A Surplus of Tricksters: Pan

This is Trickster #2 in a series of trickster posts. No clue how many I’ll write because the freaky dudes and dudettes keep popping up out of the woodwork. There’s a cache of tricksters awaiting us, an assortment, quite a batch, an assemblage, a cluster, a regular caboodle, a glorious assortment. Absolutely tricksters galore, a lavish abundance, overflowing and concealed. We have tricksters plentiful to pick from, soak in, and learn from.
Strap in crazies, we’re in for a strange, sometimes odd, but always fun ride. It’ll be entertaining at worst. At best, you might meet a beastie you like.

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Greek and Roman
In Greek mythology, his name is Pan. In Roman, he’s Faunus (sometimes Inuus). These two tricksters do differ in the two separate mythologies a bit. At the end I’ll throw in a few tidbits about Faunus where he’s different than Pan.

 
Strange and Dual Beginnings
Son of Hermes (also a trickster) and a nymph (why isn’t she named, you misogynistic myth writers?).

There’s also some talk of Pan being the offspring of other gods, leading to him being the grandson of Cronus. In this version of the tale, he popped out fully formed with horns and goat feet, which freaked out his mum, who hightailed it, abandoning him. Hermes found him and carried him to Olympus, where he lived with nymphs. I don’t think he minded. In fact, in most versions, Pan very much appreciated being surrounded by gorgeous nymphs aplenty.
In some versions of how Pan came to be, he is said to be the offspring of Uranus and Gaea. (Gaea being the personification of the earth we live on.)
Whatever the details, Pan was always a heavy hitter.
He’s human-looking except for the goat legs and horns. He isn’t, however, a satyr. He’s Pan. In some Greek art, he is shown as being fully goat though. I guess the Greeks couldn’t make up their minds where he was concerned.

Dualistic Nature
Pan is a confusing dude but balances out well, as he is upbeat and playful, then dark and terrifying. I suppose this goes along with his being half divine, half animal. One foot in a playful, fun world, the other in a riotous, tricky one. He’s also known to be prophetic now and again.

Plato even calls Pan “the double-natured son of Hermes”.
A man of strangely unrelated pastimes, Pan enjoyed chasing nymphs and creating musical instruments.
Interesting little tidbit, he was god of flocks, which included bees.

Yep. He guarded bees. Does anyone else have a great mental image of a goat-man deity fanning bees out of hunters’ paths?
No? Just me?

As A Trickster
Pan was a mischievous creature. He was lustful, playful, loud, and wild through and through. He was known for playing tricks on humans in the forests. So much so that humans feared running into him when traveling through his homelands.

He was often seen kicking it with Dionysus, the god who can be summed up as follows: wild, riotous, frenzied, madness.
When not hanging out with crazy gods, he was running after nymphs, literally. Pan was an extremely lustful trickster. Most often the desire of his heart thought him ugly and refused his advances. Depending on where you look, some sources say that Pan tricked nymphs into having sex with him, while another claims he had a broad torn apart by shepherds when she refused him.
From what I can find from actual texts, Pan is simply alone and rejected by all the women he wants. In one example, Pan was after the nymph Syrinkx but she didn’t want anything to do with him. In order to escape Pan, she transformed into river-reeds, which Pan then used to create his pipes.

Panic
Pan was also considered the god of panic, hedging him further into trickster territory.

A run in with this trickster is dreaded by travelers, for fear seems to be something Pan frequently created. Makes sense, considering he was said to have such a terrifying voice that he scared the Titans themselves.
The word panic is said to be derived from Pan. He liked to create noises in the forest at night which would freak people out. He is also said to cause irrational, sudden fear when someone is alone in the forest (or alone at all). He could cause panic that would spread across soldiers in an ongoing battle as well. Useful.
As to why he would cause such feelings, no one knows. But if you’re ever alone at night and feel the hairs raise on the back of your neck, blame this dude.

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Roman Faunus
Here, the Pan character was known as the Italian Faunus.

He began as a fruitful god over crops and flocks and became a woodland trickster. Faunus eventually became a universal god of sorts.
I do like how it was mentioned that the sound of the forest was Faunus’s voice. Random but totally cool.
In February in Rome, the Italians would run around during a fertility celebration in goat skins and swing around strips of goatskin. Because yeah, Faunus was basically about fun parties and ladies. He always remained an agricultural god but also became connected with hunters.
Faunus was mentioned specifically as a creature who was the “author of spectral appearances and terrifying sounds”. It sounds like he was a bit more mystical than Pan.

On the Fence
When it comes to this trickster, I’m not too certain I like him. He’d make a good villain to terrify the hapless traveler in the woods. But that’s about it. If I wrote a story with this character as a good guy, I’d probably change him around a bit, capitalize on the panic and fear inducing properties. I’d definitely strip him of the rapey vibe.
This woman obsessed, riotous trickster needs therapy and a hobby that doesn’t include following other people around. Just saying.
However, in others’ opinions, Pan is simply noisy, playful, and happily bouncing about in all the wild places of the world.
As always with tricksters, it’s up to us. Or perhaps, up to whichever lesson we need to learn.

 

Sources

http://www.theoi.com/Olympios/HermesFamily.html

https://www.greek-gods.org/greek-deities/rustic-deities.php

http://www.mythweb.com/encyc/entries/pan.html

https://pantheon.org/articles/p/pan.html

http://www.classicsunveiled.com/mythnet/html/lessgods2.html#Pan

https://www.britannica.com/topic/Pan-Greek-god

http://www.theoi.com/Georgikos/Pan.html

https://www.ancient.eu/Pan/

https://pantheon.org/articles/i/inuus.html

https://www.britannica.com/topic/Echo-Greek-mythology#ref29086

http://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/entry/Pan_(mythology)

http://www.theoi.com/Nymphe/NympheSyrinx.html

https://pantheon.org/articles/f/faunus.html

“Mythology Timeless Tales of Gods and Heroes” by Edith Hamilton, Grand Central Publishing, 1942.

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Flashlight for the Soul

My apartment?

Has Halloween decorations already. Even the front door currently sports a pumpkin welcome sign.

I love Halloween. The spook factor, the decorating, the fun. There’s an atmosphere, a vibe to Fall and Halloween that, for me, is intoxicating.

I’ve loved it since I was a wee mongrel.

I grew up watching creature features and immersed in Halloween joy. I’ve always lived in stories inside my head with the monsters, with the unaccepted and frightening things.

Halloween feels like home.

…aaaaaand so, the celebrating begins.

 

Here’s my reasoning.

Christmas Eve is an actual part of Christmas. Following that line of thinking, September is part of Halloween.

September is, after all, October Eve. And October IS Halloween. Making September Halloween Eve.

Makes sense in my world.

 

We all need something to shake the dust from the joy and creativity in our souls. We sometimes pack it away or put it on a shelf, forget what it feels like to be alive.

Its the little things. The flashlights into the darkened corridors of our rib cage where things hide that we need to wake up again.

Don’t feel silly for enjoying things, even if others find it silly.

It isn’t silly. What brings us joy is never silly.

 

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Choose to See

I’m breathing like a zombie, sitting on an empty fee. I think its pretty funny how you don’t see me. Certainly giving me all your advice for free. Sitting there shaking your heads, judging me. Basing all your hate on things you don’t see.

This will pass, you see. Gotta make it what you want it to be. That’s what they keep saying to me.

But I’m empty, scarecrow wondering who I want to be. Things holding me down, rocks in my pockets, underwater struggle to break out of the sea.

Yup, that was a cockroach crawling on my skin. Yes, living room lights dying, going dim. Can’t pay my bills and my patience is growing thin.

Work harder and smarter. Keep pushing farther and farther. Halfway through with a little baby starter. Everybody telling me to hold on longer.

Easy for you to say when food doesn’t hurt you. You want me to believe accepting your table scraps is a virtue. But I bet you can sleep and receive successes for your hard work, too.

Some of just hurt and hurt no matter how healthy we choose to be. We have to learn to trust in what we can’t see. Cuz our elbow grease and overtime leaves our energy stolen and our souls empty. Our experience shows we’ll never get to where we need to be.

Telling me I need to believe better. Telling me I must need to try harder. If I’m still not in my right mind, if I’m still falling behind, if I’m still running blind, I’ll never have anything to offer.

Fact of the matter is you don’t have to try that hard to get what you need. I used to run until my demons started to bleed. But my body decided I couldn’t even have that and I had to concede.

You brag about your bootstraps and all your achievements. While I’m out here fighting to get out of bed, my own mind, and bereavements.

I’m sinking but keep swimming. You’re throwing insults and demeaning. Some of us out here fighting fire in our skin, ducking and swinging.

Gotta run a marathon before we can step to our dreams. Cuz the giants are in our blood, pulling us apart at the seems.

We have to play doctor for ourselves. Pick up the pieces of our own egg shells. Take a gun to our personal Hells.

All of this before we get out of our beds. Because our hangman lives inside each our heads. All the while people advising us to start popping meds.

This is where you want us to break. Crying about how there’s only so much we can take. Don’t mind my creepy smile but this is where you made your mistake.

Didn’t you hear what I said? We’re out here working to silence the voices in our head. And that’s before we’re working on paying for our bread.

Yeah I’m gonna have days where I complain. Hello – no matter what I do, I’m in pain! But all this extra work isn’t in vain.

But listen up, pull out a chair, be a good kid and sit there. You don’t have to tell me, I already know life isn’t fair. But if we go a few rounds I’ll forever be there!

Oh yeah you’ll knock me down and I guarantee you’ll mess me up. But if there’s one thing we’re pretty good at, it’s getting back up.

You can fight me all day long but I’m a beast in the ring. You don’t understand the kind of pain my own issues can bring. But if you’ll notice, every day I’m the one winning. So if you think I’m weak or easy, you haven’t been listening. I’ll keep falling down but I’ll get back up and swing.

I’m breathing like a zombie, sitting on an empty fee. I think its pretty funny how you don’t see me. Certainly giving me all your advice for free. Sitting there shaking your heads, judging me. Basing all your hate on things you don’t see.

I think I’m going to mix it up and stay out of bed. Ignore all the ugliness swarming in my head. Do something different just like my heart said.

If I had to give advice, I’d say be careful what you’re fed.

 

by Daphne Shadows

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Dominate and Eradicate Self-Hate

Good morning. 😃

I do hope you are feeling well and know you are loved.

I’m getting ready for work and simply wanted to pop by and remind you that you are fabulous!

You can totally crush this day. Whatever is presented to you – whether new or old hat, easy or something you’re not certain you can do – you can do it.

You are worthy, good enough, lovable, capable, and stronger than you give yourself credit for.

After all life has thrown at you, you are still here and trying. That means you have a 100% success record.

Never give up on yourself. Even if others do. You keep stretching toward your dreams and hopes and never compromise your standards and values.

You are not alone.

We have got this.

Wish Me Luck

I have begun working on ANOTHER work in progress story. I really enjoy this one so far and I feel like it can blossom into a story I will continue to enjoy.

This is the 5th WIP I have begun since I realized I wasn’t writing for me or the stories I wanted to write. Since then I have decided that I am going to simply keep beginning stories until I find one that is truly MY STORY to tell, instead of something I know will be “acceptable”.

I don’t think the purpose of a writer is to tell the safe stories. I think we are meant to poke at what people don’t want to but know they need. To make a safe place to deal with emotions, fears, questions, doubts. To hold a mirror up to the reader, to community, to society as a whole. To create a home where we want to live with characters who treat us with respect, kindness, and dignity while being honest and candid. A story is an escape from all the ugliness this world can throw at us. It’s a way to recharge, reconnect with ourselves, our dreams, and with others.

A story can not be any of these things if I am playing it safe. If I am afraid to be who I am as a writer.

No, I won’t be everyone’s cup of tea. But no one is EVERYONES cup of tea and that’s kind of the point.

So wish me safe travels, will you?

I’m packing my bags, putting on sturdy shoes, and jumping off the cliff, into the unknown.

(A novel is 80,000 to 100,000 words.)

Soul Under Construction

I understood myself only after I destroyed myself. And only in the process of fixing myself, did I know who I really was.

– Sade Andria Zabala

I used to think I understood this quote. On some level my soul recognized its truth, and I knew it meant something for me. A blurry old friend I never remembered making but KNEW I was intimate with even if I didn’t recognize their face.

I get it now.

I Have a Better Question

Do you ever feel like a marionette?

The daily to-do’s and responsibilities as your strings?

Only they’re made of steel. Filling up your eyesight and jerking you from here to there. Yet leaving you oddly hollow, skin tight, eyes forcing themselves to stay open through what begins to feel like a meaningless shuffle for a cardboard crowd.

That’s how I feel today.

Tired.

Pointless.

Where’s the joy for life? The promise of something better?

Some days I feel like no matter how hard I try to climb my way out of this revolving door – I’m still here.

Still fighting.

For more.

Something better.

 

What to do?

I mean, we have so many options.

We could always give up, give in. Let depression bury us in a myriad of distractions, mind-numbing things we do because it’s what we always do and we’re just so tired and change is hard.

We could let anger turn into bitter resentments. Become a nasty human who only spreads misery, always has a reason to martyr themselves or explain why they’re not responsible or how it’s someone else’s fault.

We could go the illegal route. Hurt or exploit others for money.

We could slap on a fake smile and pretend everything is just dandy while inside we slip further and further into oblivion. Lying to ourselves.

Or we could keep fighting.

Hoping.

Trying.

Looking for the positivity.

Doing what we can.

Enjoying the little things.

The little successes.

Keep finding a reason.

 

You see, I think we search too much for the meaning of life.

We’re here. I think that’s all the proof or validation that we need.

I think the point is to live our own life as best we can, treating ourselves with dignity and love, and then trying to help others.

I think our purposes can change as we do. But if we’re not really living life, then we’re not living up to our potential.

 

Enjoying life is easier said than done.

I’m still depressed, sitting on the couch, wondering why I bother to write, since I haven’t finished a novel I like yet and haven’t been published yet and simply lack for direction in my life.

But it’s a low day for me. I recognize that. Yesterday was a great day. And the day before that. I’m going to exercise in less than an hour from now and I know that always elevates my mood. I still feel like I’m running on a hamster wheel, though.

The reason I’m telling you this is, I think we can feel so stuck, so miserable, and fight for so long – that it feels like nothing will ever change. That we’ll never fight our way to the top of our own struggles.

But we will.

We already have.

What was so hard to you three years ago that felt like it would never end? Something you’ve conquered?

We’re stronger than we think.

We’re allowed to feel tired and depressed and sick of always having to fight for what seems to come easily to others.

We just can’t let that keep us from living and enjoying our own lives in whatever healthy ways we can.

 

Everything is easier said than done.

There are days where we question the point of our existence. But I have a better question.

What’s the point of giving up?

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