Hail Juno, for whom this month is named!
Our story begins, not with Juno, but with the Goddess Hera.
Once upon a time, before the warring patriarchal tribes of the north invaded, the Goddess Hera was the highest Greek divinity. A Queen of the Skies, Her name simply meant, “Our Lady,” and may not have been Her actual name.
She was well-loved and considered, “magnificent of form and feature, ruler of the Earth and its dwellers,” author Patricia Monaghan writes, and was, “particularly the Goddess of women and their sexuality.”
But the masculine domination of classical Greece ended the supremacy of the Divine Feminine. Hera was diminished into the jealous wife and underling of Zeus, and that is often how we think of Her today. However, She continued to evolve and change when the Greek culture combined later with Rome.
When the cultures began to meet and blend, the very ancient Roman Goddess Juno adapted many of Hera’s traits, including Her marriage to the supreme deity, Jupiter (the Roman version of Zeus).
Daughter of Titans Rhea and Kronus, mother of Mars and Vulcan, She is one of the supreme Triad deities of Rome and the Roman Empire. Along with Jupiter and Minerva, She was worshipped on the Capitol (Juno Capitolina) in Rome.
Juno is the Great Goddess, Juno Regina (Queen). She is also a powerful Triple Goddess, and is known in all the three forms of Maiden, Mother, and Crone. She is the great protector of women, and rules the cycles that enable women to bring forth new life.
She is a Goddess of wealth, sovereignty, supreme power, leadership, civic duty, and all within us which is most noble. Thanks to Her incredibly ancient lineage, as well as the many complex components of abundance, protection, reproduction, and life-giving that She rules, Juno is known by a vast number of epithets.
She oversees and blesses all aspects of marriage, including match-making and wedding arrangements, the first undressing by new husbands, the conception, the strengthening of the unborn child in the mother’s womb, and as Juno Lucina, She shows the child the way to the light of its birth. She is even Juno Viriplaca, the one who settles spousal arguments, thus preserving and protecting the marriage.
To this day, She quietly presides over our wedding customs, as Her month is still considered the most fortunate month in which to be married.
Besides being defender of women and childbirth, She is also Juno Moneta, which some believe to come from the Latin verb, monere – “to warn.” She is therefore, the Warner and the Goddess of good counsel and advice.
Seeking Her wisdom (often regarding marriage), Romans visited Her famed temple on the Arx, a height on the Capitoline Hill in Rome, which had been sacred to Her from time out of memory.
But Her counsel goes beyond these matters, for She has a warrior-protector aspect in addition to being the Supreme Matron Goddess. For instance, She once stirred up Her sacred geese to such a racket that the city was warned of an attack by the Gauls. Another time, Her disembodied voice boomed forth from Her temple, alerting the city that an earthquake was imminent, and a sacrifice to Demeter was needed immediately.
The other possible derivative of Juno Moneta comes from Her association with money (you may recognize from the word, “monetize”).
Goddess scholar Thalia Took writes, “In 273 BCE, the Romans established a mint at Juno Moneta’s temple, and for the next four hundred years or so all the silver coins of Rome were made there, up to the time of the Emperor Augustus in the 1st century CE.
“Juno Moneta then accordingly became associated with money and minting coins, and indeed both the English words “money” and “mint” trace back to Her epithet Moneta.
“Oddly enough for a temple of such importance and fame, no trace of it survives and no one is even sure now where it was located, though it is suspected to lie beneath the Church of Aracoeli.
“Quite unsurprisingly, Juno Moneta is often depicted on coins, and is shown holding a pair of scales with which to measure out the money which lies in a pile at Her feet; She also frequently holds a cornucopia or horn of plenty as an emblem of abundance.”
As you may know from previous articles I have posted on the subject, the Greeks and Romans possessed valuable insight into the nature of being an artist and the process of creativity itself. The basic idea is that we create in tandem with a personal protective spirit – a genius, sometimes called our daemon.
The Romans felt that a man’s spirit of vitality, inspiration, creativity and life-force was his genius. For women, that same essence of brilliance, wisdom, and creativity was her juno (note the similarity of genius and junius).
Thus, if you are a woman, you might begin to invite Juno into your creative work, asking Her assistance and guidance, for Her good counsel and advice is available and lives within and around you whenever you may need Her.
And for all genders, may this sacred month of blessed Juno bring you inspiration, abundance, and fruitful creativity. With the grace of mighty Juno, may your love be blessed in the most noble ways.
With gratitude to these resources:
365 Goddess, by Patricia Telesco
The New Book of Goddesses and Heroines, by Patricia Monaghan
The Obscure Goddess Online Directory, by Thalia Took