Earth Gods – THE GREEN MAN
The Green Man is the vision of a face in the leaves – a face surrounded by or made from leaves. He embodies nature – wild, free, and primitive. He is known as Cernunnos, Herne, Pan, Faunus, Puck, John Barleycorn, and the Horned God, to name just a few. The Green Man is the male essence of nature. His face graces more churches and cathedrals than one can imagine, a unique feat for a pagan god.
Cernunnos is the Celtic god of nature. He is commonly seen as a horned god. The horn is a symbol of virility and fertility. As Cernunnos, his worship can be traced back to the Iron Age Celts through historical artifacts; however, very little is known about how he was regarded or worshipped.
In Britain, the nature god is known as Herne the Hunter. Herne was a favorite of King Richard II. He saved the king from a raging stag and was severely wounded. A stranger tied the antlers of the stag to Herne’s head, claiming his hunting talent as payment. Herne, devastated at this loss of talent, ran off into the woods. Later a man found his corpse hanging on a tree. Herne is said to appear in spectral form and to indulge in his favorite pastime – hunting. He is aid to lead the Wild Hunt.
Pan is the Greek nature god who watches over the shepherds and their flocks. He is known as Faunus in Roman mythology. Pan is consider to be older than the Olympians. He gave Apollo the secrets of prophecy and gifted Artemis with her hunting dogs.
Pan was originally an Arcadian god. He is described as a man with the legs, horns and hindquarters of a goat. Due to the Olympians disdain of Arcadians, they always treated Pan as a second-class god. However, his popularity among the primitive mountain people of Arcadia never lessened.
Pan was thought to inspire a type of sudden fear. In fact, the world panic is a derivation of his name. Pan was a lecherous god and was well-known for his indulgence in amorous affairs. One nymph name Pitys turned into a pine tree to escape his advances, while another, Syrinx, turned into river reeds. At the exact moment that Syrinx did so., the wind blew, creating a melodic sound. Pan much intrigued picked several of the reeds and turned them into his signature pan pipes.
All of the deities that are considered to be the male essence of nature are thought to follow a cycle of life, death and rebirth in sync with the seasons.