Janus, the source of January, was one of the first deities dreamed up by the early Romans. He was their god of beginnings and transition, a two-faced figure looking to the past and the future.
Janus was appointed to be keeper of the gates, and his duties included tending access to the portals, including harbors, passageways, gates, doors, openings and endings, dictated by the seasons. He fulfilled his tutelary duties by giving a new season full authority to take command hence.
For many centuries, civilizations regarded the arrival of January as a signal that Janus would be opening the gates of the seasons, granting the waiting nymphs of spring access to tend their flower gardens and ensuring a time of winter rest
It is true that sometimes unwelcome guests slip past the keeper of the gates – winter storms of unbridled ferocity, bearing ice and snow and endangering earthly dwellers. However, there being a time for all things, such events are nature’s way of sweeping away the old, leaving space for renewing a worn world.