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Juno and Vesta - Roman Goddesses for the Summer Solstice

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In ancient Rome, Juno was the goddess who watched over women and marriage. Vesta was the protector of the hearth, and of virginity. Together, these two mighty goddesses were sacred to Roman women.

Although Juno's festival, the Matronalia, was actually celebrated in March, the month of June was named for her. It's a month for weddings and handfasting, so one could easily honor Juno at this time of the year. During the Matronalia, women received gifts from their husbands and daughters, and gave their female slaves the day off work.

Like nearly all Roman deities, Vesta had her own holiday as well. The Vestalia was celebrated from June 7 to June 15, and was a time in which the inner sanctum of the Vestal Temple was opened for all women to visit and make offerings to the goddess. The Vestales, or Vestal Virgins, guarded a sacred flame at the temple, and swore thirty-year vows of chastity. One of the best known Vestales was Rhea Silvia, who broke her vows and conceived twins Romulus and Remus with the god Mars.

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