Human Perceptions: Another Theory On Janus/Valefor

By S.D. Ryukage


I signed off last night, with a message from my IN PBeM mailing list in the back of my head. (summary: One of the other players was unnerved by the fact that SJGames copied Janus nearly word-for-word so far as abilities and the like for Valefor; I replied that it was one of the 'unsolved mysteries' of IN.) The reason for mentioning this will become clear later.

Anyway, after that, I picked up one of Katherine Kurtz's Deryni books. (King Kelson's Bride, IIRC. Good series.) When I came to one of the rituals, I noticed the Archangels of the Four Corners (Uriel, Gabriel, Raphael, and Michael) were involved. Which got me to thinking. In Nomine has those four as Purity, Fire, Knowledge, and War respectively, but In Nomine also has Christianity and Judaism, (sp?) in which they represent different things than their Words cover. (some see Uriel as Death, others have Gabriel representing Water, etc.) We all know that human perceptions of a Word are the major dictators of what that Word covers, in canon. What about human perceptions of the holder?

If human perceptions of Archangels and Princes affect their personalities, that offers a number of interesting rationales - or personality problems. Raphael's healer nature could have been why she attacked Legion, Prince of Corruption, before anyone else, and was willing to sacrifice her life to stop him. Perceptions of Uriel as Death may have greatly influenced the Purity Crusade. The four major Archangels (Uriel, Gabriel, Raphael, and Michael) are sometimes seen as 'siblings', or close enough that they might as well be, which helps rationalize Michael's hatred of Dominic after he went after Gabriel.

On the Princes' side, I can't immediately think of rationales, but I can do personality quirks. For one, Lucifer would likely hate the Princes that share or had shared names attributed to him - Beelzebub, etc. He also might choose to switch from 'morning star' to 'evening star', now that he is no longer an Archangel (that's from learning that Venus is also called the evening star, or Hesperus/Vespers.) Baal may have ties to the sun - the Ethereal version certainly would, because the god Baal was a sun-god IIRC. Kronos, playing Cronos/Saturn, might carry a sickle and/or have ties to 'harvests' - which leads to problems with Saminga as Death - and the Chronos interpretation leads to why he's so obsessed with time.

Then, of course, there's Janus. In Roman mythology, he's the god of doors, openings, and beginnings, among others - which fits Janus and, to a certain extent, Valefor. However, what took me so long to realize is this.

The god Janus has two faces, each looking away from the other.

In other words, two seperate 'faces' - or identities - each with opposing perceptions - angel and demon, Ofanite and Calabite, Archangel and Demon Prince, Heaven and Hell.

If human perceptions really do shape the Word-bound as well as the Word, then perhaps Janus was forced to bring Valefor into existance somehow. The metaphysical interpretation of 'two opposing faces' rather than the physical, which would make him far too noticible while vessel-formed.

Food for thought, at least.


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