Pan and Green Man
walked into a bar.
I understand Pan had a great sense of humor. However he is more commonly known for being an unbridled creative force of nature. In ancient Greek spirituality and mythology, Pan is the god of of wild places and wildlife, of groves, caves, and wooded glens where he enjoyed the company of forest deities. His dominion also included hunters, shepherds, flocks, pasturelands, and rustic music. Through his deep connection with Earth cycles and seasons, he was a symbol of fertility and sexuality. The stories abound.
One of the oldest of Greek gods, there were no temples built to him. He was worshiped in places of nature. For in the early spiritual traditions, there was little distinction between the spirit, natural, and secular worlds. People saw themselves intrinsically woven with the natural world and the natural world was woven in them. This was reflected in Pan’s countenance of being both man and animal with the legs, hindquarters, and horns of a goat.
This harmony, this weaving of human and nature, is not just the purview of Pan. In European cultures, we see this in the Green Man. And this representation of the intrinsic relationship of humans and the natural world is also found in early cultures and traditions around the world. Egypt, Borneo, Nepal, India, Lebanon, Iraq, Tibet, and Mexico all have similar mythic archetypes.
Over time, and with the influences of religious doctrine, people were told to turn away from the natural world. And they came to believe that the natural world was something to fear. It was named wild and dangerous, untamed and unpredictable. The natural world, and those who represented it, became something to rule over and destroy.
And from this fear, we have the word panic.
Some say that in these times of unprecedented change and chaos, panic is natural. Nothing could be more antithetical. In these times, we are called to return to the natural world, not run from it. Indeed, as Floyd Red Crow Westerman shared in the Hopi prophecy, our alienation from the natural world is what got us here. We have lost our sense of being in harmony with nature. We have lost our original instructions.
Panic!?! No. Panic is exactly what we don’t need as we navigate our way through these turbulent times. What we need is realignment with the forces of nature, especially the creative forces that can inspire and guide us.
Judith – firstname.lastname@example.org