Green Man

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Willow
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Green Man

Post by Willow » Fri Jan 09, 2009 8:08 am

Hey All,
I am looking for a good historical/folklore studies book on the green man. I want to include some as characters in the book I am working on so I want a few good resources.
Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind.
Dr. Seuss (1904 - 1991)

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Max
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Re: Green Man

Post by Max » Thu Feb 05, 2009 3:47 am

I only know about the green man from local folklore which gives me a more of a vague impression about him than definite things I could say. I know you've probably looked here but just in case: I looked on wikipedia and there are a few books on there you could start with (copy and paste :-D ). I haven't read any so I couldn't comment:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Green_Man

* Amis, Kingsley. The Green Man, Vintage, London (2004) ISBN 0-09-946107-2 (Novel)
* Anderson, William. Green Man: The Archetype of our Oneness with the Earth, Harper Collins (1990) ISBN 0-00-599252-4
* Basford, Kathleen. The Green Man, D.S. Brewer (2004) ISBN 0-85991-497-6 (The first monograph on the subject, now reprinted in paperback)
* Beer, Robert. The Encyclopedia of Tibetan Symbols and Motifs Shambhala. (1999) ISBN-10: 157062416X, ISBN-13: 978-1570624162
* Cheetham, Tom. Green Man, Earth Angel: The Prophetic Tradition and the Battle for the Soul of the World , SUNY Press 2004 ISBN 0-7914-6270-6
* Doel, Fran and Doel, Geoff. The Green Man in Britain, Tempus Publishing Ltd (May 2001) ISBN 0-7524-1916-1
* Harding, Mike. A Little Book of the Green Man, Aurium Press, London (1998) ISBN 1-85410-563-9
* Hicks, Clive. The Green Man: A Field Guide, Compass Books (August 2000) ISBN 0-9517038-2-X
* MacDermott, Mercia. Explore Green Men, Explore Books, Heart of Albion Press (September 2003) ISBN 1-872883-66-4
* Matthews, John. The Quest for the Green Man, Godsfield Press Ltd (May 2004) ISBN 1-84181-232-3
* Neasham, Mary. The Spirit of the Green Man, Green Magic (December 2003) ISBN 0-9542963-7-0
* Varner, Gary R. The Mythic Forest, the Green Man and the Spirit of Nature, Algora Publishing (March 4, 2006) ISBN 0-87586-434-1

Apparantly he also appears as the Green Knight in 'Sir Gawain and the Green Knight', make sure you get the modern translation of the middle English included if you choose to get the book; good story but may take some time to read otherwise!

It is interesting that he pops up all over the world (I presumed it was more of a British thing), and the celtic name for the green man is derived from the same source as the latin name for the deity. Oh I like links. Hope this helps x
"I am not young enough to know everything." Oscar Wilde

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Willow
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Re: Green Man

Post by Willow » Thu Feb 05, 2009 7:31 am

Varner, Gary R. The Mythic Forest, the Green Man and the Spirit of Nature, Algora Publishing (March 4, 2006) ISBN 0-87586-434-1
I am reading this one and I do not like it at all, he spends the first half of the book complaining about How Christianity ruined the world (I know that is the opinion of a lot of people, but I think it has been said before, I wanted a book about the green man, not stuff I already know). He also seems tot hink he is smarter than every anthropologist that has ever lived. the second half is a little better, but I still doubt the efficacy of some of his sources.

Thanks for the page, I went to Wiki, I was hoping some other people had read books and could point me at good ones so I can skip crappy ones.

I didn't know about the Sir Gawaine thing, I am reading T.H. white's aurtherian legends and they are interesting, but the illlmade night is long.

Here is the plot in a nutshell

Lancelot: "I love Gwen, but I shouldn't, so I will run away..then come back"
Gwen " I love lancelot, so I will send him away, but scheme to get him back"
Aurthur "I have angst over the meaning of justice."
Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind.
Dr. Seuss (1904 - 1991)

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Re: Green Man

Post by Crazy Healer Lady » Thu Feb 05, 2009 10:26 am

Willow wrote:Lancelot: "I love Gwen, but I shouldn't, so I will run away..then come back"
Gwen " I love lancelot, so I will send him away, but scheme to get him back"
Aurthur "I have angst over the meaning of justice."
:lol: :lol: :lol: LOVE it! Ah, my sides... They have split!
Crazy Healer Lady
Health and happiness to you!

The purpose of a relationship is not to have another who might complete you, but to have another with whom you might share your completeness. -CWG

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Willow
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Re: Green Man

Post by Willow » Thu Feb 05, 2009 10:40 am

Thank you, I love book a minute summaries. thereis a whole website dedicated tot hem somewhere in the ether.
Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind.
Dr. Seuss (1904 - 1991)

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Re: Green Man

Post by Gary Varner » Wed Apr 01, 2009 6:59 am

Hi Willow,

Wanted to thank you for reading my book, The Mythic Forest, the Green Man and the Spirit of Nature and posting your opinion here and on Amazon.ca. I am sorry that you found my work so distasteful. However I believe you missed the point of the book. As the title reads, it is about "The Mythic Forest, the Green Man and the Spirit of Nature"--it is not a book only about the Green Man but how all three of theses topics link together. I normally do not respond to book reviews unless I perceive a personal attack as I do in yours. I do object to your calling me anti-Christian--far from the truth. I have no problem with Christians at all. However it is important to discuss the historical approach that the early Christian church took towards pagan beliefs--in this case how the church tried to deal with the continued belief that nature is sacred and occupied with spirits that reside in the forests and trees in particular. I don't believe I mentioned anything about current religious beliefs. I also object to you stating that I believe that I am far smarter than other scholars. That is certainly not true. However any serious academic approach usually involves questioning established beliefs. And I do question that which I find lacking regardless who it was that stated it. What I do find dishartening is the apparent closed mindedness of some who profess to be pagan. Years ago when I first explored paganism the open mindedness of those whom I worked with was exhilarating. I find now though that any question concerninng any of the established pagan writers is met with open hostility. My work is always a comparative study of folklore and mythology. I value the contributions of all folklorist and historians regardless if they are pagan or not. That doesn't mean though that I will blindly accept all of their theories or statements.

Anyway I wanted to let you know that if you purchased the book I will be happy to refund your purchase price if you care to send your copy to me. I know what its like to have to keep something you really don't find of value.

Blessings,

Gary R. Varner

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Re: Green Man

Post by FyreGarnet » Wed Apr 01, 2009 7:32 am

Wow, now that's a first for me....

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Re: Green Man

Post by Max » Wed Apr 01, 2009 7:56 am

I second that wow. But now I want to read the book to join in the discussion :-? !
"I am not young enough to know everything." Oscar Wilde

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Re: Green Man

Post by white_harmony » Wed Apr 01, 2009 1:59 pm

And I third that wow. .... And now I too must profess an interest in finding a copy of this book so I can join in too lol

But on a side note - Welcome to the Boards Gary, and many thanks for your post.
~ The mystery of love is greater than the mystery of death ~

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Re: Green Man

Post by Gary Varner » Wed Apr 01, 2009 5:49 pm

Thank you! I do hope you will indulge an old man--I have been an eclectic pagan probably longer than most of you have existed in this realm and at times I get grumpy. I will be pleased to discuss any of my work with anyone that may be interested. I am afraid my books are a bit pricey in Australia though!

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Re: Green Man

Post by Willow » Thu Apr 02, 2009 6:04 pm

Wow is my face red (ooh, bad pun), perhaps I shouldn't have been so glib and I apologise for that. You have just taught me a very important lesson about the internet (and I just showed this to my Mom who thinks it is the funniest thing in the world that the first ever negative book review I ever wrote the author found it).

I promise that when my thesis allows, I will re-read it with your advice in mind, there is a distinct possibility I was in a bad mood the first time I read it, and I do tend to skim when I read a book through on time number one ( a habit I have had to develop to get through all my required reading for my thesis, a skill which is now making me wonder if I have to go back and re-read all those other books I discarded).

And don't worry about a refund, I am ashamed to say, I bought it on abebooks.com (a used book site) since I am a poor student. I am afraid this is a very sour welcome to the boards. IF you like I can send you some stuff I have written and you can publicly tell everyone how awful it was. 8-)
Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind.
Dr. Seuss (1904 - 1991)

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Re: Green Man

Post by Max » Fri Apr 03, 2009 6:17 am

It was good of you to come and discuss this Gary. Welcome to the boards! After skim-reading your book so I can join in the discussion, I think both you and Willow have valid points. I'm going to point out some of my thoughts here, but it is not to criticise you personally.

In your favour:
*It is correct that you made a distinction that it was early Christians who disparaged nature-worship, and did not imply that this is what all Christians think
*And yes your book is about the 'mythic forest' as well as the 'green man', this is why the subject is not all about the green man and hence all the trees
*Great topic!

However, you didn’t often state your reasons or biases for choosing certain information over others. For example, I'm not disagreeing with your choice of using folklorists along with historians but I think that some of your sources have a clear bias (I won't quote out of context here), and I think you would need to state this bias or your writing appears very one sided. I get the impression that you are stating some things as fact when they are opinion, which is fine as long as you let the reader know it is opinion!

I wouldn't necessarily agree that early christians sought to destroy nature worship either. Off the top of my head: Keith Thomas 'Religion and the Decline of Magic' shows how the medieval church in Britain was very much integrated with nature worship. I think it was civilisation that promoted commercial expansion, not necessarily monotheistic religions (and why focus on christianity?), think of the Romans!

Of course I may have missed something in my quick reading. And I apologise that this is not more clearly written, the very thing that I put to you! but this is a forum :-) Regards
"I am not young enough to know everything." Oscar Wilde

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Re: Green Man

Post by Gary Varner » Fri Apr 03, 2009 7:16 am

Thank you Willow and Max for your kind comments. I agree that I do, in fact, have some basic biases. I agree too that in future work I need to make it clear that my opinions are simply that and not to be taken as fact. Thanks for pointing that out! As we all do I continue to learn from my mistakes and from others. I value your opinions greatly. Yes indeed the Romans were a terrible force but they were generally very accepting of any other religious belief and their detruction of the Druid groves was done as a military effort rather than one to destroy a traditional belief--not that it made any difference to the Druids! Thomas' work is excellent and I recommend it highly. Many of the parishes during the Middle Ages were indeed in tune with nature reflecting the attitude of the surrounding communities but much of the direction "from the top" was geared to the domination of nature and the ultimate aim to destroy the concept that Nature was sacred in its own right. Its been a while since I skimmed through my book too but I believe that I clearly addressed the efforts of the church to do so. It would be unfair of me to claim that all of Christendom had that mind set though. While I said earlier that I do not have a problem with Christians I need to preface that by stating that I do have a major problem with Christian fundamentalism--as I do with fundmentalist of all faiths, Jews, Muslims and Pagans. So at times my writing may reflect that. I do not discard the work of many Victorian scholars although I know that many of them have come into disfavor--such as Frazer. He was indeed an armchair folklorist but much of the information he obtained was worthy of publication,unfortunately some of his conclusions were erroneous. I carefully cite all of my references in my books and have been criticised at times for going overboard in that way but I want to point out that I do not make any of it up either. I write to share my ideas but I certainly do not believe that my work is beyond reproach or is the only word on the subject. Hopefully people will obtain something of value if its only to pursue the topic on their own.

Willow I apologise as well for being overly harsh--I get in those moods too! I would love to read anything you wish to share but please don't fear condemnation! Thank you all,

Gary

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Re: Green Man

Post by Max » Fri Apr 03, 2009 7:35 am

Gary your responses are very eloquent and considered. I am impressed. And now I am going to change the subject and raid your brain by posing a question to you (you, who will know much more about this than me): Why did Frazer fall out of favour with the academics? Thanks,
"I am not young enough to know everything." Oscar Wilde

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Re: Green Man

Post by Gary Varner » Fri Apr 03, 2009 7:52 am

Good question and one that I haven't been able to answer fully myself! It was only in the last few years that happened and I believe that Ronald Hutton may have had something to do with it. While I value much of Frazer's information I think that because his conclusions were questioned and then tossed aside his whole work was too. Unfortunately a few people have a huge influence on how others are perceived which may not be entirely fair.

(You are being way too generous by the way!)

Gary

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