Green Man & Resurrecting Nature Deities
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Lady Raglan suggested that in antiquity, the Green Man was ‘the central figure in the May Day celebrations throughout Northern and Central Europe’. As the Green Man is also portrayed with acorns and hawthorn leaves, symbols of fertility in medieval times, this would seem to reinforce the association with spring.
Related figures such as Jack in the Green and Green George appear much later in our folklore. The earliest record of a Jack in the Green appears in The Morning Chronicle and London Advertiser in 1775.
However the common theme which runs through these figures would seem to be that of death and rebirth, and the Green that means life.
Perhaps then, the Green Man appears on our medieval churches as a symbol of rebirth and resurrection, tying together the old ancient pagan symbols associated with spring with the Christian faith.
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