Chuck aka 'The GreenMan' Willhide (Keyboards, Guitar & Vocals)

Is there a Green Man in your garden?

by Charles E. Willhide aka The GreenMan

I have often been asked about the Green Man and why I have taken that name. So I thought I would clear things up a little. When I was a young child we would visit my cousin Vickie’s house every year shortly after Christmas to see her new and amazing toys. I was around the age of three when one Christmas she delightedly began showing me one of her new toys -- a giant green robot.  I had never seen anything like that in my young life growing up in the early sixties. It was actually pretty trick with a giant wireless remote to match. It had looked pretty harmless up until she turned it on. Much to my little boy surprise it started marching across the floor and shooting sparks out it’s glowing red eyes! I was completely terrified! Luckily my dad was in the room and I immediately climbed up his leg to safety. From that point on until the age of twelve I had a bedtime ritual of telling one of my parents, “Mom, or Dad, don’t let the Green Man get me!”

I never thought much about it after that until at my early 30’s when I began studying metaphysics and esoteric religion. That is when I discovered that my birthday is the same day as Arbor Day, which has its origins in the Celtic Festival of Beltane, also known as -- Green Man Day! It is the first day of planting season, May first. In Celtic folklore, the Green Man is the male aspect of Mother Nature, Father Nature if you will. It has been said that if you put a likeness of the Green Man in your garden that you will have a good harvest. 

The Green Man is seen as one who births life through his mouth and speaks with words of leaves. We would not be able to survive without herb, leaf, grass or tree. Many different artistic renderings of the Green Man have appeared thoughout our human history.  Generally he is depicted as a head framed with leaves as if they were part of his skin and with leaves growing out of his mouth. To quote William Anderson from his book Green Man: The Archetype of our Oneness with the Earth -- “When archetypes return, they bring back the memory of all their past: the Green Man gives us again the mystery of the northern woods, the ecstatic joy and release of the Dionysiac festivities, the gratitude for the return of spring and the fullness of harvest, the creative spirit of the Gothic masters and the exuberance of Renaissance artists and sculptors.”  The Green Man lives! 

So, I guess you could say that I have worked through my Green Man fears and remembered my past.  In ancient times he was the prophet. Now he returns as poet and musician. Does this mean I have a green thumb? Maybe a little. Does it mean I have a deep concern for the environment? Absolutely!

Check out the original 1960‘s video of my cousin opening the GreenMan on Christmas morning, courtesy of Uncle Don.


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