Friday, January 8, 2010

Janus


Janus was the god of gates, doors, doorways, beginnings and endings. He was also considered the patron of beginnings of human life, new historical ages and economical enterprises. Home entrances, gates, bridges and passages were dedicated to him.
     He was depicted as having two faces or heads, facing in opposite directions. This was to symbolize him being able to look into the future and the past. His two faces or heads were also said to represent the sun and the moon. He had received this gift of seeing into the past and future from the god Saturn for Janus' hospitality.
     Janus was symbolically used to represent changes and transitions of the progression of the past to future, of one condition to another, from one vision to the next and the young people growing into adulthood. Any transitions were thought to be in control of Janus.  He also represented even the middle ground between barbarity and civilization, the rural countries and the urban cities.  What ever the transition was, he was the middle ground.
     He was worshiped at the beginnings of the harvest and planting times. Marriages and births were his world as well.
     One legend states that when  Romulus and his men had kidnapped the Sabine woman, Janus was upset. He caused a volcanic hot spring to erupt. Romulus men were buried alive. Romulus was in awe of Janus' power. In his honor, Romulus built a roofless structure and called it 'the Janus' (not a temple which what it was in reality). It had a front door and a door opposite. The doors were kept opened. During the war, a symbolic contingent of soldiers would march through it's doors. The doors were closed in ceremony when peace was concluded.
     Numa Pompilius not only honored Janus with naming a month after him, but also built a structure in his honor. The lamus gemimus or Janus Bifrons was a passage that was ritually opened at times of war and shut again when the Roman army would rest. It was a walled enclosure with gates at each end. It was situated in the Roman forum which was consecrated by Numa. In the time of war, the gates of the Janus were opened and in it's interior sacrifices were held to forecast how the outcome of the war would be. The doors were closed during peace time which was very rare. It is recorded that during the times of the Roman Empire, it was closed only 5 times. Augustus and Nero both loved to advertise the idea of universal peace. They closed the Janus during their reigns.
     Through time and many re-written legends these two structures were thought to be the one and the same.
     Janus can be called upon when a troubled teenager is going through some hard times adjusting into being an adult. He can also be called upon to protect your homes or your property by dedicating the doorways, gates, driveways and entrances to your home or property. He can also be your support during times of transition between marriage or divorce or any transition in your life that can/could be hard for you.

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