There is not a lot of surviving mythology about Maia. She was one of the Goddesses known as “Bona Dea” or Good Goddess whose rites were restricted to women. It is even rumored that Maia was the ancient and original name of the original Bona Dea whose name was so sacred it was forbidden to be spoken aloud. Maia was worshiped throughout Greece and Italy, and She had a large following in Marseilles. Nothing of Her rites or worship was written down or recorded, all that is known of Her is found within the myths of other Gods and Goddesses. It is known that She is the mother of Hermes and one of Zeus’s lovers, and She was important enough to have the month of May named after Her. Maia was one of the Pleiades, who were the seven daughters of Atlas and the sea nymph Pleione. The seven daughters were transformed into doves so that they could escape from the great hunter Orion, and as they flew up into the sky they were changed into the seven stars that we know as the Pleiades or Seven Sisters. On a clear night you can see the Sisters clustered close together, though their light is not very bright. It is said that when they were first transformed into stars they shone very brightly, but after Troy was captured by the Greeks they grew pale with sorrow.
Maia is an Earth Goddess of springtime, warmth, and increase. Her gentle heat causes growth. When the Goddess Calistro was transformed into a bear, Maia took on the task of raising Calistro’s son Arcas. Maia was a solitary Goddess who preferred to live alone in wild caves far from civilization. It was her son, Hermes who was continually plotting to advance himself and Maia to Olympus.
FAVORED PEOPLE: Women
MANIFESTATION: A beautiful bejeweled woman with up swept hair.
ICONOGRAPHY: Her image appears on coins from Phenos, Arcadia
TIME: The month of May. The 1st and 15th days of the month
ALTAR: Place Her Altar within a cabinet or cave-like space.
OFFERINGS: Honey, cookies, and pastries in the shape of pigs
(Written on May-Day, 1818)
MOTHER of Hermes! and still youthful Maia!
May I sing to thee
As thou wast hymn’d on the shores of Bai?
Or may I woo thee
In earlier Sicilian? or thy smiles
Seek as they once were sought, in Grecian isles,
By bards who died content on pleasant sward,
Leaving great verse unto a little clan?
O give me their old vigour! and unheard
Save of the quiet primrose, and the span
Rounded by thee, my song should die away
Content as theirs,
Rich in the simple worship of a day.
Took, Thalia. The Obscure Goddess Online Directory, “Maia“.
Wikipedia, “Maia (mythology)“.
http://www.sacred-texts.com/May the Month of Maia
Encyclopedia of Spirits – Judika Illes