Let’s talk about doors.
People keep talking about closing doors, opening doors; but no one talks about the going through doors. The Romans considered crossing door-ways to be magical processes, hence the crossing with your right foot, carrying brides, sprinkling salt and things, bedecking door-jambs with herbs, etc. They even had a God for it. Guy called Janus.
The poor thing was bloody busy, let me tell you, and if being invoked every time some one traipsed in and out of a room wasn’t enough, they unloaded the New Year on the poor sucker. Not that he got much from all this labour. Oh no! Guys like Jupiter, with his thunderbolts, or that money-bags bitch Fortuna, or Mars with his prancing soldier-boys got all the attention and the big temples. Not to mention Venus! Sex always sells, and believe me, Venus was a big seller. She had loads of temples and eager followers frolicking about.
So what about Janus, I ask you? Janus got a month. That’s right. Janus got January. NOT parades, silken girls jiggling in the nude, or Virgins sworn to him; no returning conquerors burning incense on his altar in thanks for victories, no hordes of thankful accountants.
Janus got January and a few statues of a weirdo with two faces: one facing forward, one backward. Can you believe it? They had that poor Janus constantly looking down on his own bum. Is this gratitude? This was the Divinity that was invoked hundreds of times a day by each Roman. How many times do you cross doors? Move from room to another? From one phase of your life to the next? They went around muttering the poor sod’s name in vain ALL DAY!
Ah, but once a year, Janus came into his own…
That one day and night, the great Doorway leading from one Solar Year to the next was crossed. Then Janus ruled absolutely. Even the other Gods bowed down to him. On that day, humble Janus was the inheritor of the mighty Titan Chronos. He held the vicious sickle of Time in his hands. All must bow to him. Still, Janus was a humble God (spending eternity gazing down on your own rear-end teaches you humility, not to mention compassion) and wielded his absolute power with a gentle hand.
On Janus-day, New-Years Day they got a golden chance for new beginnings and so can we.
We can look back with kindness on our own short-comings (as poor Janus on his own derriere) and forward, ever forward into a new and dazzling horizon: a clean slate. Janus takes that Sickle and cuts us some major slack.
“Go forth and start anew. Take from the past only that which makes you strong: only love, joy, good memories. Leave all else behind. See? Here I cut the ugly clinging tentacles of past mistakes and pain from your ankles and set you free! Dance in that New Year!”
Being pagan had its up side. Janus was a good guy. I’d take his advice if I were you I do. I also intend to render up a series of libations to poor neglected Janus, in Champagne, of course. For religious purposes only, I’m a VERY religious woman.
All Hail Janus!
May this New Year bring many fruitful crossings, may Janus bless your steps on your new beginnings and teach you to cast a kinder eye on past mistakes.
Happy New Year!