The Green Man
A mysterious legendary character in British folklore dating
back to medieval times, deriving from a pagan god of vegetation
and the woodlands. Although his origins are shrouded in
antiquity, he may also be related to myths of the Arcadian goatgod,
Pan. The Green Man is usually represented by a human
face embedded in foliage, but some ancient representations depict
him as horned, suggesting a connection with a witchcraft
deity. He has even been depicted in carved decorations on old
churches and cathedrals, suggesting that at some period,
pagan deities were supplanted by Christianity.
During the Christian eras, the Green Man survived in folk
plays and folklore customs, such as the May Day revels, when
he was called ‘‘Jack in the Green’’ or some similar name. Traditions
of the Green Man may also have merged with the legends
of Robin Hood.