The Two-headed God of January

If you were asked to pick which month is most often associated with deep reflection, you’d probably choose January. Known for recaps and resolutions, the new year starts with retrospection (as we bemoan past regrets and celebrate successes), then moves forward with hopes for the year ahead!

So, in January, we’re all a little bit like Janus, the Roman god for which January is named. Legend has it that the god Saturn gave Janus the ability to see into the future and past. Janus is usually depicted with having two heads that face in opposite directions. One looks back to the year departed, and one looks forward to the new and uncertain year ahead.

His name comes from the Latin word ianua, which means “door.” Janus is the god of doors, gates, doorways, bridges, and passageways, all of which symbolize beginnings and ends. Janus also represented transition, such as the time between youth and adulthood.

If you find it strange that a deity with two heads is the namesake for a month, check out the story of the obscure, one-armed Norse god that Tuesday is named after.