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Nature Spirits

52 53 The god of The greenWood laughter amongst the trees Sometimes friendly, at other times terrifyingly wild, the god of nature, the Green Man, Pan or Herne is the male face of nature, the resurgent life force of the forest and the field, retreating in winter to burst forth with new exuberance in the spring. Various tales tell of how he is cut down, whether as Osiris, John Barleycorn, the Oak King or King of the Bean, only to miraculously rise again. As such, these are all forerunners of the Messiah story, for he signifies the growth of the green world, sown and reaped by turns in the cycle of the year. As Jack in the Green, famous in folklore, he is a young god, full of tricks, laughter and great feats of prowess. He often runs along ley lines and is famed for his supernatural speed and huge leaps. Drawn by innocence and enthusiasm, he can help weary souls become children of nature once again. In other tales he appears as the god of hunters. As Herne or Cernunnos he has simultaneous roles as god of animals and He who culls, ensuring the survival of the tribe through harsh winters, and can be called upon to teach maturity and responsibility. As the oak and holly king, the god of summer and winter, he is the dual father of the people, providing security and sustenance, protecting and providing the peoples needs. The Greek god Pan reveals another side of the god of naturethe god in repose. A wild rustic god of sexuality, drinking, music and fierce pleasures, his greatest friends are goats, and his fits of passion can create the panic in mortals of which he is famed. Today, Pan is loved by so many that he is now often seen as an almost universal god of nature. Though sometimes worshiped alone, the god of the greenwood is the divine male in all his aspects, lover of the goddess, father to all creation.
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