green man boss rochester cathedral

Green Man reminding

The Green Man is a sacred symbol of death and rebirth often found in religious buildings on the pew ends or up in the stonework.

Although the name appears to be modern, the green man has been celebrated in festivals for hundreds of years at least in representations such as Jack in the Green and Green George first mentioned in the 18th Century. It’s worth remembering that although figures like this may have been relatively recently referred to in writings it’s not unreasonable to assume they have been a feature of life from pre-Christian times when the population was more likely to venerate the natural world around them than we have since the reformation and enlightenment.

What, if anything might the Green Man represent to you? And how would you write about him? This month’s picture prompt is an invitation to explore your inner world for the deeper meaning of a symbol like the Green Man.

Please feel free to leave your first line, paragraph, stanza or even title in the comments below.

And here’s my effort .. please be kind :-)

As my fingers trace the delicate carving of the Green Man my husband has carved for me as a gift I am reminded of the power such symbols have in my life. Life, death, rebirth; all are reminders of our essential nature and of who we really are, spiritual beings experiencing an earthly existence to be reminded that we are all creators and powerful beyond measure.


PS: After I’d published this post I received the following comment and photo from Jackie Morris:

This costume represented my one creative outlet at a time when I had buried myself in the purely practical world. It’s still very much my creative process – bodge it together, let my mind wander, see what I come up with and then keep working until it makes a kind of sense. More than this, the costume represents love – because my son requested it, and I was so happy to see him enjoy mythology as much as I did at his age. It also represents the fragility of art – as soon as it was on, bits started falling off, and none of it survived except in this photo.

My son is taller than me now and I’m writing instead of making – just as well, he doesn’t get involved in World Book Day anymore.

All the best, Jackie

green man costume


  1. She walked down through the woods to the shore. It was still warm enough to swim at dawn, but she’d found the first stray plane leaf on the shingle, the sure sign that the world was turning back to winter, that she would have to watch the battle play out again.

    The Green Man had watched her steps on the path already slippery with moss. She knew he watched over her but couldn’t figure out if he was Oak or Holly, or father of both. She never saw him when either was at their height. Through midsummer and midwinter, she felt safe enough in the woods. Nothing to fear when the Oak held sway, and the paths were dry and certain, the streams low and crossable. Nothing to fear when Holly held sway, and the paths were crunching hard, the streams frozen solid and walkable.

    Only towards the equinoctial nights did she fear to tread among the trees; only then did she feel his gaze. There were those who called him hunter, but she knew different. She knew him as guardian, watching to be sure that stout oak would withdraw and allow prickly holly his due sway in line with the ancient bargain, and then back again come spring. Neither gave their ground, nor their glory, willingly. So Moonbeam walked the woods, wary of their power and their eternal struggle for dominance. She walked among them and down to the shore to remind them of their primeval promise to share. And the Green Man, watched over her.

  2. That’s wonderful Lesley – had a Midsummer Night’s Dream vibe. I love the idea of Moonbeam walking the woods and trees holding their ground

  3. Going Going Green

    There’s a hush in the crush and a thrill of expectation,
    as I preen, still unseen, just before my revelation,
    for my verdigris is pedigree – a sign of incarnation.

    Now my Mise en scene is spherical, a spotlight atmospherical
    and when seen on the screen, the excitement’s quite hysterical
    – my allure an amour, one that cannot be chimerical.

    For the Green Man, a paean, man – a boulevard sensation
    one whose mien is serene, from the Hoare Belisha nation
    whose emergence cues convergence, so my fans can change location!

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