Psyche Spirit Goddess Wall Plaque
by Oberon Zell, Mythic Images©
The butterfly as a living metaphor for reincarnation was one of humanity's earliest spiritual teachings, recorded in carvings, and painted pottery. The Labrys, a double-bladed ax whose shape mimicked the form of the Butterfly, was a many-layered symbol of Death and Rebirth.
Though the name and story of Psyche comes to us from a Greek legend, the origin of Psyche both as an archetype and as a primordial goddess can be traced all the way to Neolithic worship of Butterfly and Bee Goddesses. Such creatures who undergo a physical metamorphosis became symbols for the death of the body and rebirth of the spirit in a different form.
Psyche's largest following was in Minoan Crete where She had shrines and celebrations connected to the pollination of the crops. Indeed, one of the most famous symbols of Minoan culture, the Labrys. The Labrys represented Death, which releases the Soul whose symbol was a butterfly. The Labrys was a many-layered symbol of Death and Rebirth in a single ritual object. It later became stylized into the form of the Greek letter Psi, symbol of the mind itself.
An ancient doctrine formed the basis of most classical Mystery traditions, Pagan religions, and schools of philosophy from Egypt, Syria, Greece, Asia Minor, and India. In the Americas, the Hopi, and Pawnee had some form of the Butterfly Maiden, as well as the Maya and Aztecs. But the most popular expression of this myth remains Ovid's telling of the tale of Eros and Psyche, enduring for thousands of years with elements of the story appearing in folk and fairy tales, and eventually even Disney movies like Cinderella and Beauty and the Beast.
The myth tells how Psyche, the most beautiful girl on Earth, captures the heart of Eros, the God of Love. His mother, the Goddess Aphrodite, disapproves. He assumes a secret identity, but the effort is foiled by Psyche's curiosity. Psyche allows Aphrodite to test her worthiness, and she passes all but the final test, which is Death itself. At that point, Eros intervenes on Psyche's behalf and the other Olympians grant her immortality. Thus has Psyche's trial and journey become the means by which humanity gains immortality, for it is true Love that allows us to transcend mortal flesh, be purified and reborn anew. Psyche represents the individual divine self immanent in each mortal, released and rejoined to the greater immortal Whole through the flame of Love.
Psyche is crafted of cold cast resin and hand painted in fine colors and detail. Each plaque measures approximately 5 1/2 inches in diameter x 1 1/4 inches thick and is a lovely addition to any room.