Tag Archive: lares


Goddess Larunda

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“Larunda’s themes are earth, home and ghosts. Her symbols are stoves or ovens, soil or clay. Lara is one of the Roman Goddesses of earth and the home. She is also the mother and guardian to ghosts, or lares, who reside in the hearth and protect the family. Traditionally, today is a festival day, Larentalia.

In Rome, this day was a time to say prayers for the dead and the nation, as well as to bring joy to one’s home. In keeping with this tradition, convey like these to Larunda:

‘Larunda, hear my words
Bless the spirits of those who have gone on before me
and grant them serenity
Bless also my nation
that it may know peace and prosperity
this year and always
Finally, bless my home with your happiness,
prosperity and love
Let all who visit or dwell within
feel your presence and protection surrounding them
Thank you for these blessings
Amen.’

To invoke both Larunda’s and the lares blessing on your residence, leave a small jar of soil somewhere near your oven, microwave, toaster or heater, and say:

‘Larunda, lares, this house bless, with your warmth and gentleness.’

Whenever tensions in the house reach a boiling point, take a pinch of the soil outside and dispose of it. This releases the magic and symbolically gets rid of the problems. Don’t look back.”

(Patricia Telesco, “365 Goddess: a daily guide to the magic and inspiration of the goddess”.)

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This Goddess was already covered on February 18 – as Lara (click on Her name to be directed to that entry).  To add to that information that was presented in that entry: “Roman sources mention this Goddess passingly as ‘mother of the dead,’ an underworld Goddess who may have been the same one who granted prosperity as Acca Larentia.  She was sometimes called Tacita or Muta (‘deadly silent one’); She was invoked by that name in magical attempts to stop the mouths of detractors, in which women would tie the mouths of dead fish so that gossips would suffer the same fate” (Monaghan, p. 191).

 

 

Sources:

Monaghan, Patricia. The New Book of Goddesses and Heroines, “Lara”.

 

Suggested Links:

Took, Thalia. Thaliatook.com, “Acca Larentia“.

Wikipedia, “Larunda“.

Wikipedia, “Mother of the Lares“.

 

Goddess Maia

“Spring Enchantress” by Karl Bang

“Maia’s themes are sexual prowess, playfulness, and wishes.  Her symbols are braided and knotted items.  This Roman Goddess, whose name means ‘mother’, offers all who seek it fulfilment and renewed zest. Maia gave Her name to the month of May. She is the queen of the flowers, and today was one of Her festival days, celebrated suitably with an abundance of blossoms. In later times, Maia became strongly associated with Bona Dea, whose name literally translates as ‘good Goddess’.

As a child, on this day I left bundles of wildflowers anonymously at neighbors’ homes.  As a random act of beauty and kindness, this still holds merit today and certainly honors Maia.

In magical circles people customarily braid wishes into the ribbons of the Maypole and leave them there to germinate and grow until fall. To do this yourself, find three strands of blue ribbon and braid them together so they meet five times, saying:

‘This the month of May, for ______ [health, love, money or whatever]
I wish today Ribbons of blue, help my wish come true.
Braided within, the spell begins.
Bound to and fro, the magic grows.
When in Fall untied, this wish is mine!

 Wear a flowery shirt, skirt, or tie today to welcome Maia and brighten your day.”

(Patricia Telesco, “365 Goddess: a daily guide to the magic and inspiration of the goddess”.)

“In Greek mythology, Maia (pronounced May-ah) is one of the Pleiades and the mother of Hermes. The Goddess known as Maia among the Romans may have originated independently, but attracted the myths of Greek Maia because the two figures shared the same name.

In ancient Roman religion and myth, Maia embodied the concept of growth, as Her name was thought to be related to the comparative adjective maius, maior, ‘larger, greater’. Originally, She may have been a homonym independent of the Greek Maia, whose myths She absorbed through the Hellenization of Latin literature and culture.

“Green Goddess of Beltane” by ArwensGrace

In an archaic Roman prayer, She appears as an attribute of Vulcan, in an invocational list of male deities paired with female abstractions representing some aspect of their functionality. She was explicitly identified with Earth (Terra, the Roman counterpart of Gaia) and the Good Goddess (Bona Dea) in at least one tradition.  Her identity became theologically intertwined also with the Goddesses FaunaMagna Mater (‘Great Goddess’, referring to the Roman form of Cybele but also a cult title for Maia), OpsJuno, and Carna, as discussed at some length by the late antiquarian writer Macrobius, probably under the influence of the 1st-century BCE scholar Varro, who tended to resolve a great number of Goddesses into one original ‘Terra.’  The association with Juno, whose Etruscan counterpart was Uni, is suggested again by the inscription Uni Mae on the Piacenza Liver. The month of May (Latin Maius) was supposedly named for Maia, though ancient etymologists also connected it to the maiores, ‘ancestors,’ again from the adjective maius, maior, meaning those who are ‘greater’ in terms of generational precedence. On the first day of May, the Lares Praestites were honored as protectors of the city, and the flamen of Vulcan sacrificed a pregnant sow to Maia, a customary offering to an earth Goddess that reiterates the link between Vulcan and Maia in the archaic prayer formula. In Roman myth, Mercury (Hermes), the son of Maia, was the father of the twin Lares, a genealogy that sheds light on the collocation of ceremonies on the May Kalends. On May 15, the Ides, Mercury was honored as a patron of merchants and increaser of profit (through an etymological connection with merx, merces, ‘goods, merchandise’), another possible connection with Maia his mother as a Goddess who promoted growth.” [1]

“Goddess of Spring” by Wonderdyke

According to Thalia Took, “Maia is the Oscan Earth-Goddess, and an ancient Roman Goddess of springtime, warmth, and increase. She causes the plants to grow through Her gentle heat, and the month of May is probably named for Her. Her name means ‘She Who is Great’, and is related to Oscan mais and Latin majus, both of which mean “more”. She is also called Maia Maiestas, “Maia the Majestic”, which is essentially a doubling of Her name to indicate Her power, as both ‘Maia’ and ‘Maiestas’ have their roots in latin magnus, “great or powerful”. She was honored by the Romans on the 1st and 15th of May, and at the Volcanalia of August 23rd, the holiday of Her sometimes husband, the Fire-God Vulcan.

“Vulcan and Maia” by Bartholomaeus Spranger

She seems to have been paired with Vulcan because they were both considered Deities of heat: through the increasing warmth of Maia’s spring season flowers and plants sprouted and grew; while Vulcan’s stronger summer heat brought the fruits to ripeness. The flamen Volcanalis, the priest who officially oversaw the rites of Vulcan, sacrificed a pregnant sow to Maia on the first day of May. The offering of a pregnant sow was traditionally given to Earth-Goddesses such as Tellus or Ceres and signified both the remarkable fecundity of the Earth (as there are usually between 6 and 12 piglings in a litter) as well as the darker side of the Earth Mother, as sows have been known to eat their young. Rites to Maia were also performed at the August Volcanalia, a festival to ward off the destructive fires that could be caused by the dry weather and burning sun of summertime.

Portrait of Josephine Crane Bradley by Alfons Maria Mucha

In a later period, Maia was confused with a Greek Goddess of the same name. This Maia (whose name in Greek can take such various meanings as ‘midwife’, ‘female doctor’, ‘good mother’, ‘foster mother’, or ‘aunty’) was a nymph and the mother of Hermes, the trickster God of merchants, travellers, and liars; She was also said to have been the eldest and most beautiful of the seven sisters who formed the constellation of the Pleiades, whose heliacal rising (meaning when the constellation is just visible in the east before the sun rises) signalled the beginning of summer. Through this association the Roman Maia became the mother of Mercury, and Her festival on the Ides of May (the 15th) coincided with the festival commemorating the date of the dedication of His temple on the Aventine.

Ovid gives several possibilities as to how the month May got its name, and though he admits confusion, one of the possibilities he gives is that it is named after the personification of Majesty, whom he describes as seated in a place of high honor on Mt. Olympos, clothed in gold and purple. At face value it would seem he simply made this up; but as an alternate name (not just an epithet) of Maia is Maiesta, “Majesty”, he may have been closer than he thought.

Though a Goddess of the merry flowering springtime may seem kinda fluffy-bunny, the roots of Her name point to a powerful and ancient great Goddess of the Earth, growth, fertility and heat. It is rumoured that Maia was the ancient and original name of the Bona Dea (“the Good Goddess”), whose name was so sacred it was forbidden to be spoken aloud; and through this connection Maia was associated with the Goddesses Fauna and Fatua. She was also associated with Ops, the Earth-Goddess who symbolizes the wealth of the Earth, and the eastern Great Mother Cybele.

Alternate names: Maiesta, Maja, Majestas, Majesty.” [2]

Sources:

Took, Thalia. The Obscure Goddess Online Directory, “Maia“.

Wikipedia, “Maia (mythology)“.

 

 

Suggested Links:

Carnaval.com, “May Day“.

A Chapel of Our Mother God, “The Day of Maia“.

Ladd, Stephanie Anderson. Owl & Crow, “The Goddess Maia – Queen of May“.

MXTODIS123. An Inner Journey: The Moon, Mythology, and You, “Maia“.

Revel, Anita. Reconnect with Your Inner Goddess, “Maia“.

Visuddhi, Sr. Dea. Order of Our Lady of Salt, “The Goddess and the Wheel: Maia, the Goddess of May“.

Lara

“Lake of Eternal Blood” by TheChild13

“Lara’s themes are peace, death and protection.  Her symbols are roses, violets, wine and crossroads.  Lara, whose name means ‘mother of the dead’, was the guardian of ancestral spirits in whose care is the home, the family and by extensions, the community. According to tradition, crossroads are sacred spots for Lara, being the meeting of two roads, symbolic of an area where the temporal world and spirit world ‘cross’ over one another.

In Rome, Parentalia was part of a weeklong observance dedicated to one’s ancestors. So, pull out the scrapbooks, discuss your family tree and fondly remember those who have been a part of your family history. If possible, light a white candle in one of your windows to greet the ancestors and Lara. Or, leave an empty chair at your diner table tonight with some of the deceased’s favorite foods in the empty place at the table to welcome them and Lara into your home.

This is also a time to visit grave sites, leaving roses, violets, wine and other gifts for the deceased. These actions propitiate the spirits and ensure the family of ongoing harmony through the year.

Finally, Romans settled any arguments with family members or friends today, so follow their example. If you can, arrange to meet the person with whom you’ve argued at a crossroads, so that your two minds can ‘meet in the middle’. Scatter rose or violet petals when you meet to inspire Lara’s warmth.”

(Patricia Telesco, “365 Goddess: a daily guide to the magic and inspiration of the goddess”.)

“River Nymph” by Selene Blackthorn

Lara, (also known as Larunda, Larunde and Mater Larum) was a naiad or a nymph and was the daughter of the river Almo.  The only known mythography attached to Lara is little, late and poetic coming to us from Ovid’s Fasti. Lara was was famous for both beauty and loquacity (a trait Her parents attempted to curb).

“Blood and Roses” by SamBriggs

She was incapable of keeping secrets, and so revealed to Jupiter‘s wife Juno his affair with Juturna (Lara’s fellow nymph, and the wife of Janus); hence Her name is connected with lalein. For betraying his trust, Jupiter cut out Lara’s tongue and ordered Mercury, the psychopomp, to take Her to Avernus, the gateway to the Underworld and realm of Pluto. Mercury, however, fell in love with Larunda and made love to Her on the way; this act has also been interpreted as a rape. Lara thereby became mother to two children, referred to as the Lares, invisible household gods, who were as silent and speechless as She was. However, She had to stay in a hidden cottage in the woods so that Jupiter would not find Her.

Larunda is likely identical with Dea Muta “the mute one” and Dea Tacita “the silent one”, nymphs or minor Goddesses. [1][2][3]

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sources:

Took, Thalia. Thaliatook.com, “Acca Larentia“.

Wikipedia, “Larunda“.

Wikipedia, “Mother of the Lares“.

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