Wednesday, 28 October 2009

The Green Man

The Green Man is a mysterious figure from folklore and legend, found in many countries of the world in many different forms and variations.   He is usually depicted as a head emerging from leaves and foliage, which sometimes grow from his face or ears, or represent his hair and beard.

  Green Man from Ludlow
The Green Man (nearly always male) seems to be a pagan and primitive symbol of rebirth, or "renaissance," representing the cycle of growth each spring, perhaps a fertility figure or a nature spirit, not always entirely benevolent, similar to the woodwose (the wild man of the woods).   He frequently appears, carved in wood or stone, in churches, chapels, abbeys and cathedrals all over England, where examples can be found dating from the 11th century through to the 20th century.

Green Man Carving from Dore Abbey, Herefordshire

Green Men to me are a bit sinister, representing something much older than our civilisation, something wild and primitive, belonging to an age when people were closer to nature and when strange and unexpected things lurked in the forests and woods.  


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