Green Man
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Green Man

The Green Man occurs throughout Europe, Britain and Ireland as a sculptural motif to be found on medieval and renaissance churches, with each church having its own design. The Green Man is often to be found as a carved face on corner stones, over doorways, or on phallic pillars. Hidden among leaves, with verdant vines that emerge from his mouth, eyes, and nostrils, he symbolizes the potent fertility of nature.

The Green Man has had many names, including May King, John Barley Corn, and Green George. The mythic roots of the Green Man are ancient indeed, deriving from earlier traditions of the dying and resurrected God, such as Dumuzi, husband of Inanna in Sumeria, and Osiris in Egypt. This enduring symbol has its essence in the yearly cycle of the agricultural world, where the Greenman is the savior god who is sacrificed and resurrected, like barley sheaves, or the trees that shed their leaves in the fall to be born again in the Spring.

The Green Man is the male force as healer, lover, renewer: the potent generator of life, the "seed". He is often joyously paired with the May Queen in the Spring. To this day, country festivals are held wherein men create costumes of leaves, and the Green Man is brought back to life through dance, drama and processions.

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