The Roman God Janus is the god of beginnings, endings, gates, bridges, and thresholds. He has two heads– one that faces the past and one that faces the future– and he presides over liminal times and spaces. The beginning of the year, January, as well as the beginning of the month, the start of the day, and the first step of a ritual all fall under the auspices of Janus.
Janus, claimed only by Romans, does not have a Greek counterpart. He also did not have specialized priests assigned to him, perhaps because Janus was invoked at the beginning of all rites to all the deities. All beginnings, even the beginning of life, were under the authority of Janus. His symbols, the key and staff, showed his power over movement through all doorways, gateways, and roadways.
Janus energy is with me as I start a new business, reconnect with old spiritual practices, make new friends, redesign family traditions, sign up for singing lessons, and other exciting changes. As much as I love routines and traditions, I am also drawn to the liminal energy of new ventures, mysteries, and the moments, like in autumn or spring, where change strikes like lightning or unfurls like a flower bud. Some changes will be beautiful and some will make us uncomfortable. The times in our lives when we are on the threshold between an ending and a beginning, the times when we look with one face to the past and one to the future, that moment when we lift our foot and step onto an unknown path towards an uncertain future– those are the times that the Romans invoked the will and blessings of Janus.