Surplus of Tricksters

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.

Stream of Consciousness

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.)

Stream of Consciousness

Masks

I love this poem:

Masks by Shel Silverstein

She had blue skin,

And so did he.

He kept it hid

And so did she.

They searched for blue

Their whole life through,

Then passed right by –

And never knew.

 

Be who you are.

Because if you hide well enough behind a mask, you may walk right past someone who is ideal for you. Whether as a friend, helper or lover, it doesn’t matter.

You will never meet them or know them, feel accepted by them or loved by them if they do not know who you are.

You’ll never have what you truly crave because you were not yourself. Instead, hiding behind a mask of lies and partial truths. Don’t hide. Don’t fear who you are.

 

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Be who you are.

The only other option is to be someone else.

What is the point of you living if you’re going to be like another already here?

We are all the same and yet we are all so different.

Don’t hide your differences. They make you, you.

The vulnerabilities, the mistakes, the genetics controlling so much of you, the choices you can control and make, the choices you cannot make, how you react to those things out of your control.

Who you are is made up of not only every breath, but also of every thought and action. Every small comment and blush. Every yelled word of anger. Every slap, every hurt. Every smile. Every reason behind that smile.

 

“We are so accustomed to disguise ourselves to others, that in the end, we become disguised to ourselves.” – Francois De La Rochefoucauld

 

Be who you are.

Or you may end up hating yourself. And as a byproduct, everyone else.

 

Everyone wears masks, that’s true.  But don’t let that mask block who you are from yourself or those around you.

There’s darkness inside all of us. But without dark there would be no light. Don’t hide it. Without one part of you, the rest of you would cease to exist.

Be careful that your mask does not keep you from living the life you want.

 

“We all wear masks, and the time comes when we cannot remove them without removing some of our own skin.” –Andre Berthiaume

Stream of Consciousness

The Write Mistakes, No Regrets, and My Chrysalis

No passion so effectually robs the mind of all its powers of acting and reasoning as fear.

-Edmund Burke

When someone asks me where I’m at in my life, I’m afraid to answer. Afraid of what they’ll think of me, afraid of how they’ll judge me. Afraid that they’ll see me going nowhere, even if I know where I’m headed.

I’ve finally decided. I’m done fearing what others will decide about me. What others will judge, assume, or think of me based on what I’m NOT doing with my life.

Over the past couple of days I’ve come to a conclusion. I am in my Chrysalis. Metaphorically speaking of course, I don’t moonlight as a caterpillar. Or larva. Yick.

In a few years, when I’ve made it where I’m heading, I’ll know I made the right decisions and that the mistakes I made were ones I needed. Experiences I gathered were required.

 

But what about right now? Larva isn’t that pretty and neither is a caterpillar. A chrysalis is a hard layer of skin and some silk. Not all that appeasing to the eyes. My choices and decisions don’t look all that beautiful right now, not to most people anyway. They expect me to go to be in college, have a job.

Click to enlarge – no really, click it!
2012 Copyright Daphne Shadows

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