I really have more of a question really. I am new to pagan exploration so I apologize for my ignorance in advance. I have a few gods and goddesses that I feel personify and embody energies pertinant to certain areas of my life except one, my sexuality specifically. I am a lesbian and I can not "connect" with any god-energies on this level. Oddly enough, Pan is what keeps moving to the front and center of my spiritual vision. For a while, I could not figure out why...and then something came to me. I will explain it in short. I may be breaking all kinds of traditions in suggesting this but I would like to get some feedback on this if you have time. Ok, according to mythology, Pan is dead. However, I personally do not believe that energy can be destroyed and therefore Pan must still exist somehow. I am a devotee of Cybele and in mythology she has restored other gods in various forms. What if Pan was restored by Cybele with the condition that he take a female form (as was customary for men to do in devotion to Cybele) but remaining the same god energy within, therefore rendering a Lesbian Goddess (a kind of butchy one ;) ). Does magick allow for continual reincarnation for the sake of change in time, culture and social context?
There is no need to apologize for ignorance, unless it is willful. We all start somewhere and you’re starting from an excellent place. The ability to ask thoughtful questions puts you well ahead of the game regardless of your field of endeavor.
First, the preliminaries: My first advice is not to convince yourself that you can not do anything. You can connect with male gods sexually, you just haven’t found the key. Then again, how do I know? I’ve never been a lesbian.
Secondly, if you read a little more about the Pan is dead myth, you’ll find that there is some historical doubt to that story. The god referred to may have been Tammuz, not Pan. Having had recent experience with Pan like no other god/dess I’ve experienced, I can assure you that Pan is not dead.
Thirdly, I will leave the relationships between the gods as you experience them and their interrelationships between you and them and not comment on what Cybele may or may not have done.
Finally, the good part, you write, “Does magick allow for continual reincarnation for the sake of change in time, culture and social context?” My answer is an unequivocal yes. The old joke about Golden Dawn Lodges is that a lodge is a group of people that all agree to the same Hebrew mispronunciation. Speaking more on the Golden Dawn, our founders did their best to cobble together the Egyptian god forms and got some of it wrong. That did not prevent the system from working at all. It may contribute to its own peculiar spin within the Golden Dawn framework but that is fine by me. In short, the powers that be adapted to the context into which they were placed.
Gods are not unintelligent barbarians. The may be massive forces but the anthropomorphized faces we get are intelligent and can adapt. One criticism against god form work is that of language. How can a being from ancient Arcadia(Pan) speak English? The answer is he doesn’t. He sends us ideas or impulses and we translate them into words convenient to our understanding. Hence, no matter what is being contacted it is being ‘reincarnated’ or changed to the time, culture and context of the magician.
This impulse to language conversion is why true introspective work is necessary to those that live a magickal life. Those that have not completed the work may be sent an impulse, “You should try mirror magick to contact me,” and translate that into “Hecate said I am the best reflection of her ever!” Personal alchemical work can get the ego out of the way and allow us to hear a more accurate message. “Hecate said I am great at mirror magick and should use that to contact her.” Eventually, with enough work, the same message would translate to “use a mirror to contact Hecate.” The next step is actual contact. But, if we didn’t have contact before, how did we get here? It was Hecate the whole time; the receiver changed enough to allow better communication.
At each of these stages the essential essence of Hecate is being transmitted to the receiver who filters that through herself and thus reinvents the god form within the receiver’s own personal and cultural context. The question is, is that reinvention accurate to who that god really is?
Some would argue that when the symbolism one receives is out of context with the mythology you are not contacting that god. Hogwash. However, it may mean there is a translation error, see above. Then again, this too could be a cultural thing that a god is able to discard. Is an Egyptian sistrum all that different from a tambourine? Or try this example. If Mercury referred to an aircraft, wouldn’t it be insulting to the god to assume that the receiver had not contacted Mercury because the god can not understand the concept of aircraft? After all, airplanes are not mentioned in Greek myth. However, they are part of what is normally associated with Mercury, commerce, travel and as anyone that has been disappointed at the disparity between the advertised departure time and actual take-off can attest, trickery.
However, I do not believe gods venture too far off from their established selves. During my recent experience with Pan, he encouraged some things directly appropriate to his mythology that could cause massive social problems in the modern day United States. A lesser experienced magician may have been overwhelmed and trotted down the path the god wanted or that my ego translated. Instead, I had many long patient conversations with My Gal and Pan. I tend to believe that communication was genuine even though it appealed to my lower nature. That is, after all, where Pan does his best work. He’s a fertility god! As a magician, the choice is now mine. A mindless magician without will is simply a horse. The gods love horses. I have no desire to be such. It is hard to stand up and look a god in the eye. Those that can do so are magicians. Those that can not are not.
Lastly, Pan has no objection to homosexual sex. His myths are full of it. He is not a cultured god with lots of social rules to follow. Pan would love to stir up sex in almost any form. Being ‘riden’ is one thing being a horse is quite another.
I hope this helped. I would also encourage you to read Jason Miller’s blog on a regular basis. The items he discusses may be valuable to you. I’d also encourage you to read, The Cult of Pan in Ancient Greece by Philippe Borgeaud. Hold onto your wallet, my copy set me back over $100 recently but that book is worth every penny. However, before you do that, read this short diatribe on the value of ignorance. You may want to experience some things while still in a state of ‘unknowing’ regarding your particular god or you may not.
Best of Luck,
Fr. POS(aka Frater Bone Head)