Continuing our journey with ancient archetypes that can assist us to reinvent the masculine, we turn to the Green Man. What symbol, metaphor, archetype, seems more pertinent today than a recovery of the Green Man?
After all, the Green Man (and Woman—90% of Green Men are men in the medieval Cathedrals but 10% are women such as those in the Cathedral of Norwich; and besides, archetypes are gender fluid), represents our relationship to the vegetative world, to plants and trees and nature.
Many of the multiple images of the Green Man depict him with a beard that grows up and around his face, a kind of wreath, therefore. And very often there is nested in that wreath birds or grapes or other living things. The Green Man is an archetype of fertility and generativity, and how humans can and do carry on the generativity of nature.
I am reminded of the rich statement of the Cosmic Christ, “I am the vine.” The vine is everywhere; the vine is very sturdy and stubborn and knows how to cling to life. Vines can grow through concrete!
How are we vines? Vines to one another? Vines to future generations? Are we carrying on the fertility and generativity of the Earth? Or interfering with it? “Do we create? Or do we destroy?” as Dag Hammarskjold used to ask.
Vines have deep roots in the ground, in the dark, in search of the Source where life finds its nourishment. How fierce is our search for the Source in the dark, in the ground? If Christ is the vine, we are other Christs. So we too are vines reaching and extending into deep places.
Pruning often is part of the vine. Jesus urges us to “remain in me” and promises that “whoever remains in me, with me in him, bears fruit in plenty” (John 5:2, 15:5).
To be continued . . . .
Adapted from Matthew Fox and Marc Andrus, Stations of the Cosmic Christ, pp. 89-94.
And Fox, The Hidden Spirituality of Men: Ten Metaphors to Awaken the Sacred Masculine, pp. 19-32.
To read the transcript of Matthew Fox’s video teaching, click HERE.
Banner Image: The Green Man (David Risley) holding the crowns of the Bean King and Pea Queen at the 2019 Twelfth Night celebration in Bankside. Taken outside Shakespeare’s Globe theatre. Photo by Ethan Doyle White. Wikimedia Commons.
Queries for Contemplation
What does it mean to you to be labeled a “vine”? Repeat the mantra, “I am a vine, I am a vine.” What comes up?