Pan is a god who I find both deeply appealing and deeply confusing. He’s one of those figures that is so old and so pervasive throughout the history of Greek culture, that he’s got just about a zillion different stories…and potentially a zillion different figures also go by the name ‘Pan.’
In general, though, there’s a “Great God Pan” who may or may not be older than the Olympians or who may, in fact, be fathered by one of them (Zeus, Hermes, Dionysus…take your pick). Pan’s mother is also a variable factor. Wherever he comes from, he’s usually the god depicted as a goat-footed creature playing some flute-like instrument. He’s also often associated with free, uninhibited sexuality. As Roderick says, he is a god of nature who has been described as a god of the woods, of animal husbandry, and fertility. Some scholars say his name means “all”, others argue that it connects to the word “paeon” which means “pasturer.”
Roderick says that “Pan is present in your life whenever you feel sexual urges, playfulness, or a sense of inner joy. He is there in the eyes of any lover, or in the heart of an individual who embraces life no matter what it might present. Pan’s magical energies are those of ecstasy, connection with nature, happiness, sexuality, and grounding.”
Table of Correspondences: Pan
- Symbols: Acorns, oak leaves, pan pipes, seashells and twigs
- Tools: The phallus, the wand
- Magical Essences/Herbs: Musk, false unicorn, saw palmetto, patchouli, and myrrh
- Direction: Pan is aligned with the center
- He Rules: Ecstasy, connection with nature, happiness, sexuality, grounding, life, and health
- Animal Symbols: Goat
- Sacred Foods: Wine, meats, and grapes
- Magical Stones: Obsidian, carnelian, sunstone
Make an altar honoring Pan that includes his symbols. Light candles of an appropriate color in his altar and intone his name slowly, fully. Since Pan is a one-syllable word, you can resonate it loudly and clearly. Intone his name until you feel or sense his presence. Once he has arrived, spend some time contemplating what it might mean to serve this aspect of deity. Ask Pan what it would mean to live life through his energy. Contemplate how you would live each day as a manifestation of this one unified, immense All, rejecting nothing and embracing the whole.
Spend the day honoring this god by recognizing that which is wild and natural in each person you encounter.
Right. My altar construction wasn’t as…oh…elaborate as previous altar constructions have been. Today I have been feeling queasy (most likely from a return to the co-op beans and grains diet), so I didn’t want to light any incense, and my budget is super, super thin right now, so I couldn’t run out and find any wine, meats, or grapes. So I basically put my flute and my wand on my bed. I thought about lighting a bunch of candles, or including some decidedly Pan-dedicated items but decided those was a bit too “come hither” for my tastes this morning.
Still, I think this is a fairly representative Pan altar. If a little one-dimensional, it clearly pulls upon the energies that this deity has. And I think you can figure out what energies I felt with him given the phallic nature of the items and where I chose to put them. Come to think of it, my pondering of Pan off and on since I left for Pennsylvania (I couldn’t help it, I looked ahead) probably contributed significantly to my recent extra-curricular reading material choices. Maybe I should have added my Kindle to my altar, too?
When I contemplated how I would live day-by-day as that immense ALL of Pan, I sort of became incredibly frightened. Embracing everything means embracing so much of what I’ve tried to push to the corners of my mind this summer: my fears that I’m not good enough, not dedicated enough, not bright enough, not ANYTHING enough to follow through with my graduate program. I know I’m setting myself up for disaster by not owning these fears and working through them…but I’m so scared of them, I’m willing to do just about anything easier than that. I’ve actually contemplated dropping out, with increasing fondness every time I have that fantasy. It’s scary, scary stuff.