Nathan (vovat) wrote,
Nathan
vovat

  • Music:

See the Green Man blow his kiss from high church walls

My original plan for today was a post on Theseus, but listening to the song "Green Man" tempted me to find out a little about...well, I think you can figure it out. What's harder to figure out, however, is exactly who the Green Man figures were supposed to represent. The name "Green Man" wasn't coined until 1939, and refers to various stone faces with vegetation either surrounding them or as actual facial features. They might not all be depictions of the same guy, but the general consensus seems to be that they were fertility and woodland deities. The presence of such presumably pagan figures on English churches might be traced to the early Christian traditions of incorporating rather than eradicating pagan traditions, although this page suggests that they might have been regarded as demons by Christians in the Middle Ages. That's the case for a lot of pagan deities, though, so it's certainly possible that both are true.

The Green Man has been linked to any number of mythological figures related to plants and forests, including Odin, the horned god Cernunnos (note to self: do a post on horned gods at some point), the Roman Sylvanus, leaf-clad forest fairies, and even Robin Hood and Father Christmas. And with May coming up pretty soon, I'd be remiss if I didn't mention the English May Day figure known as Jack in the Green. I'll probably have a little more to say about him once May Day actually rolls around.

So, what's next for my mythological post series? Well, I'm running out of more obvious ideas, but Theseus is definitely going to be the subject of one of them. And since St. George's Day is on Thursday, I might well have something to say about the dragon-slaying saint next week. I'd like to do an entire post on Ragnarok, and there's always the horned god idea I mentioned earlier in this entry. Any other ideas?
Tags: mythology, religion, xtc
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