A Shrine to Pan
Here is our on-line home for Pan, Graybeard's patron deity and good friend to Starlight too. Take a moment to meditate on this glorious wild man of the forest, procreator with the Earth Mother, the Corn and Harvest King.
Pan is the Lord of the Woods, god of goatherds and huntsmen; ecstatic dancer; god of laughter and good humor; god of excessive sexual desire (hence his opposition to marriage). He is called 'the lonely God', and 'the last arrived of the Gods'. Half-man, half-goat, He is the original party animal. He is the mediator between nature and the Gods. He is a God of strength - the marathon torch race in the original Olympics was dedicated to Pan - and He saved the Greeks at Marathon. He was not an Athenian God, but an Arcadian, from the rugged mountainsides. He fought the Titans with Zeus, yet His panic makes battle impossible, breaking the artificial bond of an army and causing everyone to run away. He has connections to Artemis, Goddess of the hunt: He shares Her nymphs and must obey Her. Pan is the one who led Persephone's wedding dance, happily piping His pipes as She was led into the underworld, yet it was Pan who found Demeter in mourning when no one else could find Her. And it was Pan's daughter, Iambe, who got Demeter to laugh and forget Her grief for just a moment. When you clap your hands, you are doing homage to Pan, when you laugh, and when you dance. -- from "Pan Visits New Jersey," by Ed Chapman, originally published in "Druid's Grove" magazine.
In Defense of Pan
<<I wouldn't want my son to have Pan's attitude towards women...after all, he had quite a reputation for chasing women>>
I respond, not a Pan lover, but as one who has recognized his positive influence on my own life. And as I recall, Pan usually didn't have to chase those women very far - he didn't pursue anyone that wasn't interested in being caught. Further, Pan paid his dues - he was the servant of Artemis, and as payment he received time to sport with the her nymphs [and as you know, it is not a spectator sport]. Besides, an interest in and appreciation of sex are both healthy and natural for men and women. It is only when the human being's natural inclinations are sublimated by taboo, restriction and the mores of society and community that sex becomes unnatural, its participants objectified, and its purpose corrupted. When viewed in the context of a balanced and harmonious life, it is a powerful act of everyday magick, a joining together in spirit and flesh of two equals for their mutual pleasure and/or perpetuation of the species. It is a celebration of life, of our absolute interdependence upon each other as genders, and of our connectedness with all forms of being who share with us the process of creation, evolution and eternal existence.
But I think it is other factors that cause people to fear, or shy away from, the Horned God (be he known as Pan, Cernunnos, Herne, or by myriad of other faces).
Primarily, I think it is fear that recognition of the Horned One's influence in our lives is an epiphany that there is something outside this perception of an ordered universe that we use as a crutch to connect the fabric of our lives - the feral, dark, uncharted and dangerous swampland of our unconscious selves that we try so desperately to hide away when in the company of "polite society," that religious teachings have told us are "not spiritual", and that the women's liberation movement has often seen as necessary to the enlightenment of women, but improperly used and maliciously exaggerated in men.
Secondly, but no less important, is the fear that we, as men, by recognizing, nurturing and embracing our wild nature, must take full responsibility for all our actions, and must also accept the role that the Horned God assumes - that of the sacrifice. By taking Pan as a role model, we are emulating the only immortal that ever died. To accept the awesome task of "marrying the earth" and to be responsible as its nurturing father and protector is to reject machismo, bullying, pridefulness, one-upmanship and superiority. They have no place in true man's actions or character. The God is consort to the Goddess, her servant, slave, lover, brother, father, and son. Not her master. Not the law-giver.
That is the lesson of Pan, and his model for humankind:
For men, to treat all women as your mother, sister, daughter or wife-partner;
For women, to treat all men as your father, brother, son or husband-partner;
For all, to see each other as parts of a sacred whole, and see the lines for what they are - areas to color beyond.
Graybeard Dances /|\
Oh, playful one, with pipe you prance,
Of seed and beast and plant and tune
Hear us, horned one, your children cry,
Wild wond'rous Pan, the forest's sire
-- Graybeard Dances
tsp -- pine needles
by Starlight Dances
Links to Pan and Pan-Like Places
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This site last updated: 21 Aug 2003 12:05 PM -0500