Past Master, Quatuor Coronati Lodge, No. 2076, United Grand Lodge of England
Prestonian Lecturer 2004, United Grand Lodge of England
Honorary Director, MASONIC FORUM Magazine


Trevor StewartIn all of those many ceremonies through which readers will have sat over the years no doubt they will have noticed the special emphasis which nearly all of them place on doorways and on gaining entrance, particularly newcomers.  Doorways, the action of entering, the associated ‘knocks’ and the guardians on either side, are simple metaphors for candidates’ beginning (hopefully) a new phase of their Masonic – and possibly their spiritual – pilgrimages.

What is more mundane, in the present state of a rising crime-wave, with the fairly constant threat of burglary in towns and even in rural areas, readers will be only too aware of how important ordinary doorways are for us today.  In some ways our doors are the last vestiges of those ancient protective devices, the draw-bridges to castles.  But the next time you go through your front doorway or the door to a masonic temple, either entering or leaving, just pause for a moment and reflect on the function of our doorway.


Most modern western peoples are not really bothered about their doors, except when they forget or loose their keys, or when wooden doors seem to stick and are difficult to either open or close properly in winter or when unexpected guests or even more unexpected intruders gain access.

But many ancient peoples had special divinities associated with doors or gateways because they, unlike us today, attached great importance to their doors and gates.

I shall quote just a few examples to illustrate the variety.

  • The ancient nomadic people of Eastern Siberia and Japan, the Aims, had a god of door-posts of their huts and special rites were observed when these were constructed. Offerings of stick fetishes (or ‘inao’) were made on subsequent occasions.
  • Some Japanese households venerated the gods of their doorways who were said to guard the families from “unfriendly things from below and above”. These guardians, or protectors, were, in some cases, personifications of the doorways and small prints of the Ni-o, the guardians of holy places, were fixed on doors to ensure continued protection.  Outside of Buddhist temples the figures of the two guardians, the Ni-o or ‘kings’, are huge and assume hideous proportions.  At Japanese Shinto temples the free-standing red-lacquered protective gates are called Tori-wi.  In Korea they are known as Hong-sal-mun.  In Mandarin China they are called Pailoo.  They call to mind the free-standing propylons of ancient Egyptian temples as well as those erected, according to the Books of Kings and Chronicles in front of King Solomon’s temple in Jerusalem.
  • In Southern China the gods who guarded the household doorways were Shen-Shu and Ju-Lu. Different names were assigned to these guardians in other parts of the country.  Images of these protectors, or simply their names, were set up at the main entrance with a tiny shrine of the left facing the door.
  • In some parts of India Vattuma is the god of the threshold for whom propitiatory offerings are required when the doorway is being constructed. Among the Maler caste of Chota Nagpur in Southern India, Dwava Gusain in the god of the household doorway.  Images of these deities are also, placed around the doors.
  • In ancient Egypt each building had its protecting deity as many surviving doorway inscriptions prove. Sphinxes guarded the entrances to tombs and were supposed to protect them from attacks by marauding desert demons but not, apparently, from grave robbers!  In several cases of royal tombs, idealised colossal statutes of the deceased personages guard the entrances.
  • In ancient Babylon and Assyria the gates of the cities, palaces and other public buildings were often dedicated to gods or named after them and each part of ordinary house-holds was associated the divinities to whom appeals for continued protection were made.
  • In pre-conquest Guatemala, the god of houses was Chahalka and his protection was assured by sprinkling the doorways with sacrificial human blood.
  • In ancient Greece, Apollo Aguieus or Thyraeus and the Antelii were associated the entrances to buildings. Images of Hecate were placed at doorways to prevent the egress of evil spirits of ghosts.  Images or symbols of Hermes, which were called the ‘Ermai’, were also placed there.
  • In the stilt houses of the ancient Khmer peoples of Northern Cambodia, access was gained by ladders which were guarded by male spirits. In the evenings the ladders were drawn up to leaving the houses and their inhabitants isolated during the hours of darkness.  The last rungs of these ladders were left to protrude out so that the guardian spirit of each hut could take up his protective stance on it to prevent ghosts or any hostile spirits from entering.

Sometimes it was the presence of the protective household deity which made the doorway sacred.  In other cultures it was the passage through of persons who were regarded as sacred which bestowed the numinous quality on doorways.  In Polynesia, for example, when a king or queen entered a temple the door was slammed shut because it had thereby become sacred.  Similarly, first-born sons were regarded as being sacred and no one could enter the houses by the same doorways after those infants were carried through until a rite of re-consecration was carried out.  In some parts of Northern India, anyone with smallpox (i.e., anyone possessed by the smallpox god) passing through a doorway was regarded has having rendered that doorway sacred and, therefore, taboo to all other persons until purification rites were performed.


In the modern Rosicrucian Societies those members reaching the Adept Grades are taught about Death, the final great ‘Initiation’, being the gateway to life.  Indeed, that mode of reflection on a man’s ‘inevitable destiny’ is not confined, as is known well, to that Grade.  Something like that is contained in most initiatic rites.  It is often coupled with the sentiment that in order to find oneself one may have to loose oneself.

But what of the deity whose name is alluded to in the Rosicrucian Latin phrase Mors janua vita?  What can be discovered about him?  The significance of his name is just as elusive as is Death itself.  I’m afraid that we must be content with legends and early myths, at least in where I begin this little exploration into mythology.

ijanus0001p1According to one myth Janus was the most ancient king of Latium, a native of Thessaly, a son of Apollo, who was exiled to Latium where he was welcomed by the then sole ruler, Camesus.  They formed an alliance and they shared the kingdom and Janus later established a small colony on a hill near the Tiber which later came to be called ‘the Janiculum’.  Other sources, such as Hesiod and Apollodorus, make him out to have been a son of Coelus or Uranus and Hecate.  Still others claim that he was a native of Athens.  Yet other versions of the myth claim that he had a wife, Camise also known as Camasenea, and they had several offspring.  The best known was their son, Tiberinus, who was drowned accidentally in the River Tiber and so gave it its name.  Like most of the early gods, Janus had more than merely one wife.  Another of his lovers was the nymph Juturna with whom he had another son, the minor god Fons (also known as Fontus).

After the death of Camesus, Janus is said by the myth to have reigned alone.  Other mythic sources claim that during his reign, after Saturn was driven out of heaven by his usurping son Zeus, he received the exiled Saturn into his ‘kingdom’ with great hospitality.  Janus is claimed to have civilised the barbarian peoples of Latium but other versions of the myth state that this process was due to the beneficent influence of Saturn to whom Janus granted possession of a village on the heights of the Capitaline Hill.  During his reign, the people were said to have become totally honest (some wishful thinking there, no doubt!)  Janus is also said to have invested money.  Indeed, the earliest bronze coinage found in Italy does have the effigy of Janus on one side and the shape of the prow of a boat on the reverse.

It may be worthwhile noting in this connection that the planet Saturn has several satellites, the tenth of which, discovered by the French astronomer Audouin Dollfus on 15 December 1966, is named ‘Janus’.  Appropriately, it is the closest to the parent planet but is also the most elusive.

Other ancient legends were attached to Janus.  After Romulus and his companions had carried of the Sabine women, Titus Tatius and the Sabines attacked Rome.  One night, when the city was under siege, a young maiden, Tarpeia, delivered the citadel into the Sabines’ hands.  They had already scaled the heights of the Capitol when the god Janus caused a jet of boiling sulphur to flood out of the ground and to shower them.  This put them to flight.  To commemorate this ‘miracle’ of deliverance, it was decided that in time of war the doors of the primitive ‘temple’ dedicated to the guardian god should always be left open so that he could always be able to emerge in order to come to the assistance of the Roman forces.

Ovid tells another quaint tale with sexual connotations associated with Janus.  It concerns another nymph called Carna who was said to beguile her suitors by inducing them to enter a cave (an interesting feature – perhaps a partial allusion to ‘initiation’?) with the promise that she would follow them in shortly and would there left them make love to her.  She then would run away leaving them expectant, unrequited and frustrated.  She tried this trick on Janus but he saw her retreating into the distance with his other, backward-looking face.  When challenged at this, she gave up and granted him her favours (not much struggle there to retain what little credibility she may have had left!)  In return, he granted her to power to chase away nocturnal vampires – no less.

According to another legend, the name ‘Janus’ was only just another form of the name ‘Dianus’.  He had no Greek equivalent but in ancient Rome, however, he was the primitive numen of household doorways (or ‘ianua’) and of the city gate and one of his functions was to prevent the passage of all evil things into the home and the city.  Hence, Janus became one of the Penates – the household protectors.  He was the god of the Jani; i.e., the gates constructed in the form of free-standing arches on roads etc., the best example of which was that in the main Forum in Rome, originally a temple in the form of an elaborate gateway.  Later, however, Janus became rather the god of the human action of entry and departure via the door/gateway.  This can be seen by the fact that later on each part of the door had its own numen.  The threshold itself had Limentinus; the leaves of the actual door had Forculus and the door-hinges had Cardea.

It may be difficult for modern minds to conceive what religious emotions and ideas could have been aroused when ancient Romans looked at their doors and gates.  Possibly it was the concepts of the two-sidedness of a door; i.e., the fact that it looks inwards and outwards simultaneously – hence Janus Geminus and Janus Bifrons – and that it both opened and shut (Patulcius and Clusius or Clusivius in the Carmen Saliorum, presumably from ‘patere’ = ‘to open’ and ‘claudere’ = ‘to close’) which gave rise to the idea of a god of exits.  Some historians of comparative religion have speculated that the origin of the Janus cult lay in the early settlers’ insecurity in their defences.  The door was seen as a weak point in the defences of their homesteads through which evil (whether spiritual or material) can enter most easily.  This may be reflected in the early Roman custom of corpses always being carried feet first out through the doorways for fear that the departed spirits might find their way back through them.  People, who had been falsely reported dead, on their return home, were not allowed to enter their homes through the doorways but had to be lowered in through a purpose-made hole in the roofs.

Even at the earliest dates in Rome Janus had his own priest (known as the Rex sacrorum) and his own annual festival (the Agonalia on 9 January) which took place in the Regia.  The Rex sacrorum, also known as the Rex sacrificulus, was subordinate only to the Pontifex maximus.  After the abolition of the monarchy, he had to preside over most public ceremonies.  Before a knowledge of the calendar became widespread, it was also his duty to summon the Roman populace to the Capitol on the calends and on the nones of each month and to announce the festivals of the month.  On the calens he invoked Janus.  Incense, which included the component styrax, and aromatic plants were burned on the altars then.  Young rams, fattened on the Plains of Falisci, were sacrificed.  The votaries who assisted the Rex sacrorum had to wear new robes.

In daily, private devotions to the god in well-to-do Roman households, a sacred, ceremonial cake, called the ‘strues’, was offered with the following prayer:


O Father Janus, with the offering of this cake, I pray thee

be propitious to me, my child, my household and my family.


Then wine was offered to the god on the family’s altar with the following appeal:


O Father Janus, as I have prayed thee good prayers in offering the strues,

so for the same object let this offering of wine succeed.


Next the, small sacrificial porkling, or porca proecidanae, was slain, its entrails laid bare, another strues offered followed by a second cup of wine.

When Janus came to represent ‘higher’ thoughts such as being the beginning of everything – especially in the calendar year – this may have been another factor which led eventually to Janus being conceived as the Divom deus or the principium deorum.

According to one legend, narrated by St. Augustine in his De Civitate Dei, the worship of Janus was introduced into Rome by Romulus whereas that of Sol, the god of the Sun, was instituted by the Sabine King, Titus Tatius.  Originally, Sol-Janus was a god of light and the sun.  He opened the gates of heaven by going forth in the morning and closed them on returning thence at evening.  The two divinities came to be conflated at a later period.  The idea of a separate god known as Sol was lost in that of Janua (= Janus) because we find very few references to the worship of the former deity in ancient Roman sources whereas worship of the latter assumed great importance such that Numa Pomilius of Cures, the legendary second king of Rome, in his regulation of the Roman calendar, called the first month Januarius after Janus who, by then, was popularly conceived as presiding over the beginning of all things.  As the origin of all organic life, especially of human life, Janus was therefore called ‘Consivius’ (= ‘the Sower’).  The hymns of the Salii Palatini and the Solii Agonales, the priests of Mars, date from the first century BC and contain allusions to Janus as “the good creator”, “the god of gods”, “the oldest of the gods” and “the beginning of all things”.  Allusions to the liturgical importance of Janus at crucial times of the agricultural year can be seen in the fact that some of the Salian Hymns sung to him were to be chanted only in March during the planting time when Janus was invoked to assist the vegetative growth.  He was also invoked during harvest time in ceremonies associated with Jupiter and Juno.

In some legends Numa is credited with having erected and dedicated the first of the massive stone passage-ways on the North side of the Forum to Janus.  One legend reports that when the capitol of the Romans, located on the Palatine Hill, and that of the Sabines, on the Quirinal Hill, were united a huge gateway was built on the road which lead from the Quirinal to the Palatium with a massive door facing each of the two capitols as a double barrier to separate the two ‘liberties’.  In other words, what was built was a thick archway, with doors on either face so enclosing a small, paved courtyard.  If that was the case then the two doors would have faced North and South whereas all other narratives state, and archaeological evidence bears this claim out that the first of these gateways was constructed on an East-West axis.  What is known definitely is that the Consul Claudius Duilius, after his victory against the Carthaginian fleet in 260 BC during the First Punic War, returned to Rome in triumph and showed his gratitude to the gods by erecting a gateway-temple to Janus in the Forum Olitorium.  This was later restored and added to by both Augustus and Tiberius during their reigns.  It was left open in times of war and closed when the armies had returned to the city.  This passage-way, or gateway, in its various manifestations was variously called the Janus Medius, the Janus Geminus, the Janus Bifrons, the Janus Quiranus or, later still, the Partae Belli.  According to the testimony of Procopius (in  Bellum Gothicum) the Janus Gemanius was originally not a city gate for ordinary traffic but, like the later Porta Triumphalis, was used only on certain ceremonial occasions such as when armies marched out against enemies and when returning from their campaigns.  For example, Augustus closed the Janus Gemanius after victories in 29, 25 and 23 BC. Vespasian commemorated the end of the Rhenish and the Jewish Wars in 71 AD by a similar closing.  Coins struck to commemorate the conclusion of the peace with Parthia and Armenia also show the closing of the gateway.  These exits and entrances symbolised respectively that the god too had gone out to assist the Roman troops or had returned from having performed his assistance.  When it was closed this huge gateway symbolised the ‘fact’ that the god, the safe-guard of the city, might not escape.  Within this ‘passage-way’, or covered gateway, there was erected a bronze, five-metre tall two-faced statue of a handsome young man who faced both East and West.  Later alterations to this structure resulted in it having a door and three windows on each of its four sides.  The four doors were taken to represent the four seasons of the yearly cycle and the three windows of each side came to represent the three months of each of these four seasons.  The twelve windows thereafter came to represent the twelve months of the calendar and so the gateway-temple of Janus came to return to the god’s original zodiacal allusions.  Indeed, some of the later depictions of Janus, ranging from early coins to the terracotta frieze in the Medici villa at Poggio a Caiano (attributed variously to Guiliana da Sangallo and to Andrea Sansovino) show him holding the number 300 in one hand and the number 65 in another thereby indicating that he presided over the whole calendar year.  In almost every case, the faces shown are bearded and clean-shaven.  One interpretation might be that the artists were aiming at depicting the youth and the age of the one divine personage (i.e., Janus in his beginning and in his ending).  Another, more controversial, more interesting interpretation is that these figures are hermaphroditic (i.e., that Janus, as the originator of all material, human things, was both male and female).

Interpreting this gateway-temple, open in time of war and closed in time of peace, puzzled mythological speculators even in Classical times.  For example, Virgil (Aeneid, I. 294 & VII.607ff.) regarded war as being shut up within the doors and hence released upon the world when they were opened.  Horace (Epigrams, II.1.255), on the other hand, referred to the doors which shut Janus, as guardian of peace, inside.  Virgil recorded the custom, which was common in Rome and into other Latin cities, that only the King or the Consul could formally open the doors of this ‘temple’ as a symbol of the declaration of war.  Ovid (Fasti, I.279f.) recalls that the doors were left open during military operations so that symbolically there might be no obstacle to the return of the troops who had gone out.

In Rome eventually, Janus became the god of all going out and coming in to whom all places and entrance and passage, all doors and gates, were holy.  In Rome all doors and covered passages were named in allusion to Janus.  The former were called ‘ianuae’.  In the latter, the arches which spanned the ‘streets’ or alleys were called ‘iani’ – a term which was symbolical of the vault of heaven.  Many of these passageways were expressly devoted to Janus, especially those situated in market-places or at inter-sections.  It was during later periods of Roman history that Janus received sacrifices before all other gods in the Roman pantheon.  The beginning of each day, each week, each month and each year became to be regarded as sacred to him.


So, the symbolism of the figures depicting the god Janus is complex with multiple significations.  It is surprising, for instance, how persistent this image of a two-faced being is in European tradition.  One has only to recall the numerous examples contained in the alchemical literature.  Browsing through some volumes about alchemy on my shelves one day I came across again the series of plates in the Rosarium Philosophorum which show the recumbent hermaphrodite figure in association with the various stages of the alchemical process.  One can trace the two-faced image also in Michael Maier’s Atalanta Fugiens (1617) and in Johannes Mylius’ Philosophia Refomata (1622).

Sometimes the figure of Janus has been connected with that of Christ and an especially good example of this particular association was found by chance in the early 1920s in France.  In 1925 a French historian, Lucien Charbonneau-Lassay, published an unusual ecclesiastical manuscript fragment – a single, detached leaf from what had been a prefatory calendar in a fifteenth-century book of unknown provenance contained in the archives of the monastery at Luchon.  The page is dedicated to the month of January and at the bottom is a painted cartouche.  At the top of the inner medallion is the monogram ‘IHS’ surmounted by a heart-shaped symbol.  In the medallion itself is shown a bust of the two-faced god, Janus Bifrons.  As is often the case, the faces are male and female; the head is crowned; one hand holds a sceptre and the other holds a key.  On Roman monuments and coins, Janus was usually shown crowned as in this French drawing, with a sceptre in his right hand because he is ‘king’ and with a key to open and close the epochs of Time.  Charbonneau-Lassay drew attention to the obvious parallels between Janus and Christ which this cartouche seems to contain.  Like the ancient Janus, this figure of Christ holds the royal sceptre to which He is entitled by His heavenly Father as well as His terrestrial ancestry.  In His other hand He holds the key to eternal secrets, coloured by (His) blood which opens the doorway to eternal life for lost humanity.  This interpretation is re-enforced, for example, by a passage in the fourth of the great pre-Christmas Antiphons (i.e., that for 20 December contained in the pre-Vatican II ‘Ratisbon’ liturgy): O Clavis David et Sceptrum domus Israel:


Thou art, O Christ, long awaited, the Key of David and the Sceptre of the House of Israel, Who openest and no man shutteth and Who shutteth and no man openeth.


Whenever Janus is shown in relation to Time, it is important to remember that between the Past (which is no longer) and the Future (which is yet to come) is Janus’s true face – the one which looks perpetually at the Present and which is neither of those which we can actually see.  This third ‘face’ is, in fact, invisible because the Present is an ungraspable instant.  This explains, for example, why certain Semitic languages, such as Hebrew and Arabic, do not have a verbal form that corresponds to our present tenses.  Nevertheless, when one manages to rise above the restrictions of this transitory and contingent manifestation, the Present actually contains all of reality.  And this ‘third’ face of Janus, in the Hindu tradition, is the frontal eye of Shiva, ‘Master of Trikala – the Triple Time’.  Shiva’s third eye is also invisible (i.e., it cannot be represented by any corporeal organ) and represents the ‘sense of eternity’.  A mere glance from it reduces everything to ashes.  In other words, it destroys all manifestation.  However, when Succession is transmuted into Simultaneity, all things remain eternally Present.  In other words, the apparent Destruction is really only Transformation – in the strict, etymological sense of this word.

In this way, Janus can be taken to be ‘Master of Eternity’ in just the same way that Christ, as the Word, is designated repeatedly in Biblical texts as being co-eternal with the ‘Ancient of Days’, the Father and Lord of the Ages to Come (‘Jesu pater futuri saeculi’) or, as for example in the Apocalypse of St. John the Devine, where Christ declares that He is ‘the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last’ and in the opening verse of the Gospel of St John which proclaims that ‘In the Beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God’.  The Master of Time cannot be subject to Time because Time has its principle in Him, in much the same way as Aristotle’s ‘Prime Mover’ of all things, or the universal principle of Movement, is fundamentally immobile.  I suppose that this paradox of unmoving flux, or cycle of existence, was the original meaning and significance of the Latin word ‘saeculum’, the Greek word ‘aeon’, the Hebrew word ‘olam’ and the Sanskrit title Purana-Purusha (= ‘world-soul’) in the Rig-Veda and later Vedic texts.

In the Lauchon cartouche, for example, the sceptre and the key are in Janus’s hands.  The former is, like the crown, a symbol of regal power but the crown may have a two-fold significance for it can be conceptualised also as a symbol of temporal power and spiritual elevation or achievement.  The key is more specifically an emblem of sacerdotal power.  Furthermore, the sceptre is shown on the left of the figure (i.e., on the side of the male face) while the key is shown on the right (i.e., on the side of the female face).  According to the Kabbalah, the left (i.e., the left column on the Sephirotic ‘Tree’) corresponds to the Divine attribute Din (= ‘Justice’) while the right (i.e., the right column on the Sephirotic ‘Tree’) corresponds to the Divine attribute Hesed (= ‘Mercy’).  Both of these attributes, Justice and Mercy, are manifestly appropriate for Christ “Who will come to judge the Living and the Dead”.  Arab theologians make a similar distinction when commentating on the Divine attributes and speak, correspondingly, of ‘Jalal’ (= ‘Majesty’) and ‘Jamal’ (= ‘Beauty’).  The symbolism of the left and rights hands as ‘the hand of justice’ and ‘the hand of blessing’ is carried consistently throughout the writings of the Church Fathers, especially in those of St. Augustine.  I suppose that helps to explain why clergymen traditionally perform the Benediction while holding up their right hands to their congregations.   The parallelism of these symbols can be shown schematically thus:


LEFT                          RIGHT

sceptre                         key

Din = Justice               Hesed = Mercy

Jalal = Majesty            Jamal = Beauty

male                             female


In other words, in this fifteenth-century cartouche, one of Janus’s usual two keys has been replaced with a sceptre to show that a double power – sacerdotal and regal – proceeds, in the Judeo-Christian tradition, from a single Principle.


In the Classical era, Janus was commonly shown as carrying two keys, one of gold and the other of silver, to open and lock each of the two solstitial gates, the Janua Coeli and the Janua Inferni, corresponding respectively to the Winter and Summer solstices (i.e., the two extreme points of the Earth’s annual cycle around the Sun).  Janus, as Master of Time, was the Janitor who opened and closed this cycle. On the other hand, he was also the god of initiation into the Greater and the Lesser ‘Mysteries’.

The word ‘Initio’ comes from the root-word ‘in-ire’ (= ‘to enter’ and this is clearly connected with the concept of a gateway).  According to one, rather obscure passage in Cicero’s treatise De Natura deorum, the name ‘Janus’ had the same root as the verb ‘ire’ (= to go) and this root-word has been detected in Sanskrit texts where among its derivatives is the word ‘yana’ (= the way).  According to most linguists, it seems that that word ‘ianus’ is based on the root ‘ia’.  This is an extension of an Indo-European root ‘ei’ (= ‘to go’) and this abstract term signifies ‘passage’ or ‘travelling’.  The ancient Oriental concept of ‘Tao’ means literally ‘the way’ and is shown in Mandarin Chinese by two ideographic characters which are the signs for the head and the feet (i.e., the beginning and the end).  Furthermore, you will recall that Jesus proclaimed Himself to be ‘the Way’.  It is interesting, and not entirely inapposite, I suppose, that the symbol of the two keys is retained, even to this day, by the Papacy in its Coat of Arms.  Incidentally, another symbol for Janus was that of a barque, a vessel that appropriately could move backwards and forwards – corresponding to Janus’s two faces – and this is also retained today as one of the other chief symbols of the Papacy.

There is one other curious co-incidence which readers may care to consider.  Janus was the god of beginnings.  His name was assigned to the first month of the Roman calendar.  He presided over the so-called solstitial gates, the ‘gate of men’ and the ‘gate of the gods’; i.e., the Summer and Winter Solstices respectively.  I am sure that readers will be able to tease out the zodiacal allusions and connections in this.  His stolitial festivals were commemorated by the members of the Collegium Fabrorum (the guild of artisans) whom some would regard as the Classical forerunners of the later Medieval stonemasons.  These solstitial feasts of Janus became eventually, in the Christian dispensation, the festivals of the two Saints John and the Medieval operative stonemasons had both Saints John as their patrons.  Furthermore, in the very early days of speculative freemasonry (perhaps the inheritor of the Medieval traditions) lodges were known as “St. John” lodges.   Remember also that according to Cicero at least, the name Janus has the same root as the verb ‘to initiate’, and what is it that freemasons’ Lodges do except they initiate?  In other words, they are concerned with ‘beginnings’.  Perhaps freemasons have more to do with Janus than at first glance from which ever of his two faces they are looking at!