WLP is in a bit of a summertime slump. We are based in Tucson and when it is over 110° F the Editor/Publisher goes into siesta mode! But never fear, we are here. Just really behind.
Let us start with the basics, what the florists and jewelers are hawking this month!
Birthstones of June
If you are born in June with your sun in Gemini, then your birth stone is pearl, and we all know what the lustrous gemstone pearl looks like, no image necessary. But if you are born in June with your sun in Cancer, then it is a moonstone. There is a small image to the left showing a piece of moonstone jewelry. I did not know what Alexandrite, the third birthstone which supersedes both pearl and moonstone if you want use the modern take on birthstones, looked like. So I looked and looked for a public domain image of Alexandrite I could post here, one worthy of the stone at any rate, but did not find one, so do yourself a favor if you are mineralogically-inclined and check out the American Gem Society’s images of this chameleon-esque stone. Alexandrite is a rare chrysoberyl that takes on one of two distinct colors, green or pink, dependent upon the type of light within which it is viewed.
Flowers of June
June is Midsummer, Midsummer is the Summer Solstice
The fields of Europe, the place from which the dominant North American culture came, are planted at this time of year. Fields of grain, fruit of the trees, and garden vegetables are growing and ripening.
The land is effectively pregnant and bringing forth life.
The Romans associated the month, obviously, with Juno, Goddess of Women and childbirth, but also associated with the month and women and childbirth was Lucina (derived from the word Lux, light). As the day of the year with the greatest amount of light, it makes sense via what we know of the worldview of the time to also associate the bringing of children from the dark of the womb into the light of the world as related.
Some contemporary writers probably unconsciously, but possibly with religious motivations, say that the traditional use of Litha as a term for Summer is of totally modern use and origin. But from what I have been able to find out looking at translations of early English history, litha was used to describe the summer months.
English monk, theologian, and historian; known as the Venerable Bede,(Circa 673–735) wrote The Ecclesiastical History of the English People (completed in 731), a primary source for early English history. An earlier work of Bede, The Reckoning of Time, referred to in this 12th Century compilation of this writings, describes what we would call June and July as ærra-litha and æftera-litha.
8th-century monk Bede, also writes about the inclusion of an inclusion of a third summer month on occasion because of the the disparity between moon cycles and year length.
Julie Coleman in her January 2001 writing for the University of Glascow” noted that Bede simply states that the reason for the unequal length of days is due to the globular shape of the earth, thus explaining the three-dimensional nature of the earth and refuting the notion that early medieval people believed that the earth was flat. Emphasis mine.
Litha is neither pagan nor heathen, but is used by English speakers and those who parse the year by seasons and note the longest day of the year with festivity, bon fires, and celebrations. Pan-european celebrations continue to this day and give testimony to the importance attributed the Summer Solstice by pre-Roman European cultures.
In Christian Northern Europe appointed clergy might only make the rounds to all parishes intermittently, perhaps 2 or 3 times a year. So betrothals and temporary marriages often preceded church sanctioned nuptials. Handfasting, the ribbon wrapping of the hands of the bride and groom, was sometimes done at weddings, but also at public, non-church, announcements of young lovers pledges to each other at which a fire might be jumped to seal the deal. Such fire occurred at both May Day and Summer Solstice. June weddings are age old.
Unpromised young women were advised to stare into the fires so that they might have visions of their future husbands.
Women of June
I’m including only a few of the amazing women with June birthdays who are well-deserving of a few moments of reflection on their lives. These and many more can be found at 30 Badass Women born in June.
June 1 1926 Marilyn Monroe ( Norma Jean Mortenson/ Norma Jean Baker), iconic film star.
June 7, 1917 (2000) – Gwendolyn Brooks, first African American to win the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry (1950)
June 8, 1900 (1981) – Estelle Griswold, birth control advocate and pioneer, defendant in the Supreme Court case “Griswold v. Connecticut” which legalized contraception for married couples in 1965
June 12, 1929 (d. 1945) Anne Frank, German diarist, murdered in the Holocaust.
June 15, 1920 (1994) – Amy Clampitt, poet and author did not see her first poem published until she was 58
June 15, 1916 (1989) – Olga Erteszek, Polish immigrant, established the Olga Company in 1960, maker of women’s undergarments, one of the first companies to offer employee profit sharing
June 28, 1946 (1989) – Gilda Radner, comedian, and original cast member of “Saturday Night Life”
June Events of Women
June 4, 1919 – The U.S. Senate passes the Women’s Suffrage bill.
June 10, 1692 – Bridget Bishop is hanged in Salem, Mass., for witchcraft.
June 14 1907 –Women in Norway win the right to vote.
June 18, 1873 –Susan B. Anthony is fined $100 for attempting to vote for president.
June 18, 1983 – Sally Ride becomes the first American woman in space.
June 19, 1963 – Soviet cosmonaut, Valentina Tereshkova, becomes the first woman in space.
June 24, 1647 – Margaret Brent demands two votes from the Maryland Colonial Assembly: one as a landowner and one as the legal representative of the colony’s proprietor, Lord Baltimore. She is refused.
June 25, 1903 Marie Curie announces her discovery of radium.
June 27, 1833 Prudence Crandall, a white woman, is arrested for conducting an academy for black women in Canterbury, Conn.
A Few Top 40 Hits from 25 Years Ago (June 1991)
- Madonna – Holiday
- Divinyls – I Touch Myself
- REM – Shiny Happy People
- Kirsty MacColl – Walking Down Madison
Some Top 40 Hits from 50 Years Ago (June 1966)
- Frank Sinatra – Strangers in the Night
- Beatles – Paperback Writer
- Mamas & The Papas – Monday, Monday
- Percy Sledge – When a Man Loves a Woman
- Rolling Stones – Paint It Black
- Troggs – Wild Thing
- Simon & Garfunkel – I am a Rock
- Dusty Springfield – You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me
- Chiffons – Sweet Talkin’ Guy