Juno: Untangling the Knots of Unholy Matrimony

‘Jupiter and Juno on Mount Ida’ by James Barry 1773

For the past few days asteroid Juno has been courted by the Sun in a close conjunction and while Mars and Venus are in opposition it seems like a good time to spotlight relationships, and in particular marriage (which includes any long term committed partnership).

While Mars and Venus battle it out in a heated passion, the tension between Juno and her consort Jupiter (or Hera and Zeus in the Greek pantheon) has a different tone. For one thing, unlike Venus who frankly couldn’t care less about her wedding vows to Vulcan, Juno is the paragon of matrimonial fidelity, a virtue deeply revered by the culture of the time.

In the mythology different versions of how Juno and Jupiter come into matrimonial union exist but always the outcome is the same – pretty perverse in that both parties consciously strive to cause pain and humiliation to the other- unlike Mars and Venus who are just trying to work out their inherent differences. It would appear that Juno and Jupiter are engaged in what today would be considered a toxic relationship. While Zeus carelessly flaunts his sexual indiscretions in Hera’s face, Hera devises increasingly cruel ploys in her quest for revenge- often taken out on Zeus’ seducees.

Theirs is an unhappy marriage in which no divine child is produced. While Hera engages in parthenogenesis (conception without sperm) to deny Zeus a rightful heir, Zeus impregnates many mortal and immortal women, sometimes consensually, oftentimes not.

As lover/adversaries these two live in a perpetual state of combat separating and getting back together… like that couple… you know the one.

And yet Zeus respects Hera’s opinion and often seeks her counsel. Other signs of Zeus’ need- not necessarily love- of Hera are evident in several accounts such as promising Vulcan the hand of Venus for Hera’s release- which of course may explain Venus’ nonchalant attitude in her marriage… she was a trade off in the Hera/Zeus wars. And don’t we see this with destructive relationships generally- other people unwitingly pilled into the ring?

While Zeus hurls thunderbolts at Hera, Hera binds Zeus to a bed with a leather thong exposing him as a laughingstock and figure of ridicule before all the gods. Once freed Zeus then punishes Hera by suspending her from the heavens with golden bracelets and weights around her ankles. There is just no stopping these two and yet… Hera always, after periods of withdrawal and rejuvenation returns faithfully to her husband.

In the psychology of modern relationships we might wonder why people remain with partners who continue to humiliate and abuse them. Like Hera, no one can ever truly be fulfilled in such a marriage. Friends look on incredulously, unable to comprehend why they would allow themselves to be degraded and mistreated… yet again.

In the relationship parlance of today we would say that Hera and Zeus are trapped in a serious trauma bond tightly woven with co-dependency, narcissism, and maybe a touch of BDSM.

And yet these types of relationships often provide the catalyst to break us open so that we may progress to the next level and a step nearer to true soulful union. Wherever Juno appears in our chart we can be sure of a treasure trove to mine. If we can see beyond our projections and use the pain of relationship to initiate us into our truth, Juno might just set us free.

The myth of Hera and Zeus is also linked to the Golden Apple tree, a wedding gift given to Hera by Gaia as part of a ritual to unite two cultures- this may provide validation for the usurping of the earth goddess traditions by the encroaching Sky gods.

In astrology asteroid Juno can point us to our individual style of ‘doing’ marriage and commitment. It can show us where we are challenged in fulfilling those needs and act as a guide into a deeper understanding of our relationship signature beyond the placement of Venus, Mars, or the Moon. Juno adds another layer, a very important one that has to do with our soul’s need to merge with another and shows us where we are blocked, hijacked or vulnerable to this end.

In psychology of relationships the Juno archetype is a fundamental component in a three-fold process toward full soul union with another. This applies to both men and women.

Lilith the dark maid is the first stage, she simply will not tolerate any form of inequality or abuse, she does not wait around to try and work it out, and she ain’t suggesting marriage counselling. Instead she claims her freedom by pleasing herself. She will not be tamed and is a law unto herself… but eventually that becomes lonely and the soul calls for union.  

Juno as divine consort is where we learn about equality, commitment, sacrifice, and surrender. It is where we get to experience ourselves in the territory of infidelity, betrayal, insecurity, and abandonment- or in secure loving attachement based on trust and respect. Who are we in this? In what ways do we sacrifice ourselves to be loved? We learn just what it takes to become whole in ourselves and still be able to open deeply and surrender to another. Any inequalities, abuses, power struggles, and martyrdom will be highlighted, played out and brought to our attention in order to be balanced… but often very painfully.

The magic of relationships is that until we finally honour Juno we will repeatedly attract partners who will show us the next big lesson we need to learn on our journey toward alchemical union.

“In true occult terms, marriage is a path of transcendence that transforms the ego’s separateness into the larger whole.”

By house placement, sign and aspect Juno describes our fundamental needs in marriage and shows both our potential pathology and potential liberation.

The third element in the triad toward self-realized partnership is Psyche, this is when we achieve full soul union with another through the principle of Eros…

If you would like an astrological relationship portrait exploring Juno and other relationship signifiers in your chart I am available for on-line consultations.

* Credit goes to Demetra George and her book on the Asteroid Goddesses.