Saturday, June 02, 2007

The Green Man

My son Brian brought home a piece of art that he made in his sculpture class and I thought it was so creative. And the neat thing about it is that it ties into my interest in fairy houses and Celtic mythology, I think. Here is a picture (or two) of the mask:

That is birch bark and beans and thistles and twigs attached to make the features of the face. Brian claims he had never heard of the Green Man but I wonder...In the wikipedia entry for the green man, they mention the celtic god, Cernunnos and then they go on to mention that the game WARCRAFT there is a demi-god named Cenarius, who has the lower body of a stag and antlers atop his head. To the Night Elves he is the embodiment of nature.
In the computer role-playing game Baldur's Gate II: Shadows of Amn, another game that Brian has played, one of the characters who may join the player's party is a Druid named Cernd. Being a Druid, Cernd is devoted to upholding the supposed "balance" of Nature.

I just happened to check a book out of the library by Brian Froud because we had been talking about his work at the last String Alongs meeting at Janet R. house. I got the book the Goblin Companion and it looks to me, as if the fellow on the cover is related to Brian's Green Man, too.

I also checked out a book by Edward John Moreton Drax Plunkett Dunsany, known as Lord Dunsany.The Blessing of Pan. 1928.

There are many kinds of rebels. One of the oddest and most delightful is the establishment figure who, not seeming even to notice what he's doing, subverts with his dreamy left hand all that his powerful right hand continues to uphold. Lord Dunsany was just such a figure. The eighteenth holder of a barony created in 1439, he behaved much like any other British peer. He went to Eton. He loved fox hunting. He married an earl's daughter. He lived in a castle. He and his whole family fought for whomever happened to be the king or queen. He served in the Coldstream Guards and the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers. His younger brother, Admiral the Hon. Sir Reginald Aylmer Ranfurly Plunkett-Ernle-Erle-Drax--a name that P.G. Wodehouse himself would hardly have dared to invent--commanded a good part of the British navy. How can you be more establishment than that? But all the time Lord Dunsany was leading a separate fantasy life, and in that he did not uphold the established order at all. Sometimes, as in The King of Elfland's Daughter, he merely ignored it. And sometimes, as in The Blessing of Pan, he dreamily turned it on its head.
--Noel Perrin, "Lords and Pagans" in A Reader's Delight

So far what I have read seems to have an ominous undertone as if something evil lurks in the woods-I guess I will find out in time!


All that is human must retrograde if it does not advance.
-- Edward Gibbon


Annalee Blysse said...

Kind of reminds me of the idea of Green Man too. It's interesting when kids "reinvent" ideas that are common among humanity. The notion of creative thought brings with it common themes across cultures fascinates me.

I haven't read any Lord Dunsay. I'll have to keep an eye out. Sounds interesting.

Lynda said...

There is something thrilling/scary about an apparent Green Man-face in the forest theme. It is no wonder that people see these things across cultures and times.

The Blessing of Pan is very good so far. Kind of eerily magic woods and faeries circles sort of story.

Annalee Blysse said...

I'm glad I found your post. From the poems I read, I can tell I'll enjoy the author. There is a small handful of his works on the Gutenberg Project.