Rubens Vase (4th century CE), Depicting Pan



Rubens Vase (4th century CE) — Carved from a single piece of chalcedonic agate, the vase was created for a Byzantine emperor. Delicate vine stocks, satyr-head handles and the grinning Pan in relief enhance the waxy luster, the translucency and the warm honeyed hues of the agate.


“Great Pan, He Calls Us”



Listen now, Great Pan he calls us
From the green wood in his grove
‘neath the waxing moon above us
Hear his clear flute sweet and low
Hear his clear flute sweet and low

Follow in the dance he’s leading
Circle ‘round the fire’s glow
Come and drink the wine he pours us
From the tangled vines that grow
From the tangled vines that grow
From the tangled vines that grow

Listen now and I shall follow
Listen now and I may follow

Listen now and I will follow

Out of the mid-wood’s twilight
Into the meadow’s dawn
Ivory limbed and brown eyed
Flashes the Faun

He skips through the copses singing
And his shadow dances along
And I know not which I should follow
Shadow or Song

O Hunter, snare me his shadow
O Nightingale, catch me his strain
Else moonstruck with music and madness
I track him in vain.

Song lyrics by “Hymn to Pan”, by FAUN (Song linked in comments below)
(The NEW Pan page)

Hymn to Pan XIX



Hymn to Pan XIX

Muse, tell me about Pan, the dear son of Hermes, with his goat’s feet and two horns—a lover of merry noise.

Through wooded glades he wanders with dancing Nymphs who foot it on some sheer cliff’s edge, calling upon Pan, the shepherd-god, long-haired, unkempt.

He has every snowy crest and the mountain peaks and rocky crests for his domain; hither and thither he goes through the close thickets, now lured by soft streams, and now he presses on amongst towering crags and climbs up to the highest peak that overlooks the flocks.

Often he courses through the glistening high mountains, and often on the shouldered hills he speeds along slaying wild beasts, this keen-eyed god.

Only at evening, as he returns from the chase, he sounds his note, playing sweet and low on his pipes of reed; not even she could excel him in melody—that bird who in flower-laden spring pouring forth her lament utters honey-voiced song amid the leaves.

At that hour the clear-voiced Nymphs are with him and move with nimble feet, singing by some spring of dark water, while Echo wails about the mountain-top, and the god on this side or on that of the choirs, or at times sidling into the midst, plies it nimbly with his feet.

On his back he wears a spotted lynx-pelt, and he delights in high-pitched songs in a soft meadow where crocuses and sweet-smelling hyacinths bloom at random in the grass.

They sing of the blessed gods and high Olympos (Olympus) and choose to tell of such a one as luck-bringing Hermes above the rest, how he is the swift messenger of all the gods, and how he came to Arkadia (Arcadia), the land of many springs and mother of flocks, there where his sacred place is as god of Kyllene (Cyllene).

For there, though a god, he used to tend curly-fleeced sheep in the service of a mortal man, because there fell on him and waxed strong melting desire to wed the rich-tressed daughter of Dryops, and there be brought about the merry marriage.

And in the house she bare Hermes a dear son who from his birth was marvelous to look upon, with goat’s feet and two horns—a noisy, merry-laughing child.

But when the nurse saw his uncouth face and full beard, she was afraid and sprang up and fled and left the child.

Then luck-bringing Hermes received him and took him in his arms; very glad in his heart was the god.

And he went quickly to the abodes of the deathless gods, carrying the son wrapped in warm skins of mountain hares, and set him down beside Zeus and showed him to the rest of the gods.

Then all the immortals were glad in heart and Bacchie Dionysos in especial; and they called the boy Pan because he delighted all their hearts.

And so hail to you, lord! I seek your favor with a song. And now I will remember you and another song also.
(The NEW Pan page)

Pan and Dionysus depicted on The Lycurgus Cup

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Pan and Dionysus depicted on The Lycurgus Cup. Inspired by an old relic found in Ancient Rome.

“On the Lycurgus cup, these bridges are grape vines and other figural elements. It depicts an unusual mythological scene from the story of King Lycurgus of Thracia. Lycurgus banned the worship of Dionysos in his kingdom. When the wine god and his entourage showed up in Thracia, Lycurgus flew into a range. Driven by his violent temper, the king attacked the maenad Ambrosia. She cried out to Gaia for help and was transformed into a grape vine and wound herself around Lycurgus, trapping him. The cup shows Lycurgus thrashing in the vine while Dionysos dispatches a goat-legged Pan and a full-human satyr to torture the trapped king.”

Pan – Book of Acts


Interesting comic book story and beautiful illustration. The writer gets it; Pan isn’t all about music, dancing, and folly (WHICH IS a big part of who he is and what he represents), but he is also PRIMAL, WILD —- he IS Nature.

The story is by Justin Jordan and here is an excerpt from his interview.

HMS: What does Pan mean to you as a figure? Why do you think he continues to be a powerful idea after thousands of years?

JJ: Humans have a tendency to give things attributes that sound like they’re all-encompassing. Currently, we tend to think of nature as good and beautiful. God knows, every food manufacturer and marketer has ‘all natural’ as a bonus.

And nature is beautiful. It is also ugly. A baby deer ripped apart by coyotes is ugly. A rotting tree is ugly. And none of it is good. Or bad. Nature just is. We like to anthropomorphize things in ways that are sometimes obvious and sometimes subtle. Nature is random processes happening, and they are neither evil nor good. They just are.

So this version of Pan is meant to represent that. He is nature literally anthropomorphized and while he’s malicious, it’s only when viewed through human eyes. If we told another story, Pan might save a whole town from starvation.

More interview here:

More information here:
(The NEW Pan page)


Pan and Modern Depictions


I really dislike many modern artistic depictions of Pan, with some exception. I generally prefer the much older ones. However, I like this one a lot —- as it showcases a divinity, a god like quality, not way too different from how I have encountered Pan.Pan is not a Disney character or some young faun with his cock out in the woodlands, he may have his cock out, but some of those other depictions are not accurate —— at least according to his ancient “mythos”.

Pan is a ravenous, insatiable phallic god, whose worshipers would celebrate him with offerings and massive drunken orgies in caves and forests. He’s a god specifically of primal/carnal male sexuality. He loves sex, the joys of the body, and wine. He’s a bringer of panic (hence the name). He is a war god. He helped win the war against the Titans, as well as the war against the Persians, for the Athens.

He’s a prophet, a very wise one at that, and he can be petitioned as such. (He taught the gift of seeing to Apollo before he took over Delphi).

He is also a musician …. creator of the panpipes which can charm every single animal, and even the trees. He has a booming voice, horns that pierce the sky, the prancing legs of a goat, hooves that cause the earths to quake, and a presence that will cause all who seek him to shiver in fear or ecstasy, whichever he chooses before him.

He can be very merry and very fatherly, a protector. He can shape-shift and take other forms, as many gods can. He loves celebrations and noise —- as noise is life.

To me, he IS the ULTIMATE divine masculine. – Sin Madison

(Art – is by Sam Weber)