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.

24 JUL 2001

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