(published 4th March 2019)
He’s not dead, as they claim. How can an immortal die? Pan has only transformed into winter, which makes sense, if you’re a god. Eternal life is a cycle. Mortals fool themselves, feigning ignorance, choosing to believe they own a soul immortal. Their life is a repetition of cycles that ends sooner or later, once and for all. Ours is eternal. Like sister Persephone, he descends to Underworld from time to time. Only when she goes down, he comes up.
People can barely walk in the snow. Strong winds blow above their heads. They should be at home, warming their hands by the fire, yet they walk down the street shouting, like they don’t have a home to go to. People are determined to keep on walking. They are defending something. Either their homes, their families, their lives, or their right to speak, love or walk freely.
He walks by unnoticed by the crowd. He’s not a proper god, like people imagine a god should look like. He looks human sometimes, yet he looks mostly like a goat. He has human ideals, yet his animal instincts are still alive and kicking.
He’s not dead, as they claim. “Fire,” he yells as he walks down the old familiar streets. And riots begin. “Dance,” he cries and people start dancing in the midst of winter. They can’t stand oppression for a while. They revolt. The urge to happiness is so immense, they can’t resist.
The enemies attack. They shoot, or beat or tear-gas them. Yet people remain strong, united, determined. Intoxicated with revolution. Drunk on life. The mystic ecstasy of solidarity and unity, of ancient dances that brought communities together, of natural joys long forgotten, or sacrificed, sliding in their veins, awakened by the god of lust.
He yells and cries and shouts like there’s no tomorrow. For there isn’t and he knows. There’s only eternity ahead of him. For humans, time is the most valuable thing. They can’t afford to waste it on activities they don’t enjoy. For us, it’s different. We have all the time in the world. We can spend it away and still have no regret. Suspicion awakens in their eyes. They wonder if they waste their time, if the battle is lost, the fight futile. “Celebrate,” he yells, but they don’t understand. They can’t always dance to revolution. They are programmed to see it as another job needed to be done.
He’s not dead, as they claim. He’s safe and sound. He’s the sad reminder of everything that’s supposed to be sad. He’s in all pain and panic. He’s the guilt, the remorse, the fear, incarnated in a god doomed to be extinguished. People can’t handle sadness, or desperation. Yet he comes up again and again to teach them.
He’s not dead, as they claim. He’s not alive either. He’s the eternal loser in the war between light and darkness.
Apollo has the sun on his side. He has light and warmth and order and soft manners. Pan is wild and rebellious and destined to lose all over. He loses battle after battle, yet he never fails. Failure is an attitude, he says.
They call him obsessed, or even one-dimensional. Of course he is. Archetypes are supposed to be like that. They spit on him, despise him, ostracise him. They crave for safety and order to be restored. They want things back to normal. They long for warmth and summer days, or even to go back to mourning over what’s lost.
At night, when I stop the world, I dream of him. He grabs me from the sky and for some days I disappear. I then come back into the sky, hanging among the clouds, a full moon lighting the darkness with hope. Until I empty of light and he comes to fill me up. A love like winter. Freezing and dark, like love should be.
The two of us are the perfect duet. Pan and Selene. Darkness and cold, entangled forever. Somehow I’m the black sheep among the gods. And he’s the black goat. We’re only winning in the dark winter nights. Apollo seems to be winning the war. Winters get shorter and shorter. Humans believe in Apollo. In his ethics. They work to death. They work the planet to death. Endless development until destruction.
Some see a person fall down. Some see a goat. All shout in agony. Those who see a human admittedly more. They think he’s dead. Deep down they are relieved. Evil is out of their way. For to their eyes, he’s evil. Freedom feels evil to the conveniently oppressed. For freedom comes with responsibility. Responsibility feels like a heavy burden. And Pan is a heavy burden to them.
Pan is not dead though. He can’t be. Ideas don’t die. And he will soon rise. Like he has always done. For he has died many deaths and Hades doesn’t frighten him. He has been beaten, bruised, abused, again and again, only to rise again and inspire the oppressed, the beaten the bruised, the abused.
When they approach, they find no body. Neither a human, nor a goat. For Pan vanished into thin air, like he always does. Confused they stand, like they usually do. Nothing ever makes perfect sense. Yet they long for perfect sense. They can’t stand walking in chaos. So they forget. Again and again.
Only I see him now. I take him up in the sky through invisible threads and hold him close to me for a while. We embrace like lovers do. A total eclipse of the moon, orders the goddess of the moon, or we sometimes hide above the clouds, unseen to people below and dance to his wild dances, until he leaves me, with the promise to meet again, when it’s cold enough for our love.
“The great god Pan is dead. Long live the god,” I shout behind the clouds, yet nobody pays
Mileva Anastasiadou is a neurologist. Her work can be found in many journals, such as the Molotov Cocktail, Jellyfish Review, Asymmetry Fiction, The Sunlight Press, Ghost Parachute, Gone Lawn and others.