Eternal Psyche in Your Chart
Psyche is a symbol of what lasts forever in your chart. By sign and house she shows what is eternal about you. For example, if you have Psyche in Cancer in the Fourth House, your home may live on after you have gone, with all your original renovations, features and gardening skills. The oak you plant may be there centuries later.
Psyche and The Great Auk of 1852
In astrology, we discover the meaning of an asteroid by looking at its place in the family tree, first. Psyche was the daughter-in-law of Venus and married to her son Cupid (the asteroid Cupido in your chart).
Venus, who was jealous of the beautiful and dutiful Psyche, subjected her to various tests and trials and her daughter-in-law survived them all. The gods decided to make her immortal and she lives forever with her husband Cupid.
In the year 1852 when Psyche was found and named, a creature called a Great Auk was sighted, having been pronounced extinct, earlier. You’ll find this wonderful bird in The Island of Adventure by Enid Blyton and The Water-Babies by Charles Kingsley. It is a good way to think about Psyche. This is where nothing and nobody is ever extinguished, or extinct.
You will also find the Great Auk in Ulysses by James Joyce. It is a famous symbol of who or what defies extinction. In fact, you might say the creature lives on in literature.
Psyche and Butterflies
Psyche is also associated with butterflies. The larva stage of a butterfly’s life cycle is part of the ‘forever’ story of this beautiful insect. Butterflies are eggs, then caterpillars (a type of larva), then chrysalis or cocoon, then ultimately – the metamorphosis of butterfly emergence from the chrysalis.
For the Romans who gave us our modern astrology, butterflies and Psyche were similar. The butterfly lays eggs – part of herself goes on forever – back into the larva and chrysalis cycle.
In fact, they believed that on the point of death, a butterfly would hover above the lips. Psyche is a symbol of the immortal soul. The eternal spirit.
Butterfly collectors used to cruelly trap them and then they were pinned to picture frames. This idea of being trapped, pinned, framed is close to Psyche in your chart.
Psyche the Survivor
Unfortunately, Psyche does subject you to tests and trials. You can feel pinned down here, just as Psyche was by Venus.
The first test Venus subjected her to, went wrong. Venus’s son Cupid was supposed to snare Psyche in her sleep by presenting her with a monstrous man (probably, in the eyes of the Romans, a deformed man) to fall in love with. Cupid’s arrow could produce obsession, infatuation, extreme longing. Venus believed Psyche, the beautiful woman who was her rival, would be mocked mercilessly, were she to wake with an arrow in her arm, to see a hideously ugly man in front of her – and become besotted with him.
Cupid had a candle to light his way. He spilled the hot wax on himself and accidentally plunged the arrow into his own skin. He fell in love with Psyche instantly, further enraging Venus.
Just as a beautiful butterfly is a useful symbol for Psyche, so too is the idea of being the object of passion. The object of great desire. Psyche, however is also the victim of jealousy.
Psyche and Venus
Venus is a jealous goddess. She is an archetype of old-school femininity. Beautiful but terrified of ageing. Threatened by other women. Bitchy and vindictive. She is gorgeous on the outside but on the inside?
If you are going to work with Venus in the chart then work with Psyche and Cupido too.
Just as Venus shows that old-fashioned, shameless, seductive ‘siren’ side of yourself (by sign and house, you will see where and how) Psyche shows beauty.
Psyche also shows immortality, as we have seen, and the mixed blessing of being desired by some but put to test and trial by others.
Venus made Psyche sort a barn full of grains overnight (she did it, with the help of some ants). Venus asked Psyche to go into Pluto and Proserpina’s domain, Hades, and run an errand for her. She literally sent her to the underworld and back, but again – Psyche did it.
In your chart, Psyche shows where you never give up and are rewarded. In Aquarius and the Eleventh House, for example, you can be a ‘beautiful’ friend in a group of people, but the object of insecure envy from another in the team. A proper Venus, in fact. So, you may be sent on a psychological obstacle course, only to find that you achieve immortality in some way. Perhaps your netball team will win the trophy, with your name engraved on the side – forever on the school display wall. Psyche works on all kinds of levels.
Psyche in Art
Raffaello Sanzio painted Venus and Psyche to show the relationship between mother-in-law and daughter-in-law. Here, Psyche fulfils an errand for Venus, who is still not satisfied. There is a little suggestion of female victim hood about Psyche and you may want to be aware of that, especially if you are a woman.
Nothing is good enough for Venus, who resents Psyche for her beauty and also for the fact that she has taken her son away from her.
We sometimes see Psyche in a chart when a woman has fallen in love with a man whose mother is possessive. These archetypes run very deep.
Francois Gerard has painted the first kiss between Cupid and Psyche with all the infatuation we associate with the winged god and his arrows.
What is really important here is the look on her face! The expression tells you how mixed the feelings can be, if a lover is dancing attendance, but a jealous and powerful enemy is not far behind.
Psyche often tells us; popularity has a price. And yet Psyche always wins in the end. By sign and house Psyche will show you where you repeatedly achieve immortality in some way. Nothing and nobody is ever extinct, like the Great Auk.
Feature Image: Suzanne D. Williams