Saturday 7 November 2015

The Green Man in autumn ... a tale of renewal and rebirth ...

The other day I was wandering through the beech wood close to my parents' house admiring the wonderful colour of the leaves when it struck me that the Green Man of our pre-Christian mythology would have felt just a little bit uncomfortable with all these seasonal changes. He always seems to be depicted in his full-summer garb with green leaves in their prime.

I'm guessing that our ancestors either thought he hibernated or died in winter to be re-awoken or re-born in the spring time.  Whatever the way of it, he'd have a tough time blending in down in the woods today. 

He's a funny character, the Green Man, with a strange tendency to show up in churches, where he really shouldn't have much to do with anything. I mentioned this the other day to a friend who's a serious medievalist, and he replied that back in the day, when all of these fine gothic churches were being constructed, there was a commonly held belief that the Cross of the Crucifixion had been made from a tree that had sprouted from an apple seed that had been trapped in Adam's teeth when he died. Now that's one strange story, but hold it in your mind and take a look at the Green Man with leaves sprouting from his nose, ears and mouth ... and he transforms ... into a dead Adam sprouting foliage. Eeek!

Green Man Grotesque at Fontevraud Abbey, France
As L.P. Hartley observed: The past is a foreign country; they do things differently there.

Anyway to get back to the beech woods: they really are looking rather splendid at the moment, so, if you have a moment to spare over the weekend, they'd make a great place to go and kick a few leaves around.

All the best for now,

 Bonny x

1 comment:

  1. Gorgeous fall colors! I did not know the story about the 'green man'... interesting. :)