JUNO (THE AWAKENER OF THE SOUL) AND THE VESTA (PRIESTESS/FACILITATOR) CYCLE IN ASTROLOGY
Juno and Vesta are both Goddess Asteroids. They add powerful layers of depth and meaning to the interpretation and practice of astrology. I´ll start with my take on both Juno and Vesta and then turn to what they teach us at this time.
Juno is the Roman equivalent of Hera, the wife of Zeus/Jupiter. She is understood to be the goddess of marriage and is used to understand the nature of the soul-mate in astrology.
And of course, that is taken to mean the finest qualities of the sign that Juno is in represents the soul-mate that a person seeks to make them feel … whole.
But that´s really not the whole story, not by a long shot.
When we look at the history of Juno and Jupiter as a couple, we see Jupiter´s lack of sexual fidelity giving rise to Juno´s jealousy and wrath. It hardly appears to be the ideal pairing. Juno entraps and sends a stinging fly after Io, the maiden that Jupiter lusted after until he agrees to stop pursuing her.
There are other mythological references to her use of revenge against Jupiter´s lovers or illegitimate children. Her treatment of Hercules is … legendary in this regard. She sought to prevent his birth, kill him in various ways and drive him mad.
Ultimately, Juno gets projected on as the jealous wife or batshit-crazy partner who seeks to control their man (irrespective of what he does). It´s a very common trope that gets levied against women (in particular) if triggered in this way by their partners – but – really, this cuts across categories of gender, sexuality, race, etc.
That does not justify Juno´s actions, but presents them as a side of the wounded relationship of the Feminine – to the equally wounded Masculine.
Seen in this context, Juno equally presents flipside of relationship dynamics in a marriage and/or soul-mate connection.
That being said … She´s still so much more than that.
Juno is a powerful, multifaceted being whose ritual and ceremonial roles far exceeded the domains of marriage and childbirth. (And her reactions to her husband and his lovers and his children).
She was invoked as the deity to preside over liminal spaces and times, such as the changing of the seasons – or as a patron goddess of warriors headed into battle.
A truly full archetype of the Feminine which tends to get reduced to one function: as the complement to the Masculine (Jupiter).
In analyzing Juno, it may be wiser to see her a the Goddess who presides over a shift in state or consciousness. One that asks us to awaken fully to our Feminine natures, and all that can entail – for better or worse.
To circumvent the romanticized association with the word ´soul-mate´, I usually refer to Juno as “The Awakener of the Soul”.
A soul-mate helps you awaken. That can be a friend, a sibling, a parent, a lover, a partner, a colleague, literally a random person who passes through your to life to initiate you in a powerful way (depending on your chart). And so on.
That person can do so by nurturing you to life, or ripping you to pieces in ways that will force a much longer process of healing and re-calibration.
In practice, I have seen people enter the lives of others to provide this deeper spiritual catalyst – towards wholeness – in both pleasurable and painful (sometimes even abusive) ways.
This means that a person has a powerful soul-level contract to have an experience with another being. It does not mean that the contract has to remain in the same form, or that it cannot be wholly dissolved. This ties in more with the spiritual domain of astrological interpretation.
Vesta is the Roman Virgin Goddess of the hearth and home, the equivalent of the Greek Hesti. Sacred flames lit Her temples, tended to by her Priestesses, the Vestal Virgins. Whilst Vesta was a goddess, her concerns were seen to be purely Earth-based, focused on the material, day to day concerns of the here and now.
Some ancient scholars equated her with the Earth itself, whilst others argue that her role was that of a Protector. The sacred flame of Vesta´s flames were seen as the spark of the life infusing and sustaining the entire community.
The Vestal Virgins were an all-woman college of full-time temple priestesses. They were chosen as girls from the patrician class between the ages of 6 to 10. The moment they took their vows, they were freed from the control of their father.
The Vestals enjoyed a greater degree of freedom than other women of their time, however, they had to stick to an absolute vow of chastity for 30 years. They could then choose to marry if they so wished, but often did not as marrying one who had committed herself to the Goddess was seen as unlucky.
The punishment for violating the chastity code was to be buried alive or having molten lead poured down one´s throat.
Quite a powerful disincentive.
In astrology, I find the asteroid Vesta to be indicative of cycles of intense devotion, surrender and discard. Vesta may be strongly invested, perhaps even obsessed with something till one day she drops it all in favour of something else. She may return to what she discards later.
Paraphrasing astrologer Bob Marks, there is a cyclical nature to Vesta that reminds me both of the neuroticism of Virgo and the birth-death-rebirth process of Pluto.
I have found that Vesta tends to also indicate the influence of past contracts that bound an individual to a deity or organization of service. Which is why you can substitute the word ´priestess´ for the more expansive term ´facilitator´ .
Whilst these may have originated from noble causes, over time, re-playing these past contracts do not always sit well with managing the here-and-now in present incarnation.
Finding relief from such contracts gives the soul permission to stop seeking what is the purest and most intense or true path of service (whether it does so consciously or unconsciously) and to find a more balanced approach.
I refer to this as the ´maturation of Vesta´, where she realizes that her search is propelled by the highs and lows of the obsession-and-discard cycle. At first glance, it appears to be closely related to some of the cycles we see in narcissistic abuse. But more research is needed on this topic.
Much like the compulsive nature of Pluto, Vesta´s tics may make us revisit a cycle over and over … and over again until we are able to see that it can be released.
If you have a pattern with someone in which you feel as though your conscious will is being overriden in favour of promises made long ago … check your Vesta placements.
JUNO AND VESTA AT PRESENT (OCTOBER 1ST 2017)
As of now, Juno is at 6 Capricorn whereas Vesta is at 6 Libra. It´s interesting that asteroid Hera conjuncts Vesta and squares Juno as well. Hera and Juno are basically the same archetype.
I interpret that as the reason I´m writing this article.
In Capricorn, Juno brings us home to the question of how the ideal soulmate complements our search for success, reputation, recognition, social standing, a career and the creating of a lasting legacy. It can be interpreted as a soulmate who has ties to government, banks, or is seen as an authority of some kind.
The flipside of this is someone who can just as well abuse that access to power and seek to tarnish one´s reputation. It absolutely depends upon that being´s level of consciousness.
The lesson that comes, be it through pleasure or pain, asks us to awaken further into our expectations surrounding success, authority, career matters, and so on.
In Libra, Vesta´s energy can waver dramatically, depending on which aspect of The Vesta Cycle (dedication / devotion, surrender, discard) one is at. Given how Juno and her Greek counterpart Hera are triggering Vesta at this time – things can get a little more tense.
We are likely to see this in matters of relationships, legal concerns, forms of rhetoric, contractual obligations or simply understanding how we connect with our partners, collaborators & other people in general.
We may find individuals who are more devoted to the upholding the principles of justice as enshrined in the law and others who are keen to subvert or discard them entirely. Some may even seek to use them in ways that subvert the spirit of Justice. Others may simply allow themselves to become the targets of harm, forgetting that the act of surrender to spirit is not the same as giving up or forsaking your own right to be.
(Note: No one said priestesses and facilitators always take the moral high ground … the capacity for amoral choice does not fully erode, even when on a spiritual journey)
So when we see this in combination, we see .. just a small sample of the kind of complex spiritual issues that can arise in this particular alignment. Bringing it back to the here-and-now, issues can arise in the workplace, in partnerships, in legal matters, in the balance of power in relationships and so on.
Whilst the astrology helps to understand why people may be acting out, it is not an excuse to justify what is essentially bad behavior. Please bear this in mind.
Astrology is ideally a tool to help you release yourself from karmic cycles that entrap you, rather than a reason to stay in them.
I hope my research and reflections on this subject have been of interest to you.
For those interested in working with me, my curent round of sessions is still open. I have a special interest in working with Vesta and helping facilitators find a more balanced approach in performing service in the world, whilst living a full, human – life – in the here and the now.
Post © Bairavee Balasubramaniam, 2017. All rights reserved.
Image: Montage of Public Domain Images with text by Author. Jupiter and Juno – James Barry. Frederic Leighton – Invocation.