June–The Month of Iunus and Iuno
The English and Saxons called June the “dry month”, and sometimes the “earlier mild month”–July being the second mild month.
The month of June is probably named after Juno, the wife of Jupiter, and queen of the gods. It was held sacred to her, and was thought by the Romans to be the luckiest month for marriage, since Juno was the Goddess of Marriage. Wherever the goddess went she was attended by her messenger Iris (the Rainbow), who journeyed so quickly through the air that she was seldom seen, and after she had passed there was often left in the sky, the radiant trail of her highly-coloured robe.
Juno is always represented as a tall white woman, wearing a crown and bearing a sceptre in her hand, and often she is shown with a peacock at her side, since that bird was sacred to her. [9 of pentacles]
A story is told of one of her servants, Argus, who had a hundred eyes, only a few of which he closed at a time. Juno set him to watch over a cow which Jupiter wished to steal, for it was really a girl named Io [Ag-Io], whom Jupiter had transformed. Mercury was sent by Jupiter to carry off Io, and by telling long and wearisome stories to Argus at last succeeded in lulling him into so deep a sleep that he closed all his eyes. The god then seized Argus’s own sword and cut off his head. Juno was very sad at the loss of her servant, and gathering up his hundred eyes scattered them over the tail of the peacock, her favorite bird.
Juno was of a very jealous disposition, and when angered brought all the misfortune she possibly could on the one who had offended her. At a wedding-feast at which the gods were present, Eris, the goddess of Discord, or Quarreling, suddenly appeared. She had not been invited because of her evil nature, and in order to have her revenge, she threw on to the table a golden apple bearing the inscription, “To the fairest”. [Snow white] A quarrel at once arose as to whom the apple should be given, for it was claimed by Juno, the Queen, Minerva, the goddess of Wisdom, and Venus, the goddess of Beauty. Being unable to decide among themselves, they determined to appoint as judge a shepherd named Paris, who was really the son of the King of Troy.
The three goddesses appeared before him on a mountain top, and each in turn tried to persuade him by the promise of a great reward. Minerva offered him wisdom and knowledge, Juno offered him wealth and power, while Venus “drawing nigh, Half-whispered in his ear, ‘I promise thee The fairest and most loving wife”. Paris at once gave the apple to Venus, and thus angered Juno and Minerva, who determined to punish him whenever all opportunity occurred. This they were soon able to do, for Paris, prompted by Venus, carried off Helen, the most beautiful woman, and brought her to Troy. This led to the Trojan War. The Trojans who escaped from the city were persecuted by Juno.
Juno, though jealous and unforgiving, gave ungrudging help to those whom she favoured, and an example of this is seen in the story of Jason [Jameson] and the Golden Fleece. When Jason was a child, his father Aeson [James], had been driven from his kingdom by his brother Pelias, and Jason, as soon as he reached manhood, determined to avenge his father. Accordingly, he set out for the court of Pelias, and soon came to a stream much swollen by floods. He was about to try to ford the stream, when he saw an old woman on the bank gazing in despair at the foaming waters. He offered to help her by taking her on his back [boat], and in spite of the swift stream and his heavy load, succeeded in getting safely across. He was greatly annoyed to find that he had lost one of his sandals [cavala] in the stream. He turned to bid farewell to the old woman, when she showed herself as Juno. Jason begged for her help and protection, which Juno promised.
Jason then resumed his journey, and entering the city, found Pelias in a temple sacrificing to the gods. Pelias, who at length caught sight of this stranger, remembered that it had been foretold that he should be overthrown by a man who came to him with only one sandal [cavala]. Jason stepped forward and boldly claimed the throne for his father, and Pelias, disguising his fear and anger, invited him to his palace, where they could decide the matter. During the banquet, Jason heard the story of Phrixus and Helle, two children who had escaped from their cruel stepmother on a winged ram with a golden fleece. As they passed over the sea, the girl Helle fell into a part of the sea ever since known as the Hellespont (Dardanelles). Phrixus reached Colchis, at the Black Sea, and there sacrificed the ram to the gods and hung its golden fleece on a tree which stood in a poisonous wood and was guarded by a serpent.
The cunning Pelias dared Jason to try to win the Golden Fleece, hoping that thus he would be rid of him for ever. With the help of Juno, Jason gathered together the Argonauts, and set out for Colchis. The king was unwilling to part with the fleece, and said that Jason must first catch two wild bulls, make them plough a field; then he was to sow the field with serpents’ teeth, from which would spring up armed men whom he must conquer, and finally he was to kill the serpent which guarded the golden fleece. Jason met the king’s daughter Medea, who possessed magic powers. She told him how he could perform the tasks her father had set. Through Juno’s help they reached the Anglo land, and Jason compelled Pelias to give up the kingdom to Aeson.
Source: The Stories of the Months and Days, Reginald C. Couzens, 1923, CHAPTER VI