Who is “Green Man”?
The Green Man represents the keeper of the forest and is depicted as a male (occasionally female) face carved into wood or stone, usually surrounded by foliage. The Green Man has a fascinating history, mostly because of inaccuracy surrounding the story. His face has been found in medieval churches and places of worship, and a common belief prevails that this is part of the “bridge” as beliefs shifted from paganism to christianity. Pagans, according to nineteenth century folklorists, theologists, poets and artists, were “nature worshippers”. The beginning of the nineteenth century saw an entire movement dedicated to uncovering ties to the past, motivated by the desire to see their own religious customs as ancient and traditional. Unfortunately, a tendancy to believe that all religions are fundamentally similar to their own, caused these christian anthropologists and folklorists to distort their findings in a way that fit their theological framework. The Green Man is one such example, where the fabricated story of him representing a pagan nature deity fit the narrative. While there is no evidence to suggest any such thing, it seems that the idea was wildly popular and has stuck. Regardless of the Green Man’s origins, the role of nature guardian that has been bestowed upon him inspires feelings of protection and age old wisdom.