The Relation between Pan and Panic

Young Pan, 20 c., L Bakst, US Public Domain
Young Pan, Léon Bakst, 1911, US Public Domain

Pan-like figures are found in cultures around the world. Carl Jung tells a story of the “nocturnal God” he heard of in Kenya. He says:

“The elders of the Elgonyi tribe in Kenya gave me exactly the same description of the nocturnal god whom they call the “maker of fear.” “He comes to you,” they said, “like a cold gust of wind, and you shudder, or he goes whistling round in the tall grass” -an African Pan who glides among the reeds in the haunted noontide hour, playing on his pipes and frightening the shepherds… Thus, in the dream, the breath of the pneuma frightened another pastor, a shepherd of the flock, who in the darkness of the night trod the reed-grown shore in the deep valley of the psyche.” (CW v. 9I, para.36)

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