Monday 28 March 2011

Green Man: Welcoming the Green Man Post

For many of us who come to the Pagan Path, we are refugees of the Abrahamic faiths; & because of this many of us go years before we are willing to work with the raw energy that is the God.
Sometimes He comes looking for us, and sometimes, we find Him when we really aren't seeking, or know what it is we are seeking.  His energy is different from the Goddess, and just as essential to the turning of the wheel.  

Green man in Rosslyn Chapel
One of the oldest depictions is the Green Man, this universal face, can be seen hanging out in the eaves of many a church in Europe, and Asia.  No one knows exactly how old the concept of the Green Man is but, he seems to be depicted in many different cultures and artwork. Our most current concept of the God is mostly from the Middle Ages, and their many depictions within the newly constructed Christian houses of worship.

The God, has begun to make a massive return in the last few decades (at least in my experience). In some cultures the Green Man in his many guises has never left, in the British isle, He can be seen at May Day festivities as Jack-in-the-Green, or Jack-in the Bush, in the guise of a mummer dressed in green leaves and fresh boughs. He can also be seen throughout Europe in many of the old architecture, especially in the houses of worship. He can be seen depicted as well in many of the newer statues throughout Europe dedicated to him.

In his book 'The Green Man' by John Matthews, he gives many ways in which to seek the Green Man and celebrate him. I will share with you the ones I have used, and the ones which have made the greatest impact for me. Much like the Goddess, the God also has many aspects to himself, according to Matthews, the aspect of Spring is "Robin Hood, the Guardian of the Forest".

Green Man dancing 
on the May-blossomed Earth
Sings a small song
of the joy of being
"I am the centre, 
I reside not in stone,
but in grass, in leaves
behind which smiling 
I keep my council"

In my home, hanging always in my room is the small Green Man which came with the package, He is always on the altar whenever I set it up. He watches over the house from his advantage of the front wall and acts as a barrier to the rest of the home.

This statue seems happiest when He is near plants, especially if He is resting in the plants, my bamboo plant seemed to have great difficulty (which it shouldn't it''s like a cactus, you really can't go wrong) growing, I changed the vase it was in, I moved it so that it could be nourished by the light coming into the room, which happened to be closer to the God, it flourished I moved it where it got better light and even though it did well, it didn't do as well as it did before I moved it right on back. (the fae thanked me and my bamboo grew like crazy).

You can do the same as every home has that one spot that no matter how black your thumb, you seem to be able to keep the plants in this spot alive, you can place the God or a symbol of him there, You can also create a sacred space on your altar just for Him, try to use local plants and flora to decorate his space, and help make it more magical use plants that are living not fresh cut.

I also have images of the green man which are made from ceramics which sit outside in the garden during the spring, summer and late fall. Even if you only have a small space, then make the most of it, by placing a small figure of the green man or something you have made there along with your plants and you will notice them flourishing.

According to the Fairy Ring tarot, the other aspect  of Spring, which John also referenced, is the Woodwose, which also where the Green Man stems from, one of the early images is from 1250 in Norway from a piece called the King's Mirror.(image above).
The Woodwose is the raw primal energy of the forest., sometimes called a wildman or a woodwouse. They are powerful spirits who hide from human contact, their basic appearance is naked, with long shaggy beards, & hair,& they normally don't speak.

Within the Celtic myths their are several Woodwose, including the High King of Ulster who was driven mad, and he roamed the forest as a wild man, "The Madness of Sweeney" if we look to the Arthurian legends, Merlin at one point became a woodwose, after losing a battle.
"The Welsh told a similar story about Myrddin Wyllt, the origin of the Merlin of later romance. In these stories Myrddin is a warrior in the service of King Gwenddoleu ap Ceidio at the time of theBattle of Arfderydd. When his lord is killed at the battle, Myrddin takes to the Caledonian Forest in a fit of madness which bestows him with the ability to compose prophetic poetry; a number of later prophetic poems are attributed to him."
Much like the shaman of many cultures, Merlin was able to gain powers by returning to the forest and secluding himself for a time from the regular society. to see the Woodwose, is a call to embrace the wildness of your own spirit, to harness it for change.  It's a desire to leave behind the known and seek out the unknown. He is gust of fresh air, and indicates the rejection of established values (which may not be your own values) and the optimism of a life overturned. Changes are coming embrace them.

You can also check out John Matthews other books "The Quest for the Green Man" which has several different ways in which you can incorporate the Green man into your life.
Enjoy dancing to pipe songs of the Green Man
Be Blessed


  1. Amazing post on the Green Man. :) I'm a huge gardener and I keep a green man candle holder amongst my plants on a shelf. I put a tea light in once a week and when he's lit his eyes glow...and I swear my plants look better! Thanks for the share :)

    1. Gods know this is late, but Thank You, yes, the Green man doesn't demand a lot of attention, but He gives so much for whatever you show him. Thanks so much for commenting.
      Be Blessed


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