An adaptation by Lē Silveus
At the end of 2019 with two friends on the line, the group of us trying to determine the best way to name a company by and for people with disabilities, I asked, “Are there any gods in mythology with disabilities?” From this question I stumbled upon an undergraduate research paper by one Haley R. Graham at the University of Missouri in St. Louis, synchronistical the birth city of my former self, entitled Disabled Gods: A Critical Disability Studies Analysis of Ancient Greek Myth published just a few months prior in May of 2019. Haley’s paper told the stories of three mythological characters: Larunda, Teiresias, and Hephaestus. After reading the story of Larunda, I knew that she would be our muse and guide moving forward. Continued in this recording is my personal adaptation of the story of the Roman and Greek water nymph Larunda (aka Lara, Dea Muta, Mania or Tacita), originally found in Ovid’s Fasti, the inspiration behind Larunda Inc.
Cw: violence, sexual assault
A content warning for my more tender friends out there: this story contains violence against women and sexual assault.
You’ll ask at once, who is the goddess Larunda?
Hear of what I’ve learned from the old sages.
Juniper, called also Zues, giving into intense lust for Juturna,
Believing that he Suffered many things a god ought not to bear,
Overcome by his grandiose delusions of self-obsession.
Now she would hide in the woods among the hazels,
Now she would dive into her sister waters.
She did not desire him and wished for him to be gone,
but he cared not.
The god called the nymphs who lived in Latium,
And spoke these words in the midst of their throng:
“Your sister is an enemy to herself, and shuns a union
With the supreme god that would benefit her.
Take counsel for both: for what would delight me greatly
Would be a great advantage to your sister.
When she flees, stop her by the riverbank,
Lest she plunges her body into the waters.”
He spoke: all the nymphs of the Tiber agreed,
Those too who haunt your spaces, divine Ilia.
They all were complicit in honoring the will of a mad man.
There was a naiad, named Lara: Larunda’s old name,
For in great adversity a new name is born,
A foreshadowing for what is to come.
Almo, the river-god often said:
‘Daughter, hold your tongue,’ but Lara still did not.
She spoke truth whenever there was truth to be told.
As soon as she reached the pools of her sister Juturna,
She said: “Flee these banks”, and spoke Jupiter’s words.
She even went to Juno, and showing pity for the married woman
Said: “Your husband attacks the naiad Juturna.”
Jupiter was angered, and tearing that tongue from her mouth
That she had used so boldly, called his minion Mercury to him and said:
“Lead her to the shadows: that place is fitting for the silent.
She shall be a nymph, but of the infernal marshes.”
His order, though yet another proof of his unfitness to lead, was obeyed.
On the way they reached a grove:
Then it was, they say, that she pleased the god who led her,
For the masses tend only to speak of the perspective of devils.
In truth, he forced her. With a glance instead of words
She pleaded, trying to speak from her mute lips,
Not that words would have moved him.
Nine months later, heavy with child, she bore twins
who would one day guard the crossroads,
The Lares, who keep watch forever over the City.
Once Lara, now Larunda the Silent One, in spite of her challenges, went on to become the Matriarch of 2 great families The Lares and The Manes. The Lares are the gods of the crossroad and the patrons of travelers in the City. The Manes are the ancient ones, the good ancestors who stay after death watching over and assisting their posterity. Today Larunda, her heavenly children now well situated in their adult deified lives is looking for a new lease, another expansion of her great power. Being non-verbal for all these centuries hasn’t slowed her down. She communicates just fine, in her own ways, and take it from her children, there is no confusion when Larunda is communicating something your way.
Of late, Larunda is taking a special interest in the activities and well-being of some the “god blessed”, the children of humanity the mortals call neurodivergent. Though she’s confused by the labels, for they in no way are diverged from the norms of heaven. She’s been concerned about the treatment of these neurodivergents for some time. And the other gods are scratching their heads as to why the humans they patron aren’t paying more positive attention to the very beings that they sent to help liberate them from their most current flirtation with extinction. Why are the human masses always racing toward their own demise? Heaven knows, or rather it does not.
In an effort to assist the neurodivergent humans in finding voice in their realm, though they, like her are often silenced by abusive players, Larunda is patroning those who claim for themselves what the humans are calling The Neurodiversity Movement. One project, has even taken her name as it’s mantle. Deeply amused, Larunda watches on and helps along the way as Larunda Inc is born.
Ovid’s fasti Book 2: February 21: The FeraliaOvid (43 BC–17) – Fasti: Book II (poetryintranslation.com)