Butterflies are special. So special that Aristotle named them psyche, which means soul. Purple butterflies are even more special because they are so rare. For that reason, in many cultures they are associated with spirituality; they represent spiritual growth and enlightenment. Purple is also the color of royalty; therefore, when I promised my favorite purple person Melinda of http://www.purpleslobinrecovery.com whose tag line is Purple Slob to Clean Queen, I immediately thought of purple butterflies.
I hope you have enjoyed Yanni’s music and the fabulous dance, Beautiful People! Both Greeks and Romans even portrayed the immortal Psyche with purple butterfly wings. She first appeared as a mortal girl, albeit a daughter of a king. One of three sisters. Psyche was so unbelievably gorgeous that prospective suitors were simply afraid to approach her. Poor Psyche, too beautiful for her own good, spent her lonely days crying with envy; her commonly pretty sisters, meanwhile, partied away surrounded by young men.
One day, Aphrodite (AKA Venus), the goddess of love, happened to glance down and notice this situation. “How dare she! – exclaimed the irate goddess, – nobody rejects all these handsome guys and gets away with it! And by the way, nobody has the right to be more beautiful than me (apparently, she didn’t know proper English grammar – “than I“).” So Venus sent her son Cupid (AKA Amor AKA Eros) – you know him; it’s the kid with bow and arrows – to make Psyche fall in love and start crying for a good reason.
And then the unexpected happened: Amor himself fell in love with Psyche! But he was a deity who couldn’t let people see him (or so claimed the Roman classic Apuleius in his “Metamorphoses”), so the king-father was instructed to leave his precious daughter alone on a high cliff, under the pretense of sacrificing her to some kind of a horrible sea monster. As you would expect, every night besotted Amor showed up, spirited Psyche off to a mysterious love nest (think honeymoon suite in a five-star hotel), and then deposited her back on the cliff in the morning.
Our young lovers were as blissful as those in the dance you just saw, until one day the sisters decided to investigate Psyche’s fate. Surprise – instead of finding assorted bones and bits of clothing, they discovered live Psyche, healthy, vigorous, and glowing with love and happiness. Well, girls gossip, you know, even ancient Greek and Roman girls. Psyche told sisters about her mysterious lover, and now it was their turn to burn with envy. “But what does he look like? Tall, short, athletic, blond, dark and handsome – what?” Barraged with questions, poor Psyche did not know what to say, so she told them the truth: she had been sworn not to look. “OMG! – cried the girls, – maybe it really is some kind of a horrible monster!”
Egged on by her sisters, Psyche decided to see for herself. Not the best decision under the circumstances, but how many teenagers do you know who make sensible decisions? The next night, when Amor fell asleep, she lit a candle and brought it close to his face. Wax dripped on his shoulder. “Ouch!” – and he took flight. And poor devastated Psyche? Like a rare purple butterfly, she fleeted all over, searching for her divine lover. Meanwhile, Venus, who did have a mean streak, was sitting on Mount Olympus, laughing her curly head off. “See, – she was saying to her injured son, – didn’t I tell you she was a no-good human?” Psyche finally figured out that if one is looking for lost love, one ought to appeal to the love goddess, and went down on her knees begging Venus for help. Vengeful Venus, a prototype for all the jokes about vicious mothers-in-law, set her tedious housekeeping tasks, from separating barley, millet, poppy seeds, lentils, and beans to bringing her a brand-name beauty cream sold only in an underground shopping mall called Hades.
Contrary to the rest of Greek AKA Roman mythology, this one has a happy ending: our young lovers get married and appeal to Zeus (AKA Jupiter) who grants Psyche immortality by serving her his signature cocktail of nectar, ambrosia, and rum (sorry, the last one is from a different opera, but not a bad idea!). Psyche grows purple butterfly wings and gets a job as a deity of spiritual growth and transformation – from a humble caterpillar to a royal purple butterfly.
Thinking of transformation, how do you transform humble cabbage into a Perfect Purple Pepitas Slaw? This is how, Beautiful People:
Having videotaped the process of making it, I remembered that I had a little purple dish to present it:
- 1/2 head red cabbage, shredded
- 1 – 2 tablespoons of course sea salt (to taste)
- 1/2 medium size red onion, sliced thin
- 1/2 cup of Vegenaise or any mayo or substitute of your choice
- 1/4 cup of Agave syrup
- 2 teaspoons of lemon juice
- 1 teaspoons of beet juice
- 1/4 cup roasted pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
- 1/4 cup diced fresh dill and more to garnish
- Fresh ground black pepper to taste
- Vigorously rub cabbage with salt by hand until soft (about 1 minute). Put aside.
- Whisk mayonnaise with agave, lemon juice, beet juice, and pepper until well blended.
- Add all ingredients to cabbage, mix thoroughly.
- Serve garnished with dill sprigs.
About the guest author:
Dolly Aizenman is the brainchild behind Kool Kosher Kitchen (Which her blog and her book are named after).
This charismatic Russian blogger is fond of cooking and writing.
She has a BA in Art and Music Education, MA in English, MS in Education and Ed.D. in Educational Leadership.