Pan (god)

Greek god of the mountain wilds, shepherds, flocks, rustic music, fertility, spring, and theatrical criticism, with the hindquarters, legs, and horns of a goat
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Pan (Greek: Πᾶν, Pān), in Greek religion and mythology, is a god of shepherds and flocks, wild nature, especially of mountain and forest wilds, hunting and rustic music, as well as a companion of the nymphs. His name originates in the Ancient Greek language, from the word πάειν (paean), meaning "to pasture." In modern times there has been a revival of reverence of the ancient god as a figure representing not only traditional and neo-Pagan forms of pastoral worship, but as one symbolic of general Romanticism, poetry, artistic craftsmanship and pantheistic or panentheistic notions of divinity or deity.

He's like a man you'd meet any place
until you recognize that ancient Face
The Great God Pan is alive! ~ Mike Scott


You seem to think Pan is everything. ~ G. K. Chesterton
In a dream I saw Jesus and My God Pan sitting together in the heart of the forest. ~ Khalil Gibran
And then there came peace into their music, and the heavens and the earth sang together. ~ Khalil Gibran
In Kenneth Grahame's beautiful book, The Wind In The Willows, Mole and Rat go to the holy island of the great god, Pan. It is a superb piece of religious writing, but because it has gone beyond fact, it is deeply upsetting and untruthful to some people. … I think that this scene is upsetting because it calls us beyond fact into the vast world of imagination, and imagination is a word of many dimensions. ~ Madeleine L'Engle
The symbol of art is seen again in the magic flute of the Great God Pan which makes the young goats frisk at the edge of the grove. ~ José Ortega y Gasset
Come with me on a journey beneath the skin
We will look together for the Pan within. ~ Mike Scott
Pan is dead — Long live Pan! ~ Mike Scott
  • "You will not find him dead easily. If he has been tipped out of the car, we shall find him rolling as a colt rolls in a field, kicking his legs for fun."
    "Clashing his hoofs," said the Professor. "The colts do, and so did Pan."
    "Pan again!" said Dr. Bull irritably. "You seem to think Pan is everything."
    "So he is," said the Professor, "in Greek. He means everything."
    "Don't forget," said the Secretary, looking down, "that he also means Panic."
  • In Arcady there lies a crystal spring
    Ring'd all about with green melodious reeds
    Swaying seal'd music up and down the wind.

    Here on its time-defaced pedestal
    The image of a half-forgotten God
    Crumbles to its complete oblivion.
  • O evanescent temples built of man
    To deities he honoured and dethroned!
    Earth shoots a trail of her eternal vine
    To crown the head that men have ceased to honour.

    Beneath the coronal of leaf and lichen
    The mocking smile upon the lips derides
    Pan's lost dominion; but the pointed ears
    Are keen and prick'd with old remember'd sounds.
    All my breast aches with longing for the past!
    Thou God of stone, I have a craving in me
    For knowledge of thee as thou wert in old
    Enchanted twilights in Arcadia.
  • In a dream I saw Jesus and My God Pan sitting together in the heart of the forest.
    They laughed at each other's speech, with the brook that ran near them, and the laughter of Jesus was the merrier. And they conversed long.
  • "And now let us play our reeds together."
    And they played together.
    And their music smote heaven and earth, and a terror struck all living things.
    I heard the bellow of beasts and the hunger of the forest. And I heard the cry of lonely men, and the plaint of those who long for what they know not.
    I heard the sighing of the maiden for her lover, and the panting of the luckless hunter for his prey.
    And then there came peace into their music, and the heavens and the earth sang together.
    All this I saw in my dream, and all this I heard.
    • Khalil Gibran, Jesus, The Son of Man (1928), Sarkis an old Greek Shepherd, called the madman: Jesus and Pan.
  • You see the mountain, and hill following after hill, as wave on wave, you see the woods and orchard, the fields of ripe corn, and the meadows reaching to the reed-beds by the river. You see me standing here beside you, and hear my voice; but I tell you that all these things — yes, from that star that has just shone out in the sky to the solid ground beneath our feet — I say that all these are but dreams and shadows; the shadows that hide the real world from our eyes. There is a real world, but it is beyond this glamour and this vision, beyond these 'chases in Arras, dreams in a career,' beyond them all as beyond a veil. I do not know whether any human being has ever lifted that veil; but I do know, Clarke, that you and I shall see it lifted this very night from before another's eyes. You may think this all strange nonsense; it may be strange, but it is true, and the ancients knew what lifting the veil means. They called it seeing the god Pan.
  • We know what happened to those who chanced to meet the Great God Pan, and those who are wise know that all symbols are symbols of something, not of nothing. It was, indeed, an exquisite symbol beneath which men long ago veiled their knowledge of the most awful, most secret forces which lie at the heart of all things; forces before which the souls of men must wither and die and blacken, as their bodies blacken under the electric current. Such forces cannot be named, cannot be spoken, cannot be imagined except under a veil and a symbol, a symbol to the most of us appearing a quaint, poetic fancy, to some a foolish, silly tale.
  • Were art to redeem man, it could do so only by saving him from the seriousness of life and restoring him to an unexpected boyishness. The symbol of art is seen again in the magic flute of the Great God Pan which makes the young goats frisk at the edge of the grove.
    All modern art begins to appear comprehensible and in a way great when it is interpreted as an attempt to instill youthfulness into an ancient world.
    • José Ortega y Gasset, in "Art a Thing of No Consequence" in The Dehumanization of Art and Ideas about the Novel (1925).
  • At sea on a ship in a thunderstorm
    on the very night the Christ was born
    a sailor heard from overhead
    a mighty voice cry "Pan is Dead!"
    So follow Christ as best you can
    Pan is dead — Long live Pan!
    • Mike Scott, in "The Return Of Pan" on Dream Harder (1993).
  • Some say the Gods are just a myth
    but guess Who I've been dancing with...
    The Great God Pan is alive!
    • Mike Scott, in "The Return Of Pan" on Dream Harder (1993).

See also