Another Green Man

Norwich Green Man

I wrote about a Green Man in Birmingham seven years ago, but this (golden) example in the cloisters of Norwich Cathedral fascinates me. The face, unlike many representations of the Green Man, is a realistic human likeness, but it has, to me anyway, something quite sinister about it, something uncanny.

In that 2016 post, I stated that there is no definite connection between the foliate heads in churches and cathedrals and the Green Man in modern folklore. The Wikipedia article on this topic has a quote from a book published last year. In The Green Man in Medieval England: Christian Shoots from Pagan Roots, Stephen Miller writes:

It is a Christian/Judaic-derived motif relating to the legends and medieval hagiographies of the Quest of Seth – the three twigs/seeds/kernels planted below the tongue of post-fall Adam by his son Seth (provided by the angel of mercy responsible for guarding Eden) shoot forth, bringing new life to humankind.

The scholarly debate will run and run. But what a rich and potent symbol the Green Man is in our secular age.