I have always been enchanted with Pan, the faun or satyr, that frolicked with the woodland nymphs, playing his lyre and leading lovers into thickets or meadows for noon time nookie. Pan was the Greek god of rustic music, the wilds, and shepherds and flocks. From the waist down, Pan was a goat. He had hooves and horns and was so earthy that Greeks typically worshipped Pan in caves or grottoes, rather than in dedicated temples. European Romanticists took to Pan and edified him via poetry and art.
The Romans, after sacking Greece, promptly adopted Grecian gods and goddesses, attached Roman names along with dark, often erotic twists. Pan thence became Lupercus, Roman god of the shepherds. Lupercus was an anthropomorphic Wolf God or Goddess,often depicted in intimate relations with humans i.e. Romulus and Remus, fabled twin brothers and founders of Rome, who were suckled and reared by a She-Wolf. The festival dedicated to Lupercus, Lupercalia, was observed around the middle of February. Lupercalia was all about cleansing and purifying; evil spirits out, fertility and health in. The young men of the towns would doubtless get balled up on Sambuca and would strip to nothing except loin cloths made of animal hides. They made whips and thongs of animal sinew and hides and would proceed to run, scantily clad, through the streets where crowds would gather and cheer. Then the naked young men would "gently" flog bystanders with their thongs. Especially popular was the flogging of ....you guessed it: women! Pregnant women believed this ritual would ease their labor pains and women not yet pregnant believed this would improve their fertility. If this sounds like a Hieronymus Bosch painting, or at least a little like a springtime sexual purge with S&M themes, I would say you were pretty perceptive. So for all you ladies and gents ready for some fertility rites of your own, behold Super Freak Aleister Crowley's luscious poem, Hymn to Pan (c. 1907):
Thrill with lissome lust of the light,
O man ! My man !
Come careering out of the night
Of Pan ! Io Pan .
Io Pan ! Io Pan ! Come over the sea
From Sicily and from Arcady !
Roaming as Bacchus, with fauns and pards
And nymphs and styrs for thy guards,
On a milk-white ass, come over the sea
To me, to me,
Coem with Apollo in bridal dress
(Spheperdess and pythoness)
Come with Artemis, silken shod,
And wash thy white thigh, beautiful God,
In the moon, of the woods, on the marble mount,
The dimpled dawn of of the amber fount !
Dip the purple of passionate prayer
In the crimson shrine, the scarlet snare,
The soul that startles in eyes of blue
To watch thy wantoness weeping through
The tangled grove, the gnarled bole
Of the living tree that is spirit and soul
And body and brain -come over the sea,
(Io Pan ! Io Pan !)
Devil or god, to me, to me,
My man ! my man !
Come with trumpets sounding shrill
Over the hill !
Come with drums low muttering
From the spring !
Come with flute and come with pipe !
Am I not ripe ?
I, who wait and writhe and wrestle
With air that hath no boughs to nestle
My body, weary of empty clasp,
Strong as a lion, and sharp as an asp-
Come, O come !
I am numb
With the lonely lust of devildom.
Thrust the sword through the galling fetter,
All devourer, all begetter;
Give me the sign of the Open Eye
And the token erect of thorny thigh
And the word of madness and mystery,
O pan ! Io Pan !
Io Pan ! Io Pan ! Pan Pan ! Pan,
I am a man:
Do as thou wilt, as a great god can,
O Pan ! Io Pan !
Io pan ! Io Pan Pan ! Iam awake
In the grip of the snake.
The eagle slashes with beak and claw;
The gods withdraw:
The great beasts come, Io Pan ! I am borne
To death on the horn
Of the Unicorn.
I am Pan ! Io Pan ! Io Pan Pan ! Pan !
I am thy mate, I am thy man,
Goat of thy flock, I am gold , I am god,
Flesh to thy bone, flower to thy rod.
With hoofs of steel I race on the rocks
Through solstice stubborn to equinox.
And I rave; and I rape and I rip and I rend
Everlasting, world without end.
Mannikin, maiden, maenad, man,
In the might of Pan.
Io Pan ! Io Pan Pan ! Pan ! Io Pan!
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