Out of the Broomcloset


Out of the Broomcloset        June July 2010            590 words            Leon Calafiore


















Welcome back, Summer, when all but the most unfortunate will have the opportunity to roam around NJ’s landscape, especially the wilder areas that have not yet been paved over. Yes, Out of Staters, we still have them, we just have concealed them behind a screen of road ramps and Shopping Malls.  You just have to schedule a trip, travel some distance to explore those areas.


Why discuss vacation plans, you might be wondering?  Well, some forms of magic require interaction with powers, spirits, however you may define them (or perhaps you just don’t believe in such things; fine, they still believe in you). Some of these are quite at home in your home; in fact, they are quite reticent to manifest unless provided with our dwellings and well tended gardens.  Others prefer the outskirts of town, while a few withdraw to where we are not.   Here are some field notes on one such, Pan.


Yes, you might think you have a pretty good fix on his nature, the little goat hooves and horns, the reed pipes, chasing after Nymphs like Harpo Marx after blonde chorines.  While true, this image also acts as a smoke screen for his true potentialities.


Whether related to the god Hermes or not, Pan’s natural element is wooded slopes, caves, clearings or tree- lined fields filled with livestock, and so along with Hermes is empowered at points of contact and transition.  While embodying the unfettered libido, it is more a glorying in one’s vitality and capacities, rather than unconscious unfocused lust. For the more straight-laced and buttoned up, his presence can cause disorientation or aberrant behavior in that individual, and panic (a reaction of which he is originator). In this regard, he is similar to Dionysus (with whom he sometimes travels).



In the summer, he’s best worked with after sunrise, or before sunset; if it’s too muggy at noon for you, so is it for him (what with the fur chaps and all).  His sympathies work best in spells which involve pursuing a goal, stamina, or lending a persuasive force to an endeavor.  I wouldn’t call on him for significant sums of money, but he can lend a hand in finding, say, the odd fifty dollar bill stuck in a hedge.  For those of whom he is fond, he is also a fierce protector, needing no more than his presence and voice to scare off those who would intend you harm.


His offerings tend to be on the simple side; a nice rustic bread, milk with honey, simple cheeses, or a set of his reed pipes, along with the occasional (or not so occasional) erotic image or figure.  And you probably thought all those weather worn dirty magazines were left in the woods for some other purpose. An incense may be compounded from Pine resin, Cinnamon, and a touch of Musk oil.


While technically a Greek deity, I assure you that he either hitched a ride here, or was always out and around before Europeans settled here, who then came across him quite unexpectedly after clearing some land. This could be an explanation for some of our Jersey Devil sightings.


His interests are wide ranging, a particular affinity is well established to the Gay Communities, particularly when one needs the strength to speak one’s mind.  If he was a good enough mentor to instruct Apollo how to give prophecy, he can certainly be called upon to assist you in reading the beads of an annoying straight person, which should make this a more exciting Pride month.