Saturday, June 28, 2008
Hail to Juno!
For the remainder of June, I'm planning on blogging about one of my matrons who is near and dear to me - the lovely Juno. I chose this Erte painting called "Starstruck" because it's the one on my Juno altarat home. While walking through a Whole Foods one day, I saw a greeting card with this painting on it, and Juno told me that was the perfect image for my home. She's nothing if not glamorous.
This first post is a personal history of her as she showed it to me during a trance journey. Early next week, I'll blog more about what's going on with this particular Queen of Heaven nowadays. Blessings of Juno upon all your relationships, your hearths and your families.
Long, long ago, the great gidden Juno was born from the love of the moon and the earth. The moon goddess’ rays pierced the cunt of Gaia and from this lesbian love and lust, the lovely Juno came forth in a cave far in the mountains of what are now the Italian Alps.
With long blond hair and a body that shimmered with a lunar glow, she played amongst the snow-capped mountains. She learned to catch the lightning that struck the stony outcrops and hurl it to other peaks. She even discovered that she actually could call the bolts to her hand using only her voice, and she took great delight in her electric play.
During one particular full moon, she descended from her craggy home to get closer to a group of humans who were dancing in a sacred grove of trees. She stepped into the clearing and all activity stopped as they gazed on this luminous being before them.
A shamanic woman of the tribe stepped forward, and, gazing into Juno’s radiant blue eyes, she calmly thrust a knife into the goddess’ hand to see if she was indeed immortal. Juno was surprised, but not angry at this action, because of her own fascination with these humans and their passionate hearts.
Thus began Juno’s relationship with the human folks and the world below the mountains.
She met a Mysterious One of the forest, a being who was part man, part animal, and part Green Blood, akin to the Green Man lore of later times. He was darkly handsome, and they both fell in love. He was gentle with her and wonderfully sweet. Their passionate love making became the stuff of local legend, and they created many children together. It was during this time of love and her initial connections to a human tribe that she began to develop her own personal commitments to the magick of relationships, family, love and the hearth.
Years went by, and one day, her lover warned her that he would die soon, and sure enough, during sex one day he crossed over. His loss wounded Juno deeply, and in her grief, she left the lands now known as Tuscany and headed south to a small village that would become the blessing and scourge of the ancient world - Rome. The town was squalid and the women were lost in this patriarchal place. Juno felt deep compassion for these women and the tenuous relationships they formed with men who were often only concerned with themselves.
Part of the reasoning for this unequal balance of gender power was the Mysterious One who was himself committed to these people - Jupiter. He was ruggedly beautiful and certainly charming, but not exactly committed to anything close to co-creation.
Juno wandered through the village, often disguised as an old woman, teaching the women and men the ways of love, committed relationships, family, hearth and how intentional relationships could transform their lives and the world around them.
Although Juno and Jupiter met early upon her arrival, it wasn’t until later that he finally had his way with her. Their first sexual connection wasn’t rape, but it wasn’t exactly about equals, either. From what I’ve heard from Juno, he was a lover who could fuck your brains out in a wild way that was incredible at times. They formed a formal relationship together, and under their union, Rome flourished. The city grew and then the empire was born.
Her relationship with Jupiter was a tempestuous one. Early on, she taught him how to wield the thunderbolt, but he had to wear special gloves to hold it, for otherwise his hands would burn. She never foresaw that he would use this power for war and destruction. He also fucked around on her, which in and of itself didn’t bother her. What broke her heart and angered her deeply was his disregard for family, hearth and marriage magick. This caused the rift between them, and she began to degrade herself and the magick she specialized in as she continued to let the betrayal in her own relationship grow. She robed herself in the trappings of power with her great temple on the Capitoline Hill of Rome, but she knew it was all empty.
Away from her husband, she felt more like herself, so she often indulged in rejuvenating adventures. Juno traveled to Africa and learned a great deal about mothering from Mother Africa. To ease her heart and body, Juno made love on the full moons to forest spirits, giving birth to many Mysterious Ones of the wilderness.
As Rome grew, so, of course, did Jupiter’s fatuousness and arrogance. One day, a woman came to Juno’s Capitoline temple to pray about her troubled marriage. Jupiter arrived in the holy place, trying seduce and then rape the human. Juno heard the woman’s cries and arrived full of rage. As Jupiter and Juno began screaming at one another, the woman ran in terror (Juno would bless her marriage and her life in later years), and in his blustering anger, Jupiter raised his hand to Juno, Queen of Heaven.
Without hesitation, she called the thunderbolts down out of the sky. As they descended into the temple, Jupiter grabbed them with his naked hands, but when they seared his flesh deeply, he dropped them, howling in pain (he still bears the scars to this day). She picked them up and held their flashing tips to his throat; terrified of this raging goddess, he fled.
With their relationship finally in tatters, Rome itself really began to crumble. The Goths swept through the lands, Christianity took hold, and the empire was full of bloat and corruption. Juno taught her hearth ways to the invaders, and as she saw Christianity growing in strength, she visited the Virgin Mother, asking that this ancestral heroine remember her and her ways during Christianity’s (and the Holy Mother’s) ascent to power. Mary agreed and kept her promise to the Italian gidden.
After the empire had been truly destroyed and dark times descended on the land, Juno, deeply weary, retreated to her birthplace; casting protective spells around the cave’s entrance, she laid her sacred garments and jewelry around her and fell into a deep sleep.
In the mid-1800s, she was awakened by the sounds of war. She saw the destruction being wrought all over the globe and decided it was time to re-emerge. She revealed herself to queer people and women. She inspired artists and poets with her name. She attended large meetings of Mysterious Ones and formed a bond with her great heart-sister Pele.
She re-established her work with marriage, the home, and the family. All these elements of life are her cauldron where the real magick and transformation of thriving cultures is built from the smallest unit to the mightiest.
(Many of the images above, I couldn't find attribution for. The one of the Italian Alps, in particular a region called the Dolomites, had a credit to J. Allan Cash-Rapho. The head is most likely, technically of Hera, but Juno, her younger sister, said the likeness was close to her own empire days. The final image is of a coin from Vatican City, and Juno felt it was a perfect example of how her image and worked survived through the hands and power of the Virgin Mother.)