Monday, 7 February 2011

The Green Man

Few months ago I bought a Green Man for the garden. Just in case you think it's a guy who eats too much grass, its a physical representation of a man surrounded by leaves and vegetation, in this case, made of concrete.

I've been looking for one for ages, and although there were lots of plastic and wooden ones, I wanted a concrete one that would last and weather naturally. My intention is to put him on a tree somewhere where he has a vista over the garden, but while the grass is sodden, he now sits with pride of place on the rockery.

In short, the Green Man is a symbol, a symbol of nature, of rebirth, the cycle of spring and how apt that I put him out now as the signs of spring start to show ever so tentatively. My rose bushes in their pots have red sprouting shoots and the bulbs have been peeking through the soil for a while now.

I guess I always thought that he was a Pagan symbol and that may be true, but he can also surprisingly be found on churches in carvings, some I've seen are round the doorways with other symbols such as fruits and vegetables. I saw a programme some time ago that suggested that when the church began to have more influence and power, that as a compromise to the traditional pre-christian traditions, his image was placed outside churches to allow for an easier transition to the new religion of Christianity.

Now this is something I have learned today in researching this interesting character; I mentioned a Pagan connection. In Wicca (which I know little about but should find out more) the Green Man is a representation of syncretism. This word (a new one to me) means to bring together contrary ideas - I suppose it's similar to synchronicity. If this is true, it explains why the figure can be seen on churches from centuries ago - the bringing together the belief in nature with the beliefs in Christ. Why not? They are certainly not mutually exclusive.

For me however, he is about nature - the very essence of where we live, how we live, who we are and the inextricable link between us humans and this home we call Earth.

So in short, I hope he works with the Elemental spirits that are around looking after nature to make our environment safer, more productive and a more pleasant place to live. A simple belief.

Wow, has it been windy today. Locally up here 'up north' the winds got to 66 mph today (106 kph) and while I was visiting one of our sitesat work, I was literally blown from my car in the car park to the front door of the building. Anyway, a mixed week ahead with a hint, just a hint of colder weather returning next week although there has been disruptive snow in Scotland today.

The trouble with the wind is that it has blown loads of leaves from under bushes and from other people's gardens onto my drive and front door step after I'd cleared it when the snows went!

Monday is virtually out of the way and I hope you enjoy the rest of your week.

Chat soon



  1. Hi RLS
    I have a book called A Little Book of 'The Green Man' by Mike Harding ( the stand-up comic, actor, playwright, poet etc.) He has an interest in the green man and his history and wrote this book.
    ISBN 1-85410-563-9 and is published by Aurum Press ltd in 1998.

    In the book, Mike wrote a poem about the Green Man and the last line reads:
    'I am the laughter in the leaves.'

    So I think your Green Man has left you a lot of laughter at your front step, embrace and enjoy my dear friend. :-)

  2. Wow. Appears I too have a "Green Man" or maybe a Green Lion. It s a large concrete Lion head a friend of man gave me 20 years ago from a manor house in San Francisco. The thing is heave as sin but I still move it about the garden every year. Now you've peaked my curiosity. Should do some research. Should

  3. Hi Jarmara
    Many thanks for your post. You may not believe this, but Mike Harding is an absolute favourite of mine still going back 30 years ago when he was a first rate entertainer, comic, folk singer, teller of comic poetry and all round expert at how to look at everyday life and make it funny. I will have a look for the book. Thanks also for the link between the Green Man's leaves and the drive - I think it's very apt. Kindest regards,

    Hi Donna
    According to Wikipedia, you also get Green Cats, Green Demons, and... wait for it... Green Lions! Combine that with my favourite (so far) US City - San Francisco, a powerful combination. I look forward to hearing the result of your research, both of the manor house and the Lion - please share.

  4. I'm glad I could help... all the best!
    P.s Mr Harding is a favourite of mine too.

  5. I like the green man, he's lovely.

  6. Hi Val
    Thanks, he's a handsome thing isn't he - certainly nothing like it's owner