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Cosmology & Mythology Discussion of philosophy in regards to the revival of our ancient tribal folkway and worldview from a Folkish Heathen perspective, including the following: morals, ethics, metagenetics, blood mysticism, psychology, Jungian archetypes, and so forth.

Janus, Heimdall, and Agni

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Old Tuesday, May 20th, 2003   #1
Ederico
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Post Janus, Heimdall, and Agni

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Rahul mentioned there could be a correlation between the Roman God Janus, the Germanic God Heimdall, and the Vedic God Agni. So I decided to get some information from my favourite website for this matters found at http://www.pantheon.org . It would be great if Rahul commented on this relationship in greater detail after I present the following information, perhaps he could show us the correlation through what he knows.
Janus

Janus is the Roman god of gates and doors (ianua), beginnings and endings, and hence represented with a double-faced head, each looking in opposite directions. He was worshipped at the beginning of the harvest time, planting, marriage, birth, and other types of beginnings, especially the beginnings of important events in a person's life. Janus also represents the transition between primitive life and civilization, between the countryside and the city, peace and war, and the growing-up of young people.

One tradition states that he came from Thessaly and that he was welcomed by Camese in Latium, where they shared a kingdom. They married and had several children, among which the river god Tiberinus (after whom the river Tiber is named). When his wife died, Janus became the sole ruler of Latium. He sheltered Saturn when he was fleeing from Jupiter. Janus, as the first king of Latium, brought the people a time of peace and welfare; the Golden Age. He introduced money, cultivation of the fields, and the laws. After his death he was deified and became the protector of Rome. When Romulus and his associates stole the Sabine Virgins, the Sabines attacked the city. The daughter of one of the guards on the Capitolian Hill betrayed her fellow countrymen and guided the enemy into the city. They attempted to climb the hill but Janus made a hot spring erupt from the ground, and the would-be attackers fled from the city. Ever since, the gates of his temple were kept open in times of war so the god would be ready to intervene when necessary. In times of peace the gates were closed.

His most famous sanctuary was a portal on the Forum Romanum through which the Roman legionaries went to war. He also had a temple on the Forum Olitorium, and in the first century another temple was built on the Forum of Nerva. This one had four portals, called Janus Quadrifons. When Rome became a republic, only one of the royal functions survived, namely that of rex sacrorum or rex sacrificulus. His priests regularly sacrificed to him. The month of January (the eleventh Roman month) is named after him.

Janus was represented with two faces, originally one face was bearded while the other was not (probably a symbol of the sun and the moon). Later both faces were bearded. In his right hand he holds a key. The double-faced head appears on many Roman coins, and around the 2nd century BCE even with four faces.

http://www.pantheon.org/articles/j/janus.html


Heimdall

Heimdall is the god of light, the son of nine mothers (variously given as the daughters of Geirrendour the Giant or of Aegir). He was born at the end of the world and raised by the force of the earth, seawater and the blood of a boar. Because of his shining, golden teeth he is also called Gullintani ("gold tooth"). His hall is Himinbjorg, The Cliffs of Heaven, and his horse is Gulltop. Heimdall carries the horn Gjallar.

He is the watchman of the gods and guards Bifrost, the only entrance to Asgard, the realm of the gods. It is Heimdall's duty to prevent the giants from forcing their way into Asgard. He requires less sleep than a bird and can see a hundred miles around him, by night as well as by day. His hearing is so accurate that no sound escapes him: he can even hear the grass grow or the wool on a sheep's back. At the final conflict of Ragnarok he will kill his age-old enemy, the evil god Loki, but will die himself from his wounds.

As the god Rig ("ruler"), Heimdall created the three races of mankind: the serfs, the peasants, and the warriors. It is interesting to note why Heimdall fathered them, and not Odin as might be expected. Furthermore, Heimdall is in many attributes identical with Tyr.

http://www.pantheon.org/articles/h/heimdall.html


Agni

Agni is one of the most important of the Vedic gods. He is the god of fire, the messenger of the gods, the acceptor of sacrifice. Agni is in everyone's hearth; he is the vital spark of life, and so a part of him is in all living things; he is the fire which consumes food in peoples' stomachs, as well as the fire which consumes the offerings to the gods. He is the fire of the sun, in the lightening bolt, and in the smoke column which holds up the heavens. The stars are sparks from his flame. He was so important to the ancient Indians that 200 hymns in the Rig Veda are addressed to him, and eight of its ten books begin with praises dedicated to him.

Agni is closely associated with Indra, and is sometimes said to be his twin brother. Thus Dyaus Pita and Prthivi are named as two of his parents. But he has many more. Sometimes Kasyapa and Aditi are his parents; another time he is the son of a queen who keeps his birth secret from her king. He was born, like Indra, in full power and vigor. Agni is also said to be the son of ten mothers who are all sisters; these are the ten fingers of man. Another story tells that he consumed his parents when he was born, as they could not provide for him; this is symbolic of the fire born when two sticks are rubbed together which quickly are burned up by it. Dawn and Night are his sisters, his wife is Svaha, and he is the father of Karttikeya.

When Agni is described in anthropomorphic form, he sometimes has two faces which are smeared with butter. He has seven fiery tongues and sharpened, golden teeth. He is red in color, with black eyes and wild, black hair. He has seven arms and three legs, and seven rays of light emanate from his body. He either rides on a ram, or on a chariot, pulled by goats or sometimes parrots.

Agni loves all his worshipers equally, and so is loved in turn by all of them. He visits everyone's hearth, no matter if they are rich or poor. He is the mediator between the gods and mankind. He is a great consumer of Soma. When people use fire, they must face it toward the proper direction for different uses. When facing East, the fire should be used for sacrifices to the gods; when facing South, the fire should be used for sacrifices to the Manes or spirits of the dead; a cooking fire should always face toward the West. The proper offering to Agni, and hence all the gods, is ghee, which is clarified butter. Agni also had the power to impart immortality on mortals, as well as remove all sins at the time of one's death.

In later times, Agni's worship fell off dramatically. He became an incarnation of either Shiva or Brahma. Eventually he has come only to be called on by lovers, and by men who wish to increase their virility.

http://www.pantheon.org/articles/a/agni.html
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Old Wednesday, May 21st, 2003   #2
Rahul
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Post Janus & Agni

In the very first hymn of the Rig Ved, which invokes Agni as the god which was there to bless the old as well as the new. And it shares with Janus this one aspect. It is difficult, however, to fully confirm that a historical individual is the person behind Agni/Janus.

This is a Proto-Indo European god, certainly, but the idea of a historical person is not in keeping with the Aryan world-view. The best evidence is the physical act of the sacrificial fire ritual.

There is a Fire ritual at the Winter Solstice(Uttarayan), celebrated by peasants/cultivators. Then there is another one in early March, to celebrate the legend of "Holika Dahan", burning of a demonic witch. Agni's relevance in these two rites/festivals is understandable since other following months of the year are atrociously hot and sacrifice rituals become compact in scale, during the months of summers.

Agni burns human corpses. Initiation and "Naamkaran" ritual also has Agni's presence. Agni is Dyaus' son and in that he is Indra's brother.

Harvests certainly have Agni's sacrificial rituals. The greatest and most-celebrated is the Lohri on the eve of winter Solstice.

I'll have to understand completely the implications of Janus from what Edric mentions. It reaffirms my faith in Janus having a common origin with Agni, to an ancient Aryan god conception.
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