Come, Great Pan


The short days and the gloom they bring during these winter months flattens the spirit a little. The heavens have seen fit to bathe us in torrents of water; I swear webbing has started to grow between my fingers and toes. Sigh. The damp is not conducive to my already creaky joints.  Complaining again I know. How the spirit longs for the warmth of sunshine and the heady scent of herbs teasing my nostrils. Ah, Arcadia! Found only memories and keepsakes now.

His Nibs has disappeared into the shadows, for now. It seems I must retrace my steps through Hellas as another calls to me. As I look out at the wintry scene outside, the tendrils of Spring stir gently within, dreaming and nurturing their life essence in readiness. This season brings with it endings, urging us to reassess the events and nuances of our lives so far. It forces us to go inwards, reflect and take action, reclaim the wild places of our soul. Transformation and transmutation are words that spring to mind. What then holds us back from entering that unknown country and returning changed? Fear? Apathy? Indolence?

All three have played a part in this Pilgrim’s life. I have stood at the cliff’s edge like the Fool and decided to jump anyway. The Magician waits in the cave, as does the Hermit on their mountaintop vigil. Which way Pilgrim? Which way? I grab the strands of doubt that seek to enmesh me and hold them aloft; showing the gods that I have triumphed on this occasion. The sound of reed pipes cuts through the dramatics. I see him in my mind’s eye. Beloved goat foot god, vilified and demonised for so long. Like another. Crowley’s Hymn to Pan goes through my mind like waves crashing on rocks, the chant is hypnotic:





A powerful call to an ancient deity, one to be used with caution. Be prepared for what is to come and take responsibility for your actions. Lay not blame at another’s door because you do not like what has emerged. Disclaimer alert and lecture over! I sink into a long silence.

I dare not cross that invisible line between the known and the unknown until the time is right.

“Until the time is right?” he questions my hesitation.

I see what he means. It seems I must shed the trappings of “civilised” life and run like the wolfling through Arcadian hills and shady forests. Shape changer, Seer, Alchemist. What is it to be Great Pan? This experience is mine and mine alone, as must be the experiences of all who cross over the boundary between the worlds.

These encounters always seem to be conducted in riddles and metaphor. His eyes penetrate my soul, weighing, assessing. What’s he looking for?

The Pilgrim sheds their coat of flesh and soars into the skies. The wolfling can wait; it is the eagle that takes precedence. Soaring higher and higher until the stars emerge out of the velvet darkness. It ends all too soon and then the rich earth enfolds their body. Scattered are Fire, Water, Air, Earth and Ether, ready to be reassembled. The wildflower meadow embraces the constituent elements, bursting into colour and beauty at the gift. The consciousness freed of its vessel can fully express its divinity. Yet, it must offer honour and thanks for its corporeal existence. Warm flesh, surging with life-blood, luminosity and sensuality. It is a symbiotic relationship.


Discard the words and what is left are true experience and insight. The Lesser Mysteries being preparation for the Greater Mysteries.   Riddles and metaphors.

I don’t think I am ready to face him yet, hence his presence behind me (no, he isn’t going to be doing anything else apart from talking…).   Not too long now though.

“Remember who you are”, he says before disappearing.

Remember. I look at an image of the Great God, clothed in stone but still imbued with life and mystery. He reminds us of the wild places of our heart and soul; urging us not to discard them on the spoil heaps of life. Our civilisations will eventually disappear beneath dust, to be rediscovered by future archaeologists.






photo credit: <a href=”″>Pan</a&gt; via <a href=””>photopin</a&gt; <a href=””>(license)</a&gt;

photo credit: <a href=”″>Ancient Olympia in Spring</a> via <a href=””>photopin</a&gt; <a href=””>(license)</a&gt;