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Archive for the tag “myth”

Blossoming days

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Weekend escapes are reviving mainly because they offer the much-needed getaway from our routine. Regardless of whether it’s boring or not, we all need some time away from what we usually do. If only, to change our perspective on life by merely altering the scenery around us and opening our eyes to something new.

Going to places abundant with myths and history is rejuvenating in more ways than the obvious.

And as spring approaches, nature is seemingly beautifying itself to welcome such excursions.

One of the most beautiful images of this time, is a cherry blossom in bloom.

It is so rare – the full bloom may only last a week – and short-lived (have a lifespan of 30-40 years) emphasising that pretty things should be enjoyed as long as they last, almost urging you to live the moment.

In Japanese folklore, cherry blossoms – sakura – represent the impermanent nature of life. They symbolise both birth and death, beauty and violence, as they historically signified the short but colourful life of the samurai.

Cherry blossoms are a symbolic flower of the spring, a time of renewal, and the fleeting nature of life.

Whatever they are believed to symbolise or represent, they are a majestic sight, reminding us that there is beauty everywhere, and can be enjoyed no matter how little it lasts. As long as you have the will and open-mindedness to do so.

The island of a king

There is a legend that a King was born on the little island.

It was an island without inhabitants. Found between glaciers, where a couple in love found refuge from their warring families who so hated each other they would not allow the youth to join. It was there that their young descendant came to life. In the heart of nature, with only his parents to witness his arrival.

It was there where he sought shelter from life’s pain, from the strife among his family’s relatives, from the bullying among his peers, from everything he thought he couldn’t handle. But it was also on that very island where his life changed. Where he found a papyrus only he could read and which sealed his fate.

It was on that very island that Arthur became King.

The Psyche of Eros

http://img14.deviantart.net/f580/i/2009/128/8/6/cupid_and_psyche_master_copy_by_phomax.jpgThere is a fact we all soon come to acknowledge: that there can be no love if not felt deep inside the soul. There is a lovely Ancient Greek myth that centers on this – the fable of Eros (Love) and Psyche (Soul):

Once upon a time, there was a king who had three wonderful daughters. The youngest, Psyche, was much more beautiful than her two sisters and looked like a goddess among mere mortals. People throughout the land worship her beauty so deeply that they forget about the goddess Aphrodite. Aphrodite becomes angry that her temples are falling to ruin, so she plots to ruin Psyche. She instructs her son, Eros, to pierce the girl with an arrow and make her fall in love with the most vile, hideous man alive. But when Eros sees Psyche in her radiant glory, he shoots himself with the arrow instead.

Meanwhile, Psyche and her family become worried that she will never find a husband, for although men admire her beauty, they always seem content to marry someone else. Psyche’s father prays to Apollo for help, and Apollo instructs her to go to the top of a hill, where she will marry not a man but a serpent. Psyche bravely follows the instructions and falls asleep on the hill. When she wakes up, she discovers a stunning mansion. Going inside, she relaxes and enjoys fine food and luxurious treatment. At night, in the dark, she meets and falls in love with her husband.

She lives happily with him, never seeing him, until one day he tells her that her sisters have been crying for her. She begs to see them, but her husband replies that it would not be wise to do so. Psyche insists that they visit, and when they do, they become extremely jealous of Psyche’s beautiful mansion and lush quarters. They deduce that Psyche has never seen her husband, and they convince her that she must sneak a look. Confused and conflicted, Psyche turns on a lamp one night as her husband lies next to her.

When she sees the beautiful Eros asleep on her bed, she weeps for her lack of faith. Eros awakens and deserts her because Love cannot live where there is no trust. Cupid returns to his mother, Aphrodite, who again decides to enact revenge on the beautiful girl.

Psyche, meanwhile, journeys all over the land to find Eros. She decides to go to Aphrodite herself in a plea for love and forgiveness, and when she finally sees Aphrodite, the great goddess laughs aloud. Aphrodite shows her a heap of seeds and tells her that she must sort them all in one night’s time if she wants to see Eros again. This task is impossible for one person alone, but ants pity Psyche and sort the seeds for her. Shocked, Aphrodite then orders Psyche to sleep on the cold ground and eat only a piece of bread for dinner. But Psyche survives the night easily. Finally, Aphrodite commands her to retrieve a golden fleece from the river. She almost drowns herself in the river because of her sorrow, but a reed speaks to her and suggests that she collect the golden pieces of fleece from the thorny briar that catches it. Psyche follows these instructions and returns a sizable quantity to Aphrodite. The amazed goddess, still at it, now orders Psyche to fill a flask from the mouth of the River Styx. When Psyche reaches the head of the river, she realizes that this task seems impossible because the rocks are so dangerous. This time, an eagle helps her and fills the flask. Aphrodite still does not give in. She challenges Psyche to go into the underworld and have Persephone put some of her beauty in a box. Miraculously, Psyche succeeds.

When she gave Aphrodite the box, the goddess got extremely angry. She yelled the poor girl that she would never let her go and she would always be her servant. At this crucial moment, the Gods, who were watching this wrongdoing all this time, decided to take up action. They sent Hermes, the messenger God, to narrate Eros all the misfortunes that his wife was going through. Eros was touched and this healed the wound of betrayal. He left his room and found Psyche exhausted in his mother’s garden. From that moment on, Eros and Psyche lived happily together in their lovely palace, which was always full of roses and other flowers. Psyche persuaded Eros to forgive his mother for what she had made her suffer. As a wedding gift, Zeus made Psyche immortal and allowed her to taste ambrosia, the drink of the Gods. Even Aphrodite was happy because, now that Psyche was living in the sky with her husband, men on earth had forgotten all about her and were again worshiping the true goddess of beauty. Eros and Psyche then had a daughter named Hedone (Pleasure).

The story centres on the power of true love and the strength it finds in overcoming all the obstacles thrown before it. But most importantly it reveals that in the union between love and soul, trust is essential. For love is an act of faith for the other and it must remain surrounded by a small veil of mystery. It is what keeps the feeling alive. Living each moment with deep emotion, without trying to understand the magic that lies behind it. If we cling too much, we will end up strangling love itself.

Love is something we often don’t fully understand. It comes abruptly and touches our heart and soul. If it persists, if it prevails despite the challenges it may face, that is when you know it is true and worth having.

 

The Archer

https://lh5.ggpht.com/l9mykkNXAk5GQA2yRa3ml5CrenDBghDsjINP5cjEvy0WuPFIb4oJ7ZB1w9MLURSBp-hk=w300The bowstring tore his cheek as the arrow flung to hit the hanging branch. He was trying to outrun the voices behind him, and every few paces he would turn and try to find deterrents to block their way. It was already getting dark and it was easier now to get lost in the woods. That served to his advantage. No-one knew the forest as well as he did. It was his home.

They called him The Archer. All they really knew about him was that whatever he stole, he would replace with something else. So, for example, if he stole a loaf of bread the one day, the next he would repay with a couple of fresh apples. He didn’t want to be considered a thief after all. And he always signed his name with a capital “A”.

But no-one had ever seen him. Despite the fact that he moved among them daily.

His mother was an Amazon, tamed by a Lord. Their marriage was a demonstration of how powerful love could be. But also of how profound. For when she got sick, he drunk his fortune away, and with it his son’s future. The boy was soon orphaned and left to fight for his own survival. All he knew how to do was use a bow better than anyone. He was very young when he was forced to discover the world, and the people of the village looked upon him with a mix of pity and fear. They would give him chores and various errands to run if they had any, but the pay was minimum, if at all, and the boy could not survive on that alone.

No-one seemed to care how he managed or where he lived. That was private business, or what they described as “personal issues”.

So the boy often disappeared as quickly and as easily as he appeared.

But no-one ever associated him with The Archer. He had become a legend, a sort of myth that made the forest and the nearby village an attraction. He became the terrifying story parents threatened their children with to make them behave. He had become a ghost despite still being alive.

He carved his own bows and arrows, made his own home, and by now knew all the places food could be found in plenty. He lived poorly but managed to gain all the necessities life handed abundantly and was satisfied with how well he fared. What he hated was the look in the villagers’ eyes. As The Archer phantom, he saw fear, prejudice, and loathing. So many negative feelings for a being they hardly knew. And as the boy, their eyes reflected sorrow, shame and sometimes compassion. But that is not what he wanted. All he desired was some kindness, someone to invite him into their home and share a warm meal with him. The boy, just like The Archer, simply wanted to be accepted. But in his own eyes, that was the most difficult feat of all.

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