The Green Man, Sacred Trees, Shamanhood, Spirit-Strength

Anderson asks the important question: “Why is the Green Man returning to our awareness now and what does he want from us?” The Green Man may be returning today not just because our relationship with Nature is off-balance but also because our relationship with maleness is off-balance.

“His Epic Message Will Make You Want to Save the World | Short Film Showcase.” Powerful message from spoken word artist Prince Ea. National Geographic

The abuse of nature and women and gay people (consider the rise of violence to gay and trans people today), the banning of LGBTQ+ books, laws against homosexuals in Africa and many places around the world—all call for re-imagining our relationships to Mother Earth, her creatures, and all her children. 

The return of the divine feminine threatens many people immersed in a patriarchal consciousness.

The Green Man honors intelligence.  He is “the cosmic man or intelligence underlying creation” according to Anderson.  After all, he is often depicted as a human head.  He invites us to apply intelligence (and science) and wisdom to our conflicts today. 

‘Green Man’ stone carving in the medieval kitchen of Coventry City Council, England. Flickr

The Green Man also recalls the Cosmic Tree closely associated with the axis mundi, the center of the world.  

Mircea Eliade equated the axis mundi with ancient initiation ceremonies for shamans who journey to the center of the earth. The strength of the shaman suggested by the axis mundi reminds us of an alternative kind of power and masculinity, one that holds the earth and sky together. 

The Cosmic Tree and the Cosmic Christ often appear together in early Christian symbolism.  The cross is a sacred tree and many sacred trees are honored among spiritual traditions of the world—the Bodhi Tree under which the Buddha received his enlightenment, for instance, and the Lote Tree beside which the prophet Muhammad saw his second vision of the Archangel Gabriel. 

The Green Man honors the throat and therefore prophecy. The Green Man is the prophet in all of us who speaks out about injustice and imbalance. He is fierce and strong and warrior-like. 

Adapted from Matthew Fox, The Hidden Spirituality of Men: Ten Metaphors to Awaken the Sacred Masculine, pp. 26-32. 

 Banner image: The great banyan tree so beloved by the residents of Lahaina in Maui. Wikimedia Commons

Queries for Contemplation

Do you sense shamanhood returning as a positive power today?  And more and more people and movements standing up and speaking out for justice for all?  Do you find strength in the sacred trees of the Cross, or Buddha’s enlightenment, or Muhammad’s revelations, and others?

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3 thoughts on “The Green Man, Sacred Trees, Shamanhood, Spirit-Strength”

  1. Avatar

    Yes! Yes! Yes! Brief answers to your questions Matthew! I hope and pray that it is not too late for enough of humanity to wake up consciously and spiritually to heal and transform our hearts and minds, integrating our Feminine and Masculine energies with one another, to heal and save Our Beautiful Sacred Mother Earth and all Her living creatures & abundance which sustains All of Us and gives Us LIFE & LOVING Evolving Diverse Wholeness~ONENESS… The SACREDNESS and Survival of Mother Earth is intimately related to Our Sacredness and survival as a human species in Our mutual evolution….

  2. Avatar

    Above Damian, talks about praying and reflecting on the cross is a form of prayer.
    How useful is this because I no longer believe in a theistic God. Who listens to these prayers as I would think over the years many have prayed for a better world and it doesn’t seem to be happening.
    Is this the process of the evolution of humans and it just have to happen?

  3. Avatar

    Please direct me to which of your books discusses the significance of the Cross. Translations of the bible have all been made in various political periods with apparent agendas, principally the entrenched support of white male patriarchal dominance that invariably degenerates to the worship of money which is the only meaningful measure of the quality of manhood these days; how is it possible to have confidence in any part of the bible in a culture that uses it to justify keeping all the inalienable rights FROM women and people of color?

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