Saturday, June 29, 2024

Cherie's Haunts and "The Green Man " 😊

(PS added on 07/01/2024 - added a photo of the Green Man at Lincoln Cathedral that the Lady Cherie took herself. 😊) 

So after writing the little blurb post below, on my quiet Saturday morning,  I  meandered over to my friend, Cherie's Place.  I just want to give her another plug, today, because we've recently been "having a chat" about scary sculptures, with a focus in the UK, which is where Mon Cherie lives. 

I consider Cherie a very dear friend, whom I've known (online) for nearly ... 15 years now?  I think that's right.  We were trying to figure that out, not long ago, but I think it was sometime in 2009. 

We had both been blogging for a few years already, when we met, but we have seen the best and the worst the internet has to offer; weathering the good times, the bad times, and the truly ugly/crazy times together.  

There was nothing as wild-west lawless as the early days of blogging and watching the birth of social media, right? It was anything goes, and nobody could do anything about it. 

And yet through it all, Cherie remained very steadfast and  disciplined with her blog, resisting the temptation to ever stray and talk about current politics or other contentious subjects (despite others sometimes dropping by to twist posts to mean things they  didn't or trying to turn the discussion there), and instead, she delights us with her photography of serene landscapes, architecture, museums and local fare from her travels, always with a kind word for anyone who stops by - a sort of safe haven from all the darkness?

Mark is also a fan and we hope to meet her and her husband some day, and they can show us in person some of the places she's shown us via photos 😊

She spends all of her spare time traveling and taking professional-level photography to share the beautiful -  and often lesser known - aspects of our world, particularly in her native Great Britain.  

Anyway, we were discussing the origins of "The Green Man" after a particularly scary sculpture was erected of him in Birmingham.

We both thought the sculpture was super scary and odd, very difficult to explain to children, and probably belonged in a museum rather than the street because of this?

And I mean, there's stuff growing out of the little bucket in front his netherparts?

Imagine, you're walking along with like, a 4-year-old, and run across THIS dude - it's nightmare fuel!

This began a discussion about the Green Man also appearing oddly in early churches, particularly in Britain, despite its clearly pagan origin, and what that was about?

So the Green Man (which some know as Pan), is often the subject of horror movies, but most often, he's neither bad or good, he's just the protector of nature, and in some cases, the "God" of nature.  His origins are very pagan, and though we like to think he originated in British or Celtic folklore, in this video link she sent, he can actually be seen in artwork as far back as Ancient Rome and even in the Middle East.

So why in the world does he adorn so many early Christian churches then?

Is it a cautionary tale against him?  Is he a protector like a gargoyle?

The answer is, we don't know, there's no record of why.

I guess they thought we would just know ... and yet we do NOT know. 😂

And in early churches, he wasn't as scary, but became increasingly so, as time went on.

As the video states, in some cases, he does appear quite protective like a gargoyle. In others, something to be feared/warned against.  Still in others, it could go either way.

For instance, note this sculpture in the video of Virgin Mary and Baby Jesus, standing atop the Green Man's head at Exeter Cathedral (built in 1400, it is the home of many Green Man depictions).

What does that even mean?!? 😂

Again, we don't know.  

Now, in the Catholic faith, it is Mary that will eventually conquer Satan and evil - so does this mean that Mary and Jesus dominate him/nature?  

Or does it mean they sprang up from him, considering the foliage that surrounds them?  

Or does it mean that Christianity must coexist with nature, but God is still sovereign?

Regardless, in all of these scenarios, I find it interesting that nature is separate, its own force, separate from the will of God - capricious,  yes, but neither good nor evil -  whereas many modern Christians like to believe God controls all acts of nature and even uses it to punish people.

The early church did not seem to think so, or at least that nature was its own entity, a powerful force that sometimes God dominates, but mostly God just allows to coexist?

You sort of get the idea that in early Christian times, they viewed it as God was like "Yeah, I created that, but nature does its own thing now, you just kind of have to deal with ... that."

Interesting stuff!

If in need of a spiritual uplift, take a wander over to Mon Cherie's place, she never disappoints 😊


PS - Cherie sent me a photo she has taken herself of the Green Man at Lincoln Cathedral on her visit there, recently ...

I actually like this one, it's like a rather ornate, beautiful lantern.  

Cherie has a way of taking shots that make it look easy, but it's no easy feat to get that detail despite the backlighting  😊

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