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Who is the Green man?

Posted by on October 6, 2011

Who is the Greenman and why would we celebrate him?  That is a good question.  Modern

Green man

The eternal Green Man

Pagans celebrate the green man at Beltane and Mabon, (Spring and Fall.)  I don’t know exactly who he is but I can tell you he is old, really old yet eternally youthful.  He is archetypal energy that reaches far back in our path and he is often rendered in wood and Stone in prominent architecture in many different cultures.  Green man images can be seen in churches and public buildings all over Europe but he is depicted in the middle east as well and has some wonderful representations in Borneo, Thailand and many of the pacific Islands.

 

We know the green man predates the christian church because fine examples of roman carvings are still available to view today.  The green man kind of reminds me of Coyote energy in the US.  Coyotes were here before people and they found their way into the Native American pantheon and when the White Men came they just adjusted their game.  When Europeans first came to the new world coyotes were only located in the south west.  White men a la Teddy Roosevelt, went on a rampage to eradicate coyotes and now they roam nationwide and their population is larger than ever.  Coyotes always have a glint in their eye, like they get the joke.  What you resist persists.

 

The Green Man played a similar joke on the christianizing church body.  As the Catholics came in to convert the pagan masses the stone carvers made pagan images to decorate the cathedrals and churches.  There are 110 examples of him represented in Roselyn chapel in Scotland and he is especially associated with templars, maybe because of that chapel.  I think it is this resistance to being eradicated or absorbed that pagans are really drawn to.

 

The greenmen are a natural fit at Beltane festivals which celebrate the coming of spring and the planting of crops and the cyclical nature of the earth we live on.  There are many green man festivals around Europe and the US and he is celebrated again at Mabon when fall calls for him to rest for the winter.  The green man myth has been associated with Death and Rebirth and he is especially revered by those who practice green witchcraft as the embodiment of the God and the consort to the Goddess.  Green magic involves the cultivation of herbs for healing balms and ungents.

 

The greenman is also associated with fairy lore in Ireland and the wild men of the forrest associated with Robin Hood, but I think these associations came later as people tried to synthesize this iconic image that never seems far from our collective unconscious.  Many pagans consider him the link to our wilder selves.  A bridge between our conscious mind and our unconscious drives.  Perhaps he is the representation of our pineal gland and in some way regulates the flow of chemicals of joy and renewal within our culture as opposed to our bodies.  It is nice to think so.

I encourage you to connect a little to the green man, even if it just involves talking to your houseplants.  It will do your soul good.  You might as well, the green man is not going away.

Last modified on November 29, 2011

Categories: Magic, Shamanism
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