After Psyche discovered Ero’s identity, he abandoned her and she went to Aphrodite for help. She was given four tasks to accomplish before she could see Eros again. For her last task, Aphrodite, thrust a small box at Psyche, and told her to descend to Persephone, the cold Queen of the Underworld, and bring back some of her beauty in the box. Shewas given strict instructions not to open it. Persephone told her “Only Death knows the secret to eternal beauty’’. We find and are fed by beauty in the places where the truth – pretty or hard – is revealed in physical form…Our soul’s longing calls truth to us. And even when this truth is hard, when the beauty it reveals is not pretty, our deep hunger for the truth is satiated and some tension deep within us is released.
Persephone’s beauty or perfume came from the Underworld. She had to open the box and see her own darkness. The beauty ointment…represents… the eternal youth of death…Aphrodite wishes Psyche to regress from the woman who loved Eros, who was “carried away” by her love for him, and to become once more the maiden immured in narcissistic love of herself as in a glass coffin, who sees only herself, and whose womanhood slumbers.