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An Ode to Pan

The delight of many hearts

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Pan by Gerald Metcalfe

The popular concept of Pan is that of a very happy, flute playing, charming and fornicating character who some think may be related to Krishna in India.

It is said that the has the horns of a devil, a grin that will charm your pants off and the music he plays on this Pan pipe entice your feet to dance and your spirit to rejoice.

His torso is that of a strong virile man, but his legs are more animal in nature and he has cloven hooves instead of human feet.

His male appendage is like that of the Greek God Priapus, substantial and always ready. He was celebrated fostering the hearts of maidens and he was the envy of many men, although it is rumoured that Pan had his way with them as well though it is unlikely.

The demise of the god Pan as described very nicely in the book Jitterbug Perfume by Tom Robbins.  He faded from popular existence as Christianity took root and mankind embraced materialism over a healthy spirit.

I am Pan, Io Pan, Io Pan Pan! Pan!
I am thy mate, I am thy man,
Goat of thy flock, I am gold, I am god,
Flesh to my bone, flower to thy rod.
With hoofs of steel I race on the rocks
Through solstice stubborn to equinox
And I rave, and I rape and I rip and I rend
Everlasting, world without end -
Manniken, maiden, maenad, man,
In the might of Pan
Io Pan, Io Pan Pan! Pan! Io Pan!
~ Aleister Crowley

panPan is the representation of the wild nature at its best, a god of fertility and abundance. Unlike the Greek in the many gods of other traditions, Pan never caused any physical harm, on the contrary he was a bearer of pleasure and his message was joy.

He healed the broken hearts and cured loneliness, he gave people hope when they had none, but unfortunately today that spirit only exists in the ether where it is more accessible to those humans who have reclaimed a portion of their godliness.

Although the Greeks claim him as their own, he featured in the folklore throughout Europe, Egypt and West Asia.  There is a lot of information on the web although much of it is simply opinion. But if you want to enliven your spirit and take a step or two toward enlightenment and understanding or more fully experiencing the human condition as it was supposed to be, contemplate pan and picture him dancing over the fields and turning in you on as much is your imagination can dare.

Mighty and glorious Pan I call
Lord, god, master, wild and untamed
Pan, king of the world, mountain-born
Come my lord, my god, come and hear my prayer
Son of Hermes, who brings fright onto mortals and joy onto gods
Pursuer of mirth and fun, spirit uncontrolled and free
My words I raise to you oh Pan, my love and adoration I lift to your name
Hoof-footed and horned, companion of animal and human alike
Hail mighty Pan, lord of life and its mysteries
Hail Pan, king infinite and great

Another Story About Pan

panPan was half man and half goat, born with horns, a beard, a tail, and goat-legs. In some legends, it is said that Hermes (the messenger of the gods) fathered a child with the nymph, Dryope (the daughter of king Dryops). Pan was born very ugly, and his mother ran away from her child because she was terrified at the sight of her new born son.

Hermes took his son to Olympus, and showed him off to the gods. Meanwhile, Pan grew up and wondered the forests, caves, mountains, streams and pastures and became a musician, playing his reed pipes and the syrinx. He loved poetry, and danced with the nymphs, and he was known as the god of wild nature and felt at home in the forest, hanging around with the nymphs. He was always pursuing the nymphs and trying to seduce them, but the nymphs rejected Pan because he was so ugly.

The idea of Pan is seen by some to represent the amoral creative side of ourselves and our unconscious desires.

So is there any truth?

In early Europe, Pan was a rural deity who excited the hearts of men and women in a similar way to Krishna in India. Perhaps Pan was Krishna's European counterpart and while Krishna continues to be celebrated around the world, Pan has had his image trashed by a Christianity that is blind to everything except its own beliefs.

Christianity is renowned for despising the human body and confused about love. Krishna reputedly spent a lot of time with the Gopi girls and there is no mention of sex taking place, only a celebration of life.

By the time that Christianity arrived in Europe, the region was embroiled in power struggles, bigotry and double standards. These concepts were developed in Judaism and even today they cause social unrest and block the path to peace.

I would conclude that Pan was an exceptional man who was stigmatised by those who were jealous, ridiculed by the judgemental and cast aside. How ever today, artists like Gheorghe Zamfir and mystics have an affection for Pan which is mostly celebrated in music.

If Pan in Europe actually was a representation of Krishna, remember that Krishna was an actual person who lived +3000 BC and is the right time period for pan to exist at least in southern Europe as there was extensive trade across the region.

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