Posts Tagged ‘Pan’


Porphyry – On Images – fragment 8

November 25, 2009

‘The whole power productive of water they called Oceanus, and named its symbolic figure Tethys. But of the whole, the drinking-water produced is called Achelous; and the sea-water Poseidon; while again that which makes the sea, inasmuch as it is productive, is Amphitrite. Of the sweet waters the particular powers are called Nymphs, and those of the sea-waters Nereids.

Again, the power of fire they called Hephaestus, and have made his image in the form of a man, but put on it a blue cap as a symbol of the revolution of the heavens, because the archetypal and purest form of fire is there. But the fire brought down from heaven to earth is less intense, and wants the strengthening and support which is found in matter: wherefore he is lame, as needing matter to support him.

Also they supposed a power of this kind to belong to the sun and called it Apollo, from the pulsation of his beams. There are also nine Muses singing to his lyre, which are the sublunar sphere, and seven spheres of the planets, and one of the fixed stars. And they crowned him with laurel, partly because the plant is full of fire, and therefore hated by daemons; and partly because it crackles in burning, to represent the god’s prophetic art.

But inasmuch as the sun wards off the evils of the earth, they called him Heracles (from his clashing against the air) in passing from east to west. And they invented fables of his performing twelve labours, as the symbol of the division of the signs of the zodiac in heaven; and they arrayed him with a club and a lion’s skin, the one as an indication of his uneven motion, and the other representative of his strength in “Leo” the sign of the zodiac.

Of the sun’s healing power Asclepius is the symbol, and to him they have given the staff as a sign of the support and rest of the sick, and the serpent is wound round it, as significant of his preservation of body and soul: for the animal is most full of spirit, and shuffles off the weakness of the body. It seems also to have a great faculty for healing: for it found the remedy for giving clear sight, and is said in a legend to know a certain plant which restores life.

But the fiery power of his revolving and circling motion, whereby he ripens the crops, is called Dionysus, not in the same sense as the power which produces the juicy fruits, but either from the sun’s rotation, or from his completing his orbit in the heaven. And whereas he revolves round the cosmical seasons and is the maker of “times and tides,” the sun is on this account called Horus.

Of his power over agriculture, whereon depend the gifts of wealth, the symbol is Pluto. He has, however, equally the power of destroying, on which account they make Sarapis share the temple of Pluto: and the purple tunic they make the symbol of the light that has sunk beneath the earth, and the sceptre broken at the top that of his power below, and the posture of the hand the symbol of his departure into the unseen world.

Cerberus is represented with three heads, because the positions of the sun above the earth are three-rising, midday, and setting.

The moon, conceived according to her brightness, they called Artemis, as it were, “cutting the air.” And Artemis, though herself a virgin, presides over childbirth, because the power of the new moon is helpful to parturition.

What Apollo is to the sun, that Athena is to the moon: for the moon is a symbol of wisdom, and so a kind of Athena.

But, again, the moon is Hecate, the symbol of her varying phases and of her power dependent on the phases. Wherefore her power appears in three forms, having as symbol of the new moon the figure in the white robe and golden sandals, and torches lighted: the basket, which she bears when she has mounted high, is the symbol of the cultivation of the crops, which she makes to grow up according to the increase of her light: and again the symbol of the full moon is the goddess of the brazen sandals.

Or even from the branch of olive one might infer her fiery nature, and from the poppy her productiveness, and the multitude of the souls who find an abode in her as in a city, for the poppy is an emblem of a city. She bears a bow, like Artemis, because of the sharpness of the pangs of labour.

And, again, the Fates are referred to her powers, Clotho to the generative, and Lachesis to the nutritive, and Atropos to the inexorable will of the deity.

Also, the power productive of corn-crops, which is Demeter, they associate with her, as producing power in her. The moon is also a supporter of Kore. They set Dionysus also beside her, both on account of their growth of horns, and because of the region of clouds lying beneath the lower world.

The power of Kronos they perceived to be sluggish and slow and cold, and therefore attributed to him the power of time: and they figure him standing, and grey-headed, to indicate that time is growing old.

The Curetes, attending on Chronos, are symbols of the seasons, because time journeys on through seasons.

Of the Hours, some are the Olympian, belonging to the sun, which also open the gates in the air: and others are earthly, belonging to Demeter, and hold a basket, one symbolic of the flowers of spring, and the other of the wheat-ears of summer.

The power of Ares they perceived to be fiery, and represented it as causing war and bloodshed, and capable both of harm and benefit.

The star of Aphrodite they observed as tending to fecundity, being the cause of desire and offspring, and represented it as a woman because of generation, and as beautiful, because it is also the evening star-

“Hesper, the fairest star that shines in heaven.” [Homer, Iliad 22:318]

And Eros they set by her because of desire. She veils her breasts and other parts, because their power is the source of generation and nourishment. She comes from the sea, a watery element, and warm, and in constant movement, and foaming because of its commotion, whereby they intimate the seminal power.

Hermes is the representative of reason and speech, which both accomplish and interpret all things. The phallic Hermes represents vigour, but also indicates the generative law that pervades all things.

Further, reason is composite: in the sun it is called Hermes; in the moon Hecate; and that which is in the All Hermopan, for the generative and creative reason extends over all things. Hermanubis also is composite, and as it were half Greek, being found among the Egyptians also. Since speech is also connected with the power of love, Eros represents this power: wherefore Eros is represented as the son of Hermes, but as an infant, because of his sudden impulses of desire.

They made Pan the symbol of the universe, and gave him his horns as symbols of sun and moon, and the fawn skin as emblem of the stars in heaven, or of the variety of the universe.’


Short – Pan

November 13, 2009

Pan’s body is alive in a way that
Not even he can truly understand.
His blood boils, surges; his kisses burn through
The crisp blanket of snow upon the earth.


Fiction: Ekho and Pan: Twilight

September 28, 2009

She exists best in the twilight hours, like the fey that women speak of as they draw close together in the heaving markets and shout to be heard. Nobody leaves saucers of milk out for Ekho, though, and she is not repulsed by iron. She knows only that, in the between hours—when the earth is cool but the air warm—she can think, even if she has neither voice nor body to make her thoughts known.

Pan, though, doesn’t accept that she thrives only in twilight. He needs her most when Selene’s delicate madness thrums through the air: he pulses with hunger, desire, need, and yet she can do nothing for him. She watches him undress and touch himself, and she can’t even feel passion for that, no, not even that.

She has no true body; she has no real desire. Aphrodite’s influence does not stretch to the bodiless, even if it was love that made her waste away. She scorned love for centuries after that; she used to spit at Selene and scream at the lovers who walked, hand in hand, through her domain. They know better now, but it matters not: she would not shout at them anymore.

Pan, Pan, she whispers with her eyes. He’s asleep, as he so often is, during her strongest hours – when the shimmer of her body is there, just barely there, amid the wind and tinkling rain. It is only in twilight, then, that Aphrodite affects her: it is only in twilight that she so hungers for Pan.

He, though, doesn’t stir. She doesn’t know how to wake him: her lips are sewn shut, and the thread only loosens when another speaks first. She remembers Hera and still thinks resentfully of her: after all, she did not fuck Zeus; she merely made it possible for others to. Hera’s wrath is not bound by direct responsibility, though, and Ekho has learned to understand and accept that, even if she does not like it.

She draws closer, away from the trees where she pulses strongest—for it was in the trees that she withered away to nothingness—and has to fight through the wind to get near. The wind tears at her barely-there body – she doesn’t have skin or hair, lips or breasts or wind-warmed cheeks; all she has is her essence, concentrated into one place.

She kneels beside him, twisting her sewn lips this way and that. She feels cold, cold, cold: the hunger in her belly rumbles, sates, rumbles, sates. It bewilders her, but she understands it a little – she is not fully here, and so neither is her desire. The creeping chill in her veins reminds her of that–that she is even less tangible than the ghosts–and she forces her trembling essence to the ground beside him.

He is without his chiton; his dark hairs stand stiffly up from his skin. His face is tilted away from her, and she wishes that it was not; if he was turned towards her, his breath—always hot, hot, hot—might warm her. But he is not, and she doesn’t have the energy to force her not-there body to move once again, so she lies, still and silent, on the cool, hard ground.

Eos flits overhead; dew streams from her fingers and falls down, down, down – it goes through Ekho and she feels it, oh, she feels it. She closes her eyes and imagines that they, too, were sewn. She opens them again and smiles to find that they are not.

Pan, restless in his sleep as in his waking hours, shifts. He turns; his breath warms Ekho’s forehead, and she tries, in vain, to bury herself closer to him. She can’t, though; he is too far away, and she can’t move. The chill has frozen her; it is all that she can do to remain beside him.

He surprises her, then. Still asleep, he inches closer, until his bare, hairy chest presses against where hers should be. She recalls the feeling of her nipples hardening and smiles – if she had a body, that would have happened. His arms remain flung above his head, but one of his legs move; it winds around her essence, her ever-so-barely-there illusion of a body, and draws her closer.

His warmth begins to seep through her; she imagines fire coarsing through her nonexistent veins, chasing away the shards of ice. She imagines heat settling over her like a blanket; she imagines her own body, warmed by sex and flushed, red and open in the early dawn hours.

He stirs. His eyes open, and lock on where she thinks hers are. He smiles, and his head moves. She tilts her own back—or tries to; she recalls how it felt to do so, and tries to recreate that feeling—and feels, just for an instant, the brush of his lips over hers.

The wind finally batters through her, then; she is torn apart and torn away from her Pan. She collects her essence as best she can and flees for the trees, wrapping herself into the dewy leaves; if she lets herself go and simply succumbs to the wind, she will truly fade to nothing.

“I love you,” Pan shouts, his voice raw with hunger and, yet, softened by sleep – and tenderness.

She answers in the only way she can, throwing his words back at him with a slap of emotion, of strangled, tortured, aching love: “I love you.”

So it goes; the twilight passes, and she fades into silence as the day begins.