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Ways of Worship: Eros

Hellenic Witch/Wiccan Worship of Eros

By Lilli BehomPublished 4 months ago 10 min read

Eros is the Greek god of love and sex who is said to be the personification of romantic love, passion, and sex/procreation. Some said he was the youngest of the gods and others said he was the most powerful and irresistible of them. Eros was often credited with being the protector of homosexual love, specifically between men. He was said to embody athleticism, art, sexual power, and love.

According to the primordial myths by Hesiod Eros's father is Chaos and he's the youngest of the primordial siblings- Nyx, Erebos, Pontus, Gaia, Uranus, and Tartarus. As such Eros was involved in the creation of the cosmos. In other myths he's the son of Aphrodite and Ares. In these myths he's considered a warrior and is the personification of intense love and desire. According to Parmenides Eros was the first of all the gods and was responsible for the beginning of the cosmos through his power of procreation. Some even say that he was part of the Erotes which are winged gods of love and sex. Some even say he had multiple brothers such as Himeros the god of desire, Pothos the god of longing, and Anteros the god of reciprocated love. The Erotes, Himeros, Pothos, and Anteros where all considered loyal members of Aphrodite's entourage.

Eros was described both as a young man, almost a child, and as a young adult. No matter his depiction he was always considered extremely handsome with golden wings who wore a crown of roses and walked on flowers. He was referred to as the "fairest among the deathless gods" by Hesiod. Sappho described him as a god who was always flying and wore a purple cloak. Many of his depictions had him playing games with a ball or knucklebones. Others have him carrying a bow and arrow, lyre, whip, and even an axe.

As for his personality, many different authors have stated contradictory things. Some describe him as sweet, charming, warm hearted, had certain child-like qualities, and enjoyed playing games. Other described him as being cunning, crafty, mischievous, unruly, cruel, a cheat, and with a childlike temper. His Roman counterpart was Cupid.

He was seen in the promordial myths as the god who blessed the union of Uranus and Gaia who then gave birth to the universe. He was also described in the birth of Aphrodite as not only being there but that it was the start of his following the lovely goddess along with Himeros. He was then later seen in myths of Olympus as a meddler in the affairs of the gods and mortals who caused trouble by creating love matches between them and watching as the drama unfolded.

Eros is seen in one of the most beautiful Greek love stories between himself and Psyche. Psyche was a beautiful maiden and personification of the human soul, largely considered a symbol of the purified soul through misfortune and passion. Psyche was the youngest and most beautiful daughter of a king. She was so beautiful that she was considered a goddess among mortals. Men would come from all over the land to admire and worship her. Her beauty was so great, in fact, that it was said not even Aphrodite herself was as beautiful and more and more people abandoned their worship of the goddess in favor of this mortal girl. Aphrodite, as with most gods, became jealous and called to her son Eros to use his powers to make Psyche fall in love with the vilest, most despicable creature on Earth. The second Eros saw her though, he fell passionately in love with the young maiden and couldn't go through with the plan, deciding not to tell his mother.

Psyche felt great dispare in love. Her two sisters where both married to kings and, although many admired her, none fell in love with her or pursued her for marriage. This caused great anxiety for her parents, who wanted to see her married as well. In that anxiety her father went to the Oracle of Delphi to ask of Apollo any advice on how to get his most beautiful daughter wed. Apollo said that Psyche must go to the summit of a mountain dressed in black and there she would meet a terrible winged serpent who would take her as his wife. Her friends and family did as Apollo said, mourning her all the way and she marched to the hill as if going to her death. Psyche cried and cried but she remained on the summit until Zephuros, the West Wind, gently lifted her up to a soft meadow of flowers, doing his best to make her forget her pain and sleep.

When she woke she saw a large castle of silver, gold, and precious stones. Voices whispered for her to come inside her new home and followed her throughout the day, although she could find no trace of their owner. As the day wore on Psyche's fear lessened and she knew her husband as kind and loving instead of the monster she was promised, but she still never saw him. Psyche was left alone all day and shared her nights with a husband she could not see. While she was the happiest she had been in her life, doubt began creeping in and she became homesick. She asked her husband if she could have her sisters up to her new home to assure them she was alive and well. Her husband refused but relented when she became sad. Her husband warned her not to let her sisters influence her as it would destroy their marriage.

When her sisters came on the wind to the palace their hearts where filled with joy but upon seeing all the lavish gifts and lifestyle their little sister had their hearts became filled with envy and they asked Psyche questions she could not answer about her dear husband. Psyche said he was a simple hunter but her sisters didn't believe that such riches could come from someone so below them. Jealousy clouded them and as they left they "consoled" Psyche on how her awful, ugly serpent husband must make her sick to lay with, if she could see him. These thought only made the doubts in Psyche's heart grow larger and questions grew about her husband. So Psyche came up with a plan to wait until her husband was in a deep sleep and hold a candle up to see him. She planned to kill him if he was an awful snake or go happily to sleep beside a beautiful man, forgetting about her husbands warning.

That night she carried out her plan and instead of a hideous monster she was met with the sight of a stunningly beautiful man. She fell to her knees thanking the gods and ashamed of herself for her wavering faith in her loving husband. While she was distracted a drop of oil fell from the candle onto his back and he awoke at the pain, seeing the light and finding his wife's distrust he left their bedroom without a word. Psyche raced after her husband but he was gone without a trace, his voice on the wind "love cannot exist without trust". Psyche cried and cried for days but her husband never returned and she decided to do whatever it takes to prove her love to him. Not knowing what else to do Psyche threw herself at the altar of Aphrodite begging for intervention in her lost love. Aphrodite, still wishing to see the girls downfall, said she would have to complete three dangerous tasks to ensure she was right for her son. If she failed even one task Eros would be lost forever.

For the first task, Aphrodite led Psyche to a hill covered in hundreds of types of flowers and grains. She said she wanted the seeds separated by the afternoon and left the mortal girl to her task. Filled with despair at her task Psyche began to weep. Ants who where passing by saw her tears and helped her sort the seeds, getting it done well before afternoon. Aphrodite was enraged at the girls success and commanded her to sleep on the ground, hoping it would destroy Psyche's beauty. Meanwhile, she commanded that her son be locked in his room where he was staying mourning his wife's betrayal.

The next morning Aphodite gave Psyche her second task, to fill a bottle of water from the River Estige, an awful and abhorrent river filled with black rushing water that moved so quickly only one with wings could safely reach it. But just like with the ants a passing eagle saw her and stopped to help. It took the bottle from her hands and filled it with water before returning it to the girl. Aphrodite was filled with rage and accused her of cheating. She immediately gave her another task; to journey to the Underworld to ask Persephone to drain some of her beauty into a box. Upon entering the realm of Hades Psyche gave over copious amounts of money to the farrier Charon to take her to Persephone's palace. When she finally reached the Queen of the Dead Persephone was more than happy to assist Aphrodite and did as Psyche asked. When the mortal returned to Earth Aphrodite lost her composure in her rage and screamed at the girl that she would forever be a slave to Aphrodite and never again would Psyche see her husband.

The rest of the gods, who had been watching all this unfold, decided at that moment to step in and send Hermes to tell Eros all the misfortune his mother was putting his wife through. Eros's heart swelled with love and ran to find Psyche exhausted in his mother's garden. The two embraced and Eros took his wife back to their home, which was now filled with forever flowers, and Psyche persuaded her husband to forgive his mother. Zeus gave Psyche ambrosia as a wedding present which turned her immortal and Aphrodite forgot all about her jealousy of Psyche as mortals forgot all about the beautiful princess who now lived in the sky and began worshipping and admiring her again.


General Symbols: Lyre, bow and arrow, key, flaming torches, nests, whips, wings, flutes

Colors: Red, gold, silver, pink, white

Animals: Hare, all birds but especially roosters, rabbits, mice, dolphins

Food: Ambrosia, wine, chocolates, sweets like cakes and rolls, oysters, pomegranate, fig

Scents: Floral, fresh grass, mountain air, snow, sandalwood, vanilla, wood smoke

Crystals/rocks: Rose quartz, red garnet, Tigers eye, smoky quartz, pink and black tourmaline, Rhodochrosite, moonstone, sunstone, jade, angelite, orange calcite

Plants: Rose, Catanache caerulea, orchids, Hoya kerrii, mint, lemon

In later descriptions and literature Eros began to be shown as having symbols regularly belonging to the other gods. He was shown with Zeus' iconic lightning bolt, the tambourine of Dionysus, the quiver of Apollo, the helmet and shield of Ares, the club of Heracles, Poseidon's trident, and other notable matches.


Things to Pray For: Reciprocated love, finding love, finding a sexually compatible partner, having a child, finding/help with your passion, protection for LGBTQA2+ people, help finding your soulmate, anything to do with becoming pregnant/having children, passion, romantic love, homosexuality, and sex

It is important to note that when asking for romantic or sexual love from another person you're bordering on love spells. These have sparked many debates in the witchcraft communities and practices as to if they should be practiced or not. There are many ethical issues surrounding forcing feelings that otherwise wouldn't be there and the possible dangers of love turned to obsession when gone too far. Remember that the ones under the spell often have no control over their desires/feelings which are only produced by the spell and therefore have no chance to stop them or see reason. There is also a large issue around consent for these types of spells. The better option would be to attract a certain type of person you desire or to ask to make yourself more noticeable in a romantic light to people.

Prayer 1

Eros, bright-winged god, I open my heart to you.

Born of chaos, first out of the void, you entered the world and all became yours.

Child of love and strife, fairest among the deathless gods, dear companion of golden Aphrodite, your power touches us all.

Eros, beautiful one, compelling one, your charm and grace are surpassed by none; your hand is in our lives, so subtle, so plain, so devious and demanding.

The course of love is never smooth, this we all know; creation is a noisy, disorderly thing and harmony is a long, slow process; love too, O Eros, shifts and wavers, balance is fleeting, and two hearts meet, for mere moments only, and yet that is enough.

Eros, raging inspiration of lovers and poets, swift-shooting one whose aim is without flaw, whose prey is forever changed; Eros, who sets alight the desires of men, who overwhelms reason, who conquers all wisdom, whose might renders weak the strong and the steadfast, I praise your name, I thank you for your many gifts.


Prayer 2

Eros, ancient one, youthful one, holder of souls, opener of hearts, you give and take with the same spirit, the same fury, the same deft hand.

Eros, child of passion, driving force of the universe, yours is the face of desire, yours the strength of love, in you we see the world as once it was, in you we hear the voice of lovers joined as one.

Eros, child of chaos, brother of sweet harmony, yours is the cord that binds our lives together, yours the scourge that drives us where our bodies lead, in you we find purpose, in you we seek solace.

Eros, in my blood and my tears I know you, in my pulse I feel your might, you call to life above all.

I thank you for your many blessings



About the Creator

Lilli Behom

I have no idea what I'm doing but I'm always down for spooks.

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