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The Grove

You’d never want a friend who’s obsessed with scoring chicks, drinks all your booze, & usually leaves an almighty mess for you to clean up, right?

Wrong.

I was ‘introduced’  to Pan by my partner early on in our relationship. When he 1st told me he considered Pan to be the closest thing he had to a patron Deity, I got a little worried. What? Was my would-be sweetie going to snap one day & turn into some sort of ravenous beast devouring every female in sight? It was a case, perhaps, of guilt by association. In our time together there have only been a couple of incidents involving the opposite sex that were lacking in the tact department. Eventually I grew curious. What’s the deal? What did he see in a half frat-boy, half critter with a lousy reputation? At this point I actively chose to invite Pan into my spiritual life & work with Him in ritual. He wasn’t at all what I expected.

What about the girls?

Ok, sure, so Pan might have done the wild thing with Seline & got a little freaky with

a bunch of Maenads. So what? He’s more like the host of one of those fishing shows

you see on TV. It’s all about catch & release. He gets off on the thrill of the hunt &

the game.

In hindsight I’ve come to understand that I was going through a personal rough patch when we met. I was letting my insecurities towards life in general shape my perceptions of Pan & my relationship with my partner. I’m not suggesting any of you treat your significant other with disrespect, but I am encouraging you to take a step outside yourself sometimes. Take what Pan has to offer, even in small doses. His is the gift of freedom, of finding the joy in small & simple things. Let go of a fear of failure & concentrate on just getting something out of the effort of trying, no matter what the outcome.

OK, what about the drinking?

Pan’s the guy to go to if you want to get hammered. He’s the God of All Alcohol, right?? Actually that description more closely fits  Dionysus. Pan just enjoys the stuff, but is that really any worse than what some of us do on a Friday night?

What happens when you get drunk? Booze breaks down your inhibitions. You act out of a place that’s very raw & basic, before that pesky brain has a chance to edit anything. You can’t get more honest than that.

Pan embodies duality, being half a goat & half a man. His is the gift of unfiltered truth, which has its own sort of duality. Being truthful is usually a good thing & avoids all the stress of maintaining a lie, if nothing else. But let’s face it… the truth can hurt. Imagine, if you will, what would happen if you got possessed of an irresistible urge to tell your boss his new policy stinks. Let’s see how long you last in your office after that!

As much as there’s a sort of destructive side to Pan’s brand of truth, I’ve also come to respect His type of honesty. I feel like through His influence you can get someone’s real opinion of a situation.  There’s no point in offering up a false picture of optimism that all involved know isn’t possible. You can more easily assess the situation & come up with a situation that’s realistic. From there you can move forward.

Pan’s personal lesson to me has been to open up without fear of what other people think. I don’t really care what some random idiot off the street thinks. It’s just what my small inner circle of loved ones thinks, like my partner or my best friend, that matters. Pan’s brand of truth isn’t easy to embrace. It’s something I have to work at constantly. I think it’s possible, though, to invite some of His sort of honesty in without letting it wreck things. I understand that it’s not always appropriate to blast off & say exactly what’s on my mind. Through Pan I’m slowly learning how to manage my own duality & find a sense of balance between the 2 sides of my own truth. I’m able to let the truth loose a bit more liberally instead of constantly censoring myself. I’d like to think that the relationships I value most are improving, thanks to His blessing.

What about His tendency to make a mess, both literally & figuratively?

I vaguely remember these stupid ads for paper towels from a few years back. I think the tag line was something like ‘Life’s messy, clean it up’. For most people mess or clutter equals strife. Strife or problems equal negativity. Not something you’d really want in your life, but it’s sort of inevitable. What do you know? There actually is some truth in advertising after all.

I had a conversation with my partner about Pan recently. He told me he had a hard time seeing the same thing I do in the god.  Hubby’s supposed to be close to Pan & he could only see Him making a mess, not cleaning up one of any kind. So what hope is there for the average person to see past that particular image?

For me it’s not that hard. The times I’ve felt closest to Pan are also the ones that my life’s been a bit messy. As much as He’s stuck with the reputation of ultimate party guy, for me he’s also the Wise Shepard. One of the earliest images I have of Pan is of Him playing His pipes on top of a hill watching over his flock in the field below.

He understands some form of responsibility. He might miss something happening to his fuzzy charges if He’s been drinking on duty. He might even pick up the odd bit of rubbish on occasion. Since when do sheep enjoy a couple of broken beer bottles with their grass? Because this is such a strong image for me, I can easily see Him gently tending to some injured critter. It’s not all that far-fetched to expect sensitivity & wisdom from Him, really. Isn’t he the one who’s said to have talked Psyche out of committing suicide over her thwarted love for Eros?

None of this might not fit some of your ideas of what Pan is all about, but that’s OK. This is just how I’ve come to relate to Him personally. Overall, I can sum it up like this. I’ve found in Pan a sense of balance. OK, so He’s a little rough around the edges. He’s also full of wisdom & strength. He embodies both Man & Nature. Like Nature, He should be given respect & can lash out if mistreated. Plus who doesn’t love a guy with a good sense of humour? Some of His appeal also lies in that I see Him as being a little misunderstood, which sort of  resonates with the part of me that I feel people just don’t get.

I could go on & talk some more about the Him, but remember what I said about the thrill of the hunt? Find joy in the chase. Discover Pan for yourself.