Not long after my last post, something interesting happened which could be viewed as an epilogue or sequel to that previous post. I was at my spot on the river, preparing to do another pipe ceremony on my way home from work. From my otter-hide chanupa bag I pulled my carefully wrapped altar cloth, which contained within it the bowl and stem of my pipe, each separately wrapped in their own fabric cloth. I unrolled the two segments of my chanupa and placed them gingerly in my lap so I could open up and spread out my altar cloth on the stone upon which I was sitting. I carefully unwrapped my stem, letting it roll out of the soft fabric into my hand, and then I unwrapped my bowl in a similar, but not quite as graceful manner. As I retrieved the bowl from the cloth I was surprised to find a small mound of tobacco, fresh and unburned, spilling from the smoke hole. This was particularly strange because between the ceremony with Sekhmet and this one I’d smoked my pipe at the weekly pipe circle at a local metaphysical store, after which we always clean our pipes and blow out any burnt or excess tobacco. “Okay. Something special is about to happen."
I completed the other preparations and began to smoke and pray. There was quite a breeze on the river so keeping the matches lit long enough to ignite the tobacco was challenging, but with a bit of patience and a lull in the wind I was able to persevere. I smoked out some prayers and blessings for myself as well as various friends who were experiencing a variety of challenges, then sat quietly to await whatever was going to happen.
I was curious after the ceremony with Sekhmet if she would show up because I wondered what she might have to say about how I was doing in following her suggestions. I reached out with my feelings and could sense that she was present in a general way, and somehow I knew she was smiling. Then a familiar energy I hadn't connected with in quite some time began to make itself known to my mind and I mentally exclaimed, "...Pan!" ..."Greetings Highlander!"
He has addressed me this way since the early to mid 90s when I first started working with him, and over the years I have still never figured out why he greets me this way. The reason I began connecting with the goat-footed, horned god was inspired by two particular sources. The first was The Findhorn Book about the magickal garden that thrived on a lifeless, sandy Scottish beach because of the cooperative efforts of Humans and Nature Spirits. One of the founders had encountered Pan in a chance meeting in Hyde Park in London as the King of the Nature Spirits, sitting amongst his subjects. The second was a series of books by Michael J. Roads where he began communicating with the spirits of Nature, eventually meeting Pan, whom he came to know as the very Spirit of Nature itself, who took him on all kinds of incredible journeys and experiences into Nature.
In the early 90s I had already begun communicating with spirits. I was having daily conversations with Jeshua after attending regular sessions where he was channeled, and I had started interacting with Nature Spirits as well. I was working in Burien, Washington at the time, and next to the county library there was a little wooded park where I spent every lunch break. I would sit in the trees for almost an hour every day during the week learning to talk to the spirits of the trees and wildlife. One of the most memorable exchanges came one day when I saw a pretty little mushroom along the side of the path and I exclaimed, “Hello little mushroom!” In reply I distinctly felt the little spirit put it’s hands on its hips and pout, “I’m a toadstool!” So I was primed for the next s
In many areas of my life I’ve had a history of shyness with feelings of inadequacy, making it difficult for me to find the courage to try new things. Apparently my spirituality is not one of those areas because, despite any misgivings or apprehensions of approaching this wild, wild god, I stepped forward and asked if he could teach me. I was pleasantly surprised to find any doubts were unfounded because he greeted me with a warm, welcoming, joy as if we were old friends reuniting after lifetimes apart. Though I don’t remember now whether he told me this or I realized it on my own, it did come to me that this actually may have been the case because I probably had connected with him in my Unicorn days.
So for a long time I spent my lunch breaks connecting with Pan, learning and absorbing many lessons. At one point Pan said he had a gift for me, and not a minute later a long, straight branch fell out of a nearby tree. It has become a staff that I greatly treasure. Then, as happens, life shifted and so did my time with Pan. He still showed up from time to time, such as in one particular shamanic journey when he placed a huge chunk of rose quartz into my heart, but our regular time together waned to almost nothing up to the present time.
And that is why it was such a happy surprise to hear those words floating through my mind that day by the river. "Greetings Highlander!" We talked for a little while, most of it like a dream that I can't recall, and as we were thus engaged, the breeze from the river kicked up again with a bit more flare than previously. This had the startling result of fanning the sage stick I had smoldering in the abalone shell in front of me into flames, which in turn ignited the discarded wooden matchsticks that lined the shell until I had a little blazing fire going at my knee. Overriding my first impulse to panic and dump the whole thing into the river to extinguish it, I took a deep breath. I was in ceremony, nothing happens in ceremony that isn't supposed to.
As I watched it burn, I turned to Pan for an explanation. He told me that this was the inner flame that Sekhmet had discussed with me which had manifested as smoldering anger and frustration, and it was demonstrating how now, instead of squelching the flame, I was opening up and letting it burn. In so doing I was allowing it to burn away the unhealthy things that were no longer part of me without turning it on myself.
When it had burned down to a smolder again I found myself feeling quite exhilarated, and as I took a deep breath I realized I was feeling "clean" inside. I'm not exactly sure how to describe that sensation other than that I could breathe easier and there wasn't anything blocking the flow of my breath. I felt open with nothing gumming up the works. I felt clean.
I thanked Pan for his help and, feeling complete, I finished the ceremony and headed home. Later as I was recounting what happened, I was struck by a question... Why was it Pan that showed up rather than Sekhmet since she's the one who started this process? I knew it had something to do with my wild, primal, untamed, innocent self, and perhaps Pan was a better representative for that part of me?
Pan confirmed this suspicion at a morning ceremony down at the river before my day job. "By burning off those layers of gunk that kept that wild, innocent self encapsulated and blocked from expressing itself, you are not only connecting deeper with your own heart, but..." He grinned and opened his arms in a 'Ta-da' sort of way, "...the Heart of Nature as well. That is where you and I connect."
"...It comes time for us to work again..." I was surprised to find out this was not just a cameo appearance on his part, and in answer to my unasked question Pan continued, "Our first connection was lifetimes ago, and these intervening years have been a Hero's Quest of sorts, traveling out on your own to experience, and learn, and mature, coming full circle..." "...To meet you eye to eye." I say, finishing his sentence.
With a smile and a nod he replied, "Speaking of eyes, it's time you really see me. I saw the lovely drawing you made of me," Referring to the drawing at the beginning of this post, "But really look at me and draw what you see rather than copying someone else's concept of me..."
...So it's not exactly him, but this is closer to how I 'see' him. I present to you the great god Pan...