The Green Man is the Spirit of Irrepressible Life. Pave over Earth as much as you like: weeds will continue to poke through. That irrepressible urge to live and procreate is the Green Man. He personifies the regenerative powers of nature. He is the essence of the life-force, the libido, the male impulse to procreate. The Green Man is also emblematic of decay: the body returned to Earth, covered in foliage. The Green Man is lord of the eternal cycle of life and death.
The Green Man appears in the form of a tree man: a man completely covered in vines and leaves. If Earth (Gaia) is perceived as a fertile woman, then trees are big, hard erections eternally penetrating her. Tree sap was once equated with semen.
The Green Man names a spirit but also an architectural, ornamental motif. In terms of visual imagery, there are basically two forms of Green Men:
- A male head that is formed from leaves or extensively crowned with leaves (the oldest form).
- Foliage emerges from the Green Man's mouth and occasionally through other orifices, too. (One way of interpreting this is the Green Man speaks through plants.)
The Green Man is an extremely Pagan looking image: he's a wild man of nature. However, although the Green Man predates Christianity, it is now most famous as an architectural motif featured on Gothic churches. Green Men are found in Bamberg, Chartres, Dijon, Norwich and Fribourg, as well as many other cathedrals and churches. There are twenty Green Man carvings within Exeter Cathedral.
Images of the Green Man proliferated in conjunction with the cult of Black Madonnas. Many cathedrals were built over sties once dedicated to Isis. Dale Pendell, author of Pharmakol Poeia, theorizes that if Isis is the Madonna and Horus is the Divine Child, then the Green Man hiding among foliage may be Osiris, who in Egyptian myth was hidden in foliage. Dionysus is sometimes considered the prototype for the Green Man. Others associated with him include Robin Hood and Saint George.
Meditate on the image of the Green Man or surround yourself with his images when you need a fertility boost or seek reinvigoration - physical, spiritual, or emotional.
From: Encyclopedia of Spirits