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Author Topic: The Green Man  (Read 1387 times)

Sorcha

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The Green Man
« on: July 10, 2016, 07:27:44 pm »
So I'm doing a bit of research to try to figure out if the Green Man is something anybody venerates/honors/worships in their practice or if he's more of a symbol/art motif. The idea of venerating/honoring a forest deity appeals but I'm not finding myself particularly drawn to Cernunnos (although that's always possible down the road). I for some reason do not find myself terribly draw to fertility-associated deities.

So I guess I'm just curious if anybody venerates the Green Man as a deity and if so what that looks like. Thanks!


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HarpingHawke

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Re: The Green Man
« Reply #1 on: July 10, 2016, 07:41:56 pm »
Quote from: Sorcha;193783


 
As far as I know, Cernunnos, as far as his Gaulish origins suggest, doesn't actually have all that much to do with fertility. An acquaintance of mine wrote a paper that is, IMO, an excellent starting place for those interested (or not! Whomever you decide to venerate is your choice)!

Of course, Cernunnos-as-worshipped-by-Wiccans is different, and not really my area of expertise. Neither is the Green Man, unfortunately. Just posting to clear up some misconceptions people might have.

Good luck! :)
"There is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow man; true nobility is being superior to your former self." - Hemingway

Sorcha

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Re: The Green Man
« Reply #2 on: July 10, 2016, 07:45:07 pm »
Quote from: HarpingHawke;193784
As far as I know, Cernunnos, as far as his Gaulish origins suggest, doesn't actually have all that much to do with fertility. An acquaintance of mine wrote a paper that is, IMO, an excellent starting place for those interested (or not! Whomever you decide to venerate is your choice)!

Of course, Cernunnos-as-worshipped-by-Wiccans is different, and not really my area of expertise. Neither is the Green Man, unfortunately. Just posting to clear up some misconceptions people might have.

Good luck! :)

 
That actually makes me much more curious; the whole super-phallic fertility god thing (not that I have anything against phalluses, per se) just is a bit much to me. I remember seeing a priapic Cernunnos somewhere and just being like "nah". I'll definitely check out that paper. Thanks!


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HarpingHawke

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Re: The Green Man
« Reply #3 on: July 10, 2016, 07:48:54 pm »
Quote from: Sorcha;193786
That actually makes me much more curious; the whole super-phallic fertility god thing (not that I have anything against phalluses, per se) just is a bit much to me. I remember seeing a priapic Cernunnos somewhere and just being like "nah". I'll definitely check out that paper. Thanks!


 
Bahahaha! I was pretty ambivalent too! (And now I'm stuck with 'im :whis:)

If I recall correctly, he was never depicted (in Gaul, at least) with an erect phallus.

Glad I could help!
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RecycledBenedict

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Re: The Green Man
« Reply #4 on: July 10, 2016, 08:35:30 pm »
Quote from: Sorcha;193783
So I'm doing a bit of research to try to figure out if the Green Man is something anybody venerates/honors/worships in their practice or if he's more of a symbol/art motif.

As I have understood it, when the Green Man began as an art motif in Christian art, it was with the intention to represent the ancient Roman god Silvanus, used allegorically as illustrating the fallen and redeemed natural world.

A handful of other Roman deities remained popular, too, in mediaeval Christian art: Fortuna, the river god Iordanus (in baptismal scenes), Natura, Victoria, Prudentia, Fortitudo, Temperantia and Iustitia. The seven classical planetary deities remained popular too, initially in order to illustrate calendaric computation, but, when astrology began to be popular again in the 12th and 13th centuries, as illustration of astrological treatises as well. The personified education, Philologia, was also popular - blame Martianus Capella.

English folklorists, the Wiccans and, to a certain extent, the modern Druids re-interpreted the Green Man during the 20th century, so nowadays he is worshipped in his own right, separated from the Roman Silvanus in a way similar to the treatment of Cernunnos and Herne. As long as re-interpretation isn't confused with the original conceptions of the characters, there is nothing wrong with that.
« Last Edit: July 10, 2016, 08:40:10 pm by RecycledBenedict »

Louisvillian

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Re: The Green Man
« Reply #5 on: July 11, 2016, 05:07:01 am »
Quote from: Sorcha;193783
So I'm doing a bit of research to try to figure out if the Green Man is something anybody venerates/honors/worships in their practice or if he's more of a symbol/art motif.

I know that plenty of people, especially in Wicca, Witchcraft, and Wiccanate Neopaganism, do venerate the Green Man figure as a god. They tend to tie it into the Horned God, with a more nature/vegetation spirit twist.
My opinions on the matter are complicated. I believe that the Green Man as a figure has become personified by a nature spirit or spirits. But I don't think that it originated as so. There's a lot of competing theories, and the "pagan survival" one is tenuous at best--as are many claims of "pagan survivals" in the early 20th century. It could represent a Mediaeval forest spirit or fairy-type of thing. It could represent the European legends of woodwoses or wildmen.

One of the more fascinating hypotheses is the suggestion that they were cleverly-placed emblems of the Saxon guerillas to the Norman occupation, who often lived and struck from wild country and woodlands. So the hypothesis goes, in time this act of political protest would be forgotten and the motif became a popular one in art throughout Western Europe. I don't necessarily think it's correct; like the "pagan survival" one it has major issue with evidence. But it does lean on some identifiable historical phenomena, such as a group of Saxon guerillas between 1066 and 1070 being called silvatici or wildsmen/woodsmen. And the early proliferation of foliate head motifs on Norman-era churches.

Dynes Hysbys

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Re: The Green Man
« Reply #6 on: July 11, 2016, 06:42:46 am »
Quote from: Sorcha;193783
So I'm doing a bit of research to try to figure out if the Green Man is something anybody venerates/honors/worships in their practice or if he's more of a symbol/art motif.




AH the green man. Loads of theories about him. There is a new book just published which I've ordered and am awaiting about English folklore.

This is a quote from a review

"There are lavish coffee-table books outlining the history of this ancient vegetation god – half man, half shrub – who gives us a glimpse of what our native religion was like, before the coming of Christianity, when we all lived in the greenwood and were supposedly at one with nature. Except, of course, he is no such thing. The Green Man dates back to 1939, when he appeared in a learned article by Lady Raglan of Llandenny, in Monmouthshire, who concocted him by conflating certain folk traditions with the foliate heads found in medieval churches."

Sorcha

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Re: The Green Man
« Reply #7 on: July 12, 2016, 12:05:00 pm »
Quote from: Dynes Hysbys;193807
half man, half shrub

 
"Bring back a shrubbery!"

Ahem.

The answers on this thread have been amazing and so helpful. Thanks guys!


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