Eros (asteroid #433) is often depicted as an asteroid that represents primal sexual desires. Based on his mythology, there are many manifestations of love that Eros represented addition to sexual desire. Eros is a complex figure in mythology. He has been given multiple birth times, origins of birth, and different figures to represent the different directions that love could turn. Eros is often associated with Aphrodite (goddess of love), who may or may not be his mother. He is also associated with Psyche (asteroid #16), who was Eros’ true love.
Eros’ Origins in Mythology
Greek God Eros was the God of love, who used loving and sexual powers to help create other gods, and subsequently, humankind. According to different philosophers, Eros was depicted in multiple forms. Early Greek philosophers wrote of Eros as one of the four primordial deities born from Chaos, and he was the fairest and youngest of them. Chaos was originally considered to be the dark void of space that existed before the world was created. After Chaos, the elements were created, followed by the primordial gods. According to later forms of mythology, Eros was Aphrodite’s young and mischievous son who touted a bow and arrow that had the gifts of making unsuspecting Gods, Goddesses and mortals fall in love with each other. This version of Eros used his bow and arrow out of revenge and spite, or at random.
Among the physical forms of Eros were Erotes, who were gods of love. The Erotes were the different ways in which Eros (love) manifested. Just as Eros, the other Erotes were depicted as young and handsome with wings. The Erotes consist of Anteros (God of requited love), the two versions of Eros, Hedylogos (God of flattery and sweet talk), Hermaphroditus (God of hermaphrodites and androgyny), Himeros (God of sexual desire/unrequited love), Hymenaios (God of wedding ceremonies), and Pothos (God of sexual longing). Eros’ was later represented in Roman mythology as Cupid, the chubby, cherub-looking, bow-and-arrow-touting God of desire. The Erotes were represented in Roman mythology as the Amores.
Eros and Psyche in Mythology
In the story of Eros and Psyche, Eros was Aphrodite’s son. Psyche was a mortal, famous among men for her beauty and grace. Despite advances and proposals from many men from different lands, Psyche waited for true love. Aphrodite (goddess of love and beauty) became jealous of Psyche, and instructed Eros to make her fall in love with the most hideous and vile creature on Earth. Instead of casting this spell on her, Eros fell in love with Psyche as soon as he saw her, and he was determined to be with her. When Eros caught wind that Psyche was to see an oracle concerning marriage, he sent a message to the oracle that Psyche would marry a monster whose face she could not see. She was to meet this monster at the top of a mountain.
Psyche waited for her husband at the top of this mountain, and was mysteriously carried to a gorgeous and secluded castle. The castle was their home, stocked with the most delicious food and filled with beautiful music. Eros posed as her mysterious husband, as this was his solution to appeasing his mother (without her knowledge) and himself. Psyche was not allowed to see her husband’s face, and they were to be together only at night. Although Psyche could not see Eros, she felt the pure and blissful love she had looked for her whole life.
As happy as she was, she missed her family and asked for permission to have her sisters visit her. Psyche’s sisters warned her against fully trusting her husband, as his identity was hidden and he could be the ugly monster that the oracle told her about. She had to find out who her husband was and what he looked like, and she visited him while he was sleeping. She was fully equipped to murder her husband if he was a monster. When Psyche saw her husband under candlelight, she was so happy and relieved to see the handsome god of love, that she fell to her knees and thanked the gods for this blessing. Some oil from the candle fell onto Eros’ face, waking him up. Out of disappointment that his wife did not trust him, he left their castle suddenly.
In order to get Eros back, she prayed to Aphrodite so that she would persuade Eros to take her back. Because Aphrodite was still envious of her, she instructed Psyche to accomplish three impossible and dangerous tasks in order to prove that she was worth her son’s love – all without Eros’ knowledge. Although Aphrodite set Psyche up for failure, she still completed these tasks. Aphrodite was angered even more, so she made Psyche her servant for the rest of her life. The other gods decided to tell Eros about the journey that Psyche went through just to reunite with him. This story touched Eros, and he brought Psyche back to his palace. As a wedding gift, Zeus gave Psyche the gift of immortality. From then on, Psyche was Goddess of the soul.
Eros and Psyche in Astrology
Eros encompasses many different forms of love. Although inconsistent with his other forms of love, Eros’ first nature was pure love, which inspired the birth of other gods. Throughout Greek mythology’s development, Eros took on various manifestations of love. Sound familiar? This is something we have all experienced! Different phases and different people throughout our lives bring out our multifaceted love natures.
As an asteroid in the natal chart, Eros reveals sexual and relational desires, as well as areas of our lives that bring out passion in us. I also see a strong correlation between Eros’ sign in the natal chart, and the pursuit of love and desire. This, as anything else, of course can be affected by other planets and aspects in the chart. The key idea in this interpretation is how one approaches desire, although there are ways to interpret Eros. In fire signs (Aries, Leo, Sagittarius) Eros pursues the people he desires as a go-getter and a winner – he goes for who he wants despite competition. In earth signs (Taurus, Virgo, Capricorn) Eros is grounded where he is – he may know what and who he wants, but he prefers when people pursue him. In air signs (Gemini, Libra, Aquarius) Eros goes with the flow, and uses cues during communication to determine if he should play the role of the pursuer or the pursued. In water signs (Cancer, Scorpio, Pisces) Eros proceeds when he can sense that feelings run deep for himself and for the other person.
Eros was the God of love before Psyche, but actually experienced true love when they married. Psyche was an unquestioning, dedicated and trusting wife, until her sisters made her feel like she was being naive. In the natal chart, asteroid Psyche shows the kind of love we are dedicated to finding, and how we show 0ur dedication and support in romantic love. Psyche’s placement in a woman’s vs. a man’s chart seem to have very different effects. The key idea in this interpretation is, Psyche tells us how we inspire love (in a woman’s chart), and what inspires us to love (in a man’s chart). Additionally, there are other, more specific ways to read Psyche placements.
Psyche in a fire sign in a woman’s chart shows she steers her relationships; in a man’s chart it shows that he prefers to be a partner who steers relationships. Psyche in an earth sign in a woman’s chart shows she attracts partners by showing commitment to earthy concerns (ex: stability, physical contact, achieving goals gradually), whereas in a man’s chart it shows that these qualities inspire him to love. Psyche in an air sign in a woman’s chart shows that she pursues a meeting of minds in love; in a man’s chart, it tells us that this inspires him to love. Psyche in a water sign in a woman’s chart nurtures the soul in love, and in a man’s chart, it shows he is inspired to love when he is with someone who nurtures his soul.
In my experience, the amount of influence that Eros and Psyche have on the natal chart depend on the amount of influence that Mars and Venus have.
Furthermore, the influence Eros and Psyche have in natal charts differs from the influence that they have on compatibility charts. I have seen Eros and Psyche make contact with each other in charts of soulmate relationships. (Go here to find out more about the different types of soulmate relationships.) However, before I get to the good stuff, I wanted to explain how their story showcases how they approach love and desire.