The god of gateways: Janus

Last week I had a series of one card draws, spanning three days, and for those three days the same card came up. The 10 of cups. When I look at the Marseilles 10 of cups, I think of excess and completion in the realm of the heart, the hearth, and in the home.

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Camoin-Jodorowsky Tarot

Receiving the same card for three days puzzled me. Although, by the third day I decided to pull out Dame Fortune’s Wheel and see what new card would come up. Unsurprisingly, the 10 of cups shows up again. In this particular deck, the illustrations are Etteilla’s interpretations of the pips, no matter, the reading is still the same, a solid hearth, a united home, completion. I decided to pull an extra card and the guileless fool shows up. Hm, interesting. Things get further complicated when I pull out a shadow card, the mighty tower. Now, I look at this, perplexed. How can these two additional cards contextualize the 10 of cups that keeps showing up?

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Dame Fortune’s Wheel by Paul Huson, LoScarabeo.

Seeing these two drastically different cards straddled by the 10 of cups really left me pondering about my life, the moment, the past and the future. As the day wore on I came upon a name that sort of struck a cord with me, Janus, the Roman God Janus. He was the two-faced god of gates, doorways, entrances and exits, beginnings and endings. He was honored at all beginnings, especially at the beginning of the year, and was generally a household God. He is one of the few, or the only god, that has no Greek counterpart in the Roman pantheon. Any two faced mask is considered a Janus mask. All the gates and doorways were dedicated to him. During time of war, the gates were left open as it was thought of as a favorable omen. Also, deference was paid to him during the important times of birth and marriage. Here is a depiction of him.

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Source: talesbeyondbelief.com/roman-gods/janus

As I look at the picture, think about Janus, and consider gateways, I recall that the 10 of cups is a fortified city with many gateways and the tower has one big doorway. Meanwhile, the fool walks away from these, hopeful, looking up wide-eyed at the waning moon.

This is a moment of endings and beginnings, fitting as I have recently relocated. Such a compelling god, Janus is, even more so when I consider he is a household god, and the cups suit is in the realm of the house and the hearth. I recognize this intertwined constellation of significations as a call to honor the ending, the chaos and mess that was left behind. The flaming tower that is struck by lightning. In so many areas of life, as one embarks on anything new, there should be a recognition of the past, of whatever is left behind. And with this recognition there should also be a firm movement towards what is new, with a vision of establishing something better, more elevated than what was before. Janus reminds me of this, the duality of letting go and the pain of doing so yet also of the hopeful embrace of what lies ahead. The promise of the 10 of cups, the complete and fortified home. The fool is the neutral element, reminding me what my outlook should be, willing and free, daring and brave, while also hinting at the need for proportionality and measure in this bold spread of cards.

Finding Janus, a god I knew nothing about, just when I stared blankly at the persistent 10 of cups really puts it all into perspective. I humbly take this lesson with me as I continue walking.

On a last note, soon my journey with the suit of swords will be up. If you have been following along, look out for the last post on the 10 of swords this week.

As always, happy reading.


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