Psyche is the Greek word for both soul and a kind of moth.The moth is particularly appropriate because it is known for seeking the light. The tale of Cupid and Psyche was originally a Greek folk tale. The story of Cupid and Psyche is an allegory about the journey of the human soul to attain unity with the spirit. For Jung the tale is about the transformation of body and spirit as well as of the soul.
Her story is written in length by Apuleius in ‘The Golden Ass’ describing how immortality is granted to the soul of Psyche as a reward for commitment to sexual love. In gnostic text, the first rose is created from the blood of Psyche when she loses her virginity to Cupid.
The myth of Psyche:
Psyche, the most beautiful woman in the world is envied by her family as well as by Venus. An oracle of Venus demands she be sent to a mountaintop and wed to a murderous beast. Sent by Venus to destroy her, Cupid falls in love and flies her away to his castle. There she is directed to never seek to see the face of her husband, who visits and makes love to her in the dark of night. Eventually, Psyche wishes to see her sisters, who jealously demand she seek to discover the identity of her husband. That night, Psyche discovers her husband is Cupid while he is sleeping, but wakes and scars him with her candle. Infuriated, he flies to heaven and leaves her banished from her castle. In attempted atonement, Psyche seeks the temple of Venus and offers herself as a slave. Venus assigns Psyche four impossible tasks. First, she is commanded to sort through a great hill of mixed grains. In pity, many ants aid her in completing the task. Next, she is commanded to retrieve wool of the dangerous golden sheep. A river god aids Psyche and tells her to gather clumps of wool from thorn bushes nearby. Venus next requests water from a cleft high beyond mortal reach. An eagle gathers the water for Psyche. Next, Psyche is demanded to seek some beauty from Persephone, Queen of the Underworld. Attempting to kill herself to reach the underworld, Psyche ascends a great tower and prepares to throw herself down. The tower speaks, and teaches Psyche the way of the underworld. Psyche retrieves the beauty in a box, and, hoping to gain the approval of her husband, opens the box to use a little. She is put into a coma. Cupid rescues her, and begs Zeus that she may become immortal. Psyche is granted Ambrosia, and the two are forever united.