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Temple of Wicca



Pan

Pan and a nymph.

Pan is the Lord of the Woods, god of goatherds and huntsmen; ecstatic dancer; god of laughter and good humor; god of excessive sexual desire (hence his opposition to marriage). He is called 'the lonely God', and 'the last arrived of the Gods'. Half-man, half-goat. He is the mediator between nature and the Gods. He is a God of strength - the marathon torch race in the original Olympics was dedicated to Pan - and He saved the Greeks at Marathon. He was not an Athenian God, but an Arcadian, from the rugged mountainsides. He fought the Titans with Zeus, yet His panic makes battle impossible, breaking the artificial bond of an army and causing everyone to run away. He has connections to Artemis, Goddess of the hunt: He shares Her nymphs and must obey Her. Pan is the one who led Persephone's wedding dance, happily piping His pipes as She was led into the underworld, yet it was Pan who found Demeter in mourning when no one else could find Her. And it was Pan's daughter, Iambe, who got Demeter to laugh and forget Her grief for just a moment. When you clap your hands, you are doing homage to Pan, when you laugh, and when you dance. -- from "Pan Visits New Jersey," by Ed Chapman, originally published in "Druid's Grove" magazine.

Pan is one of the most ancient of gods. Most of us know him best from the Greek legends or perhaps from "Piper at the Gates of Dawn" in "The Wind in the Willows". His name "Pan" has a meaning of "All-encompassing".

He's also aligned with the idea of "trickster-god" - a tester, one who makes sure you are ready before allowing you further along the Path. Tricksters are not "out to get you" and really you need to let go of this sort of paranoia in order to work with the gods successfully. Pan's name is the origin of the word "panic" which is a sort of "out of mind" fear - meaning beyond the thinking function. sometimes it's important for you to experience this "out of control" fear in order to get you out of a rut! However, you need to have "grown" sufficiently out of the "child-place" where many humans spend their lives in order to benefit from it. Pan is the Guardian of the Animals and so shares a lot with the Lord of Beasts. The chapter "Piper at the Gates of Dawn" very much illustrates this and shows how animals feel about Him, the Great Protector. One of the ways he uses his attribute of panic is to make humans realize when they are hurting animals and nature. He will show you how enormous and awe-full Nature is and how small you are in the Big Picture. For shamans this is a vital aspect of their knowing ... not about "power over" but about "power to enable" - a very different thing! Pan is one of the main teachers of this.

You will find him in the Woodwose, Suibhne Geilt, the Woodward and the Lord of the Beasts as well as others in the Celtic pantheon. Pan, who encompasses all, shows himself through all of these.

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