This wonderful shapeshifting
Green Man comes from Green Man Graphics
(used with Jay Williams' kind permission)
Common Themes, East & West:
The Green Man
Music: "Now thanked be the
great God Pan,"
used courtesy of the Internet Renaissance Band: [link updated 1/29/08]
Myth*ing Links: Dr. Dan Noel's "Who Is the Green Man?"
The Green Man is that spirit, energy, presence, inherent in every cell of the vegetative realm, and transmitted to the animal/human realms through the foods we eat, the flowers we smell, the trees we hug. He is Pan. He is what Dylan Thomas calls:With that in mind, I hope you'll enjoy this page.......
"The force that through the green fuse drives the flower
drives my green age."
Hauntingly wise Green Man "speaking" in hawthorn leaves
Parish Church in Sutton Benger, UK (c.1300)
[Added 7/26/02]: With the permission of the author, my colleague at Pacifica, Dr. Dan Noel, I have created a new page for his evocative essay, "Who Is the Green Man? -- An Ancient Pagan Icon Offers Visions of a Time We Cannot Remember." His work is wise, balanced, gentle, as his conclusion demonstrates so well:http://www.canterburygreenman.fsnet.co.uk/:...We have needed a Father Nature for a long time, and never more urgently than now, when all over the planet, armored men, in or out of uniform, terrorize each other, women and children, and what remains of the wildwood.10/22/03: Note -- Dan died unexpectedly barely three weeks after I created his page. He was very pleased to know it was online and that people were enjoying it. He said he'd look at it himself when he had time -- but he wasn't really computer-literate and I'm not sure if he ever saw it before his death. The page is now online in memoriam to a man whose kindness, wit, brilliance, and droll laughter will always be remembered -- and greatly missed.
Of all the Green Men, my two favorites are the Sutton Benger / Hawthorn Man [see above]
and this one, surrounded by acanthus leaves, Bamburg Man.
(Bamburg Cathedral, Germany): From GreenSpirit: [updated 1 May 2010]
[Added 22 October 2003]: This is "The Search for the Green Man," a lovely series of pages on England's Green Men in Canterbury, Kent, and Devon by Nigel Rushbrook. Here is how he opens:http://www.endicott-studio.com/gal/galgreen.html:I turned the radio on, mid-sentence. A distant voice from the BBC World Service was describing something very strange - a face made out of leaves, a pagan carved image found in Christian cathedrals, a descendant of the horned god of the woods, the spirit of nature, lover of the Goddess.The pages are filled with fabulous photos by Rushbrook, who now wanders around old churches and public buildings ferreting out these images, some no more than an inch or two high. He also has a page on the many "Curiosities" he finds along the way, and a great "Update" page with more photos as well as an excellent essay on the Green Man's origins, history, possible purposes, and more. Throughout, Rushbrook provides lively text and insights to go with his photos. The only problem I had was that I often wasn't sure which photos the captions belonged to -- perhaps numbering the photos and referencing them accordingly in the text would prevent such confusion in the future. Nevertheless, that's a relatively small quibble and the site overall is a jewel. Here, for example, is what Rushbrook writes about Green Dragons, one of many "Green Animals" associated with the Green Man theme [note -- the dragon's open-mouthed head is at the top center of the image in case you have trouble finding it]:
And yet, perhaps strangest of all, was the feeling that, as the programme unfolded, I had the increasing sensation that this image - the Green Man - was not unfamiliar to me. It even seemed perfectly natural, as if I had always known about it. Yet I had never knowingly seen or heard of the Green Man before.......Dragons are often shown disgorging foliage instead of fire, at Stone Nr Dartford a Green Dragon swallows its leafy tail....And here is what he says on the Charing Green Cat:....The Charing Green Man has vines issuing from his mouth, an obvious symbol of fertility. His hair resembles a field of corn, the tuft in the middle is like a sheaf. His ears are like the embryonic shapes in the paisley pattern, which are the ears of corn. Moreover, the Charing Green man is half cat. The importance to fertility rites of the cat can be found in Frazer's Golden Bough, that encyclopedia of ancient religious practices. The cat was taken to be the Corn Spirit. Why is not quite clear and other animals are sometimes taken as such, but perhaps because every farmyard has a cat to defend the grain from vermin and the cat is always associated with magic. Frazer describes how, at harvest, a cat is decorated with leaves and ribbons and let loose into the field. However, he also describes how sometimes the cat is sacrificed - in order to insure a future good harvest, blood must be spilt on the land. Such primitive behaviour was quite common and the sacrifice was not always animal. Human sacrifice is known to have occurred and there are legends, even in the British Isles, which allude to this. The half man, half cat fertility figure is perhaps some echo of this....In the midst of the Green Man pages, Rushbrook also includes a fascinating subsection on William Lawes, a royal composer at the Court of Charles I. Rushbrook refers to Lawes as "a Green Man made of music" and includes reviews and links to CDs of music written almost 400 years ago. Don't miss this site...but be sure to set aside enough time to really explore it <smile>.
[Added 22 October 2003]:"The Green Man and The Green Woman" is a wonderfully literate, literary, and lavish essay written by Terri Windling, author and founder of the Endicott Studio in the UK. Any page she does is immediately one of the best on the web, both in terms of intelligent text and sheer visual beauty. In addition to her own writing, she weaves in links to books by historians and writers of fantasy whose works are related to her overall themes. The art by Brian Froud, Wendy Froud, Alan Lee, Beckie Kravetz and others is stunning -- and each image is clickable for enlargements, which then lead to more artwork by each specific artist. This is, simply, a totally gorgeous page.http://www.mikeharding.co.uk/greenman/greenindex.html: [Updated 29 January 2008 & again on 1 May 2010.]
I'm only going to offer one striking -- and sobering -- excerpt:...Our modern despair as we watch woodland disappear from the planet is not an emotion unique to the 20th century. As early as the 4th century B.C., Plato wrote with grief (in the Critias) of the barren hills surrounding Athens as grove after grove fell before the plough or the ship-builder's axe.....
[1/28/08: annotation refers to an earlier link -- this new one looks as if all the original data is intact, albeit differently organized]: This site is run by British musician, Mike Harding, who has been tracking the Green Man for most of his life and has found thousands of images of this figure. The site is lovely, gentle and very informative. If you click on "The Mystery," you’ll find a lovely series of unique photographs of captioned Green Men (each in full color) taken from England to Asia by Harding and some of his friends. When you get to the end of all the image-batches, back up to the previous one and you’ll find a clickable "Booklist," which is an excellent and lengthy resource, despite Harding's modest disclaimer.http://www.indigogroup.co.uk/edge/greenmen.htm: [Link updated 11/18/00]
Harding's own 68 page book was published in mid-1998 by England's Aurum Publishing. A Little Book of The Green Man, despite its small size, is filled with beautifully lit and photographed full-color sculptures, accompanied by an eloquent, insightful text. At under $8.00, it's a gem. (I also recommend his companion book on gargoyles in the same series.)
This paper, "The Green Man: Variations on a Theme," is a fine overview enhanced by 14 black and white photos by British author, Ruth Wylie. The paper is a 1996 reprint from At the Edge, an interesting little magazine that looks at archaeology, myth and folklore. [Annotation updated 10/22/03]http://www.hoap.co.uk/trubshaw.htm: [Link updated 11/18/00; 22 October 2003; and 29 January 2008]
[Update 10/22/03: the link now goes to a new CD ROM with greatly expanded art but the content is essentially the same as indicated in my annotation. Update 1 May 2010: no text, photos, or bibliography anymore -- just info on buying book and/or CD-ROM]: This site, called "Gargoyles and Grotesque Carvings" in England's medieval Leicestershire and Rutland, also looks at Green Men. Click on "Introduction to medieval church carvings" and on "Green Men" -- both sections have good data and several color as well as black and white photos and/or drawings. The site also offers a fine bibliography.http://www.btinternet.com/~breinton.morris/WhoistheGreenMan.htm: [Link updated 7/26/02]
[Annotation expanded 10/22/03]: This is "The Breinton Morris - Who is the Green Man?" an unillustrated paper on the Green Man compiled from several sources by England's Phill Lister for the Fools & Animals Unconvention, Wath-upon-Dearne, 1982. Some excerpts:...It is known that stonemasons drew on many pagan themes for their decorations but we have few pointers as to the meaning behind this particular figure. Sometimes a Green Man carving is given a particular title- Silvanus (god of the forest) at the Abbey of Saint Denis, France; and Okeanus (both god of the sea and a satyr) in Mundanya, Istanbul.
This has led many to seek clues in myth, legend and religion. John Barleycorn - celebrated in song - shows the same themes of death and rebirth, as does the Green Knight in the Arthurian story of Sir Gawain. Medieval legends of the Wild Men - dressed in leaves, living in the forest and venturing forth to take food, have been connected with the Green Man. In some stories of Robin Hood - the robber and hero dressed in green - he attains godlike status and links with the Horned God Herne. Present-day Western pagan thought identifies the Green Man as the symbol of the qualities of godhood within the male, as well as being an expression of the cycle of life/death/rebirth and its relationship with the transcendent life-force, the Goddess, the female expression of divinity....
A Green Man of Ranakpur, Rajasthan in India
[Used with permission from Mike Harding's site: see above.]
[Added 28 January 2008]: As you'll see from from my e-mail (below), I can't access this music, but this musician sounds very interesting:http://web.archive.org/web/20070611132155/http://www.cnw.com/~greenman/enviro.html:Dear Malcolm -- unfortunately, my dial-up Netscape 7.2 doesn't know howHere are some quotes from his own introduction to his music:
to open the music link, so I can't hear it, but the "song beneath the
soil" words are lovely. When I get a chance, I'll add the link to my
Green Man page. Thanks for sending it!How come a Christian priest is singing, let alone writing, songs about the green man.? Well I have always been drawn to the strange figures of the green man, carved in the choirs of churches and cathedrals across Europe; a face in the foliage that looks out at you full of mischief and a kind of glorious untamed irreverence, but always linked and rooted, in the lines of the carving, to the very stems and pillars that hold up that sacred place....I wish I could hear his music, but I can't. I hope you'll enjoy it <smile>.
...I found myself wondering as I walked along by Granchester meadows what Jesus might have said if he had been born amongst the fields and hedgerows of England rather than the dry valleys of the Judean wilderness. I love his I Am sayings, I am the good shepherd, I am the gate, I am the Way and of course, I am the Vine. And I suddenly thought that on my native soil he might well have said I am the Green Man. The God who made spring itself, himself made flesh, could not be less than the gods we worshipped once in sacred groves....
For a contemporary Green Man's strong, eloquent thoughts on ecology and the destruction of ancient trees, see this page from Jay K. Williams who created Green Man Graphics [link updated 11/18/00]. In it, he discusses ecological issues in the Pacific Northwest, where he lives, gardens, and creates his wonderful art (for examples of that art, see the link under his animated Green Man at the top of my page). Jay is a passionate, gentle, nurturing example of what a modern Green Man's concerns are....and will be, for all the rest of us "Green Men," more and more.http://web.archive.org/web/20060615021910/www.users.on.net/~arachne/:
This site, by Margaret Rainbow of Australia, is called "Re-earthing the Cities." As Jay's site (see directly above) is an example of what a modern-day Green Man's concerns are, so Margaret's is an example of a contemporary Green Woman's passions. It's unique, rambling, and wise. Among its many pleasures is a wonderful essay on dealing with urban noise -- click on her opening garden image [or its link, "garden"], read down a bit to where you find a link to noise, and click on it.http://www.dl.ket.org/humanities/connections/class/medren/greenman.htm
[Added 22 October 2003]:This is a teacher's wonderful, thoughtful lesson plan for introducing middle- to highschool-age students to the Green Man. There are great projects here and fine samples of work from three students.http://web.archive.org/web/20001207051200/http://goddess2000.org/GreenMan.html:
[Added 11/18/00]:This entry-level page is the richly illustrated "Green Man's Grove" -- the art and graphics are contemporary; the text has a gentle, meditative quality. [Added May 2, 2010]: I just realized that this page comes from a fine sculptress, Abby Willowroot -- there are several working links to her work on the site.http://web.archive.org/web/20010208095028/http://www.inanna.com/yggdrasil/:
The site is called "The World Tree" by Chris Aynesworth, who brings passion and enthusiasm to his exploration of archetypes, symbols, Jung and Campbell. The site has the appeal of youth, his graphics are well chosen (despite some rather "busy" backgrounds), his text is entry level but engaging. His Green Man site, "The Gaia Counterpart: The Green Man," is 4 icon-images down on the left-hand menu where you see a green man's face. (Unfortunately, the site is trapped in frames, so there's no way for me to provide a direct URL.)Update: May 2, 2010: 12 years ago when I created this page I didn't know how to open a frame in a new window. Now I do: here's the direct URL: http://web.archive.org/web/20010210101114/www.inanna.com/yggdrasil/greenman.html -- I especially enjoy Aynesworth's connection of the Green Man with Tolkien's Tom Bombadil (one of my favorite Tolkien characters -- unfortunately, he doesn't appear in the films). Here are a few passages:Aynesworth also has icon-images for such things as Yggdrasil, cherubs, the phoenix, and the androgyne, with still more to come. The website is an obvious labor of love and I enjoyed browsing it.The Green Man is seen in many forms... One contemporary incarnation is from J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings, where there is Tom Bombadil....
Those who are familiar to the story know that when Frodo let Tom hold the ring, it held no sway over him. That is because Tolkien depicts him as an elemental force, a being older than the trees and woods. He was there before man. He could not be turned by evil, or hurt by any mortal or earthly force...
A Green Man wearing a sunwheel on a chain around his
Much Marcle in Herefordshire UK
[From author Mike Harding's site: see above.]
This is a page from Ancient Circles' commercial website, but I can't resist including it here because of Lauren Raines' great Green Man mask. [Added May 3, 2010]: Other aspects of her work are elsewhere on my site -- especially her incredible Curse of the Morrigan at the beginning of my Spring Euinox page.http://web.archive.org/web/20031006033759/www.falconrose.com/FALCONROSE/HOMEx.html:
[Added 22 October 2003]: From Georgia Lambert come more great masks -- very elaborate and rich. There are Green Beings masks, masks from the Otherworld, from Faery & Courtly planes, and from all manner of odd and wonderful places <smile>. Here's the direct link to the "Green Beings" page:http://www.jwhstudio.com/garden.html
[Added 3 May 2010]: When I found the above 2003 links dead today, I was startled. Artists of Georgia Lambert's calibre don't just suddenly close up shop and vanish like that. Was she ill or ----? I went searching for her elsewhere and was relieved to discover that she's fine but has left the UK for California and now has a new site where she offers her art, classes & lectures, meditation groups, etc: http://www.lambertslodge.com/ -- it's an innovative and very handsome site with visually rich special effects. I'll leave it for you to explore on your own <smile>.
[Added 11/18/00]:As long as I'm including commercial sites, here's another one -- it's a page from the JWH Studio (in Lowell, Mass.) of items suitable either for indoors or out -- my favorite is the Oaksman sculpture (the image is clickable), which I own and love (I'm trying to convince the artist to make a Hollyman also, since the Oak King and Holly King belong to the same cycles <smile>). I also own his lovely "Green Woman" -- aka Pomona.Handcrafted UK
[Added 2/2/08]: In the above link, I mention the Oak and Holly kings. They have now turned up elsewhere! This is a new site whose owner, Gary, e-mailed me a few days ago from England. We've shared a wide-ranging series of warm e-mails ever since. I'm happy now to have his "sponsored ad" along with images of two of my favorite Green Men from his shop, the Oak and Holly kings. Don't miss them at the bottom of my page.
Several Other Related Myth*ing Links Pages:
Ancient Greece: Pan
Common Themes East & West: Earth Deities
Common Themes East & West: Nature Spirits of the World
Wheel of the Year
__________________________________________________Myth*ing Links' General Reference Pages:
MythingLinks Search Engine
Cross-cultural, Multi-regional, Interdisciplinary Collections
General Reference Page(online libraries, reference help, literary texts, world languages, word-lover sites, help on writing research papers, copyright information, film plots, themes, and/or films representing various historical periods)
Special Interest Sites for Pacifica Faculty, Students & Colleagues(includes Jung, Campbell, Freud, Eliade, Otto, Hillman, other depth psychologists, mysticism, anthropology, religious studies, archetypal perspectives, foundations for mythology & psychology, relevant journals, books, videos, etc.)
Teachers' Reference Page for Primary & Secondary School Education
Menu of Common Themes, East & West:* Animal Guides
* Animal Deaths in Europe: Of Cows & Madness
*Artists & Muses: The Creative Impulse
*Creation Myths I
*Creation Myths II
*Crones & Sages
*Dragons & Serpents
*Food: Sacrality & Lore
*THE FOUR ELEMENTSEARTH:*Green Men
*Land: Sacrality & Lore (mountains, caves, labyrinths, spiral mounds, crop & stone circles, FengShui)
*Earth Day & Environmental Issues
*Earth Goddesses & Gods
* Air: Sacrality & Lore (air, wind, sky, storms, clouds, weather lore)
*Sky Goddesses & Gods
*Fire: Sacrality & Lore (fire, northern lights, green-flashes, Elmo's Fire)
*Fire Goddesses & Gods
*Water: Sacrality & Lore (water, wells, springs, pools, lakes)
*Floods & Rainbows: Mythologies & Science
*Water Goddesses & Gods
*Nature Spirits of the World
* Rituals of Birthing [forthcoming]
* Rituals of Death & Dying [forthcoming]
*Rituals of Puberty
*Rituals of Weather-Working: An experimental, on-going ritual in cyberspace
*Sacred Theatre & Dance
*Star Lore & Astrology
*Symbols, Signs, & Runes
*Time(Calendars, Clocks, Natural Temporal Cycles, Attitudes toward Time, & Millennium Issues)
*Trees & Plant Lore
*Tricksters, Clowns, Magicians, Jesters & Fools
*Wars, Weapns & Lies: The Dehumanizing Impulse
*Weaving Arts & Lore (Cosmic Webs, Spinning, Spindles, Clothing)
Down to Geographical Regions: Africa
If you have comments, suggestions, or wish to report a broken link,
you'll find an e-mail address on my home page.FYI: the "square" on the mini-console will stop the music; the "triangle" will re-start it; the two lines will pause it; the "slider" controls volume. My words for this hymn:Now thank/ed be the great God Pan,
and thank/ed be the wise Green Man --
shelter us from future strife,
and grant us glad and healthy life.
Credits: the large Green Man's face near the top of my page comes from a collection of images from unknown artists -- if anyone knows its origins, I'd be delighted to know. I love the face so much that it also appears, in various re-colorings, on my Imbolc, Beltane, Lammas, and Samhain pages.
1999: 4 January
1999; 3 April 1999 (added music but it won't play);
25 May 1999 (figured out how to get the music to play);
30 May 1999 (with the help of Curtis Clark of the Internet Renaissance Band,
I now know how to change the music to what I'd wanted on this page in the first place -- the "God Pan" melody!).
2000: 18 November 2000 (checked all links too).
2002: 26 July 2002, 3:45am: checked all links;
minor format changes, menu & Nedstat updates; evening: added Dan's link.
2003: did a links check, updated & resequenced links & images;
added Bamburg, cat, & dragon images & 4 new links.
2005: 15 September, added words to the page's music -- the first 2 lines are what I've always sung to this melody,
but I only remembered the end-rhyme words for the next two, so the rest of those lines are new;
also replaced all bullets with asterisks but it only saved 1K so I won't do this again! [1/28/08: restored bullets.]
2008: 28 January, c. 9pm: added "sponsored link" to Handcrafted UK.
Did long-overdue links check: added Guite's music site;
deleted Capricorn Lair link to discontinued "Father of Forest" lantern;
also deleted Nedstat because of offensive pop-up ads.
Final Nedstat statistics:
Measuring since 17 November 2000: total viewers until now = 77,283 (or approx. 11,000/year)
Busiest day: 1 May 2006 = 138.
2 February 2008, Candlemas: added regular link (above) to Handcrafted UK to let readers know to go to the bottom of this page;
also changed layout & added new link Gary sent me.
2009: 17September 2009: updated Nedstat/Motigo. But I deleted it 1/28/08! How could it still be tallying hits? Bizarre.
Hopefully, the new owners won't use pop-up ads. I'll keep an eye on this.
2010: 1-2 May 2010: did a complete links check -- found quite a few finally available on Web Archive
so I'm glad I saved all earlier annoations. I eventually want to add books at the end but no time right now.
3 May 2010: added more to Lauren Raines and Georgia Lambert links.
The waning year, Midsummer to Yule, to the Holly
I love these two wonderful Green Men.
They're available, along with more than a half dozen others, at:
Handcrafted UK in Plymouth, England (they ship worldwide).