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Gary R Varner

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Publisher:  Algora Publishing ISBN-10:  0875864341


Copyright:  March 4, 2006

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A new look at the ancient archetype, the Green Man and the folklore and mythology of trees and nature by Gary R. Varner.

Get your Signed copy today!

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Algora Publishing
Algora Publishing

The publishers synopsis:

A delightful world tour of traditions and beliefs related to trees and forests, The Mythic Forest highlights modern-day revivals of ancient customs and identifies the Green Man motif in American architecture, hisface peering out from behind his leaves on California banks and New York brownstone houses. The book will appeal to readers interested in folklore and legends, mythology, urban archeology, and, of course, trees and their lore. Trees and forests are rich in symbolism and have been feared or revered since man began to walk the earth. In Part I, the author discusses the gods of nature and the folklore of trees, tracing a variety of legends, practices and beliefs; in Part II he presents the history of the image of the Green Man and its use in pre-Christian and early Christian times up to today. Mankind has given a recognizable face to the awesome and impalpable forces of nature in the image of the Green Man and the nature spirits that this book explores. The ways in which different societies and different craftsmen have depicted these spirits display the wide creative range of the human imagination, but the persistence of the theme suggests that in all their many facets these "spirits" represent a deep, primordial sense that humans have shared since civilization began; for the message of these images has remained the same, even if somewhat altered over time. Folk traditions from around the world, from the rites that celebrate spring and egg on the forces of fertility to folk health remedies and the use of talismans to ward off illness and other evils, show some surprising similarities and hint at the shared origins of human culture. Even though the original significance of many customs has been lost or diluted, they still hold an appeal and many American towns even today are re-introducing seasonal fairs to recreate and revel in the link between man and nature. * Gary R. Varner is author of: Essays in Contemporary Paganism; Sacred Wells: A Study in the History, Meaning, and Mythology of Holy Wells & Waters; Water of Life-Water of Death: The Folklore and Mythology of Sacred Water; and Menhirs, Dolmen and Circles of Stone: The Folklore and Magic of Sacred Stone.

Available in trade paperback for $21.95 and harcover at $29.95 from all bookshops and on line retailers.

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Illustrated with many unpublished photographs of the Green Man from England, Wales, Ireland and across the United States.

Available in trade paper and hardcover.

Professional Reviews

The Muse Book Review: The Mythic Forest Reviewed by Alice Berger
Who is the Green Man? “The image of the Green Man is that of a foliated head, a face with vines and leaves sprouting from the mouth, eyes and nose, the hair and beard formed, as well, from leaves and twigs. The image may be stern and almost frightening, or a beguiling face peering out of a wealth of vegetation. The Green Man represents the creation of all plant life and its continued renewal.” (p.85) But where and why did these images originate, and how have they evolved over the years?

This comprehensive and well-researched work is presented in two parts. In the first section, the author introduces the reader to the numerous spirits dwelling in the forests. The mystical properties of various trees are also explored as well as the legends associated with them.

In the second part, the reader encounters many of the gods and mythical characters who share several qualities of the Green Man. These include an affinity with vegetation, springtime resurrection, and abundant harvest. The author also touches on the interesting appearance of the Green Man in religious structures, where one would least expect to see this pagan figure. Many pictures of the Green Man in modern era architecture are provided.

The Green Man has been with us for several thousand years, but why does humankind keep creating his image? Maybe to remind us of our connection with nature, and our responsibility to make sure the forests and vegetation continue to thrive.

This is a well-written and well-documented portrayal of mystical forests and the Green Man. If you are interested in this enigmatic figure and what he represents, I highly recommend this book.



Review in the Research Book News
(August 1, 2006; 0-87586-434-1; 978-0-87586-434-1)

A prolific writer about contemporary paganism and pagan themes generally, Varner here turns his attention to The Green Man as an avatar of trees in particular and the vegetable world in general. His first section sets the stage by reviewing ideas and beliefs about the spirit of nature, sacred groves, and May Day. He draws heavily on research from the late 19th and early 20th century, some of which has been academically refuted but much of which was simply discarded as not useful to the coming industrial paradise. Annotation ©2006 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (

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Reader Reviews for "The Mythic Forest, the Green Man and the Spirit of Nature"

Reviewed by Chrissy McVay 3/24/2006
Congratulations on your new book!
Reviewed by Mr. Ed 3/24/2006
This book sounds truly fascinating. As a forest lover my entire life, and a lover of ancient myths and lore, I can't wait to read it.

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