On New Year’s Day, everyone is thinking about new beginnings, implementing new resolutions and how to improve their lives in the year ahead. Magickal practitioners who are looking to improve their lives also look to specific deities that they can connect with in order to make manifest their desires. In ancient Rome, the month of January was associated with the god Janus: A two-faced deity ideal for working magick related to new beginnings, resolutions, changes and transitions.
In “The Stories of the Months and Days,” author Reginald C. Couzens explains that the ancient Romans identified the first month of the year with the two-faced god Janus and called the month Januarius. The word Januarius is rooted in the Latin word janua, meaning “opening or gate.” Janus is the god of gates, doorways, new beginnings, changes, transitions and passageways; He is also the protector of shipping and trade. According to Couzens, all of the gateways surrounding Rome were dedicated to Janus. His association with doorways, gates and beginnings makes his association with January appropriate since the first day of the month marks the entrance into the new year.
As a dual-faced god, Janus comes to represent polarities or opposites. According to Roma Nova, Janus is one of the oldest gods in the Roman pantheon; He is a creation God and is known by a number of titles including The Dawning Light, The Vault of Heaven, The Opener, The Beginner of Life and The Seminal Seed.
Janus is depicted with two faces, each of which point on opposite directions; He is a deity that looks to the past as well as the future. According to Encyclopedia Mythica, Janus is sometimes portrayed as having one youthful face pointing in the direction of the future and one bearded face looking to the past, while in alternative depictions, both faces are bearded; he is also commonly depicted holding a key. On Ancientworlds.net, it is noted that Janus is sometimes portrayed as a gatekeeper with the clavis et virga or key and rod: The rod is used to forbid entry and the key provides entrance through the gate that he guards. On Mythical-Folk, it is explained that Janus is also sometimes depicted with the numbers 300 and 65 when he stands as a representation of the new year.
Honoring and working with the god
The ancient Romans called upon Janus when entering into new endeavors, work and projects. It was a common practice to make offerings to Janus in the form of new or fresh wine, frankincense and meal. According to Curiousity.com, the ancient Romans invoked the name of Janus before all big undertakings and during prayer or ritual. The offerings made to Janus were to appease the god and bring good fortune to those who gave offerings to him. Since Janus sees into the past and future, he is a god that is ideal to work with if a practitioner is seeking to reflect on the past year and how one's life or spiritual practices can be improved in the coming year. The month of January is a perfect time for working protective magick, banishing negative energies or influences and for determining goals or setting into motion the first steps to the achievement of set goals.
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