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Hera—Juno

Supreme among the goddesses, as wife and sister of Zeus, stands Hera, the Juno of Roman Mythology. Her Greek name signifies simply Lady, or Mistress, (Hera, the feminine of Heros, as in old German Herrin is the feminine of Herr). The Latin name, Juno, is traced by some to the Greek Dione, the feminine of Dis, or Zeus; by others it is said to be a contracted form of Jovino, an ancient name of the feminine counterpart of Jove.

The marriage of Hera with Zeus was regarded by the ancients as by eminence the hieros gamos, the "sacred marriage," or as it is termed in the Writings "the heavenly marriage," between the Lord and the Church. And since all conjugial love flows from this heavenly marriage, Hera, as the bride and wife of her Divine husband, was regarded as the great tutelary deity of the sanctity of marriage, (Hera Gamelia, Juno Pronuba), and as the patroness and protector of all married women, (Juno Matronu, from matrimonium). She also presided over childbirth and was invoked by women in labor. As men used to swear by Jupiter, so women affirmed by Juno, and the name of "Junoes" was applied to the familiar spirits attendant upon women. The month of June is fittingly named after this marriage-goddess, being that time of the year when heat and light are conjoined in equal degrees and universal nature celebrates its nuptials.

In her more primitive aspect Juno is a noble representative of that spiritual good which loves celestial truth,—in other words, the Lord's genuine and specific Church, in heaven and on earth, as it was in the best days of the Ancient spiritual Church. Beautiful, majestic, with a dignified, matronly air, broad forehead, and large eyes, ("cow-eyed Juno"), the queen of heaven stands as a type of the chaste and faithful wife. Clad in flowing robes, with a diadem on her brow, she holds a sceptre in the one hand and a pomegranate in the other. The significance of the sceptre is self-evident. The pomegranate, on account of its multitude of seeds, was regarded as the symbol of marriage, the seminary of the human race. It signifies also the cognitions and perceptions of good and truth, (A. E. 403), and likewise the spiritual sight of an orderly mind, well filled with living truths, because this fruit is "pellucid even to the center." (T. C. R. 403.)

The constant attendant and swift-footed messenger of Juno was Ibis, the personification of the Rainbow, by which is signified the Doctrine of the Church or "interior Divine Truth, such as is the Word in its spiritual sense,'' when reflected in glorious appearances upon the clouds of the literal sense, {A. E. 595). This Doctrine, also, is the messenger or message of the Church to the outside world, and, like the Rainbow, forms a covenant or connecting link between heaven and earth.

The peacock, of all birds, was especially sacred to Juno, and represents the same as the Rainbow, but in multiple form, the iridescent eyes in the peacock's feathers representing so many beautiful ideas of intelligence concerning spiritual truths. The same, probably, was originally signified by Argus, the hundred-eyed watchman of Juno.

Later and perverted conceptions of the Church and of marriage among the Greeks depict Juno as a haughty, jealous, and rebellious wife, violent-tempered and bitter-tongued, constantly quarreling with her spouse and relentlessly persecuting the unfortunate objects of his love. These changed conceptions tell the tragic story of the decline and perversion of conjugial love in Hellas and Rome. At first the wife occupied a most honorable position by the side of her husband. Later on the reverence for the wife was so misdirected as to lead to her total seclusion within the sacred precincts of the home, away from the public gaze. Upon this followed a deterioration of her general culture and intellectual development, which gave the highly intellectual husbands a quasi excuse for seeking the more fascinating companionship of the heterae,-—beautiful and vivacious harlots, for whom a liberal education was provided in the temple-precincts, with a view to financial profits for these "sacred" institutions.

Henceforth Juno assumed the representation of the Church Specific in a vastated state, when the genuine love of the Lord has departed and its place is filled by the love of dominion over the souls of men. Jealousy of her supremacy now becomes the chief characteristic of the visible Church, which regards with bitter hatred every manifestation of the Divine Love for those who are "outside the pale."

This hatred for the Gentiles has existed in every declining Church, and was especially exemplified by the Jewish contempt and arrogance which are depicted and reproved by the Lord in every page of the New Testament. To a Jew all Gentiles were unclean things, mere dogs, scarcely fit to pick up the crumbs from their masters' table. Hence also came that first struggle in the early Christian Church over the question. "Is the Gospel to be preached to the Gentiles also?"

It is the same in the Roman Catholic religiosity, with its arrogant motto: "Extra ecclesiam nulla salvatio," whence arose the doctrine of universal damnation for all who do not possess "the only saving faith." And it is the same in the Protestant churches, as is evident from their contemptuous and conscienceless treatment of all who do not carry about them the blessing of a proud white skin. We think the angry jealousy of Juno will be exemplified anew when the center of civilization and the balance of world-power shall begin to shift from the white to the colored races,—when the "yellow peril," and the "brown" and "black," shall have become direful actualities.

The spiteful cruelty of Juno is illustrated by the story of Io, the daughter of the river-god Inachus, to whom Zeus first revealed himself under the covering of a cloud, and whom he metamorphosed into a beautiful white heifer in order to protect her from the jealous persecutions of his spouse. But Juno, suspecting the guise, placed her under the surveillance of Argus, who possessed a hundred eyes distributed around his head. To set free his beloved, Zeus finally dispatched his messenger, Hermes, who killed Argus with a stone. Juno then sent an enormous and persistent gadfly to torment the unfortunate heifer, who, goaded by its cruel stings, fled wildly from one country to another, wandering in tortures all over the earth, until finally she found refuge in Egypt where Zeus restored her to her womanly form and beauty, and where she gave birth to Epaphus, the founder of Memphis and of Egyptian civilization.

This well-known story, when interpreted spiritually, is typical of the trials of every new Church. Io, the maiden, is the affection of truth among those who are in a gentile state, to whom the new Truth is revealed at first in a cloud of sensual appearances, and who are to some extent protected by their state of simple good, (the cow). Nevertheless, they are still kept in bondage under the Old Church, by its false reasoning and self-intelligence, which are represented by Argus.

He who (denies spiritual influx) may be compared to a crab which walks backwards, and his rational sight may be compared to the sight of the eyes of Argus in the back of his head, when those in his forehead were asleep. Such persons also believe themselves to be Arguses in reasoning. (Influx 9.)

The man who reads the Word under the auspices of his own intelligence, believes himself to be a lynx and to have more eyes than Argus. (T. C. R. 165.)

To those thus spiritually bound, the Divine Word then comes as a deliverer, here typified by Hermes or Mercury, the messenger who "brings word" from his master, but this time in the form of a stone, i. e., truth destructive of falsity. But though now set free from the dominion of the Old Church in general, false reasonings still infest the New Church which now enters upon a period of temptations, represented by the torments and wanderings of poor Io.

Flies signify falsities of the sensual man, thus falsities of every kind. (A. E. 740.) Bees, in the evil sense, signify false reasoning, because the rational gathers what belongs to it from scientifics falsely applied, as bees obtain their store from flowers. (A. E. 410.) "Stings in their tails" signify skillful reasonings from falsities by which they persuade and thus inflict injury. (A. C. 6952.)

It is significant that Io finally found "refuge in Egypt," i. e., victory in temptation by means of the letter of the Word. It may be that the story of Io refers to the early establishment of the Ancient Church in the land of Egypt.


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Hera—Juno

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