Pan: The Great God’s Modern Return by Paul Robichaud is probably the most thorough overview of the Arcadian goat-footed deity ever written. The book traces the history of Pan from his ancient past to his contemporary depictions. As such, the book is divided into five chapters outlining the six significant eras of Pan:
Medieval and Early Modern Pan
Pan’s Romantic Rebirth
Pan in the Twentieth Century
Pan as Occult Power
Most books on Pan focus on just one of these areas, but Mr. Robichaud covers it all here. Despite being incredibly well-researched and well-cited, the book is an immensely accessible read, meaning you don’t need to be a scholar to follow along. There are many times when his writing is nothing short of poetic. As an occultist myself, I particularly enjoyed his chapter on Pan as an occult power. He covers how famous occultists, such as Aleister Crowley, Rosaleen Norton, Dion Fortune, Margaret Murray, Gerald Gardner, and others, viewed Pan. This chapter was written respectfully and without judgment or personal bias, which is often not the case in non-occult books that mention such things.
I read any book I can get my hands on related to Pan or even any book with a section on Pan. That being said, I would like to reiterate that Pan: The Great God’s Modern Return is the best overview of the history of Pan you can get your hands on, whether you’re entirely new to the subject or highly well-versed. You’ll leave with a greater understanding of this vast, complex, and often paradoxical and contradictory deity throughout time. I also found several instances where I learned new things about Pan, leading me to further exploration and research. For example, Pan’s relationship and involvement with the creation of the Findhorn Garden Community was something that I had somehow missed until reading this book. So if you buy one book on Pan, this is my recommendation; you won’t be disappointed if you’re interested in Pan as a myth, an occult spirit, an artistic expression, a psychological archetype, an embodiment of queerness, or a combination of these areas. This book covers it all.