The Maia Myth
Maia, goddess with a multicoloured veil, was the eldest among the Pleiades, Atlas and Pleione’s seven daughters. She was loved by Jupiter and gave birth to Hermes.
Her beloved son was a giant with eyes as black as the mountain’s blackberries. They were living happily in Phrygia, a region in Turkey, but one day, very far in space and in time, atrocious persecutors made an attempt to Hermes’ life.
Maia then decided to take him away and to leave her beloved land. On board of a tattered raft, she crossed the sea, certain that her son would be safe. But, as they were approaching the Abruzzo coast, nearby Ortona, inexplicably, the raft was wrecked in a storm and Maia lost her only and beloved son.
The sea returned Hermes’ body already lifeless: he was lying there, still, on the fine sand. Maia lifted him in her arms and she took him among the woods and the rocks of the deserted and rough mountains and she buried him there, on the Gran Sasso, on the live rock of the mountain.
Desperate from the sorrow, Maia sheltered on the Maiella, which became her home. Every day, she sat on a rock, still, to watch the mountain skyline that had become her beloved son’s grave.
When Maia died, her faithful buried her under the Maiella rocks, so that she could keep watching her son.
Up until today, the wind’s whistle that shakes the branches , the storm’s howl, the roar of the rock that crumbles down in the deep valleys… are Maia’s voice that mourns and cries for the loss of her only child.
In the spring, on the mountain’s slopes, another sign of the goddess’ presence appears: the “majo” or “maggiociondolo” (laburnum), symbol of grace, love and gentleness. It brightens the woods with its cluster of yellow flowers that tell stories of love and life.
These stories, that unfold between reality and imagination, show how our mother mountain, in the majesty and magnificence of its size, speaks, and always has, to those who can listen to her heartbeats, to her voice, that tells stories, poems and love. To be able to listen to her, you need to love her and respect her.