Myth & Lore

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By CinnamonMoon

*Denise Linn/The Secret Language of Signs: Pan was the Greek god of shepherds and hunters who originated panpipes. This sign symbolizes joy in nature. Is this the time to step into the joy that comes from being in nature?

*Wordsworth/Dictionary of Phrase and Fable:
Pan is Greek for "all, everything". In Greek mythology, the god of pastures, forests, flocks, and herds; also the universal deity. Another more probable etymology is that the name is derived from the same root as Lat. pascere, to graze. His parentage is variously given as born of Jupiter and Calisto, Hermes and Penelope, etc. , and he is presented with the upper part of a man and the body and legs of a goat. His lustful nature was a characteristic and he was the symbol of fecundity. "Universal Pan, Knit with the Graces and the Hours in dance. Led on the eternal spring." Milton: Paradise Lost, IV, 266.

Legend has it that at the time of the Crucifixion, just when the veil of the Temple was rent in twain, a cry swept across the ocean in the hearing of a pilot, "Great Pan is Dead", and at the same time the responses of the Oracles ceased forever. (See E. B. Brownings poem of this name.) It has been suggested that what the mariner heard was a ritual lamentation in honor of Adonis.

*Barbara G. Walker/The Woman's Encyclopedia of Myths and Secrets:
Pan's name has been derived from paein, "pasture"; it was also the word for "all" and for "bread," recalling various All-fathers who were gods of divine bread, such as Osiris, Adonis, and Tammuz. Like them, Pan was a sacred king who died in fertilizing the earth. The ritual phrase "Great Pan is dead" seems to have been taken from the rites of Tammuz; it was also understood as Thamus Pan-megas Tethnece, "All-great Tammuz is dead."

King of Arcadian satyrs, the horned and hoofed woodland god par excellence. Pan was one of the oldest gods in Greece, associated with the cult of Dionysus and sometimes identified with him. Pan was said to have coupled with all the Dionysian Maenads. In addition, he was mated to Athene, Penelope, Selene, and many archaic forms of the Great Goddess.

Greeks claimed the Egyptian solar god Amon-Ra was the same as Pan. They called Amon-Ra's holy city Panopolis, "City of Pan," saying it was inhabited by "Pans and satyrs." The panoply (ceremonial dress and decoration) derives from holy processions in the City of Pan. Other words connected with Pan's cult are caper, caprice, and capriccio, all from Latin caper, the goat. Pan's sacred drama of death and resurrection was the original "tragedy," from Greek tragoidos, "Goat Song." The word "panic" was originally the terrible cry of Pan, who dispersed his enemies with a magic yell that filled them with fear and took away all their strength. It may be that Pan's legend began with the Hindu fertility god Pancika, consort of one of the primal Mother-goddesses, many-breasted Hariti, who suckled hundreds of pre-Vedic animal spirits as many-breasted Diana suckled the woodland beasts, whose king Pan was.

Pan was an important model for medieval pagans' Horned God, whom the church called Satan. The devil always displayed Pan’s attributes of goat-hoofs, horns, and unremitting lust; sometimes also a goat head and an attendant throng of satyrs (demons). Yet the new romanticism of the 19th century laid aside the demonic nature attributed to Pan only a few centuries previously and made him a gentle image of the lost Arcadia populated by shepherds and nymphs. Romantic poets adopted Pan as their wildwood god.

In 1821, Shelly wrote to his friend Tomas J. Hogg:
"I am glad to hear that you do not neglect the rites of
the true religion. Your letter awoke my sleeping devotion, and the same evening I ascended alone the high mountain behind my house, and suspended a garland, and raised a small turf-altar to the mountain-walking Pan."

Oscar Wilde wrote wistfully:
"O goat-foot god of Arcady! This modern world hath need of thee!"

Byron wrote a regretful ode on the passing of Pan:
"The Gods of old are silent on their shore
Since the great Pan expired, and through the roar
Of the Ionian waters broke a dread
Voice which proclaimed "the mighty Pan is dead."
How much die with him! false or true--the dream
Was beautiful which peopled every stream
With more than finny tenants, and adorned
The woods and waters with coy nymphs that scorned
Pursuing Deities, or in the embrace
Of gods brought forth the high heroic race
Whose names are on the hills and o'er the seas.

This is from Yasmine Galenorn's book, Embracing the Moon.
The Horned God
The Horned God is probably the best-known aspect of the pagan God. He is Lord of the Animals, virile consort of the Goddess. He is known as the Challenger, the Hunter, the Horned One, and He is also Master of the Wild Hunt. He stands in the forest, waiting with glowing ruby eyes and erect phallus. He is the howling of the wild wind and He dies with the corn harvest, making His way into the Underworld where He takes His place as Lord of the Dead.

He leads His Hunt across the land at night, the hounds racing forward, catching any who stand in their path. In Norse tradition, the Wild Hunt is a spectral phenomenon in which Wooden (Odin) leads a band of the dead across the night sky. In Celtic tradition it is Herne, or Cernunnos, who masters the Hunt.

The Horned God is traditionally antlered, whether it be stag or goat horn. He is seen as playful and wry. One does well not to enter His forests without permission and certainly, you won't do anything to harm His woodlands.

No discussion of the Horned God's aspects would be complete without discussing the Piper. Pan is the God of shepherds, flocks, the woods and of hunting. He is also a God of fertility and music. The goat-God inspires ecstasy and passion. The fact that He is half-goat and half-human indicates the dual nature of humanity: both cerebral and carnal. Both aspects are complimentary, we do not rid ourselves of one in order to attain the other. Pan is also a God of fear and awe—we derive the word panic from His name. He does not just skip around the fields all day, piping happy music. He takes what he wants and has ravished the nymphs who share the forests with him. He is the Rut Incarnate.

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