‘Getting married is like trading the adoration of many for the sarcasm of one.’ Mae West
June is when days get hotter, longer; nights get shorter, & time springs into summer—June Booms
Dear Junie Moonie:
They sing (in Carousel) about you ‘bursting out all over,’ as if you were a convict, buxon lass, or the Pillsbury dough boy escaping his can. To those born of warm earth, who count June as their month of birth, the pearl, which oysters consider a major irritation, confers birthstone recognition. Robert Burns blushed his ‘luv’s like a red rose newly sprung in June.’ Others imagine and pine for you, in your naked glory, as early as January.
As for me, you’re not my favorite month. I don’t adore the tunes crooned about June, or your ever present sunny disposition. What’s the opposite of SAD (seasonal affective disorder)? Could it be GLAD—when you’re gone in 30 days? Is it because you’re both Gemini and Cancer—talkative, warm, sensitive, barbed, generous, and as querulous as you are curious? Is it because you’re named for Roman Juno (Greek Hera), a mighty testy dame with a funny sounding name? She’s mistress of time and cycles (not the kind you ride) and a goddess of vengeance and carnality.
Marry in June and be favored by Juno and your fellow humans. You see, in medieval times a person’s annual bath happened in May or June…Just in case, the bride carried a bouquet to mask odors. Unless you were French… Napoleon, enroute to Josephine, sent her a message ‘je ne leve pas, je revien…’ (don’t wash, I’m returning). The Duke of Windsor and Wallace Simpson married the 3rd of June 1937. Getting hitched, aka tying the knot, taking an arrow in the knee, was a practical maneuver. Folks that had a June wedding/immediate conception gave birth in winter, which didn’t interfere with harvests. You were counted as being married the full year if you married before June 30; this earned you a lower tax rate. If you marry on 6/7, your union will be favored by Vesta, to whom donkeys are sacred. Let’s hope you don’t marry one…
To the couple whose June wedding I crashed in the 80s in New England, still best fete ever: open bar, rum cake with jam filling and thick buttercream icing, endless appetizers, rock band played 60s classics plus Sinatra! We’d been camping (in rain and muck) and I revolted, demanded a night in a swanky hotel. After a long shower I donned the one fancy frock I’d brought. The groom mistook me for a distant relative. Who was I to argue? So glad you never glanced at the family tree I whipped out—it was Greek Gods genealogy for a college paper. I meant to send you a wedding gift, apology note, or candlesticks.
There’s much to mourn in June, like 6/2/1692, the date Salem witch trials began. Brigit Bishop was first to hang (6/10). Some swear she still hangs on, and should you smell ripe apples, she’s nearby. Some have seen her poppets materialize from thin air. June 4 is anniversary of Tiananmen Square massacre, 1000s died in 1989. Brave Apache Chief Cochise expired on the Chiricahua Reservation, SE Arizona in 1874. He’s buried somewhere in the Dragoon Mountains. Many witnessed, but few accurately saw RFK gunned down in the kitchen of the Ambassador Hotel shortly after midnight 6/6/68.
June 4, 1942 is Battle of Midway anniversary, epic clash between US and Japanese fleets and turning point of war in the Pacific. 6/6/44 marks D Day (Op Overlord), which actually lasted 3 months along five Normandy beaches. Courageous Brits, Canadians, French, Norwegians, Lux, Aussie/New Zealand, and American troops turned the tide against Germany and sent them running. By end of August, Paris was liberated. On a lighter note, also on this date Sex in the City premiered in 1998. What would Carl Jung, who died 6/6/61, have said about Carrie’s comment ‘balls are to men what purses are to women; it’s just a little bag, but we’d feel naked in public without it.’
On June 17, 1994, though not a fan of car races, I sat glued to the screen watching OJ speed through LA. June 19, 1865 was Juneteenth, Emancipation Day in Texas for former slaves, lagging two years behind the rest of the US. It’s now a national holiday, in synch with June 12 (1967) Loving Day, and the overturning of a decision that banned interracial marriages. On 6/15, chug a New Orleans Hurricane (3 kinds of rum, passionfruit, sweet sour mix, oj…) in honor of Marie Laveau, who died in 1881.
Number 6 is your symbol June. Yikes, half the year—is awe-mazingly gone for good. Six forms a hexagon, a sextet musically, and sex is Latin for six, which combined with nine is sexily risqué. Six is half a dozen of something, sextuplets are 5 too many babies born at once, unless they’re puppies or bunnies…Six connotes compassion, healing, and heartfelt emotions. It’s the number of strings on a guitar, holes on a flute you toot, sides of a cube, and a lucky number in Chinese culture. Roll a six in Craps and widen the winning gap. Six fingered Anne Boleyn was crowned Queen (for 1000 days) 6/1/1533, and labelled a witch because she had 6 fingers. Recently in Turkey, ancient bones of numerous polydactyl (6 fingered) folks were uncovered.
The tragic, fantastic Ms. Judy Garland was born and died in June. Zing went many heartstrings when she headed Somewhere Over the Rainbow. June vacationers use this time to read peachy, beachy books. I recall snapping up The June Boys by Court Stevens during my 2020 backyard staycation. Like Ms. Garland’s life, the story begins and ends in June (but in Tennessee). The Gemini thief/killer has been snatching three boys on June 1st for a decade, holding them in an underground bunker—returning them unharmed on June 30th of the following year. The protag suspects a 13th victim was taken (her cousin) and her dad may be Gemini. Then one of the boys snatched is killed. The twists and turns will take you for a ride; the suspense may make you Junebug eyed!
Who ya gonna call if someone/thing needs exorcising? While Ghostbusters premiered in June in 1984, many suggest Saint Vitus, born 6/15/303. He’s also good at curing seizures, rabies, and twitchy feet. Parties get hardy in mid June—6/13 is World Gin Day. Add pink peppercorns to your drink for a magical kick. 6/15 is Roman Vestalia-Festival of fruit, especially straw and other berries. Perhaps that’s why there’s a Strawberry moon on June 14. On June 17, celebrate the Festival of Fishermen with Botolph, guardian of gates. June 20 marks the eve of summer solstice; break out the mead and toast Iron Skegge, a pagan martyr, tortured by Norway’s King Olaf Tryggvason, who had converted and imposed Christianity on the people of lands he ruled.
Pluck a pansy and weave it through your hair for Lizzie Borden, acquitted of her father/stepmom’s murder on June 20, 1893. Did you ever jump rope to the ditty Lizzie Borden had an axe, gave her step-mom…? It’s not true—she only gave her 18 or 19 whacks (dad got 11).
As if to make me suffer June, many celebrate the longeeeessssttt day of the year on 6/21, which is also date of Druid Alban Hefin/Litha Festival and a time to honor Shiva, founder of yoga. Nature (and George Carlin) were pissed in 1969 when Cleveland, Ohio’s Cuyahoga River became so choked with pollution it caught fire. On 6/23, grab a hag stone and view fairy cavalcades in the woods, but avoid Hawthorne trees/shrubs and rings of posies.
June 23 is St John’s Eve, a date of anticipation—followed by 6/24, a day sacred to goddess Fortuna and the wee folk. Those that practice the old ways light bonfires and pass between the flames. Check if your psychic abilities increase and energy surges. Bath in moonlight and indulge in midsummer night dreams. If you’re into hoodoo/voodoo or that thing some do called magic, harvest plants tonight and pour a libation offering to Blanc Dani (Damballah), a snake god.
June 28 marks the runic end of year (ruled by Dag), while 6/29 was once the date of the new year, sacred to Freya. Remember another shot heard round the world June 28/1914 when Archduke Francis Ferdinand of Austria and wife were assassinated in Sarajavo. We didn’t learn—for on June 25, 1950 the Korean War began when the 38th parallel was crossed. And on June 5, 1967, they named a war after you June, which lasted six days. Its aftermath is still felt today, despite peace accords and jumping bean demarcation lines.
It was nice while it lasted—on 6/29/1972 the Supremes struck down capital punishment laws in the US. However, since 1976, nearly 8,000 have been sentenced to death—185 of those persons were exonerated before being executed—over a dozen were exonerated post humously. And so we battle on, from Babylon to Viet Nam; from sexism, rights, and drunk drivers vs June Cleaver’s mom–to the Ukraine and outposts in Guam. Go on June, be gone. “What is so rare as a day in June,” Robert Lowell asked. Robert, I’ll play and take any day in autumn or winter for $100 please. What is a cooler, friskier month, which can’t come too soon?