June has always been the official changing of the seasons and weekly routines for me. In my youth we didn’t get out of school for the summer until sometime in June. In June Mom brought the kiddy pool up from the basement and set it up for us in the back yard. June brought lazy days reading on the porch swing, riding bikes with friends, begging to go to Huntington Beach west of Cleveland, and getting sent outside to remove dandelions from the yard. June brought out the Monopoly board and the Canasta decks for countless hours with each on the front porch.
June is a popular wedding month for several reasons, among them the fact that June is named after Juno. Juno was a Roman goddess who allegedly blessed marriages, homes, and families. She encouraged women and was a protector of Roman territory. Juno’s husband was Jupiter, the king of all the gods. Jupiter was part of a powerful divine trio of ruling gods – the Capitoline Triad.
I have not researched this, and I anticipate some of my more informed religious colleagues will chime in; but it strikes me as more than a coincidence that the Christian concept of One God from the Jewish faith is expressed in Christianity as the triune Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Christianity was born out of Judaism when the Jewish people lived under Roman occupation.
Juno – Beloved Goddess
The Roman people believed Juno looked out for the private affairs of those who worshipped her, as well as the affairs of the Roman community. She was known as ‘mother’, ‘midwife’, ‘queen’, and ‘light bringer.’ She was associated with the moon, which, with its monthly cycles of expanding and contracting, represented cycles of growth and decay, cycles that defined all of life.
Being the matron goddess of the Roman pantheon, Juno tended to all issues related to the health and growth. She blessed marriages, managed sexual reproduction, and tended to safe births. Roman women believed Juno controlled women’s monthly menstrual cycles as part of her work rejuvenating life. They concluded a woman’s monthly cycle coincided with the moon’s monthly ones. Juno got credit for both.
Numerous temples were dedicated to her and people attended festivals to honor her influence on their lives. She was a beloved goddess for centuries, but began to lose some of her status as the Roman Empire expanded in the first century BCE.
Juno – Powerful Family
Juno’s parents were Saturn, the god of the sky who ruled before Jupiter, and Opis, the goddess of the earth and growth. Her brother Jupiter was also her husband. Marriages between siblings was acceptable in ancient times as a way to preserve royal lines. People did not yet understand the inherent dangers of siblings birthing babies together.
Her other brothers were Neptune, the god of the seas, and Pluto, the god of the underworld and wealth. Her sisters were Ceres goddess of agriculture, and Vesta, the goddess of the hearth and home and protector of purity, virginity, and maidens. Our word ‘cereal’ comes from the goddess Ceres.
Juno and Jupiter had several children:
Mars -the god of war
Bellona – the goddess of war
Vulcan – the god of fire and metalworking
Juventus – the goddess of transitioning from youth to adulthood.
June Brought to Us by Juno
There is much more to learn about Juno, but not here. If you are fascinated by the goddess behind our month of June, you can learn more at Mythopedia. As for me, I’m ready for some fun in the sun, travel, and more family time as it seems safe to gather again.
May your June bring you many reasons to smile.
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