Janus is the Roman god who presides over all beginnings and transitions. He is the god of time itself. Blessed with two faces, this god can gaze both into the future as well as the past. In ancient times, he stood at the gates of Rome, protecting the city from the Italic mountain tribe known as the Sabines, enemies of early Rome. Our Roman ancestors worshiped him at the time of planting and harvest. They also acknowledged him at the time of marriage, birth and death. All invocations to the gods were preceded by a prayer to Janus, as he guards the gates and access to Olympus. The Romans revered him enough to name the month of January in his honor. Thus Janus (given the modern New Year is in January, not March as in times past) is the God of the New Year.
|Bust of the god Janus, Vatican museum, Vatican City|
So what about those New Year’s resolutions that always seem to accompany the beginning of each new year? Well, it seems our ancient Babylonian friends made promises to their Gods at the beginning of each New Year. Of course the Roman’s began each year making promises to Janus as well. Medieval knights took the ‘peacock vow,’ a commitment and reaffirmation of their dedication to chivalry at the end of the Christmas season. Judaism celebrates their New Year, Rosh Hashanah, through to Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement) to reflect on one’s wrongdoings and to seek and offer forgiveness. The concept of making resolutions is to reflect upon one’s self-improvement, regardless of creed. A very laudable goal. Unfortunately, they say our success rate is only 88%. (Just who are "they" anyway?) However, we try, and at least for a short time, we are better people than we were during the past year.
What are some of my goals for 2013?
Well, I’d like to finish all my ‘current works in progress’ and get them submitted to my publisher. Spend more time with my beloved family. Like everyone else, get in a little bit better shape. And, perhaps somewhere along the way, somehow and in some way, make the world a better place to live (lofty, I know...).