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The Tragedy of Pan the Great: From Primordial Deity to Rustic Sex-Craving God

Ofelia: “My name is Ofelia. Who are you?”

Pan: “Me? I’ve had so many names. Old names that only the wind and the trees can pronounce. I am the mountain, the forest and the earth. I am… I am a faun. Your most humble servant, Your Highness.” (Pan’s Labyrinth, film)


Here, we are presented with another one of the ancient gods, known by the name Pan, which Christianity re-constructed into a Satanic-figure. Pan is therefore ignorantly represented in films, television, art and literature as a fallen god, demon, or a god of the forests, lurking and roaming the world as the Devil or Lucifer is said to do. Pan was once depicted as a “primordial god,” and is revised a few times, until it is later depicted as a devilish, depraved, sex-crazed rustic forest-god, seducing, or chasing nymphs of every shade and class.

There are many semblances between Pan and the Promethean myth, and the meaning of the myth relates intimately to the condition of man in the cycle of life. This is the common motif of the once divine god, now terrestrial, now consumed by the pleasures of the world, and is hence fallen. However, such is only one representation of the mystery of the Great God, Pan, since the forest god in ancient tradition also serves as a voice of ‘rustic wisdom,’ and ecstatic celebration, that can be mystical, sexual, or psychical. 

The goat-Pan or faun is a particular myth, as there were many versions of Pans of Pan in the Greek mythology. Pan became only limited to the wild, or observable nature, yet this is an allusion to Man’s status within the cosmic phases of the creation stories through the Pre-Hellenic, Pre-Olympian, and Hellenic revisions. Pan is the abstract Ideal of Ideals, nameless, unconscious, unknown; and this was its primordial idea before its transformation.

The term Pantheism comes from the Greek PAN and THEOS meaning “All-Deity.” In the use of the term “Nature,” we most always mean the whole manifested Universe, and not the mere plane of physical objective matter, as it appears to our eyes. One would think this would be simple to understand. For example, we can further explain, that the latter, the physical objective plane is a product of nature’s illusive or evanescent behavior, for which we take to be realities and is real to us. Hence, Pantheism is not the worship of physical objective Nature as it has been simply defined, but it pertains to the whole scheme of LIFE. Hence, in the light of occult metaphysics, the Universe is PAN, coeval with Absolute-ness. Pan has many names, because of this . . . because of Pan’s protean nature.

“The name Pan means ALL. If you accept the Christian etymology of this compound word and form it of … “all,” and … “god,” and then imagine and teach that this means that every stone and every tree in Nature is a God or the ONE God, then you will make of the Pantheists fetish-worshippers, in addition to their legitimate name. Our DEITY is neither in a paradise, nor a particular tree, building, nor mountain; it is everywhere, in every atom of the visible as of the invisible Cosmos, in, over, and around every invisible atom and divisible molecule; for IT is the mysterious power of evolution and involution, the omnipresent, omnipotent, and even omniscient creative potentiality. PAN was at one time absolute nature, the one and GREAT-ALL; but when history catches a first glimpse of him, Pan has already tumbled down into a godling of the fields, a rural god; and history will not recognize him, while theology makes of him the devil. Yet his seven-piped flute, the emblem of the seven forces of nature, of the seven planets, the seven musical notes, of all the septenary harmony, in short, shows well his primordial character.” (The Pantheists, Theosophy, Vol. 68. No. 2, December, 1979)

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