Family Deities: Janus

Thanks for joining us for another Families Deity! We’re exploring deities that tie into families and family values, or who are important to the family unit or children in some way. This month, we are exploring the unparalleled god, Janus.

Who is Janus?
Janus is a solely Roman God which makes him unusual in the fact that he has no Greek counterpart unlike most other Roman deities. He is the God of passage, gates, doorways, beginnings, transitions, transitional spaces and the past, present and future.

Another unusual aspect to Janus was that he had two faces facing in opposite directions which represented the past and the future of which he presided over.

He was considered important in Roman times and had three main temples constructed in his honour as well as many unofficial temples and he also had coins depicting his faces. Early coins showed Janus’ faces as one bearded and one shaven whilst on later coins both his faces were clean shaven.

Why is Janus one of our Family Deities?
As a deity today Janus can be honoured in many varying ways. As God of beginnings, transitions, and passage he can be honoured through the passage of one’s life, during the transitions throughout life and the new beginnings that occur during life. Times such as becoming a teen, reaching adulthood, new schools, new jobs, moving to a new house and many other, anything that is an important transition or new beginning.

Honouring Janus
In Roman, worship rituals would begin by honouring Janus first regardless of which deity the festival was celebrating as Janus was God of beginnings. He was honoured a lot, at the start of a new season, the start of a new year which is why January the first month of the calendar is named after him, the start of a new day, even at the start of a new war!

Janus was also important to the home as a protector of the doorway to the residence, he was worshipped alongside Vesta the Goddess of hearth and home.

There are no animals particularly connected to Janus

Key for its connections to doorways and portals
Staff which represents journeys

Often found on coins


What are your experiences with this fascinating god? Pop over to our Facebook group and let us know.