The Green Man


The Green Man was first shown in ‘Curious Nature’ curated by Lucy Day and Eliza Gluckman, which toured to Newlyn Art Gallery in 2008. The photograph was taken in Dorset, something about the arrangement of the branches and the light behind the tree felt like a moment when conditions aligned to reveal more than we normally see. In the middle of the tree is a twisting of ivy and branches that form a face, and the trunk of a body, and then a crown. The Green Man is a pagan figure, the spirit of the forest contained in its living organisms, a spirit that is everywhere, not contained within one plant.

‘Some people suspect that he was a bridge between the new beliefs of Christianity and the Pagan beliefs it replaced. Evidence for this cross-over of religions could be assumed from the siting of Christian churches at the site of pagan sacred places.’

‘Pagan Druids who made Tau crosses of oak trees stripped of their branches, with two large limbs fastened at the top to represent a man’s arm; this was Thau, or god.’ Elworthy, Frederick (1958). The Evil Eye. New York: Julian Press, Inc. pp. 103–4 quoted in Wikipedia.

Installation shot, 'Curious Nature', Newlyn Art Gallery, 2008