Hidden face of Janus – can you see it?


The blogosphere is in Janus mode, autopsying 2007 and prophetizing about 2008. Very fitting since the Roman deity Janus after whom January is named, is the god of “gates, doors, doorways, beginnings, and endings”. The double headed statues of Janus is friendly representation of how we see time. A liner thing – past and the future – the before and the after.

Hidden in the symbol of Janus (and our thinking) is the NOW. This very moment. Eternal, fleeting and impossible to capture. THAT is the third hidden face of Janus.

It sits invisible in all those statues, coins and other depiction of Janus. Looking at you. Perhaps, its the space in the middle between the two face. Or represented by the entire symbol. It really doesn’t matter because the here and now can only be represented by our awareness of it.

The “past” is beyond out control, subject for the frailties of interpretations and world view. The “future” is a seething cauldron of hopes, fears, and “planning”. All of it at the mercy of things outside our probability calculations. Greater perception of the present moment is the key to dealing with the “future” and creating a “past” that is less traumatic. Mainly because it helps in better plan and timely, wiser reactiond to the unexpected

Of course this is very easy to pontificate than accomplish. We live in a reality perceived in terms of by linear time. Mindfulness of the NOW is not easy. Cerno is particularly guilty of drifting off from the present moment. If I have a goal, a new year resolution (I cringe at the term), it is to be more aware of the here and now. And the best time to practice developing that perception is NOW.

How exactly does one go about this? Perhaps a different perception of the symbol of Janus could be used to focus on the here and now. Or some sort of meditation to shut of dwelling on what might have happened or will happen. Naturally all that deserves another post which I may or may not bother to write.

No I didn’t come up with the symbolic analysis in a flash of genius (or sloppiness). I was looking around for Janus references for the “first post of the year” and thought up this post after reading the quote below from Rene Guenon’s Fundamental Symbols (p90)

(The) third face is, in fact, invisible because the present in its temporal manifestation is but an ungraspable instant;* but when one rises above the conditions of this transitory and contingent manifestation, the present, on the contrary, contains all reality.

I originally found the above quote in this rather dense looking article published in Esoterica. Which describes itself as a “peer-reviewed academic journal devoted to the transdisciplinary study of Western esotericism” published by the Michigan State University.

At this point you might rightly ask your self what Cerno is doing reading reading dense academic articles (Western esotericism!)on the morning of January 1st. It is also reasonable to ask if Cerno has gone off the deep end (more straight forwardly called “going bonkers”).

I will answer such questions with a demented peal of hysterical, cackling laughter as they cart me back to the padded cell.

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11 thoughts on “Hidden face of Janus – can you see it?

  1. Janus also presides over the beginnings and endings of war, so let’s hope that this year Sri Lanka takes at least a few steps towards peace. Happy New Year! πŸ™‚

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  2. Happy 2008 to you πŸ™‚
    Over the years I’ve got the feeling that Janus had left the building long time ago. But why be pessimistic ? πŸ™‚

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  3. Janusis πŸ˜€ guess it goes with ending beginning stuff πŸ˜‰ Checked out your blog btw. Wish I had spotted it earlier. At least I have now πŸ™‚

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  4. Hi Cerno,

    After reading your post I thought I’d introduce you to a tool called The Now Watch designed to bring more presence to people’s lives. It’s a watch that tells the time like any watch but more importantly features the word NOW prominently on the face serving as a reminder that no matter what time of day it is… it is always the present moment.

    Please check out http://www.thenowwatch.com if you are intrigued.

    Perhaps it can help you and your readers become more aware of the here and now in 2008 and beyond.

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  5. Brilliant post, Cerno! We tend to drift off to the future or the past because without some sort of hope or memories to cling on to, we find it hard to face the here and now. Never thought about Janus and his three faces. Loved the way you’ve written it! πŸ™‚

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    1. Thank you πŸ™‚ Its all a result of some random article that I came by about the symbolism of Janus… Not sure how it started. But its all in the past now πŸ˜‰

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