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Theosophical Encyclopedia

Janus

A Roman god, usually depicted with a double-faced head. His worship possibly predates the foundation of Rome, but his popularity reached its height during the ancient Roman empire period. He was the god of gates and many shrines, in the form of a stone gateway, often freestanding, and were found all around the city of Rome. Processions passed through these gates on auspicious days and armies traditionally left for service through them.

As a symbol, the image is subject to many interpretations. The opposed faces may indicate the past and the future; wholeness; the union of priest and monarch.

He is depicted as the holder of the keys of heaven in his right hand, and the weapon called halberd in the other. Helena P. BLAVATSKY states that Janus is the source of the later role of St. Peter as the keeper of the gates of heaven with his keys. Janus was the head of the twelve gods, while St. Peter was also the head of the twelve apostles. The statue of Janus “had 12 altars at its feet, symbolising the twelve signs of the Zodiac, the twelve great gods, the twelve months of the solar year and — the twelve Apostles of the Sun-Christ. . . . Janus presided over the four seasons. Peter presides over the four Evangelists” (CW X:279).

P.S.H.

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