Thanks. Been meaning to do this for a while now.
Pan, for all his instantly recognisable storybook profile, is a tricky one to find origins for. I know he was rather uncomfortably counted as one of the Olympians, but I think anyone with more than a nodding acquaintance with classical Mythology must realise that Pan is nothing like them. He never (As far as I know) even went to Mt Olympus. He stayed in his wild places, his groves and glades. And had as little to do with the Olympians as possible.
I half recall some beef he may have had with Apollo over some Cattle or something, and there was the Pipe thing, where he made some deal with Apollo (I think) so that he got all the acclaim for inventing music. But the tale was quite clear that Pan had the music first. Kind of a "OK. OK. Take the bloody music, go and be Zeus' golden boy. Do what you like, run back to your crazy ass Family, up your Mountain, just leave me out of it" springs to mind.
He clearly didn't fit in with the scheming, plotting, bickering powerplay stuff that was being thrashed out up the Hill. He had no interest in the Olympians. Which suggests he pre-dates them. He's not a Titan, or we'd have known all about it when Zeus was crowing about his victories and how puissant, powerful, and mighty he was.
And uncharacteristically, The Thunderer never tried to throw his prodigious weight around in order to impress, intimidate, co-erce, or otherwise influence Pan. Which suggests that Zeus was actually a bit wary around him. Not like Zeus, is it?
He didn't usually like it at all if one little detail didn't go his way, or to be denied even the smallest thing that his toddler sized social skills couldn't get him. And he never once challenged Pan.
So the things that were Pans, were never even considered as part of the the Prize of the Olympians after Zeus threw down the Titans. And Pan wasn't a Titan, so he must have pre-dated the Titans, or arrived with them.
The undisputable place that this most ancient of Gods still has very much to say for himself, is in our languages. Pan is one of those words that hasn't changed in it's meaning since day one. Not in any of the languages that draw from the ancient Greek, nor in any of the ages since, has it meant anything other than "All encompassing". And it can never mean anything else. And that is an extremely rare thing for a word. And this hints at the true potency of Pan.
Pan means "everything" there is. Everything is contained within what is "Pan". And that is a very powerful Godform to be knocking about for so long, unchanged without having any subsequent Religion or Society co-opt or subvert it to a cause.
Pan equates to all those messianic Sun Heros, as the unifier as well. Because he is the one, the unbroken whole, there can be no division or separate otherness that is not in the All. Or of Pan. He has been partly syncretised into a number of other subsequent Deities as well. Mostly associated with the Mystery Cults. Which utilises his role as opener. The Dionysiac mysteries borrow from Pan. The Orphic mysteries too. Orpheus was ripped apart by the Wild Maenads who follow Dionysis. And maddened by drugs and wine, them crazy beeatches were always on the hunt for Manflesh. They couldn't get a rise out of poor Orpheus, who was still pining over Euridice. *Yawns* So they tore him up and ate him instead. Only his head was preserved alive for posterity. I think Bono owns it now. Keeps it in a burlap sack. In the Shed.
Another sign of Pan is in the amount of words that are associated with him.
Go and look in a good etymological dictionary. There must be . . oh, dozens?
Pan over the ages, has been optimised, utilised, and generally well used by those who have had his services.
His traditional "God of . . . " that he should put on his FB status is that of Shepherds, and their Flocks. I think it's quite telling that he is God of "Their Flocks" also. Why not just be the "God of the Shepherds"? Then the Shepherds can look to their own flocks.
I think that this is an allegory, and that Pan as God of the Shepherds (The Mystery Cults and Godforms) and their flocks (Those who follow as Initiates) Otherwise, why has he been so universally and culturally kept on, as it were? Even Christianity wasn't above grabbing the Good Shepherd / Flock thing as soon as it was expedient.
But that kinda means that by using the symbolism of Pan's office, Jesus was submitting to Pan. And Pan franchised the Flock thing out to him, with the titles. And went back to his wild places for a bit of a break. (Apart from servicing Witches in the Groves at night with his Icy Devil's phallus, that is) Enter, Torquemada, a REAL Devil of a man.
Aleister Crowley understood the vastness and potential in Pan, and had quite a dynamic relationship with the Cloven Hoofed Hedge Hopper. His Hymn to Pan was rather universally adopted as an incantation, (Despite being every bit as awful as the rest of his poetry)
When he helped Gardner formulate the structure of Wicca, He was most insistent that Gardner keep Pan on in some form, for he must see (Crowley told him) that Pan has always been "The God of the Witches". (He was a proper Troll, was Crowley. He's still Trolling his own followers today) Gardner was pretty quick to try and keep a distance from Crowley at the earliest opportunity (Funny how they all do that) but it was too late for that!
In his fervour for a Religion of Witchcraft, he put himself in a pretty vulnerable position by trusting Crowley not to balls it up for whatever reasons. But it seems to be catching on now as the fastest growing religion of witchcraft in. . . .well, the US for sure. Maybe the World.
Patricia Crowther was also connected with Crowley at this time, but being a woman, she was probably pointedly ignored on matters of . . . .who knows, because he wasn't listening. She had a pretty good head on her shoulders for a broom buffer. In fact her Book "Lid off the Cauldron" is the only modern Witchcraft book that I have been able to read without accompanying hoots of derision, and a big bucket of STFU.
But for me, (Apart from Crowley) the most accessible and relevant modern treatise on Pan is Dion Fortunes fictional "The Goat Foot God". She was considered a real heavyweight by contemporaries including Crowley, both of whom were GD Initiates. She perfectly melded quabala and classical western tradition, with an intuitive thoroughness that laid out a lot of groundwork for pretty much all of today's neo groups, eclectics, Hermeticists, and Wiccans (And/or any other Wicca associated / franchised Witchcraft based syncretic Matriarchal Moon Cults etc)
Quietly relegated for much of the modern age as a Nature spirit, Pan has still managed to remain a a Powerful archetype in today's World. Peter Pan, Mr Tumnus, Bloody awful raucus Celtic Panpipe music, and last but not least, The Fear, and the Hoof and Horn and Horror of "Pan, the God of the Witches" (still can't get over that) was along with other bits of stolen cultural archetypes considered scary ass demonic based evil hellbound fiery or otherwise spooky, by simple early Christian Papists, was cobbled together in the most spurious and plagiarised hokey hoofened hornbrowed Pitchfork wielding fallen Angel of the Lord, who shall be the Great Deceiver on Earth, Prince of Lies, Adversary, Antichrist, and all in one Lord of Hellfire, *A big hand everyone* heeeere's Satan!
Just a minute, (we say) I recognise those Cloven hooves, and that long wispy beard, and the Ram's horns! And *sniff* You smell kinda funny, Goat Boy . . . .