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Dreamed 1999/4/1 by Chris Wayan

Silhouette of a satyr playing pan-pipes, facing right. Silhouette of a satyr playing pan-pipes, facing left.

A grove of olive and cypress on a steep mountain slope above an ancient Greek village. A tiny spring feeds a clear pool in a hollow. I live here, in the woods and rocks. I'm a faun or local spirit, fairly human in form, but Pan-horned, and able to vanish from mortal view when I want solitude.

The women and girls of the village bring me small offerings. In return, I grant small wishes, work small miracles, especially ones about love, sex, and marriage.

I only appear to those I like.

The wishing ritual: if I choose to show myself, the woman approaches, kneels humbly, and strokes my testicles until I'm erect. Then she pets my phallos while telling me her troubles. She has to time this, for at the moment I come, she must make her wish; then I'm obliged to do my best to make her wish come true. With younger girls, if I suspect the rite will scare them, I simply listen to their problems and give my best advice--I have centuries of experience and really don't mind sharing it, ritual or no ritual.

Still, it's quite common for even the youngest girls to come pet me without hesitation: they've grown up handling and breeding farm animals, and find nothing to fear in a tall shaggy phallos, even one as large and splendid as mine. And they believe I won't truly grant wishes or give good advice without the phallos ritual.

I dream I'm a satyr in a pool playing with village girls, since no nymphs are left. Click to enlarge.
Generations of village women have held onto two false traditions about this ritual. First: they're convinced they may only stroke the underside of my testicles, and nowhere else, until my phallos is fully erect, or I will be offended at their presumption and won't grant a wish.

Now, I've lived here centuries, but not forever. I suspect some faunish predecessor had a fetish about this, or didn't want to be too intimate with mortals--or maybe just didn't like women. That's common enough here, where the sexes keep so much to themselves. It seems such a limited foreplay, but even when I say plainly "You can do anything you'd do with a mortal lover, I like variety," they all worry I'm trying to trick them out of their wish.

The second belief, I've made an even greater effort to correct, but with limited success. They used to think I won't grant wishes unless they maintain a meek reserve, never daring to look me in the eye. Merely pleasing my body, never presuming the slightest intimacy. Serving me, their little local god, impersonally and unobtrusively, as a woman should.

Damn that right-wing misogynist satyr to a drafty dark sexless cellar of Hades with bad wine!

For I love petting and kissing and talking and playing and swimming with the village girls. I tell them so, and show them so. But change here is slow--and even if they half believe me, these days, they come to me with troubles that matter so much to them. So they're still often cautious, conservative--more so with me than is their own true nature.

Though I'm needed and revered, I often feel lonely. I want friends and lovers, not servants.

But I'm long-lived. I have time. Eventually I will find a girl, or a whole generation, who trusts me more their their grandmothers' tales. I'll teach them confidence and freedom again.

No matter how long it takes.

Four nymphs and faun-girls surround a satyr, petting him.

There's a personal level to this dream, certainly:

But I think there's a second broader meaning implied in the setting. Not just the shadow of my father--the shadow of patriarchy. First it killed off Goddess cults, then even polytheism, whose goddesses at least co-ruled. As male monotheism rose it strangled sexual (and other) freedom. The world is still struggling to climb out of that shadow... and common sense just can't seem to override our deep fears of that jealous god.

But now I've been a god, a small, local god, a pure embodiment of phallic dominance. And even he loathed tradition's chokehold on women. I wish more of you Christians, Jews, and Muslims would drop your books and try being God too. See how it feels to watch Your worshipers terrorize their kids just as they were terrorized--in Your name.

Even satyrs sometimes gag.

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