The Mythology of the Green Man

The Green Man is the second oldest of all archetypes. He is both the leader and the lover, the celebrated and the sacred gift. He feeds the earth spirits and he is also the father and brother of the forest and the field, the furred and flying, the hooved and horned ones. He is the stag in the heart of the wood. He is the sound and symbol of the rut. He is eternal joy, ecstatic awareness, tender partner to Mother Earth, as well as her ever-rebirthing son. He is the eternal seed of life. 

He has variously been named Pan, Dionysius, Bacchus and Freyj in European tradition. In Northern Tradition he is the Antlered One, the face in the green wood captured among the leaves, the old sculpture of the face with greenery growing from within and around which figures so prominently on doorways, church lintels and portals leading to sacred spaces around the world. He is also Cernunnos the shape-changer and symbol of all forest beings. He is Herne, the Sacred Hunter and Protecter of the Wild.  

If we are to spare the Green Man from being sacrificed so that the natural cycles may continue – we must ask for something or someone else to stand as the sacrifice in the Green Man’s stead. This becomes even more important to our valley homeplace, because if the Green Man should die, then certainly the Red Lady, our Mother Mountain would also perish.

Someone must save the Green Man so that our Red Lady may LIVE!

A Poem for the Green Man

Sing mountain,
sing meadow,

ask rivers, ask aspens to tell, of their wild son who, walked long ago

He who wanders, with forest women
across snow drifts, at the Crest’s cliff
unkempt shepherd, mud-born and grinning

A dancing man, with great ram horns
moving among, worlds of man and beast

noise maker, Earth’s lover, for Earth still mourns.

Pass your crown to, who our town needs
to guide us through, valleys and peaks
as seasons change, as wind spreads seeds
Lead us towards, dancing in the sky

gather from the dirt, hunt for your meat
keep us living, while green things die

Sing mountain,
sing meadow,

ask rivers, ask aspens, to choose, a man from those, we love and know