1. “EROS” – Sexual Passion Love
The first kind of love is Eros, which is named after the Greek god of love and fertility. Eros represents the idea of sexual passion and desire. The ancient Greeks considered Eros to be dangerous and frightening as it involves a “loss of control” through the primal impulse to procreate. Eros is a passionate and intense form of love that arouses romantic and sexual feelings. Eros is an exulted and beautifully idealistic love that in the hearts of the spiritually awakened can be used to “recall knowledge of beauty” (as Socrates put it) through Tantra and spiritual sex. But when misguided, eros can be misused, abused and indulged in, leading to impulsive acts and broken hearts. Eros is a primal and powerful fire that burns out quickly. It needs its flame to be fanned through one of the deeper forms of love below as it is centered around the selfish aspects of love, that is, personal infatuation and physical pleasure.
2. “PHILIA” – Deep Friendship Love
Philia is a type of love that is felt among friends who’ve endured hard times together.
As Aristotle put it, philia is a “dispassionate virtuous love” that is free from the intensity of sexual attraction. It often involves the feelings of loyalty among friends, camaraderie among teammates, and the sense of sacrifice for your pack.
3. “LUDUS” – Playful Love
Ludus is that feeling we have when we go through the early stages of falling in love with someone, e.g. the fluttering heart, flirting, teasing, and feelings of euphoria.
Playfulness in love is an essential ingredient that is often lost in long-term relationships. Yet playfulness is one of the secrets to keeping the childlike innocence of your love alive, interesting and exciting.
4. “AGAPE” – Love for Everyone
The highest and most radical type of love according to the Greeks is agape, or selfless unconditional love. This type of love is not the sentimental outpouring that often passes as love in our society. It has nothing to do with the condition-based type of love that our sex-obsessed culture tries to pass as love. Agape is what some call spiritual love. It is an unconditional love, bigger than ourselves, a boundless compassion, an infinite empathy. It is what the Buddhists describe as “mettā” or “universal loving kindness.” It is the purest form of love that is free from desires and expectations, and loves regardless of the flaws and shortcomings of others. Agape is the love that is felt for that which we intuitively know as the divine truth: the love that accepts, forgives and believes for our greater good.
5. “PRAGMA” – Longstanding Love
Pragma is a love that has aged, matured and developed over time. It is beyond the physical, it has transcended the casual, and it is a unique harmony that has formed over time. You can find pragma in married couples who’ve been together for a long time, or in friendships that have endured for decades. Unfortunately pragma is a type of love that is not easily found. We spend so much time and energy trying to find love and so little time in learning how to maintain it. Unlike the other types of love, pragma is the result of effort on both sides. It’s the love between people who’ve learned to make compromises, have demonstrated patience and tolerance to make the relationship work.
6 “PHILAUTIA” – Self Love
The Greeks understood that in order to care for others, we must first learn to care for ourselves. This form of self-love is not the unhealthy vanity and self-obsession that is focused on personal fame, gain and fortune as is the case with Narcissism. You cannot share what you do not have. If you do not love yourself, you cannot love anyone else either. The only way to truly be happy is to find that unconditional love for yourself. Often learning to love yourself involves embracing all the qualities you perceive as “unlovable”, this is where shadow work comes in.
7. “STORGE” – Parental Love
Storge is a natural form of affection that often flows between parents and their children, and children for their parents.
Storge love can even be found among childhood friends that is later shared as adults. But although storge is a powerful form of love, it can also become an obstacle on our spiritual paths, especially when our family or friends don’t align with or support our journey.
8. “MANIA” –
Mania love is a type of love that leads a partner into a type of madness and obsessiveness. It occurs when there is an imbalance between eros and ludus.
To those who experience mania, love itself is a means of rescuing themselves; a reinforcement of their own value as the sufferer of poor self-esteem. This person wants to love and be loved to find a sense of self-value. Because of this, they can become possessive and jealous lovers, feeling as though they desperately “need” their partners. If the other partner fails to reciprocate with the same kind of Mania love, many issues prevail. This is why mania can often lead to issues such as codependency.