As you’ll have learnt from yesterday’s post ‘Ketosis – an ancient & historic state‘; I can see four churches on my daily ramble to health and well-being.
The second of these carries a reminder of this land’s pre-Christian origins: The Green Man, Lord of the Greenwood.
Early Medieval architecture in England will often feature this ‘foliate-face’, in the form of gargoyles, bosses or corbel-carvings such as this. The exact meaning of this iconography has been lost to time; but it’s believed to date back to pagan times, when forest folklore was strong and the seasons were ruled by two opposing warlords; the Holly King & the Oak King.
Christianity was slow to catch on in a country which has always been steeped in druid culture. Add to this the invasions of pagan Romans & Vikings; and it becomes easy to understand why ancient folklore retained its resonance until well into the late-medieval period.
This particular Green Man is a much loved local figure. He stands at the entrance to the church, where generations of hands have touched him for luck!
We’re at that time of year where the leaves have all but fallen from the trees, and the holly will soon bear fruit. In light of this, maybe I’ll drop by and give the Green Man a friendly pat. Anything to ward off the dark on these gloomy mornings is definitely worth a try!
Thanks for reading,