of Cupid & Psyche

Mamacita says:  I’ve been blogging for almost fifteen years, and every Valentine’s Day, I like to re-tell the story of Cupid and Psyche to the Blogosphere.

Why?  Because it’s one of my favorite myths.  I love this story.  I’d post more pictures about it, but everybody’s nekkid.

It’s almost Valentine’s Day, and since many people associate this day with Cupid, let’s talk for a moment about the REAL Cupid. Well, the real mythological Cupid.

Cupid is not a fat naked baby, flying around shooting arrows into people to make them fall in love with the first living thing they see, causing people to have inappropriate relationships with cows and bulls and goats. It was used as an excuse by some people, but we won’t go there.

It’s kind of along the same lines as the alcoholics who tried to rationalize their choices by swearing they were just worshipping Bacchus/Dionysus, and the knocked-up teenagers who swore they were abducted by Zeus. . . .

Ahem.

In some myths, Cupid/Eros IS a perpetual child, but in most of the myths, he is as all the other gods (except Hephaestus) were: indescribably beautiful. Unfortunately, his mother was the goddess Aphrodite/Venus, and even though she was the goddess of love and beauty, she was a BITCH.

Here is the story of what happened when Cupid dared to fall in love and try to have a life of his own. Heh, and some of you think YOU have mother-in-law problems. . . .

==

Once upon a time – was there EVER a better way to begin a story? – there was a King who had three daughters, all beautiful, and the youngest daughter was the most beautiful of all. In fact, and this was dangerous talk in any myth, people said that this young princess was more beautiful even than the goddess of beauty herself. Now, whenever, in a myth, people compare a mortal to a god or goddess, you will know in advance that the poor mortal, even though he/she probably did nothing wrong, is going down. DOWN. Circling the drain down.

This young princess, whose name was Psyche, begged the populace not to say such things, but people were heedless and full of gossip even back in these days, and the talk went on and on. Eventually, of course, Aphrodite heard of it, and she was FURIOUS.

She called her son Cupid to her, and instructed him to fly down to earth and shoot an arrow into Psyche, making sure the first living thing she saw would be a monster that would devour her even as she could not help falling in love with it.

What Aphrodite had not foreseen was this: Cupid took one look at Psyche, was dazzled by her beauty, tripped and fell on one of his own arrows and fell in love with her himself. It was the real thing, too; it would have happened with or without magic love arrows or anything else. He saw her, and he loved her.

He knew, though, that he would have to keep it a secret from everyone, especially his jealous, possessive mother. Therefore, he would have to somehow get Psyche away from her family and sneak her to his palace.

He sent Psyche’s father, the King, a dream that directed him to go to an Oracle – a fortuneteller – who told him that he must take his beloved daughter to the top of the mountain and let a Demon take her to wife.

The King did not dare to disobey, so he and Psyche’s sisters walked with Psyche up the mountain and left her on a jutting rock to await her demonic husband. She did not understand what was happening, and could not think why she should be treated so, but back in the days of the myths, people did what the gods told them to do and chalked it all off to the Fates.

That night, the West Wind swooped down and flew with her to her new husband’s home. She tried to ask Zephyrus what was to become of her, but he would not, or could not, answer. He, too, was following orders.

To Psyche’s surprise, Zephyrus took her to a beautiful palace, even more beautiful than her father’s palace back home. Invisible servants waited on her hand and foot. Delicious food was served to her, three times a day. Lovely clothing appeared in her closet.

Cupid & PsycheShe dreaded the night, because she knew that her new husband would come to her in the marriage bed, but when he came into the room, she knew no fear. She could not see him in the dark, but he told her he loved her and would always love her. He also told her that she must NEVER see him in the light.

He came to her every night after dark, but was gone before the morning light fell upon his face. Psyche knew that she loved him, but she did not even know his name.

Then, she got homesick.

After much crying and begging from his wife, Cupid told her that her two sisters would be allowed to visit her. Psyche was happy to hear this, for living alone in a huge castle with only invisible servants by day and a nameless, faceless husband by night was hard on a girl. Besides, she was pregnant.

Cupid was happy to hear this news, but he warned his wife that as long as she never looked upon her husband’s face, the baby would be immortal, but if she could not resist temptation and saw him in the light, the baby would be mortal and eventually die.

By this time, Psyche loved her husband so much she would have done anything for him. She agreed.

When her sisters arrived, they were impressed with the richness and luxury their sister enjoyed, but their jealousy of her good fortune overcame their love for her. They were amazed that Psyche was pregnant with the child of a husband she had never seen and didn’t even know by name. They told Psyche that he must be a hideous monster, and that she had a right to see her husband’s face. They told her that if he was indeed a monster, she would have to kill him. They told her these things over and over until they convinced her that it would be the only right thing to do. After all, why should a wife not know her husband’s face and name? It was so logical!

That night, after her husband had come to her and then fallen asleep, Psyche fetched an oil lamp and a knife. The lamp would show her his face, and if he was indeed a monster, she would kill him with the knife.

But she trembled, and a drop of hot oil fell on him. He awoke, and turned to look at Psyche awakens Cupidher. She saw, in the light, not a hideous creature from the depths of hell itself, but a beautiful young man with golden wings, looking at her with love and pain and despair. He got out of bed and flew away, and Psyche knew she would never see him again.

Psyche blamed herself for losing her husband. Because of her curiosity and disobedience, she was alone, and pregnant. She prayed desperately to the gods, but they did not answer, and Cupid did not return to her.

She decided to go to Aphrodite, Cupid’s mother, and offer her services as a servant, hoping that Cupid might admire her devotion and return to her.

What naive Psyche didn’t know was that her mother-in-law didn’t merely dislike her; she HATED her, and was eager to do great harm to her to keep her son away from his wife. She was still angry because the townspeople in Psyche’s homeland had remarked that Psyche was more beautiful than Aphrodite, and the fact that this girl was now pregnant with her son’s child made Aphrodite even more furious. Aphrodite was determined to punish Psyche for taking some of her son’s affection from his mother.

Aphrodite set Psyche to work on a series of ridiculous, impossible tasks. She had to sort a roomful of different grains by nightfall; had it not been for the ants, who helped her sort the grains into various piles, she could never have finished. Next, Aphrodite told Psyche she had to shear the wool from a flock of deadly, possessed sheep that were hypnotized, so that they tried to kill all who came near. Fortunately, the reeds along the riverbank advised Psyche that she could get enough wool from the thorny bushes the sheep had passed through, instead of trying to deal with these evil sheep.

Each time Psyche succeeded, Aphrodite became angrier and more determined to break her. The tasks became more and more difficult. She sent Psyche to fetch water from the river Styx, the river of death, but fortunately, Zeus took pity on Psyche and sent one of his mighty eagles to fetch the water for her.

Psyche crosses the StyxFinally, Aphrodite told Psyche to enter the Underworld and fetch her box of cosmetics from Persephone, Queen of the Underworld. No mortal had ever entered the World of the Dead and returned. The night before this task, she lay in her bed and wept.

Suddenly, she heard a voice, telling her how to succeed in this task, and also warning her not to open the box once she got it in her hands. This piqued Psyche’s curiosity.

In a myth, whenever someone is extremely curious about something, there’s going to be trouble.

Psyche entered the Underworld. She crossed the Styx, paying Charon his toll. (This is why, in many cultures even today, the dead are buried with a coin on each eyelid.) cerberus free access fileShe gave food to Cerberus, (now you know where the idea of Hagrid’s “Fluffy” came from!)  to distract him so she could run through the gate of Hades without being devoured. (Meat is placed in the hands of the dead, and when rigor mortis set in, the meat was secure in the fist.) Psyche did as the voice had instructed her throughout her entire visit, and finally, box in hand, she returned to the world of the living.

Once she got back to her palace and was alone with this mysterious box, Psyche’s curiosity got the better of her. What harm could one little peek do? She wasn’t going to TOUCH anything in there, after all. But when she opened the box, she fell into a deep slumber.

By this time, Cupid’s anger had passed, and he longed for his wife and baby. His mother tried her best to dissuade him, but for the first time in his life he defied her openly and, in spite of her magical attempts to hold him, flew out of his childhood home and went back to the castle he had built for his own family.

He found his wife, sound asleep on the floor of her room, and so deep was her sleep that Cupid thought she was dead, and wept as he held her in his arms. He bent to her for one last kiss, and she awakened!

Cupid and Psyche were together at last, in the light, and both liked what they saw.

However, there was still the danger of Aphrodite, who still hated Psyche and who wanted her son Cupid’s full devotion. Cupid finally appealed to Zeus, King of the Gods, and asked him to make his wife immortal, that Aphrodite could no longer harm her, and Zeus agreed.

Cupid and Psyche lived happily ever after, and their daughter Volupta. . . well, that’s a whole other story, isn’t it.

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I hope you saw the roots of a lot of fairy tales and other stories. The ancient myths are a treasure trove of literary points of origin. I also hope you noticed a lot of root words; the English language is a patchwork quilt of languages: we steal from everybody.

Mythology is one of my thangs. Can you tell?

Happy Valentine’s Day, all.

Somebody else can tell the story of St. Valentine. I like Cupid and Psyche.

This myth is also ONE of the origins of the expression “Opposites attract.”

Because Love is all emotional, see, and the Mind is logical, and. . . . oh, you know. And how ironic is it that the Ancients saw the male as the emotional one and the female as the logical one?

Mythology is so cool.