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Is the Green Man/Horned God a loving God?

“Hello, I’m just starting to learn about paganism. I’ve only ever been to one winter solstice event and it was lovely. One question that’s been nagging me for a while: (and I honestly mean no offense, i’m only curious) Is the greenman/horned god a loving god? When i say loving….how do i put it? It’s just that our society has turned that image into the devil for so long, not that i believe it, but….i’m a particularly shy individual who is tentative to worship “masculine” energy because i’ve had a lot of emotional trama with men from a young age. I’m still thinking about what exactly i wish to worship. I had an experience with him once, though, i think. Sorry if it’s really personal- I was “thinking” about sexual things one day alone, and worries were coming up about being treated well. But somehow i got to thinking about the image of pan and stopped fussing. i ended up thinking or feeling about everything but nothing at the same time and well, it went well. Are there people you know of who see him as fatherly and a healthy thing, not just a negative stereotype of aggressive males? It’s hard for me to not worry about things like that. But i’d like to believe people want to believe in deities of god things and love. Thank you, Allie”

Your question resonates with me. I grew up in a family full of women, a matriarchy de facto as men failed to stick around for family making; my own father was Army, so he was never around to be a father figure. I also experienced sexual abuse at the hands of a trusted boyfriend as a teenager. That said, I have *always* had an issue with masculinity and God.

However, I can tell you this: God, be he horned or green, is awe-inspiring. The Horned God is actually the Wiccan view of masculine divinity; he is all gods in one representation, like a diamond with many different facets. He is a god of the Sun, the hunt, harvest, wildness, and fertility. As the Horned God, he is seen with antlers as many prey animals would have; meanwhile, as the Greenman he has a face and body made of or covered in leaves, showing his interconnection with nature and growth. In both cases, the God is seen as dying in the form of plants and animals as a sacrifice to feed us and keep us alive.

In a less Wiccan-focused view, God is what he is. Not all men are aggressive or hyper-sexual beings; neither are all gods the same. I worship within the Greek pantheon, and I see all gods and goddess as individuals (as opposed to the facets of a diamond). That means that I recognize Zeus’ tendency to take what he wanted from women, while understanding his constant attempts to keep mankind safe. Apollo was a woman chaser, but he was usually spurned or accepted gladly (i.e. he didn’t rape as Zeus often did); Apollo also remained strongly protective of his twin Artemis and his mother Leto, as well as watching over the sick as both giver and remover of diseases. The mythology is complex, just as humankind is; no god is always loving or always violent, not even Ares as the god of war.

Essentially, you need to research and reflect for yourself on God. Who do you connect to him? Who is he to you? When you find those answers, you’ll know where your worship will focus.


Larissa Lee
Guest Writer


2 responses to “Is the Green Man/Horned God a loving God?

  1. I came across this post via a google search, and I feel my question somewhat pertains to the one above. I’m going to share a personal experience I had with the Horned God, and my question is if others have had similar experiences and, if so, what it meant to them. I had an interesting experience with the Horned God, a few hours before midnight on the eve of a winter solstice in 2009, I believe. I had an overwhelmingly strong feeling that I was supposed to cast a circle and go into a trance. At first, I tried to ignore it because I wasn’t sure why I was being drawn to do so, but I couldn’t shake the feeling. As I was preparing my sacred space, I notice that the shadows cast on the walls by my candles were distinctly horn shaped and I felt the Horned One’s presence. This was the first time I had ever felt that He was with me without a doubt. I played a CD track of Native American flute/drumming music to help achieve the trance state and cast my circle. It didn’t take long for me to enter trance and immediately I found myself in a beautiful forest. It was daylight there and summertime (I find this odd in retrospect because as I mentioned, this was the evening before the Winter Solstice.) The Horned God was there, with a rack of antlers upon his head, resembling Cernunnos, which is the image of Him that has always made me the most comfortable. He embraced me sexually, which surprised me enough to throw me out of trance. Just before I opened my eyes, I felt that he was hurt that I’d been frightened. I felt positive energy from Him, and that this must have been a good thing for Him to call me to meet with Him in trance, but I wasn’t sure what to make of the experience. As a female who has had difficult romantic relationships with men who have been misogynistic, I have tended to be leery of male energy in general, not to mention a Christian upbringing that caused me to seek out Wicca initially because of the Goddess. I gradually became more open to the Horned God after the Goddess told me not to “deny her son” and this experience followed, I believe, a few months later. I’d appreciate any thoughts/comments and anyone willing to share similar experiences.

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