The Divine Male

Our culture’s Hallmark Card celebration of St. Valentines Day is a shadow, a feeble, lame, Christianized, commercialized remnant of the savage splendor of the pagan holy days known as the Lupercalia – a joyous, musical, fertility festival in honor of the god Pan/Faunus, and the pure, eternal and sexual life force.

In the Roman World Lupercalia was celebrated from February 13 – 15.
The holiday had pre-Roman antecedents that probably involved human
sacrifice. But in the Roman world, during the Ides of February, priests of the god Pan/Faunus, wearing nothing but goat-skins (that did not conceal their genitals) would sacrifice two goats and a dog in the Lupercal, the cave where Rome’s mythological founders Romulus and Remus were suckled by a she-wolf – the hill on which the city of Rome was founded.

Two, high-born male youths would be led to the sacrificial altar and
would be anointed with the blood of the sacrificed animals.

A sacrificial feast would follow. And then the priests of Pan/Faunus
would make the hides of the sacrificed animals into whips. The whips
were then given to three, young, naked, male patricians.

Meanwhile, the women and maidens of Rome would line up around the
Palantine Hill.

The whip-wielding youths would then run around the hill
striking the lined-up women, who would jostle each other to be in
position to be whipped.

They did this to ensure fertility, prevent sterility, and to ease the pain of child birth.

Shakespeare’s ‘Julius Caesar’ begins at the Lupercalia of 44 B.C.
Julius Caesar urges his childless wife, Calpurnia to stand directly in
Mark Anthony’s (not the Latin American music pop star – Julius
Caesar’s best friend and comrade – a Roman patrician who was a fervent
adherent of Pan/Faunus and did everything he could to be awarded the
honor of running around the streets of ancient Rome naked, with a
shaggy whip) way so she could be properly whipped.

In the play Caesar says to Anthony, “Forget not, in your speed, Antonius, To touch Calpurnia; for our elders say the barren touched in this holy chase shake off their sterile curse.”

The days of the Lupercalia were known as the days of purification. The
intent of these days was to repel the powers of evil, to avert plague
and pestilence, ruin, and untimely death, and to liberate the powers
that promoted the fertility and the health of people, the increase of
herds of livestock, the abundant growth of crops, and to honor the god

In some myths Pan/Faunus is the son of Bacchus/Dionysus. In other
myths he is the son of the trickster god Hermes/Mercury. He is the god
of shepards, their herds of livestock, mountain wilds, hunting, and
rustic music.

He has the hindquarters, legs, hairiness and horns of a black goat.
He has the power of arousing panic, (the word is derived from his
name – the Greeks credited him with inspiring the panic among the
Persians that led to the victory of the Battle of Marathon in 490 B.C.) inspiration, beautiful, music and sexuality.

He (and Zamfir) is always depicted with his signature musical
instrument – the Pan flute.

The myth of the origin of the Pan flute involves Pan/Faunus’ attempted
seduction of Syrinx, a beautiful water nymph. Syrinx, attempting to
escape Pan/Faunus’ attention ran to her sister water nymphs. Syrinx’s
sisters transformed her into a hollow, water reed, to hide her from
Pan\Faustus. When the wind blew through the hollow, water reed it made
a sad, plaintive melody. Pan/Faunus couldn’t identify the specific
reed that Syrinx had been transformed in to, that was making the sad
and beautiful song. So he cut seven, or in some myths, nine reeds,
joined them side by side in gradually decreasing lengths to make his
definitive musical instrument.

And he is a skilled, supernatural musician.

Pan/Faunus challenges Apollo, the god of the lyre, to a contest. The
mountain god Timolus is chosen to judge the contest. King Midas (famous
for turning all he touches into gold) just happens to be present at the contest.

Timolus declares Apollo the winner of the musical contest. Then Midas
disagrees and contests the decision. Apollo then turns Midas’ ears
into long donkey ears.

Pan is ‘The Piper at the Gates of Dawn’ the title of the seventh
chapter of the book ‘The Wind in the Willows’ the classic of
children’s literature written by Kenneth Graham and published in 1908.
Syd Barrett of ‘Pink Floyd’ used the title of the book’s seventh
chapter as the title of the band’s first album. In the children’s book
Pan/Faunus is the god that gives the Human the ability to forget pain
and suffering.

Nothing about Pan/Faunus involves a Hallmark valentine’s version of
romantic love, the sanctity of monogamy, or marriage. He taught
shepards how to masturburate so as to make their profession more
tolerable and easier on the livestock. His greatest sexual conquest is
the moon goddess, Selene.

To hide his hairy, black, goat form he wrapped himself in a sheepskin.
And then he drew, he charmed the goddess to earth, into a dark forest
with the beauty of his music.

And then he shagged her.

The Lupercalia honored Pan/Faunus in his manifestation as the god of
shepards and their herds, who wards off the wolf. The Romans associated
him with the power that stopped the she-wolf from eating the infants
Romulus and Remus and instead led the she-wolf to nurture the brothers
so they could found Rome.

The Lupercalia was very much a music festival. All the music had
sexual themes which the early Christian church considered to be totally obscene.

In 476 A.D. Pope Hilary ended all overt celebration of the holiday.
But then a plague engulfed Italy, and many came to believe the plague was the result of the suppression of the pagan religious observance.

Christian missionaries were killed, in Italy, when they attempted to stop the
celebration of the Lupercalia. People who called themselves Christians
continued to covertly celebrate the holiday through the the 5th Century.

And this is the reason why Christianity’s, and our cultures depiction
of Pan/Faunus is very similar to the image of The Devil/Satan. And
this is the reason why the Hallmark Card Corporation will never put
Pan/Faunus on no dirty, stinking valentines.

Sam Libby

Sam Libby (a.k.a. Rabbi SchmuDawg) currently resides in Terranas, Dominican Republic and is completing a collection of Central American stories entitled 'The Gonzo/Kukalcan Papers', to be published in spring 2021.

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