"She is a strong warrior and protector, a mother and lover of the people; of girls and of women. She is full of grace, offers mercy, honours and rewards loyalty. She is a Queen. A Goddess. Yet she is not without her own faults and vulnerabilities. Nevertheless she steps forward and dares to rule on high, and that is what makes her a true leader." - Juno by Tanya Marie Reeves
Inspiration: The Roman Goddess Juno in Malta
Juno was inspired by and created on my ancestral island of Gozo, Malta in the small village of Għarb on the cliff tops of the Mediterranean Sea, during my participation in a 3 month Art Residency hosted by Norbert Attard of Valletta Contemporary Gallery.
In Relation to Malta, the Roman period is of great importance in the Islands’ history. The Romans ruled from 218 BC - 870 AD, making Malta an outpost of Sicily, created immense prosperity, trade, written recognition and wedded Malta’s future to fortunes of the European continent.
Juno was worshipped wholly during this time on the islands until the introduction of Christianity in 60 AD had began to divide and conquer the land. Remnants of the Temple's of Juno still remain, having been discovered on both the island of Malta and Gozo. A headless statue of the Goddess was still standing in the entrance to the original Capital City, Mdina (likely beheaded when she was cast out as a false God) until 1890 when it was moved to be preserved within a nearby museum.
The Roman Goddess Juno
The Roman Goddess Juno was not only considered the Goddess of women, marriage and motherhood, she was the Patron Goddess of Rome and honoured as the Queen of all Roman Gods, also referred to as the Queen of the Heavens.
She was betrothed with many responsibilities, and bore many titles:
Juno the Saviour - Juno the Warrior - Juno The Midwife - Juno Regina or Queen Juno - Juno who brings light - Juno the Moon Goddess - Juno the Protector
Juno ruled over all aspects of the lives of women, with special interests in relation to health and life cycles; menstrual, procreation, birth - marriage and motherhood. She is also believed to have had connections with the waxing and waning of the moon, being named as a celestial goddess in the governing of the cycles of life existence, growth and decay.
Along with (of course) being the protector and councillor of the people of Rome, ruling over the private affairs of the state of Rome itself, and full-filling the roll of the Goddess of all Gods.
What is of most interest to me is her disposition. This woman was under the greatest pressure one could possibly be bestowed upon and yet she is described, not only as a warrior, saviour and protector, but as graceful, merciful and fiercely loyal. My favourite title of her being Juno the Bringer of Light.
In much of my research, one of the first descriptions of Juno is often a negative connotation in relation to her being "A jealous wife". Apparently she was always seeking to punish her husband Jupiter’s many conquests. Hmmm. Probably not the best way to go about it, but how about "Her husband (and brother) Jupiter was a womaniser and an ass."?
This brings me to the relevance of the peacock. Juno is often represented in painting and sculpture with a glorious peacock by her side.
It is told that Juno had once sent her faithful watchman Argius (an all-seeing primordial giant with one hundred eyes) to destroy Io, a beautiful priestess, and newly laid lover of her husband Jupiter.
In the end, Argius was slain by Jupiter.
Devastated, Juno collected the one hundred eyes of Argius and in ode to his loyalty, placed them in the tale of a peacock, always keeping him close by her side.
My Goddess Juno is a strong warrior and protector, a mother and lover of the people; of girls and of women. She is full of grace, offers mercy, honours and rewards loyalty. She is a Queen. A Goddess. Yet she is not without her own faults and vulnerabilities. Nevertheless she steps forward and rules on high, and that, is what makes her a true leader.
The name Juno is of Latin origin and means "Queen of the Heavens".
The earring depicted in my artwork is an actual symbol of the Roman Goddess Juno
The peacock feathers represented within the background of my work as well as the peacock itself on Juno's arm are a symbol of loyalty, one of the highest values of the Goddess Juno.
Other totems representing Juno:
Fruit - (mainly the pomegranate) a symbol of abundance, fertility and Life.
Flowers - associating Juno with beauty.
Moon - a sign of constant change, passing seasons and of life and death.
The Romans modelled their Goddess Juno from the Goddess Uni of Rome of the Etruscans in the Ancient World, and also of the Greek Goddess Hera, who is almost identical to Juno.
H121xW101cm – 48x40”
Acrylic on stretched canvas