The Two-Faced God – Storytelling for Everyone

In ancient Roman mythology, Janus is the god of beginnings and transitions, also of gates, doors, doorways, endings and time. He is usually a two-faced god since he looks to the future and the past. The Romans dedicated the month of January to Janus, his most apparent remnant in modern culture, his namesake, the month of January.

Janus was frequently used to symbolize change and transitions such as the progression of past to future, of one condition to another, of one vision to another, and of one universe to another. Janus was worshipped at the beginnings of the harvest and planting times, as well as marriages, births and other beginnings. He was representative of the middle ground between barbarity and civilization, rural country and urban cities, and youth and adulthood.

According to some, he was the custodian of the universe but, to all Romans, he was the god of the beginnings and the ends, presiding over every entrance and departure, and because every door and passageway looks in two directions, Janus was seen as two-faced or Janus bifrons—the god who looked both ways. He was the gatekeeper; his symbols were a porter’s staff or virga and a set of keys. To illustrate his importance, his name was even mentioned before Jupiter in prayers.

He protected the start of all activities. He inaugurated the seasons. The first day of each month was considered sacred to him, and the first month of the year. Early Romans coins featured his image, showing him as two-faced, one bearded and one clean-shaven. Later, during the Renaissance, this image of two faces would represent not only the past and future but also wisdom.

The images of Janus are strange and evocative; they seem to combine time and place with an uncomfortable intimacy. We tend to think of the present moment as the most real experience: the past and the future are unknowable or distant.

Yet, if we think about the hinges of our own actions in the moment, we do move in a constant cause and effect motion—past experiences influencing the present, then a future outcome. The more aware we can link the opposites, the more we can find our way with conscious results.

Notice the way that the combined hair of the old and young Janus in the image is braided, woven. Yet each individual face seems oblivious of the other. How do we become the weaver, the one who sees the patterns of change?

As the new year begins in the month of January, what is your Janus story?

What door are you opening, and how does it hinge on the past?

What is an experienced truth that the older Janus could share with the younger OR the younger Janus with the elder?

Explore the experiences and the truths you’ve learned and the goals that lie ahead, as we all transition to this new year and decade.

Author adminPosted on January 23, 2020Categories Myth, Personal Story, SeasonsTags Janus, Personal story, Roman

The Sunflower – Storytelling for Everyone

Meaning and Myth

Clytie, Greek Nymph

Admiration and Devotion

As they turn their bright faces to follow the sun, sunflowers are also symbols of admiration and steadfast faith. People from a variety of cultures and religious faiths associate sunflower meaning with dedication and unwavering devotion.

Admiration and devotion can extend beyond religious faith. So, sunflower meaning can also represent loyalty and devotion to another person, a group of people, children, or even animals. It can also mean dedication to a professional calling or hobby.

Spiritual Meaning of the Sunflower

As they turn to face the sun, sunflowers remind people of those who seek deeper spiritual understanding and enlightenment. Often growing in fields full of other sunflowers, they represent devotees to a given faith.

Associated Spirit Animals

Sunflowers share traits and symbiosis with certain wild animals and insects. For example, moths, bees, butterflies, and beetles all rely on sunflowers for nourishment and in turn, they pollinate the flowers, thus extending their life force.

On a spiritual level, sunflowers share synergies with the bee spirit animal because they are symbols of devotion and dedication, as well as happiness. In addition, they are associated with the monarch and swallowtail butterfly spirit animals because of their orange and yellow hues and connection to the spiritual realm. Finally, sunflowers are associated with the hawk and eagle spirit animals because they symbolize spiritual ascension, and they all play an important role in Native American culture.

Sunflower in Inca Mythology

In 1532, the explorer Francisco Pizarro discovered giant sunflowers in Peru. They were sacred to the Iocal Inca People. For the Incas, the sunflower was in the image of Inti, their sun god. In fact, Incan priestesses wore sunflower-like discs made with pure gold on their breasts to honor Inti.

Native American Sunflower Meanings

For the Native Americans, sunflowers were also sacred, and they were included in spiritual rituals, including the Sun Dance. Sunflower seeds were an important food source, which they ground to make into flour. In addition, the plant was used for medicinal purposes and for building materials.

Sunflower in Greek Mythology

In Greek mythology, the sunflower is associated with loyalty and devotion. In one story, a nymph named Clytie is besotted with the sun god Apollo, and she tries to follow him everywhere. Unfortunately, Apollo loses interest in her and falls in love with another nymph named Leucothoe.

Heartbroken and jealous, Clytie tells Leucothoe’s father about the affair. Naturally, the protective father moves to break off the relationship between his daughter and the sun god. Enraged at the interference, Apollo turns Clytie into a sunflower.

Yet, even as a flower, Clytie continues to turn her gaze constantly towards the sun god.



Author adminPosted on August 13, 2021Categories Legends, Myth, Nature, SeasonsTags greek, Native American, sunflower