forest of ancients

artemis · goddess of the hunt, forest and moon 

Artemis is known as the goddess of the hunt and is one of the most respected of all the ancient Greek deities. It is thought that her name, and even the goddess herself, may even be pre-Greek. She was the daughter of Zeus, king of the gods, and the Titaness Leto and she has a twin brother, the god Apollo. Not only was Artemis the goddess of the hunt, she was also known as the goddess of wild animals, wilderness, childbirth and virginity. Also, she was protector of young children and was know to bring and relieve disease in women. In literature and art she was depicted as a huntress carrying a bow and arrow.

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Kinkakuji Temple by Patrick Foto ;)
Via Flickr:
Kinkakuji Temple (The Golden Pavilion) in Kyoto, Japan

Pan(ic)

In Ancient Greek religion, Pan is the god of the wild, shepherds, flocks, rustic music, and is often accompanied by forest nymphs. He has the hindquarters and horns of a goat, similar to that of a faun or satyr. His home is Arcadia, and Pan is associated with fertility and Spring. From one aspect of Pan’s nature Greek authors derived the word panikon, meaning “sudden fear”. Pan’s angry voice was so frightening, that it caused panic to anyone who was unlucky to be close enough to hear it.

Panic Phenomena 

Legend has it that one of Pan’s favourite diversions was to torment ancient Greek travellers traversing the byways of that once-forested land. Pan would lie in wait, concealed in the bushes, awaiting his unwitting victims. When a traveler passed by his hiding place, Pan would gently rustle the bushes, engendering a sense of apprehension in the person walking by. The traveler would pick up his pace, and Pan would then scurry ahead through the forest to intercept his quarry at the next dark turn of the path. There, he would rustle some more vegetation, and the traveler would make even greater haste as Pan’s amusement grew.

By this time, the traveler would begin to breathe heavily, and his heart would begin to pound, and the sounds of his own quickening footsteps would be magnified in the stillness of the forest to resemble those of a pursuing wild animal. One more rustle of the bushes from Pan and the traveler would be hurtling as fast as he could run along the dark and narrow forest path. It took no more provocation from Pan to keep the human interloper in Pan’s forest kingdom from fleeing as quickly as possible. Never would the unsuspecting traveler re-enter the forest without experiencing a wave of apprehension. Thus did the term panic originate.

Many people describe a dreadful atmosphere that suddenly approaches them when walking alone through the forest - at first everything becomes deadly silent before a strange fear starts to rise, which is then followed by an unusual buzzing sound - similar to that when one’s ear rings

In the Battle of Marathon (490 BC), it is said that Pan inspired panic in the hearts of the Persians, allowing the Athenians, whom he favoured, to gain the upper hand. Pan was also considered responsible for causing individual, possession-like disruptions of the psyche, or panolepsy. In addition, Pan was later known for his music, which was capable of arousing inspiration, sexual desire, or even panic itself, depending upon the god’s intentions.