The Month of June: Juno and the Peacock

June is soon upon us; the month was named for the ancient Roman goddess Juno. Her Greek equivalent Hera became associated with the peacock after Alexander the Great brought them back from his conquests. As goddess of the heavens she rode in a chariot drawn by the proud bird. Like the peacock that was visually beautiful but had an ugly voice, the consort of the Greek Zeus and the Roman Jupiter was full of contradictions. She was the protector of marriage and family but was also jealous and vengeful. The goddess carries a pomegranate symbolizing both fertility and death. Juno is shown with Jupiter in Italian Baroque painter Annibale Carracci’s (1560- 1609) fresco The Loves of the Gods. Along with her companion peacock there is an eagle symbolizing the god's strength. French Symbolist painter Gustave Moreau's (1826-1898) visionary scene in The Peacock Complaining to Juno has an eagle looking down from heaven. In The Peacock's Complaint by English illustrator Walter Crane (1845 - 1915) Juno is resplendent in her carriage drawn by peacocks.