Where did the first month of summer, June, get its name? In Old English, this month was often referred to as simply “midsummer month.” Today being June 1st, there is more to the month than the end of spring and beginning of summer.
In Greek mythology, the month may come due to Hera, known in Roman as Juno. In Roman myth, she is the patron goddess of Rome. She is shown alternately as a cruel goddess in Virgil’s Aeneid, and the goddess of marriage and childbirth. In fact, summer weddings are still very popular, and they may have started because of the blessing that this goddess bestowed on those who got married in her sacred month.
In ancient Roman religion and myth, Janus is the god of beginnings, gates, transitions, time, duality, doorways, passages, and endings. He is Connected to the month June too. The relationship between Janus and the Greek goddess Juno is defined by the closeness of the notions of beginning and transition and the functions of conception and delivery, result of youth and vital force.
This Roman god is usually depicted as having two faces, since he looks to the future and to the past. In other words, sounds like Gemini twins in the zodiac, which is connected to birthdays end of May through a portion of June. Gemini people are thought to be two-faced in their personalities.
Janus presided over the beginning and ending of conflict, and hence war and peace. The gates of a building in Rome named after him, not a temple as it is often called, but an open enclosure with gates at each end, were opened in time of war, and closed to mark the arrival of peace (which did not happen very often). As a god of transitions, he had functions pertaining to birth and to journeys and exchange, and in his association with Portunus, a similar harbor and gateway god, he was concerned with travelling, trading and shipping. The ancient Greeks had no equivalent to Janus, whom the Romans claimed as distinctively their own.
The function god of beginnings has been clearly expressed in numerous ancient sources, among them most notably Cicero, Ovid, and Varro. As a god of motion, Janus looks after passages, causes actions to start and presides over all beginnings. Since movement and change are interconnected, he has a double nature, symbolized in his two headed image. He has under his tutelage the stepping in and out of the door of homes.
According to myth Janus was the first to mint coins and the as, first coin of the liberal series, bears his effigy on one face.
Representing time, Janus was worshipped at the beginnings of the harvest and planting times, as well as at marriages, deaths and other beginnings. He represented the middle ground between barbarism and civilization, rural and urban space, youth and adulthood. Having jurisdiction over beginnings Janus had an intrinsic association with omens and auspices.
The birthstone of June is the pearl. Arabian legend say pearls are drops of the moon that the oyster has fallen in love with. The Chinese believed that the pearl came from the brain of a dragon.
As we forge ahead into June, thinking of the end of school, summer, end of spring, summer vacation, the beach or pool, and amusement parks, it is interesting to learn there is more to June than the mundane.