Art by Kipsatyr.
I have often wondered exactly why I find such an amalgam of beast and man so alluring. Satyrs seem to be the embodiment of bestiality. They are often depicted as ugly, brutish, leering, lecherous, monsters who are solely driven by causing upset and nailing nymphs and lads. Yet, they can also be seen as glorious examples of man's connection to nature and need to remember his true place in it.
Satyrs represent a wild and uncontrolled aspect of our beings that civilization and cultures work to suppress. What if we all went around with semi-permanent erections and the promise of lusting abandon in our eyes? What beyond procreation would ever transpire? Where would civility and culture be then? Satyrs declare: "Values be damned! Morals be damned!" Instead embrace the pure passion of being and glory in the wonders of the natural realm as a spiritual construction--verdant, vigorous and virile.
(Art by Blondbear.)
Passion and sensual abandon are the lusting call of satyrhood. For men accepting the attributes of satyrs is akin to saying, "I am made for sex, sensuality and pleasure. The other things can all fall to the wayside as long as my needs are satiated." But the imagined curse of the satyr is to never know peace, contentment, and satiation. Just as men are ruled by their libidos satyrs are overwhelmed by theirs. Their hormonal urges drive them beyond reason and into states of altered sexual consciousness and congress.
So it is the satyrs represent the unbridled and powerful force of nature as a means for sharing seed and spreading joy through physical potency. The modern male, in a restrictive and stressful society, sees the satyr as a pure release from those constraints. The satyr is libidinous, excessive, driven and makes his desires paramount. Modern man is semi-castrated, restricted in his ability to express true feelings, cut off from nature's real bounty, and made to toe an invisible line of moral demand that gives less in the long run than it promises. Modern man is chastened to fit in with standards that the satyr never has to adhere to and that makes the fantasy all the more palpable and enticing. "Ah, to trade fitting in for freaking out bigtime!"
But the fantasy very much goes beyond those considerations when you recognize the physical being of satyrs. Why is it a satyr is part goat anyway? Because in ancient times goats were a very valuable asset for man's existence. They were powerful breeding machines who could eat just about anything and be healthy, vigorous, and virile. A goat never cared a whit for cooperation or team playing or moral standards. They were easily tamed with the promise of a continuous food source just as all domesticated food-producing animals were. But in the wild they were untamed powerhouses. Just watch rams crack skulls to prove sexual dominance. Ancient man found that power of purpose intoxicating. And, so, Pan came along to be worshiped for providing that powerful and passionate purpose: meeting your animal nature and using it to prosper.
And Pan and satyrs took the features of the goat--horns, hoofs, hairy haunches, a tail--and blended it with the upright characteristics of humans. Satyrs are energetic, ribald, unkempt, hirsute beasty boys who fuck the world and have fun doing it. They are horned and horny seed-shooting symbols of all man has traded in to be civilized, free from the trees, and collecting material.
The physical features of satyrs are what I am captivated by. The digitrade legs with their lengthened shape and power that lead to sometime cloven dark hoofs that are ideal for running and protection. The bare bodies with tight frames covered by lithe and lean muscle. The horns that can be small stubs or giant curling ram's testaments to testosterone. The hair that curls and covers them and makes them more naturally clothed than humans. The promise of unending potency and easy erections. (Modern man sure is having problems with that aspect, eh? Viagra anyone?) Satyrs don't need help to fuck. Their prime raison d'etre is fucking.
Gay men admire that capacity. We search for meaning through our members. Heterosexuals work to suppress our willingness to flaunt the constraints of their anti-desire and anti-love-lust morality. We see satyrs as kindred spirits much as we see faeries as kindred to other aspects of our nature connection that have been lost since ancient times. We admire satyrs for their wanton and dissolute behavior because it is so far outside, maverick, and rebel from what is expected of and from us. They represent the ancient pagan view of the world. A world where we are not at odds with nature, but part and parcel of it. Where every creature belongs despite their behavior. What ever you are capable of is accepted. It is the real way of this existence.
No wonder gangs of motorcycle riding yahoos can seem like leather-clad satyrs. They breeze into town yelling for sex and sin and satisfaction and then, whether finding it or not, breeze on away in a storm of dust and expletives and the gas-spewing revving of engines. Like a tribe of sexy satyrs raping the world as it runs with abandon across the land--the nature, the wild!-it belongs to and, in essence, owns.
I find the entire concept of being satyr welcoming in ways that I have failed to discover from the constant challenges and traumas of human being. And that is exactly why it is a fantasy. In fantasy we expect to be relieved of those things we dislike or feel hurt us in some way. We savor the release from pain and horror even if the alternative is frightening or horrible to others. Some see satyrs as monstrous. I see satyrs as a connection to freedom and the belonging of brotherhood I have never experienced as a cut-off, constrained man.
Gays like to think of sharing a brotherhood of sexual identity and sensual connection. What better symbolizes that than satyrs?
So here's a toast to our furry-legged, hoofed and horned friends of the ancient forest. Long may they tempt us with their wild dispositions and ravenous behavior.
Art by Jade Bengco.