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A Deity Encyclopedia


Aphrodite | Artemis | Athena | Baba Yaga | Brigid | Demeter | Dionysus/Bacchus | Eostre/Ostara | Eros/Cupid | The Green Man | The Holly King | Lugh | Maia | The Oak King | Persephone


Related essences: Rose, musk, jonquil, vanilla, hawthorn

Related gemstones: Emerald, jade (green stones)

Maia is the Greek goddess of spring, from whom we derive the name of the month of May. Her traditional day of celebration is on May 1st, when joyous men and women, wearing vibrant green, dance around a may-pole to welcome spring. In the Celtic tradition of Beltane, it was mostly a time of unashamed human sexuality and fertility, where customs such as archery tournaments, dances, feasting and music were conducted to celebrate the coming of spring. The Druids instituted May bonfires to assure successful planting and plentiful harvests.

Maia was the eldest daughter of Atlas, the most beautiful of her seven sisters, all of whom we can see in the night skies in the "Pleiades" constellation. She bore Zeus a son, Hermes, and raised another one of his children as her own when the ever-jealous Hera killed its mother. She is sometimes referred to as the grandmother of magic, as Hermes is believed to have been the first to master the art. Incidentally, he is also credited with the invention of medicine, astrology, and letters, and was an escort of souls to the underworld - a similar role to Iris (contrasting his mother's role as bringer of life each spring).

She is the shy and gentle goddess, patron of mothers and nurses, to whom sacrifices were made to insure the growth of crops. In the northern hemisphere, this month has traditionally been associated with dancing, singing, loving, and general rejoicing over the return of spring.

At the next clear night, take the time to star gaze - the pleiades (or the "seven sisters") constellation is located between the hunter Orion and Taurus the Bull. Reflect on elements of your life that you think need Maia's influence of renewal, and carry a green stone as you carry your intentions through this week.