'Janus is the god that rose not, but reigns. Janus is the saint that died not, but is dead. Janus is the door between what cannot be, and what must be.'
- Janus' Savor
Who (or what) is Janus? The name appears sporadically in Cultist Simulator in association with various other figures and events, but the actual identity and purpose of Janus remains a mystery. Are they another title for one of the Hours, a representation of a group of them, or some other being entirely? Does he even exist? These questions and more pervade throughout Cultist Simulator.
Appearances in Cultist Simulator
'Janus is the Gatekeeper, the twin-god, the god that wounds, the presager of changes, the sun, the moon....'
- Read the Locksmith's Dream: Stolen Reflections
- Janus is mentioned first in ‘The Locksmith’s Dream: Stolen Reflections’, the fourth volume Teresa Galmier’s occult writings. Teresa appears to be reviewing the work of other occultists in which Janus is mentioned, and notes that his various titles and associations tie him to various Hours, including the Watchman, the Twins, the Mother of Ants, the Forge of Days, the Meniscate, and the Madrugad. She ponders if he is a synthesis of the Hours, or something else, noting that the occultists Hersault and Coseley came to different points of view, the former claiming Janus was all of the gods, while the latter argued that he was none of them. But why only one? Why only two?
- If the Baldomera is summoned to the Wake and asked to sign the book, she admits that while she was excited about Janus when writing the volume, she has finally come to the conclusion that if he is anyone, he is either the Watchman or the Meniscate.
- Janus is also referenced in the Apostle Obsonate legacy, during which the player must gather several sacred ingredients to be used in the Seven Graces for the Vitulation. The Blood of St. Januarius imparts “Janus’ Savour”.
- The final mention of Janus in Cultist Simulator appears when the player achieves any of the Major Victories (Forge, Grail, or Lantern), in which a meta-comment from the developers mentions 'We, and Janus, salute you'.
Real World References
In our own History, Janus is a two-faced Roman god of doorways, beginnings, endings, and crossroads. While direct mentions of Janus in Cultist Simulator initially seem rather limited, exploration of various myths and historical references that serve as inspiration for the game indicate a much larger role for him than it initially appears.
- As stated earlier, Janus is equated to some degree with St. Januarius, a real Catholic saint whose blood in Cultist Simulator is a powerful Heart ingredient that seems tied to the Thunderskin.
- In the Exile legacy, a Name of the Colonel called Quirinus can be encountered. Quirinus is traditionally a god of the Roman state, but is also used as an epithet for Janus, another Roman god.
- One of the strangest appearances of Janus is in a myth that serves as likely inspiration for the Horned-Axe, in which a nymph huntress of the wilderness named Cardea is raped by Janus. He then attempts to appease her with a gift of Hawthorne, which has protective properties when placed over doorways. This act transforms Cardea into a guardian deity of the Threshold.
- There is also an association between Janus and one of the Names of the Elegiast, Miss Naenia, who is based on a Roman funeral goddess called Nenia Dea. In this context they are compared and contrasted with Janus, a god of beginnings and gateways at birth, versus Nenia, a goddess of endings and the passage of death.
- Another very speculative connection exists with the Elegiast, who is stated to have origins in Iona. Iona means ‘Dove’ and comes from the same route as the name Jonah/Jonas. Jonas…Janus? While a simply similarity in names and pronunciation might seem like very little, Cultist Simulator is known to make these associations at times, as is the case with Janus and Januarius, as well as once when tying the Zagros Mountains to the Greek hunter Zagreus, despite the two in our own History being unrelated. There is additional odd coincidences regarding Iona, pertaining to Ionia, a region of Greece, in which there exists an island called Chios (similar to the mysterious Chione), which also bears names relating it to snakes and pines, which bear significance to Cultist Simulator. It’s very possible all of this is extremely coincidental, though it is interesting that such a synthesis of disparate elements from the universe exists.
Theories and Questions
'Riddles tend to expand, puzzles tend to resolve.'
- Discuss The Locksmith's Dream: Volume 4
There is fervent speculation regarding who Janus is and what purpose he serves in the Cultist Simulator universe. Among the most popular theories are the following:
- As hinted at by Teresa Galmier in her original work, Janus could represent the power of the Hours as a whole, or a select group of them perhaps. The legend of Janus and Cardea mirroring the events of the Lithomachy, in which the Horned Axe receives restitution for the murder of her siblings by the new Hours, suggests he may represent the current regime of the House of the Sun. However, Teresa herself expresses some doubts about her original theories, which point in this direction.
- Janus may simply a meta commentary about the synchronism of various mythologies and belief systems in Cultist Simulator, which, being largely Indo-European based, in fact stem from a common origin. Teresa’s comments when asked about her book regarding Janus may in fact be further poking fun at the fanbase for overthinking such mysteries and questions in-universe, and the reference to him out-of-universe in the Major Ascensions further leads credence to this idea of him not being a force in the world, but outside of it.
- It could be that Teresa’s last statement on the subject is correct, that Janus is simply a name for one of the Hours, most likely the Meniscate or the Watchman, though this is still a guess at his true identity. But the Baldomera does not always come across as entirely sane or reliable (or straight talking), with many of her statements often sounding convoluted or confusing in nature.
- Janus may be in fact none of the gods after all, as Coseley concluded. He may be a construct of occultists, a distorted symbol, or something else that in reality has little consequence as an actual entity. Of course, Coseley is a “Worm of Worms”, with a known contempt for the existing power structure of the Mansus.
While unlikely, it's feasible that Janus is some other entity apart from the Hours, one with significant power or influence in his own way.