Thanks for joining us for another Families’ Deity! We’re exploring deities that tie into families and family values, or who are important to the family unit or children in some way. This month, we are exploring the Loving God, Juno.
Who is Juno?
Juno is the Roman goddess of love and marriage as, beyond these areas of life, she has a profound link to family too. Her association with the family unit has left many in awe over her role in ancient Roman society. Juno was the wife of Jupiter, the king of the gods, and was revered as the protector of women and children. Her role as a mother and protector of children was so profound that she was often invoked by parents who wanted her help in keeping their children safe from harm. In this role of protector, she was known as Juno Sospita (sospita being Latin for ‘one who saves’), and in this epithet her protection over pregnant women awaiting the birth of the child was clear.
Why is Juno one of our Families’ Deity?
Juno was seen as the ultimate symbol of motherhood and fertility, and her maternal instinct was considered a reflection of her protective nature. She has associations with weddings and marriages, which were also a significant part of Roman society. Both Juno and the Goddess Diana take the epithet of Lucina, and where both considered ‘bringers of light’ to children as they are brought into the world in childbirth. Offerings were made to Juno during childbirth for this reason and it is suggested that those worshipping Juno during these periods let their hair hang loose and untied all knots on their clothing to sympathetically indicate an easy flow of the process of childbirth.
Juno’s link to family can also be seen in her relationship with her husband, Jupiter. Despite their fractious relationship, Juno and Jupiter were seen as the ultimate couple in Roman mythology. They presided over the heavens and the earth and were believed to have the power to influence the fate of mortals. Juno’s relationship with her husband was seen as an example of the ideal Roman marriage in Ancient Roman society, based on mutual respect and loyalty in relationships.
Juno’s association with family extended to her own children as well. She was believed to have given birth to several children, including Mars, the god of war, and Vulcan, the god of fire and metalworking. Juno’s maternal instinct was seen as a symbol of her protective nature, and she was often depicted with her children or nursing a child.
Juno was revered as the guardian of the family, and her role in weddings and marriages was so significant that the month of June was named after her. Her connection to family was so profound that she was often invoked in legal disputes and contracts, as well as in family rituals and celebrations, and here her epithet Juno Moneta was often used.
The festival in honour of Juno was celebrated on 1st March, Matronalia was a day when husbands were expected to present their wives with gifts.
Before a woman gave birth, it was customary to offer a coin to Juno for Her blessing that the birth would pass without incident, and after, a table of offerings was set up for a whole month in thanks.
Peacocks, cuckoo, cow
Flowers & Food
Lillies, Peonies, Pomegranate
Libation Bowl (patera), Diadem, or Crown, Spear/sceptre and shield
Silver gifts, especially coins, traditional cakes/pastries (especially in threes), peacock feathers, wine and incense
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