[Note: source unknown] Deep in the ancient forests and fields of Europe, the Green Man has long roamed, free and splendid. The ways of the Green Man are the ways of wild nature and the seasons of the Earth. He is present whenever crops are grown and harvested. He is there when animals mate and give birth. He is there when the seasons change and the Sun shines. The Green Man was well- known to the people of Europe. Recognition and reverence for him, and for the energy of vegetation and nature, was universal. During the Middle Ages, stone masons carved the Green Man's likeness into the walls and arches of the finest cathedrals; there are thousands of Green Man heads carved across Europe. By the time of the Renaissance, European indigenous religions were under constant attack by the newly powerful Catholic church. This was also an attack on the Green Man and his magic. Still, the cathedral presence of the Green Man was a constant source of strength to the people. The Green Man's image silently echoed the spirit of nature. His vigorous masculine energy was at once mysterious and familiar. As the dying and returning god of vegetation, he was similar to Jesus. In this way the people of the Middle Ages blended their traditional folk beliefs with the new religion of Christian Catholicism. The Green Man's wisdom is that of the eternal truths, cycles, and passages. We all are born, grow, age, and die, each in our own time. It is this deep and sacred truth that is echoed in the figure of the Green Man. The Green Man is a magical bridge between nature and us. Human in form, he is also vegetable and animal at the same time. His mysteries are the secrets of all growing things. He is present in all natural foods--vegetables, salads, broccoli, corn, and the grains and fruits of the Earth. He lives in all crops and in all things green and growing. The Green Man is as much a part of us as we are of him. His energy fills the trees that make the oxygen we breathe. The Green Man gives us the breath of life. At harvest, he surrenders his essence at the height of his magnificence. Though he dies as a plant, he is born anew in the cells and tissues of animals and humans. Here he nourishes us and grows, until in time, we cease to be and his energy is released again into the earth. There it springs forth again as crops or plants in the never-ending cycle of death and rebirth. A Green Man Ritual Practicing the ways of the Green Man means living in harmony with nature and living according to the seasons. It means looking for the blessings and gifts that are unique to each time of the year. Without winter, there is no spring; without summer there is no harvest. Rituals of the Green Man can be done for many purposes--to heal the environment, to restore balance, or to ensure abundance and the success of new ventures. Green Man rituals should be performed with green, white, or light blue, and yellow candles. Green candles are for growth, health, and vegetation. White or blue candles represent air. Yellow candles shine with the light of the Sun and its vital energy and warmth. Symbols used in Green Man rituals may include a growing plant, a branch, fruit, dried grains, a small bowl of earth, leaves, berries, and acorns or other nuts.