Who is Jack of the Wood?
The face of the Green Man, or Jack of the Wood, can be found adorning churches over much of Europe. The earliest known instances of this deity appeared around the 2nd century AD. Very little is known of the origins of the Green Man. It is said that he represents the male counterpart to the Goddess of the early European pagans. Fertility, nature, death and rebirth are strong themes of the Green Man. He is traditionally celebrated on May Day, even to this day in some English villages. Green Men are depicted in all shapes and sizes, from spewing branches and foliage from the mouth, ears, and eyes, to simple leaf enshrined faces. Many popular folklore characters are based on the Green Man, including the Green Knight from the Arthurian legend Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, along with Robin Hood. The Green Man stares down on us from the boughs of trees and the spires of cathedrals reminding us that nature is ever present and we are always in its thrall.