"And wheresoever we went, like Juno's swans, still we went coupled and inseparable."
Between 2009 and 2010, just as Saturn danced at the early degrees of Libra — the sign of harmony, cooperation, and balanced relationships — I began to study relationship patterns in depth. I observed, in friends, clients, and my own life, the experience that as we accelerate our transformation of collective consciousness, we are increasingly attracting more intense, significant relationships with those whom we are deeply bonded.
Motivated by my own series of powerful partnership encounters, I began to noticed a humbling phenomena in these situations of immediate recognition: these partners were providing me some kind of assistance, doing certain favors for me, or helping facilitate my travels, my classes, or my changes of residence. I observed a certain willingness on their part to go out of their way for me. How could these amazing people, who barely knew me, feel such a desire to support me?
But the connections were more densely woven than appeared at first sight. A reciprocal energy exchange was expected in return for helping me, however vague this expectation was communicated. We then found ourselves excavating the more shadowy realms of relationship quite intensely immediately — our histories, our desires, and our confusions about our energy exchange. The situations and contacts were delicate, difficult, and tender. On a core level, these connections felt contracted and important in their capacity to reveal personal issues that demanded clarity.
I wondered what the link was between these women and my own birthchart. In my research, I found the same thread weaving us together — the asteroid goddess Juno. Each of these women had one or more angles or personal planets, like the Sun, Moon, or the Ascendent, conjunct my Juno — an asteroid that many astrologers have called the indicator of a marriage partner.
Hera/Juno: The Myth
Juno is a complicated archetype, which makes her fitting for relationships. Juno was the Roman equivalent of the Greek Hera, whose name splits into he era, meaning "the earth," and also translated as "lady," the feminine form of "hero." In her book Asteroid Goddesses, astrologer Demetra George describes how in ancient Rome, each man possessed an inner reproductive power called his genius, while each woman had her conceiving and bearing power, called her juno. Juno's most important function was as a patroness of married women. She oversaw all major social rites and customs, especially that of marriage. From her name derives the month of June, which was sacred to her, and is still the month with the greatest number of marriages.
In one story of their origin as a couple, Zeus develops a romantic longing for his sister Hera as he spots her walking near a mountain. He changes himself into a cuckoo bird. In Greece, the cuckoo's cries announced the rain that brought forth the food and fruits, so the bird was considered a harbinger of fertility. Zeus, as god of storms, then caused a powerful rainstorm to descend, and he flew, shaken and shivering from the cold into Hera's lap. Hera took pity on the bird and wrapped it with her cloak. Immediately Zeus took his original shape and ravished her. And here is the important point: amidst the storm of love, Hera feels shame for her violation, and so marries Zeus out of guilt and obligation.
This version of the myth reflects the soul contracts which two people fashion between each other in the spirit world. Many hypnotherapists and near-death researchers describe how there is a sense of pathos, compassion, or divine pity we feel for those who are members of our soul cluster. As Interlife hypnotherapist Dr. Michael Newton describes in his profound work, Journey of Souls, we play various roles with them from one incarnation to the next, and we are obligated to do so, in order that we may grow and develop into a more complete sense of wholeness. As we continue with Juno's significance, we will see that she has much to say about our cosmic appointments and our karmic duty.
In another version of the Zeus-Hera myth, the two gods mate in secrecy in a palace beneath the sea on the island of Samos. They partner up as equals, enjoying a three-hundred year honeymoon of boundless bliss. But then the soap opera starts once Zeus brings Hera to Mt. Olympus, and rarely do we hear of any shared bliss between the divine couple again.
Why should this be? As king of the gods, Zeus indulges in many affairs with both mortals and immortals, at times arrogantly displaying his conquests for all to witness, including his wife. In the stories, Hera repeatedly plots revenge against her husband, at times humiliating Zeus. The two punish and manipulate each other as only the best and worst of beloveds can.
This tragic component is fundamentally interwoven into our astrological Juno contacts, especially when we understand the notion of the gods' honeymoon, isolated in the palace beneath the sea. Astrologer Julie Demboke states it eloquently:
"By its very definition, a honeymoon occurs outside the world the couple will occupy every day; in this sense, it's entirely artificial, and this says something about Juno in relationship: perfection can only occur when the relationship is in an unreal state. This is part of why many believe it is a marriage indicator: we find a "perfect relationship," find solid Juno contacts, let's get the license! Hold on — once the honeymoon's over, reality sets in…"
Hera had been worshipped long before Zeus and the Olympian gods took over, as part of indigenous goddess cults. Born on the island of Samos, Hera was reputedly raised by the seasons themselves and came to facilitate over the three seasons of a woman's life as Maiden, Mother, Crone — the new moon, the full moon, and the dark moon phases of life. Originally Hera reigned without consort. During the Taurean Age she was worshipped as the cow-eyed sky queen, and was celebrated at festivals like the Herea, an early predecessor to the Olympics.
Once the Achaen tribes descended from the North onto Greece, they superimposed their own chief god Zeus onto the indigenous cults of Hera. In her forced marriage to Zeus, then, we find the symbolism of the overthrow of the matriarchal, feminine fertility cults by the supremacy of the rational and patriarchal masculine forces. This is very significant, since Hera-Juno related primarily to a balanced relationship to the seasons. In right relationship with nature's cycles, Hera was associated with agriculture and the earth itself. As soon as the gods come to dominate the Greek consciousness, led by Zeus, nature was superseded since it was controlled by the gods. Under the masculine Zeus' reign, Hera's role is greatly reduced and seems symbolically reversed, so that instead of a primal nature goddess, she became instead the overseer of social ritual and custom, of citizenship and duty, and of filial marriage.
The eclipsing of Hera-Juno's role as agricultural goddess into a more refined, civil role contributes to the tragic component that we often feel in our deep relationships with other souls, especially between the sexes. Here, we find the constant tension between what should naturally be experienced between two people, as opposed to the socio-cultural projection of the archetypal wife/husband or significant partner. Again, how can we fulfill our soul agreements with another through appropriate relating, not habitual partnership patterns, nor expected social conditioning?
In the rise of Zeus and Olympian supremacy, we also find the sense of "historical fatedness" in relation to Juno. With our Juno contacts, we almost feel like we are out of control or without volition, yet we remain. Sometimes the exteriors are strikingly dissimilar with our Juno contacts — perhaps we are not attracted physically to this partner, or we live very different lifestyles, and for reasons which transcend rationality, we are still deeply entangled, as if mandated from somewhere else. This mandate can be felt as an entrapment or in a more positive tone, we can develop a path of devotion towards both the other's and our own evolution.
The Honeymoon, the Separation, the Return
Because of the powerful significance played by my Juno contacts, I realized that I needed to further investigate Juno's role in my relationships. Could my other significant intimates have been Juno contacts as well?
The answer was a resounding YES. For instance, at one point I had moved to a new city and within a week met a woman with whom I experienced an instant bond. I had no home yet and was just couchsurfing. She immediately took me in and let me stay with her in her basement apartment. Within a few months, we decided to move in together, the first partner I had lived with. But shortly after moving in, I noticed her pulling away from me amidst an increasing connection with one of our friends. She seemed to hide these feelings and since I shared a room with her, her interest in our friend threatened my basic needs. Where would I stay at that point? Juno motifs of fairness, agreements, shared resources, jealousy, and transparency became major areas of concern. My Juno was conjunct this partner's Mercury, planet of communication, and Mars, planet of will, conscious desire, and sexual drive. Her Juno was opposite my vital force, the Sun.
In one of my most important relationships, I met a woman the day after she found out she was pregnant. I immediately provided a nurturing role for her. I showed up exactly at the moment when she needed the support of a spouse. In studying our Juno contacts, I found that my Juno was within just a few degrees of her South Node, the point most associated with past lives, linking our souls across space and time, most likely as previous lovers.
As many of us experience, the apparent scripting of such profound synchronicity is the very revelation that awakens the individuals to the significance of their work together. It is this deep soul-recognition that will often cause us to suffer such practicalities as long-distance relating or the presence of other lovers.
Another potent Juno contact was a relationship that began at Burning Man — an instant falling-in-love. For a year, we navigated the long distance dance, which ultimately had an overwhelming sadness to it, where we craved to be in delicious presence with each other, but circumstantially could not. Both of our Junos were conjunct, within just a few degrees, so that we mirrored our concepts of the sacred partner. Our few moments of re-union over vacation times were blissful, but recalled the artificial heaven of the Hera-Zeus honeymoon, also mirrored in the other long distance relationship mentioned above.
It is important to mention here how the aspect of undulation occurs in our Juno contacts. Because of the depth of the connection on a soul level, we find ourselves leaving and returning with these partners. The Greek myths emphasize Juno's need for retreat in solitude and renewal, as she would bathe in the waters of the spring of Kanathos to regenerate herself.
One interpretation of this ritual may be that she is cleansing herself from Zeus's affairs. This repeated washing away of her husband's infidelities suggest the powerful psychic and energetic link that connects us to our Juno partners. It is as if we are cleaved together with this other and so we require times of separation to try and locate our sense of self outside the context of our union. We do this in order to return with a refreshed perspective on our committed partnership. This is an often overlooked component of such powerful soul-contacts: the need for moments of sacred autonomy which revitalize us and help us to appreciate the other with whom we are so vulnerable and bonded.
Often, these moments of "autonomy" can challenge the core of the connection since they may be initiated with a more Zeus-like approach — that which involves other sexual partners. Hera takes the opposite approach — she remains chaste and renews herself in order to prepare to meet her partner in a more vitalized state. We should remember that our living experience of these archetypes is not gender-specific; both sexes can play both roles. In all cases, these moments of separation and return require the utmost in conscious communication, especially when the separation involves intimate connections with other beings.
Let us also remember the incestuous nature of most of the Greek pantheon, and the fact that Jupiter and Juno were also brother and sister. If we truly check-in with ourselves, we may often feel like our Juno beloveds could have likely been sister, brother, father, mother, etc., in other lifetimes. This thread of consciousness is superimposed on our connection with this person, so at times we may even be confused as to how to act around an energy so familiar but with a different mask in this lifetime. This adds another dimension to the notion of loyalty and the inability to abandon the situation — you may leave the family, but you cannot rid yourself of the genetic connection nor the inherited conditioning of your early environment, nor the stories, traumas, or unresolved wounds still percolating from other times and places.
With Juno, we discover a helping spirit, someone who has agreed to assist us in a very deep way on our journey upon the earth. In this way, we seem to be painting a more sophisticated and accurate portrayal of the soul-mate, not some sugar-coated and idealized version of this connection. Rather this bond occurs between two who are willing to suffer with and for the other, in a union that transcends logic, that reaches into the vast reservoir of eternal being.
Juno's Resonance with Libra and the 7th House, and Scorpio and the 8th House
Returning for a moment to the myths, if Zeus/Jupiter is so sleazy, why doesn't Hera/Juno just leave or have her own affairs? First, we must understand that she is loyal to the custom of marriage, the idea of fulfilling herself through one husband to whom she can be one wife. And more importantly, her union with Jupiter also elevates her in the collective. Hera-Juno's exalted position in society is based on her marriage to King Zeus-Jupiter, so she can't just walk out the door. She would lose her regal status and her sphere of influence over the culture. Thus, in order to maintain power, she paradoxically has to give it away to her partner. Therefore, her sorrow turns to revenge, and Juno is repeatedly found in the myths plotting against Jupiter, akin to the soap operas of today. So obsession, jealousy, possessiveness, and control — the Scorpionic themes of the 8th house, emerge ferociously after the decision to unite as Libra partners in the 7th house. In our Juno contacts, there is something we gain from our connection with another. We expect it, and the other demands something in return. If this expectation is not met, it is a point of contention, strife, challenge, and the feeling of entrapment.
A relationship with Juno contacts suggests, then, a period of honeymooned isolation that can suddenly shift to unexpected agreements and contractual fulfillments. Therefore, Juno merges the archetypes of Libra and Scorpio in profound ways. First, Juno connections force us to consider the other's perspective, a Libra or seventh house motif, with the need to balance one's own relational requirements and desires with another's in a mutually agreed upon manner.
With Juno, there is a willingness to provide and assist another, but there is a strong drive for some sort of reciprocal exchange. Ironically, the willingness to help or care for the other may overwhelm the ability to actually communicate the details of a fair reciprocation. We notice this tendency in the Libra archetype where the urge to please and support the other can supersede the ability to verbalize one's own essential needs. We are in danger at this point of moving into unhealthy projections. Both partners must be willing to communicate openly and honestly, allowing the truth of a connection to emerge, instead of attaching to relationship itself as a savior, and thereby establishing co-dependency as a fundamental and negative partnership attribute.
The Juno role will be projected on anyone considered to be our "primary partner" — the person with whom we consistently check in, who essentially knows us better than anyone else. Juno is the one who we bear our naked souls to in utter vulnerability. This vulnerability is what frightens us, because we can no longer hide. An unconscious or sometimes quite obvious feeling of threat can then ensue, a feeling that the Juno partner can use their knowledge of our fragile and weaker parts against us. And yet, in a reciprocal bond of respect, the Juno partner can act as a guide who perceives the various layers of our psychological fabric, if we are willing to see ourselves mirrored.
These fears and promises of naked transparency with another demonstrate the Scorpio and eighth house component of Juno in her revelation of certain pathologies in relationships — fears, sacrifices, power struggles, control issues — but also the potential of soul-blending, transformational intimacy. These fears include the fears of betrayal, abandonment, and even the overwhelming intensity and consequences of sexuality itself.
Finances and the sharing of resources, more of the eighth house energy, can also be a delicate Juno space to navigate. Even in the first moments of a Juno contact, the need for balanced, equal partnerships can manifest through how one compensates another for time and energy. Many of us are familiar with that feeling of keeping tally, of counting the cost with another, and then using that as a means of manipulation or control in order to stay empowered in the relationship.
Manipulation such as this can also occur in a power play involving children. Competition between children and the beloved can also surface, especially in relationships where one of the partners is a single parent. The reality of a child as a parent's life-long primary partner can create an incessant friction between the two partners, between the parent and child, and between the child and parental partner. It would not be surprising in these situations if the child is also karmically linked to the Juno partner, as we could find through comparing the birthcharts. There may have been preivous incarnations involving a love triangle, a sibling rivalry, or other entangled situations. These are important issues to resolve to maintain peace and a loving environment for all. A synastry reading between all parties would help to reveal the karmic dynamics and give tools to assist in flowing communication for everyone.
Astrology's Role in Elucidating our Juno Needs
Even with the challenge of vulnerable exposure, navigating finances, and the power struggles with children, the Juno theme persists: one's personal consciousness is enhanced and transformed by the naked exchange of intense soul-level energy with another. And with these soul contacts, we have contracts to fulfill. There are conditions to commitment. There are agreements to exchange. The Art of Partnership, says Juno, requires practice and constant negotiation. The potential of true soul-merger exists here, especially in the context of tantric sexuality. The same fear of individual dissolution in the seduction of the sexual bond, can be transmuted alchemically to the transcendence of the limited ego, in the sexual embrace of the sacred deity and the holy consort. Although this tantric embrace may be a very potent, transformational frequency between us and our Juno contacts, we must remember to act with caution and care to most appropriately support these partners, even if sexuality is not involved in our agreements.
Thus, these Juno partners are especially important relationships in which to utilize the language of astrology to describe the various connections and intentions woven between the two souls, elucidating the work they've contracted with each other.
The nature of this Juno contact, by sign, house, and aspect will describe important elements of the karmic work between two people. With Juno, there is always a reflective process happening — souls are linking up and reminding each other about areas of possible weakness or debility, where growth is needed. The Juno partner can unveil unconscious psychological forces seeking conscious integration and evolution, especially regarding whichever planet another's Juno contacts in our own chart.
In my own life, I also noticed that I had consistently sought to work with my relationship partners. I taught classes with various partners as well as synthesized my creative process with theirs in performance, visual art, or fashion. Juno is within just a few degrees of my Midheaven, the point of career, so I would naturally feel most committed to a partner with whom I could share my vocational path.
By sign, house, and aspect, Juno represents the energy we are willing to commit to. Her position will reveal our emotional motivations in a serious relationship. According to Julie Dembok, on a more subtle level, Juno represents where a woman can assert her authority or give it away and feel frustrated in her sense of empowerment. In a man's chart, Juno not only signifies the idea of the wife and where he may completely love and appreciate the feminine, but it may additionally show the archetypal texture of where he will assert the self-righteousness of Zeus, and also complain about traits in his partner.
And so we find that we can only hate what we love, and our committment partners, our soul contracts, always provide for us this paradoxical emotional spectrum.
Past Life Link and Present Life Potential
With Juno, we can instantly feel emotions like jealousy, territoriality, expectation, resentment, presumptions, and indebtedness to another, even if we've only just met. This naturally leads to the feeling of a 'past-life' connection, due to the intensity and immediacy of the emotional involvement. It may be true that these are past-life connections, but more importantly, Juno contacts are powerful reflectors of particular soul contracts that must be fulfilled, deeper bonds that must be recognized, compromises that must be negotiated.
The potency of Juno contacts alone compel me to promote early couples' readings between two individuals who recognize a strong magnetism with each other. Beginning a Juno relationship may naturally escalate into sexual territory, again, because it is in that naked passion where two people access raw power and soul-level intimacy. But beginning a sexually powerful, emotionally entangeld, and karmically contracted Juno relationship when one may be seeking a casual fling can not only catch one by surprise but can create new patterns of negative karma between two souls. The territory is delicate and both beings are vulnerable.
With such deep bonds between souls, the greatest amount of compassion, care, and ultimately gratitude should be exercised between all of our relationships, especially the Juno union. It is my hope that you will discover and honor Juno in your own chart, and in so doing, deepen your practice of the art of partnership.
Copyright (C) 2010 Integral Healing All rights reserved.
Image by Peter Jot, courtesy of Creative Commons license.