Cupid Connected to Love? – It it is almost Valentine’s Day. Valentine’s Day is a holiday in which we celebrate our loved one(s). When we think of love and Valentine’s Day we often associate this day with Cupid. But where did this winged creature come about? Just who is this arrow-wielding creature and how did he become associated with Valentine’s Day?
Cupid Connected to Love?
One of the most common images associated with Valentine’s Day is that of a young cherub with bow in hand ready to aim an arrow at an unsuspecting sweetheart. This winged perpetrator of matchmaking mischief has become as much a part of Valentine’s Day celebrations as chocolate, flowers and other gifts.
The instigator of romantic love goes by two different names, having ties to both ancient Greeks and Romans. This archery expert was known as Cupid by the ancient Romans and as Eros to the ancient Greeks and was the god of love.
In the Middle Ages, Eros/Cupid continued to be a popular figure in art. Multiple winged archers, known as “amores or amorini” to Romans and “erotes” to Greeks, can be seen in many paintings of the period. In modern art, many people experienced difficulty distinguishing if the winged child was Cupid himself from mythology or the “putto,” a secular figure in a work of art depicted as a chubby male child, usually naked and sometimes winged. Nowadays, the terms “cupid,i” “cherubi” and “puttoi” are often used interchangeably to describe the image of a pudgy, winged child.
god of love and desire
Eros’/Cupid’s family tree can be confusing. Some Greek mythology experts say Eros was the son of Nyx and Erebus, others Aphrodite and Aries. The Roman Cupid is believed to be the son of Venus and Mars, the goddess of love and god of war, respectively. That reminds me of the saying men are from Mars and women are from Venus.
Ancient Greeks and Romans were prolific storytellers and used mythology to explain many of the mysteries of life. Certain feelings and happenings on Earth were attributed to the moods and actions of gods who presided over the people.
In Roman mythology, Cupid was the god of desire, erotic love, attraction and affection. His Greek counterpart was Eros, while in Latin Cupid was known as Amor. According to myth, Cupid was the son of the winged messenger Mercury and Venus, the goddess of love. Cupid’s machinations were often guided by his mother’s hand, and matchmaking remained his most well-known trait.
As time went on and Christian influences pushed out ancient Greek and Roman beliefs, Cupid was seen as an angel of heavenly and earthly love. Cupid could easily be mistaken for many other angelic cherubim portrayed in artwork during the Renaissance period. Eventually Cupid became a popular icon of Valentine’s Day.
Armed with a bow and quiver filled with golden arrows, Eros/Cupid took aim at both mortals and gods. Ancient poetry once portrayed Eros as a handsome immortal who was irresistible to both man and gods. But some time later he was increasingly described as a playful, mischievous child. Cupid was not a major character in mythology, but through time the playful child persona became linked to Valentine’s Day, helping to give Cupid/Eros a more noticeable presence.
Cupid has appeared in different ways in illustrations and other artwork throughout history. Sometimes he is depicted as a winged, chubby infant carrying a bow and a quiver of arrows. Classical Greek art depicts him as a slender, winged youth.
The reason Cupid has wings is because lovers are known to be flighty and change their moods and minds with some frequency. He is boyish because love is irrational, and he carries arrows and a torch because love can both wound but also inflame the heart.
Cupid has traditionally been portrayed as benevolent, if not mischievous. After all, his goal is to bring two lovers together. His arsenal was equipped with two different kinds of arrows. People pierced by gold-tipped arrows would succumb to uncontrollable desire. Those afflicted by an arrow with a blunt tip of lead desired only to flee.
“Cupid and Psyche”
Cupid may have been responsible for bringing many people together with his special arrows, but he also was granted the opportunity to experience love himself. According to the myth of “Cupid and Psyche,” Psyche was a beautiful woman whose appearance rivaled even that of Venus. People grew enchanted by her beauty and started to neglect the worship of Venus. Jealous of this attention, Venus asked Cupid to make Psyche fall in love with a monster. But when Cupid saw how beautiful Psyche was, he accidentally dropped the arrow meant for her and pricked himself instead. He immediately became enamored with her.
Psyche, who had not been able to marry like her other sisters, feared she had been cursed by the gods in some way. She was sent away to avoid the premonition of marrying a monster, but Cupid, hidden from sight, ended up visiting Psyche and gaining her trust and affection. The pair then married, although Psyche had never seen her husband in the light of day because he forbade her to look upon him. After all, he was a god and she was a mortal.
One night Psyche disobeyed Cupid’s edict and snuck a peek by candlelight. She was amazed by his beauty and became startled, wounding herself on one of his arrows. Psyche ended up dropping hot wax on Cupid, which woke him up and he ran off.
Psyche wandered endlessly trying to find her lost husband and had to go through various trials established by a still-jealous Venus. In one of her trials, she ended up getting put to sleep, but Cupid revived her and pleaded with Jupiter to make Psyche immortal and let her be his true wife. Jupiter ultimately granted that wish.
Cupid will is connected to the concepts of love and affection, which is why he has become an unofficial symbol of Valentine’s Day.
I wanted to share he is a mythical pagan ritual in which Cupid is given god-like qualities. As Christians we all know there is only one God and that is the God, our creator, our Heavenly Father. There are no other gods. By saying this creature has god like qualities and contributing things to him is like having him as your idol. Plus, we are saying God is not capable of love. But we know that God, our Heavenly Father is the creator of love. God is love as 1 John 4:8 says “He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.”
Plus God first loved us! (1 John 4:19) As Christians stop saying Cupid shot me with his arrow and stop making him the symbol of Valentine’s Day. Let’s give credit where credit is do. Our Heavenly Father, God, is the creator of love … Not Cupid!
Article and graphic compliments of Metro Creative. (TF152931 & TF172769) Some revisions and additions have been added by myself.
First published February 14, 2016. Last updated or republished January 18, 2019.