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Happy Maia Day!

If you doubt that we live in a religiously pluralistic culture, rather than the Christian monoculture that some assert, you need look no further than the calendar today.

greek earth goddess of mayIt’s May Day, the first day of the month of May.

Why is it called May, anyway?

It’s not because May is a month of uncertainty, with people proposing what they may perhaps do.

May is named after the earth mother goddess Maia, worshiped by the ancient Greeks and Romans. Maia was the eldest of the Pleiades, the seven daughters of the titan Atlas. As the child of a titan, Maia was at least the equal of Zeus, son of the titan Kronos. In fact, the name of Maia is the source of the word major, as she represented the growing power of fertility.

A Homeric hymn tells of how Zeus “came” to visit Maia in her “cave”, so that the sky god and the earth goddess became parents of Hermes, the Good Shepherd who moves between earth and sky. She was no virgin, but Maia is the original divinity behind the spinoff cult of the mother goddess Mary in Christianity.

In our own day, Maia has been accepted by neo-Pagans, at least one of whom celebrates Maia as “the first person of the Werde Triplicity”.

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