Who is the Green Man ? We see his face, wreathed in leaves, looking down on us enigmatically from medieval churches and cathedrals, woodcuts and tapestries all over Western Europe, especially Britain, France and Germany. His appearances in houses of worship is not accidental; the ancient stone carvers knew exactly who he was. To discover his identity for ourselves, we must go back to our roots, to the unifying concept of a Goddess and a God.

The Goddess was and is believed to be the Spirit of Mother Earth, the bearer of life. The God was the other half, the fertilising male. We know from Stone Age carvings that the Goddess was never represented with a face, but with enormous breasts and hips to emphasise female fertility- also referred to as Sheela-na-Gig.During Greek and Roman times her images became those of the classical Goddesses, until the rise of Christianity, when Mary represented the female deity.
Christianity placed more emphasis on the male, the Green Man can be traced back to Roman times, but his roots go back further to the Celtic Gods of fertility. His appearance in christian churches can be explained if we consider that there was a fusion between the Druids and Celtic christians, who accepted each others ways to such an extent that it would horrify today's fundamentalists, and indeed did so then to the point where the Celtic church was suppressed by Rome. However, in order to build such awe-inspiring churches and cathedrals they needed men who understood the Earth magic and who could with Dowsing Rods, find the lines and spirals of power which decided the forms these buildings had to take. Many were built on ancient holy sites sanctified by centuries of worship, the people who built them remembered the old ways and the old Gods, and placed their likenesses where they would be seen and venerated.

During the repression of the Middle ages , and the terrible scourge of the Inquisition, men and women must have looked back longingly to a time when their Gods listened when they prayed. The oppression of the church turned many away from Christ to anything that might offer more; hence the perversion of Christianity into Black Magic, which bore no resemblance whatsoever to Pagan beliefs and practices, but merely reflected the need of people to believe in something.

The Green Man smiles serenely through all this. He appeared in St. Pauls Cathedral, Kew Gardens and the Houses of Parliament, up until the end of the last century, although by then his appearances were more decorative and he pretty much had lost his meaning.

Where does that leave him today? He is, as always, there as our guide to the Green path, and awareness of him is increasing, as it is of the Goddess, Gaia. We cannot fail to be aware of the damage done to the Earth by those who would rape the Mother of us all. The emergence of green awareness, Ecology, New Age spirituality and environmental activists all spring from these ancient roots. He is there to remind us that we ignore Him at our peril, and if we abuse our Mother she will reject us.

We all live on the same Earth and breathe the same air. We must learn from the Green Powers how to live in balance with them, how to harmonise our lives with all life. So welcome the Green Man into your hearts and homes as the spirit that he truly is.

Blessed Be!

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