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This representation of the Sutton Benger Green Man is by Sarah Jameson: http://www.inkandpen.co.uk/index.htm

Just think about this for a moment:

In the early Middle Ages, at a time when the Christian Church was deeply involved in establishing its dominance over the old religions thousands upon thousands of pagan images were carved, with the apparent consent of the clergy, into the nooks and crannies of their most holy places, the very symbols of their fundamental beliefs about life, death, and the Creator. In fact depictions of the Green Man were produced in such quantity that in hundreds of churches and cathedrals across Europe his image far outnumbers that of Christ himself. Furthermore all of this activity went entirely unrecorded. It is almost as though there was no need for explanation; it was enough that the images were there.

This is the essential mystery at the outset of any investigation into the Green Man, the total absence of any contemporary documentary evidence or explanation as to who he is, or why his image was carved into all that wood and stonework. It seems that none of the many later explanations for the enigma can be anything more than speculation or educated guesswork.

Wolf-Ulrich Klünker, in his introduction toNature Spirits – Selected Lectures by Rudolph Steiner” offers us a glimpse as to how this could have come about when he says: “A human being connects with both nature and spirit; he unites them as one being within himself. This special place in the cosmos has, through the ages, been perceived in Christian tradition and considered as the human being’s particular task.”

This opens up the intriguing possibility that the early Christian church knew exactly what it was doing when it allowed its holy places to be decorated with pagan and pre-Christian images, not as appeasement to the simple folk it was struggling to convert, but as a deliberate expression of its own belief that mankind’s evolutionary task was to forge a connection between the natural world and the world of spirit.

That’s as may be, but the one thing that can be stated with certainty is this: however the Green Man came to be bound up with Christianity, and for whatever purpose, he was brought into the Church from outside, from elsewhere, and from an age long before Christ or the Roman Empire, or even recorded history.

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