“For our battle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the world powers of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavens.” ~ Ephesians 6:12

“But I’ll be ashamed to call myself a woman, if I don’t see that she gets toppled down from her pinnacle before long and flung into the gutter.” ~ one of Psyche’s sisters to the other sister[1]

Venus “tore [Psyche’s] clothes to shreds, pulled out handfuls of her hair, then grabbed her by the shoulders and shook her until she nearly shook her head off.”[2]

There are three villains in the Psyche story – Psyche’s two sisters and Psyche’s mother-in-law, Venus.  

Venus’ original revenge is to simply humiliate Psyche by having Cupid make her fall in love with a man “in such complete degradation that nobody viler can be found in the whole world.”[3]  Not very nice, but quite tame compared to the horrors she will unleash when she is thwarted.

Psyche’s Sisters

Psyche’s sisters are little better than minions of Venus, albeit neither Venus nor the sisters know it.  Psyche’s sisters come looking for her out of true affection and concern; however, once they see her palace, the “poison of envy” goes into their hearts.  They are determined to destroy her.  

It was their trickery that caused Psyche to divulge the fact that she had never seen her husband.  Then, when “the wicked women saw that Psyche’s defenses were down, and her heart laid open to their attacks” they planted the lie that her husband was a vile serpent that would eat her and her unborn babe.

At least the sisters get what they deserve; Venus, on the other hand, isn’t even reprimanded.  Unless Psyche and her beauty being made immortal is reprimand enough.

Venus

Although knowing Psyche is with child, Venus hands her over to her “slaves,” “Anxiety” and “Grief,” who “flogged her cruelly and tortured her in other ways” before bringing her back to Venus.  Venus hurls all kinds of verbal abuse upon Psyche – including threatening to kill her unborn child – Venus’ own grandchild, mind you!  When Psyche says nothing, Venus physically abused her.

She was denied revenge, and so takes Psyche’s beauty away through atrocious means.  Then, she proceeds to try and have Psyche killed through impossible tasks; if she doesn’t succeed, the implication is that Venus will kill Psyche herself.  And if it wasn’t for those who happened to take pity upon Psyche, Psyche would have killed herself each time.

Yes, there are many powers in the world trying to destroy Psyche.  Just as there are many powers in the world trying to destroy us.

Our Enemies

Like Psyche, our enemies are not flesh and blood.  They may take the form of flesh, like Psyche’s sisters; however, these are simply pawns in the Enemy’s arsenal.  Although all must answer for their acts of cruelty as the sisters did, the cruelty itself is supernaturally inspired.

Although Venus – like all the vengeful, vain females in the Snow White tales – is truly vile, it is good that she is so.  If she were not, the tale would lose its impact.  

We need to realize that we have an Enemy – an Enemy who longs to destroy us and tear us down.   Just as Venus longs to destroy Psyche by taking every ounce of dignity from her, so our true Enemy longs to do the same.  He’d like nothing better than to give us over to his slaves, “Anxiety” and “Grief,” and a host of others, and allow them to torture us.  He’d like nothing better than to beat us and mar us.

Sometimes, it seems as if he has the upper hand.

The difference between us and Psyche, however, is that Psyche is all but alone, save for those who happen upon her; we, on the other hand, are never alone.  There is One who sees all the wrong being done.  He does not passively happen by us, but actively tries to save us.

And He will not let the Enemy go unpunished for his cruelty.

 

Sources

[1] Apuleius, 109
[2] Ibid., 132
[3] Ibid., 98


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