William Anderson, Green Man:
The image of the tree that speaks, prophesies or warns seems to express a recurrent need of the soul—something that we can all experience. When we stand beneath a copse of beeches roaring in a high wind, we seem to hear one of the voices of Nature only our innermost being can comprehend. It sends a message that indicates that nothing we claim for ourselves is ours, that the life force that sustains us is as beyond our power to control as the wind is beyond the power of the trees to resist its lashings, and that we are rooted only for a short time in history, far shorter than the lives of the beeches singing and chanting above us. When we surrender our hearts and minds to their sounds, we undergo a purification which is tinged with the feeling of sacrifice and of making holy everything we have been given - a feeling echoed by many of the tinest representations of the Green Man we will come to consider.
The Green Man is the guardian and revealer of mysteries. In his mask form he is linked to the universal significances of the mask which are those of a part in a drama to be taken up and dropped again and of the world of spirits and of what lies behind death. As the disgorger or devourer of vegetation he speaks of the mysteries of creation in time, of the hidden sources of inspiration, and of the dark nothingness out of which we come and to which we return. As the fruit of vegetation, he signifies the mystery of law and intelligence in natural forms and expresses our own instinctive desire to anthropomorphize everything that is beautiful, touching or powerful in the world about us. In all his forms he is the Poet who in revealing mysteries opens up even more wonderful and enticing mysteries beyond the words he speaks.