It’s the first day of January, which you will remember is the month named for the Roman god Janus. Given his ability to simultaneously face both the past and future, Janus is often depicted as being two-faced. Anticipating the post-New Year’s Eve preponderance of hangovers and the dread of facing last night’s imbroglios let alone their repercussions upon the days to come, it stands for reason it would take the fortitude of a god to face one’s past and future – at least today. Or mere mortals could also just be two-faced, I suppose.
Historically, the beginning of the year hasn’t always been January first. It’s bobbed around a bit thanks to Julius Caesar (who added some mystery months and changed the names of others, claiming the month of Quintilis as his own) and later Pope Gregory after whom our current system, the Gregorian Calendar is named. In the Gregorian Brady calendar, Janus is more of middle month and jealous of March, which inspired the frequent lament, “Marcha, Marcha, Marcha.” Wocka, wocka. I’ll be here all week.
No matter the day of the year, it takes about three espressos before my neurons start cross-firing in a melee of free association and as I sip the third Nespresso pod, I can’t help but see synchronicity in my word-of-the-day “enantiodromia” and the first of the year. It’s likely you will never use this word enantiodromia in conversation unless your speaking with Carl Jung who coined it. And he’s dead. I for one, haven’t even attempted to pronounce it out loud but I will share Wikipedia’s definition of it:
Enantiodromia (Greek: enantios, opposite + dromos, running course) is a principle introduced by psychiatrist Carl Jung that the superabundance of any force inevitably produces its opposite. It is equivalent to the principle of equilibrium in the natural world, in that any extreme is opposed by the system in order to restore balance.
“I use the term enantiodromia for the emergence of the unconscious opposite in the course of time,” Jung wrote in 1949. Among its super-powers, enantiodromia can presage a renaissance in one’s personality (unless one is otherwise overtaken with evil, which apparently can also happen).
In terms of managing one’s psychic development in the new year, I’m inclined to embrace the possibility of a personality renaissance. Instead of the bold two-faced bust of Janus, my present inner duality (and that of most people I presume) is more akin to the masks of Thalia and Melpomene, better known as the tragedy-comedy masks. But if we’re talking inner-quadralities, I definitely lean toward the Six Million Dollar Man’s nemesis Maskatron, what with his three human faces and, of course, the cyborg circuit-board “face” and all. He is a nice stand-in for Janus, with his vintage, forward-looking retro-future styling, looking both to the past and future and looking for the face it had before the world was made.