Awakening the Green Man
An European partnership project
For two years Woodland Inspirations, UK together with partners Ländliche Erwachsenenbildung, Germany and Satul Verde, Romania have delivered the ‘Awakening the Green Man’ project. During the project we have discovered a lot about this enigmatic Green Man figure; he clearly stands for renewal, rejuvenation, sustainability and anything ‘green’, but his strongest connection seems to be with trees, as one of his main characteristics is tree leaves coming from his mouth or nose, signifying the importance of the Green Man breathing life into trees and other plants.
Green Man make overs
Over time he has had many ‘make overs’ as he goes back even to early Egyptian times. Then he was the God Osiris, a God in charge of death and renewal, and was displayed with a green skin, so literally a Green Man! He has also had many different names; during the Roman Empire he was known as Sylvanus, whereas in Cypriot culture he was called Hylates and was a guise of the God Apollo. In the UK he is called Herne the Hunter, Jack in the Green or Old Man of the Woods and images of him can be seen in churches, but you have to seek out the more obscure places to do so, as he was not a Christian figure, but a pagan one.
Where you can see the Green Man
Rosslyn Chapel in Rosslyn near Edinburgh boasts 110 different Green Man faces, but one of the earliest (dating from 1120AD) can be seen above the entrance door of Great Salkeld’s church in Cumbria, UK. We found similar decorations in both Sachsen Anhalt, Germany and in the Apuseni Mountains, Romania, but now that these images can be found throughout Europe. Clearly he has been displayed in many different ways, even now he still inspires countless contemporary artists to create wonderful Green Man images, including one by Alison White specially created for the Awakening the Green Man project. Lucian Gaita (Romania) and David Lessing (Germany) created a Green Man sculpture each.
The two-year ‘Awakening the Green Man’ Grundtvig Partnership Project resulted in some interesting legacies. In Romania this has included local people searching for and identifying ‘Green men’ in...
In Cumbria, NW England, participants learnt from Woodland Inspirations even more different forest uses, such as recreation, conservation and biodiversity. Here the focus was on special individual...
Our Romanian host was Satul Verde, who took us to the Apuseni Mountains, a highly forested area where locals earn a living from the forest. Here participants experienced the close connection between...
In the Sachsen-Anhalt region our host was the Ländliche Erwachsenen Bildung. Here we listened to tree or forest related stories and were inspired, encouraged and supported to write our own. They were...
For me the best of the German action was that the plans became reality. The ideas were fine, all my guests worked with us, no one said it is boring or I do not like that. All participants, the...