Singular Cerebrations: The Curious Case of Cupid

Did we have to make fortean valentines?  Of course not, but sometimes you just climb the mountain because it's there.

Did we have to make fortean valentines?  Of course not, but sometimes you just climb the mountain because it's there.

If you know me, then you know how much I love the pagan origins of our modern holidays and celebrations.  Valentine's Day is no different, and it's even more obviously and deliberately pagan than any current holiday named after a saint has any right to be.  Its mascot, Cupid, may superficially resemble an adorable little cherub, but there's nothing christian about the lecherous little lovemaker. 

Prior to Pope Gelasius I's Christianization of the traditional Roman festival of Lupercalia, Cupid was representative of the pagan god of the same name, and was derived from the Greek god Eros.  This winged Lothario was known to carry arrows that could either inflict desire or aversion in his victims, and was notorious for playing with the emotions of gods and mortals alike.  Cupid more-or-less ran amok among the the Greek and Roman pantheons, seducing and dissuading lovers in equal measure.  There wasn't much of anything really romantic about it, unless your idea of romance plays out like a porno written by a sociopath.

So, this Valentine's Day, when you see that chubby little scamp, just think about the time he cursed Apollo to love the nymph Daphne, while at the same time ensuring she'd be repulsed by him, and remind yourself of how absolutely crushing unrequited love can be.  And go ahead and hate him a little bit.  It's okay, we all do.

Yours in Impossibility,

Tobias 

*I have a fiance who loves me and whom I love very much, and am in no way in the throes of unrequited love.  But that doesn't mean I can't empathize with those that are, and Cupid is still a jerk.

Tobias WaylandComment