Glossary entry for
According to Webster's Dictionary, Pan was "a god of flocks and pastures, forests and
their wildlife, patron of shepherds, hunters, fishermen, etc. Pan was
represented as having the legs and, sometimes, the ears and horns of a goat."
What we have above is the Disney (and Webster) version of Pan.
The PG/R version is that Pan was the leader of the satyres in the Greek
mythos. He was a lusty God. "Wild Life" perfectly describes this Pan. He
hardly seduced women with his "good looks" but rather with his primal
sexuality, goatesque musky scent and all. Even "seduced" is not the
right word. He took them in animal passion, often against their will
although always to their delight. Pan is not exactly the model of PC,
although his antics usually had a flavor of playfulness and the nymphs
were also often willing (albeit faux reluctant) participants.
The more interesting (and possibly X-rated) version that is put forth by
the Wiccans, neo-pagans, etc. is that Pan is the down-powered Great
Horned One. (Of course this may be re-visionist history...or maybe not.)
According to this account, in the times before the Solar religions
(where the male gods hold all the power -- the Sun Gods -- the Sons of
God) there were the old religions that were more based on Lunar images
and methods of keeping time. Where the moon and nature were the
connections to religion. Where man related to fitting in with nature
rather than dominating her.
During that time, the main gods were the Goddess and her consort The
Great Horned One. Their relationship was one of great sexuality, life,
death, rebirth. Full of life & fire.
As the exclusively male-oriented religions took over, the Horned One was
gradually depowered to just a minor god. He became Pan. And as
Christianity took over, in order to convince the pagans that their gods
were wrong, the image of the animalistic and horned god became the image
of the evil god Satan.
The powerful Horned One/Pan/Etc. has analogs in many early religions
including pre-Christian Ireland. The remains of the Goddess can still be
seen in the near divinity of Mary. Even more apparent is the weird
transformation of the Irish triple-Goddess Brigit into Saint Brigit who
somehow interacted with Mary in Ireland.
All of this, of course, has to do with the political manipulations of
the ruling religion as they convert new believers by co-opting the old
religions. It's hardly a coincidence that Christian holidays fall on the
same dates as old pagan holy days. Easter is the new, and sanitized,
version of Spring fertility and rebirth rites and is even timed
according to the Vernal Equinox. Christmas is the Christian celebration
of the Winter Solstice (Yule) where the Sun (Son?) is born and regains
its power. Check out the number of Solar Gods who were born in late
December. The Irish pagan holy day Imbolc became the more Christianized
Candlemas and then the more secular Groundhog's Day. Samhain became the
tame Halloween. And on and on and on.
Back to Van. Pan, to me at least, has to do with lust for life and all
the mud and blood and wetness that means. Getting down and dirty with
the reality of being human and being as alive as possible. Back street
jelly roll and the gardens wet with rain. Gettin' down to it. Trying to
wipe off that thin layer of civilization to find out what's really going
on. Fire in the belly.
It also connects with the mytho-poetic men's movement made popular in
recent years by Robert Bly & others. Pan is often used as an image of
maleness. There is a book on the subject called Fire In The Belly.
Contributed by Michael Redman
Van references in:
Part of the van-the-man.info unofficial website