The Art of Seeing
the Myth of Eros and Psyche
with Mary Attwood
Thursday 30th November 2023
7-8pm UK time via Zoom
7-8pm UK ti
“But as Psyche wept in fear and trembling on that rocky eminence, the Zephyr’s kindly breeze with its soft stirring wafted the hem of her dress this way and that…He gradually drew her aloft, and with tranquil breath bore her slowly downward…”
Book Four, Cupid and Psyche from The Golden Ass, Apuleius
In this session, we will explore just one work of art for the hour, an image conveying the myth of Eros and Psyche from the Roman writer Apuleius’ The Golden Ass or The Metamorphoses, as it is otherwise known. As a transformative myth, the story of Eros and Psyche takes the reader / seer through Psyche’s journey, both fraught with obstacles and beautiful treasures. In the palace of Eros, Psyche is surrounded by voices without bodies, including that of Eros, and she is forbidden from trying to see her beloved. As we follow Psyche through her tasks, we move through the archetypes of abandonment, discovery, separation and eventual re-joining with the beloved. The landscape, places and rites of passage Psyche must go through are both inner and outer movements of the soul as it finds its way back to Love.
Like all great myths, this story reveals a distilled form of reality which logic cannot achieve by itself. We will reflect on the deeper meaning of this myth, and whether it might tell the story of the larger “us”, of heart severed from soul, the journey we must make and the qualities we may have to recover, to retrieve that dynamic union again.
These sessions take a threefold approach of theory, practice and reflection with just one work of art. The work of art will not be revealed until the session, but do please bring open eyes, ears and a pen and paper. Or, if you prefer to just listen and look, you can do that too. These sessions are open to everyone whether you are a seasoned art lover or not.
Mary is co-founder and director of The Centre for Myth, Cosmology and the Sacred, an art historian, author, mentor and business creative. She is co-founder and director of Channel McGilchrist, was the founding Chairman of the Victoria branch of The Arts Society, is a qualified practitioner of yoga, meditation and mindfulness, has published two books with Watkins, and will be publishing an ancestral family book in Summer 2023.
Mary’s teaching and research seek to offer a broader understanding of art, not as an object to be analysed, but as a bridge between seemingly disparate ways of understanding the world and our place in it. While honouring the historical, broadening perceptions of art beyond rationalising analysis, categories and styles, opens doorways both in us and in the image. But beyond this, how we look at art art can reveal ways of knowing and seeing that change not only what we see in art, but change us and the world around us, and can help us meet the complexities of modern living by offering a renaissance of humane values.