Today, as is my habit on the weekends, I step back and offer inspiration from other writers, adepts and visionaries. I am delighted to share the words of the divine Caitlín Matthews for this magical day.
But to go slightly off-topic before we start, I have an admission to make, since I have done it in Caitlín’s beautiful essay today. I would imagine she would not dispute this action, but instead is at the mercy of editorial practices and “standards” that function without much sensitivity.
Over the years, you may have noticed that, as in today’s post, I capitalize “His” and “Her,” and “Goddess” and “God,” when referring to Deities, despite how common usage in English reserves that honor only when referring to the Judeo-Christian God in His various forms. It’s about time, in my opinion, that such subtle bigotry be abolished.
Likewise, I honor all religions with appropriate capitalization. Why would words like “Hinduism,” “Muslim,” or “Jewish” be capitalized, but not “Druid,” “Witch,” or “Paganism?” So I take the liberty of changing these spellings, even in quotations from other writers. I hope those that I quote will not object too much; and I hope this small act might help raise awareness and change the standard usage someday. ~ Beth
~ 29 May ~
The Green Man
from The Celtic Spirit – Daily Meditations for the Turning Year
by Caitlín Matthews
Every man marvelled mightily what it should mean
That a man and his horse should be such a colour green.
— Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, anon. Irish poem (trans. C.M.)
Throughout northern and western Britain, this day is the focus of many May-time customs. These customs, banned by Parliament under the Commonwealth in the seventeenth century, were reinstated at the Restoration of the monarchy, when King Charles II made his triumphal entry into London. Known thereafter as Oak Apple Day, it is celebrated in Britain by the wearing of sprigs of green oak leaves.
An earlier veneration was restimulated by an incident that befell Charles II when he was but a prince. Fleeing from the parliamentarian soldiers, Charles was forced to hide in an oak tree. But the face peering out from among the green leaves, originally in the primeval forest but now also in contemporary May-time celebrations, is a much earlier one: that of the Green Man.
This Evergreen God is one of the earliest deities. He is represented in many summertime customs by mummers and disguisers who wear garlands of leaves and flowers or cover their bodies in greenery to ceremonially show the Green Man to the people.
He comes out of the primal, all-encompassing forest that once covered the earth, dynamic and vigorous, with pulsing sap of summer in His veins.
The Green Man is the irrepressible wildness of the world of vegetation. He bides in the stillness of the deep forest or dances in the sun-filled arcs of leaf-green light that filter through the branches of the tree canopy.
His name is delight, and His meaning is mysterious — a potent sexual force that invigorates the earth at this time.
As the Evergreen God, He is likewise potent in the wintertime, when He plays a riddling game at the thresholds of the year with such daring ones as Sir Gawain.
Ask your spiritual allies to take you to meet the Green Man in meditation or soul-flight.