from left column...
the mouth is the source of our ability to communicate
verbally through sound and language this suggests that
the Green Man has a role as a communicator who translates
Nature‚s message to us, perhaps through the "language"
perhaps the Green Man's "language" (sound vibration)
is all pervasive throughout the whole the biosphere providing
some kind of nourishing background song which supports
and inspires life. Thus, the Green Man may not only be
seen as a communicator of Nature's message to every species
in our global biosphere , he could also be seen as the
very embodiment of what makes this ecosystem tick - its
functionality as an organic communications network of
such complexity that it is frankly unimaginable to us
at a conscious level.
from the relatively simple image of a green, foliated,
disgorging face, the Green Man potentially represents
a wide range of biological, ecological and psychological
characteristics which are inherent to Nature - renewal
and re-birth, unity amongst diversity, ecological intelligence,
inter-species communication and networking. Through these
characteristics he communicates the underlying message
of Nature to us, "We are all one", and he encourages
us to explore our personal relationship with Nature.
Green Man is therefore an archetype who seems to be particularly
relevant in todays world where we need to cultivate a
more harmonious and sustainable relationship with Gaia.
But does the Green Man only exist as an image and idea
within the human brain, or is he a mirror of some tangible
aspect of planetary physiology within the Gaian ecosystem?The
Green Man as a Western Scientific Concept
Archetypally the relationship between the Green Man and
Gaia is either likened to that of a child and its mother,
two passionate lovers or fellow consorts ruling in harmony.
This clearly shows that the male power exists in its alchemy
with the feminine rather than in its control of her, as
in the ancient oriental Yin-Yang symbol. In the context
of the Earth‚s ecosystem, the Green Man archetype
could therefore be seen to represent the eco-web of the
biosphere itself - the diverse network of organic life
which has been "born" from the fertile waters
and minerals of the Earth, which constantly "makes
love" with "her" to produce more complex
and varied forms of organic life and which will die back
again at some unknown point in the future.
we map the evolution of organic life over the last 3.5
billion years it is clear that this has occurred through
a number of cycles of birth, mass extinction and re-birth,
which is a key aspect of the Green Man. A good example
of this was the "oxygen crisis" of early photosynthetic
bacteria which resulted in the emergence of respiring
forms which allowed life to diversify and develop. Another
example was the emergence of the small mammals after the
extinction of the dinosaurs.
while the biosphere can be seen as the "child"
and "lover" of the Earth, which evolves through
cycles of birth, death and re-birth, I don't think that
this evolutionary process alone provides a clear enough
link with the vegetative archetypal nature of the Green
Man, and specifically with his synthesis between the world
of trees, communication and human consciousness, the "green
consciousness" which I mentioned in the previous
section. If it were possible to show that plants in general
and trees in particular exert clear and measurable effects
on human consciousness this could perhaps be the beginnings
of showing a more tangible Green Man within the Gaia system.
One aspect of plant physiology which may be relevant here
is the plant aura - the field of non-physical energy which
emanates from all plants. Perhaps this can have an impact
on our thoughts and emotions which can be likened to a
basic form of communication or influence.
it is widely recognised that spending time amongst trees
or putting plants in office environments has a beneficial
effect on peoples mental health, to my knowledge there
has not been much (if any) research carried out into the
role of the plant aura in this process. There have however
been experiments which show that the human mind can influence
the size and strength of plant auras using Kirlian photography.
There are also examples of human communication with plants
improving the size and yield of vegetable crops, such
as the Findhorn garden in Scotland and recent experiments
where healers working with seeds are able to produce more
robust plants and greater crop yields. Such mental interaction
between humans and plants may also play a part in the
creation of our innate affinity with other forms of life
known as "biophylia". This could explain why
the cutting down of trees and whole forests are such an
emotive subject for so many people.
there is a possibility of localised plant-human interaction
on a mental level, then we could extend this idea across
whole habitat regions and ultimately the global biosphere.
Perhaps such a mental relationship would mimic our physical
one with plants as primary producers of non-physical energy
drawn down from the Sun which we and other animals then
utilise in some way through our brains and then reflect
it back in ways which are helpful to the plants. Or perhaps
it is us who are the primary producers of mental energy
which the plants utilise. In either scenario what we think
about the natural environment around us could have a direct
impact upon its healthiness and upon our own health, regardless
of any physical action that we may take.
I am therefore suggesting that there is a possibility
that our human experience of Gaian self-consciousness
is somehow grounded in our relationship with plants, possibly
with trees in particular, and that our mental symbiosis
with plants is part of a much wider relationship between
all plants and animals resulting in a biospherical consciousness
which reflects the unity and integrity of the Earth as
a single ecosystem. The image which best describes this
relationship is a green aura which encircles the globe
supporting and encouraging the intelligence of life upon
it - the Green Man.
The poet William Anderson describes the Green Man as the
"watcher", an observer of life evolving into
ever greater complexity, stability and (perhaps) awareness.
He suggests that Gaia and indeed the living universe as
a whole needs an aspect which is separate enough and independent
enough to see and experience itself in all its glory and
that in some way this is integral to the process of evolution
as the observer becomes one with what he observes in order
to share this objective image.
an archetypal image the Green Man clearly fulfils this
role as the manifest life created from the ever fertile
and chaotic "womb" of the Earth Goddess, Gaia.
Like the Chinese principles of Yin and Yang or the Hindu
concept of Shakti and Shiva, Gaia and the Green Man represent
the Female and Male energy of which the Universe is formed
and together they form a whole. The possibility that the
Green Man could become recognised through Western science,
in the way that Gaia is increasingly becoming, is an exciting
one. If the Green Man does represent a mechanism for Gaian
intelligence, then understanding "him" in more
detail would provide a great benefit to ourselves and
to all other forms of life across the planet. More research
into the mental and emotional relationship between ourselves
and plants could bear fruit in this regard.