The Archetypes in the Green Man

This is the eighth and final mystery reading in the Green Man series – brief texts that illuminate aspects of masculinity through nature while exploring the major masculine archetypes.

A central truth about the archetypes is that they all reside within each one of us. You may feel more drawn toward one than the others, but it’s important to be aware of them all in their particular relevance and resonance to you. You may cycle through them during different periods of your life or under different circumstances.

We can see this in the Green Man, the organizing principle for these posts. In him we can divine the five archetypes as outlined. He is the King of the Forest as well as its Father figure. He can protect and defend the forest as a Warrior. His secrets of growth, decay and renewal embody both the alchemy of the Wizard and the earthy sensuality and creativity of the Lover.

An image of the Green Man / Horned God / Cernunnos with an overlay of the chakras. Image source on right side.

The image above, of chakras overlaid onto the Green Man or Horned God, invites an assignment of archetypes to chakras. It’s a little off because of the numbering, but perhaps the following interpretation holds: The Warrior fits the root (red) chakra covering basic needs such as safety and stability, while the Lover fits the orange sacral chakra of creativity and reproduction. The Father encompasses both yellow (solar plexus) and green (heart) as a central, uniting archetype that builds on both responsibility and love from both Warrior and Lover. The Wizard resides in the blue throat chakra of speaking, singing and spellcasting. The King is centered in the purple or third-eye chakra of perception and wisdom, while the Green Man himself, at least in this image, grows organically right through the crown chakra into fruiting branches that are also antlers – an outreach beyond the self into the environment, into the universe.

In conclusion, and bringing this series back to the naturist Green Man Group that provided the original inspiration, these archetypes are nude. We may associate certain accoutrements with them, such as a staff for the Wizard, a sword for the Warrior, and a scepter for the King, but in their pure essence they are nude, just like the Green Man in the image above. They unite the body and soul with the universe, and as such they are unencumbered, unfettered, exposed and direct. We have but to meditate on their primal mysteries to call them into consciousness, to embody them into being, within us and among us.

The Dream of Love and Freedom

This is the seventh mystery reading in the Green Man series – brief texts that illuminate aspects of masculinity through nature while exploring the major masculine archetypes. It’s a different kind of mystery reading, because it’s the narration of a dream:

In the dream, the old man spoke to me of love, and of freedom. He was a wizard of full white beard, and at the same time he was a golden, strapping youth, cloaked in the sun. He said:

“My mind is free, because each day I can choose to learn and to grow in love.

My heart is free, for I love across genders and numbers.

My body is free, because I seek the ways to keep it uncovered.

My spirit is free to roam among cultures and scriptures without confinement to one.”

After he told me this, he handed me his staff even as he disappeared inside of it.

The old man, the young man, the staff, the dream, and I, are all one.

Wizard of the Woods. Source unknown.
“Summoning the Sun”

A Mystery Reading for The King Archetype

This is the sixth mystery reading in the Green Man series – brief texts that illuminate aspects of masculinity through nature while exploring the major masculine archetypes.

Sun and Lion

A poetic name for the sun in Spanish is “El Astro Rey”: The King of the Stars. The sun is indeed our ultimate king, whose eternal dance with the feminine earth sets into motion our concepts of time, weather, and season. As ancient stargazers came to understand sooner or later, the sun is the literal center of our solar system. In many cultures, the maximum ruler, as well as the principal god, are linked to the sun, and by extension, to light and to fire. For example, the Incan sun god and royal ancestor, Inti, projects flames radiating from his head. The King as leader can ignite a fire, or he can inflame a conflagration, but to be a good ruler he must, more often than not, take the middle road: he must emulate the steady burn of the hearth, the fire that heats the broth and warms the home. He is often compared to the male lion, who mates with many lionesses, and who can hunt on his own if needed but more often receives the offerings of his pride. The lion’s regal nature is accentuated by his signature mane. Like a ring of flames, the mane encircles the lion’s visage and calls to mind the sun, or a crown atop the head of a hirsute, bearded sovereign.

King Collage. Clockwise from top right: a fire in a hearth; a male lion; a golden figure representing Inti; the sun; a crown.

At his best, The King endeavors to rule his people, his territory, with justice and harmony–roaring or roasting only if necessary. The King learns that he can only truly succeed if he blends his own ardent objectives with those of his community for the betterment of all. He must surround himself with wise counsel in acknowledgment that the lion is weak without his pride, and the bright sunshine of the daytime would be intolerable were it not for its alternating rhythm with the night.

A Mystery Reading for The Wizard Archetype

This is the fifth mystery reading in the Green Man series – brief texts that illuminate aspects of masculinity through nature while exploring the major masculine archetypes. 

Stag and Serpent

The stag and the serpent don’t grow without shedding. Whether they shed antlers or skin, these animals are masters of transformation, striding and slithering through forest and stream. Both are associated with the ancient Celtic Horned God, Cernunnos. This bearded deity, an avatar of the Green Man himself, oversaw the cycle of life, death and rebirth – the decay of the old and the flourish of the new. In most deer species, only the males produce antlers, which grow back larger after every time they are discarded. The antlers, like a crown, come to symbolize mastery, potency, and endurance. Snakes are one of the most common phallic symbols because of their unique shape, and when they shed their skins, usually starting at the head, the process at first resembles the retraction of the foreskin when the (uncut) penis becomes erect. This kind of mutable phallus is the origin of a wizard’s staff or magic wand, a stiff length of wood that is imagined to ejaculate a spell, or a force, to cause a transformation.

Wizard Collage. Clockwise from top right: an alchemist of ancient Arabia; a snake shedding its skin; illustration of a wizard; illustration of Cernunnos; a stag.

In his hooded cloak, the Wizard seeks occult knowledge—plants or fungi that poison or heal, poems or songs that curse or bless—for its potential to transform. For the early alchemists, the metamorphosis of base metals into gold, though desired literally, was also a metaphor for transforming anything, whether tangible or not, into something of greater value or purpose. The Wizard should not hoard the knowledge he accrues, but rather shed it like these token animals, for it is in the distribution of knowledge that wider dialogue and transformation can occur.

A Mystery Reading for The Father Archetype

This is the fourth mystery reading in the Green Man series – brief texts that illuminate aspects of masculinity through nature while exploring the major masculine archetypes. 

Oak and Eagle

The oak, one of the most common trees in the temperate climes of the world, is also one of the sturdiest and tallest. Because of its strength and height, it’s often the model for the “family tree,” an image for showing the ancestry and descendants of a family line. A father, so inclined, would wish for his descendants to be as numerous as the branches of an old oak, for his seed to be as abundant as its outpouring of glans-shaped acorns, for his roots to hold as steadfast. The oak embodies the Green Man himself. Many forms of life—fungi, flora, fauna, humans—come to depend on the shade, the strength, the nuts or leaves or wood of the oak to aid in their own survival. One such life form is the eagle, which will often choose a high oak for its nest. Eagles mate for life and attempt to return to the same nest year after year, building it up continually. Male eagles help incubate the eggs, provide most of the food to the hatchlings during the first month, and are always on the lookout to protect the nest.

Father Collage. Clockwise from top right: a father and child; a Green Man sculpture; a variety of acorns; the Major Oak in Sherwood Forest; booted eagle.

Most new fathers would recognize the need for them to be like the eagle or the oak: steadfast providers and constant companions for their wives and children. Yet the eternal mystery of paternity—is this truly my child?—spreads doubt. The archetype of The Father calls us to magnanimous benevolence, calls us to reconcile our desire for bloodline descendants with the knowledge that it is not only through our blood and semen that we are fathers, but also through our words and actions. The Father must seek balance between what he offers in protection and what he allows in freedom; the oak supports the nest so that the eagle can ultimately fly away.

A Mystery Reading for The Lover Archetype

This is the third mystery reading in the Green Man series – brief texts that illuminate aspects of masculinity through nature while exploring the major masculine archetypes. 

Chili Pepper and Avocado

“Keep shaking the chili like that and you’ll send the seeds flying everywhere.” The Native peoples of the Americas made jokes in their languages comparing the chili peppers they cultivated to the male organ. Because of its general shape, and its variety of sizes and colors, the chili pepper visually resembles the penis. But just as importantly, it’s the chili’s spicy sting that led it to become an icon of masculinity. The tears, redness, and panting that can result from eating chilies are compared to aspects of sexual activity, and the swelling to pregnancy. “Damn this chili burns, but I don’t know how to live without it.” The avocado, with its dark wrinkled skin and its single large stone, resembles a testicle, and in fact the word ‘avocado’ derives from the Aztecs’ language, Nahuatl, in which the word ahuacatl means both ‘avocado’ and ‘testicle.’ By association, Indigenous American peoples attributed aphrodisiac powers to these plants. Related to Xochipilli, the Aztec god of pleasure and art, the avocado and the chili add flavor, texture and color to the mix.

Lover Collage. Clockwise from top right: avocados; a lovers’ heart silhouette; a painter’s palette; statue of Xochipilli; variety of chili peppers.

Flavor, texture and color are key elements for the archetype of The Lover. The Lover focuses on sensuality, on the pleasures of the moment for himself, for his partner, and even, in the role of chef or artist or performer, on the pleasures of a larger audience. The Lover performs, opening himself and revealing his emotions, his laughter and his tears, to the ones he cares for. Should The Lover lose himself in fantasies and dreams, the sharp snap of the chili and the cool flesh of the avocado can bring him back to the immediacy of the present moment.

A Mystery Reading for The Warrior Archetype

This is the second mystery reading in the Green Man series – brief texts that illuminate aspects of masculinity through nature while exploring the major masculine archetypes. 

Lightning and Wind

Humankind’s first experience with glass was probably the discovery of the filament-like unique shapes that result when lightning strikes the beach. These shapes, half buried into the sand, resemble the random patterns of ejaculate, appearing as they do after the sky-shattering orgasm of a lightning strike with simultaneous thunder. In most cultures, the gods of sky and lightning and thunder are masculine. So too is the wind, because of the extreme force and trajectory it can attain. It’s the wind that playfully blows off the hat or raises the dress or teasingly wafts sensation over our entire body when nude. But it’s also the wind that menacingly spreads fire, roils the waves, snaps the trees and arcs the rain sideways.

The Warrior Collage. Clockwise from top right: Xangó (illustration by a Bahian artist); personification of the wind; lighting-blasted sand structure; storm; lightning.

Both wind and lightning evoke Xangó, a West African deity and one of the avatars of The Warrior archetype. Xangó’s double-headed axe symbolizes both The Warrior’s prowess and his peril. The Warrior can lash out, can channel violence, to defend, to protect, to attack, to avenge, but he must control his force and use it only when, and as much, as needed. The Warrior can enter the fray of battle externally, but he is also called on to do so internally, summoning the winds of change and the lightning of epiphany to clear the fog of his own internal battles. He must master his own temperament, controlling the explosive energy of his storms and aggressions in order to channel his lightning into activism. In dedication to a cause, whether individual or collective, The Warrior wields the discipline that he has made routine in the illuminating, gale-force defense of his family, his love, his spirit, his goal, his cause.

Mysteries of the Green Man

The Green Man Group recently began at my local naturist park. As it is currently run, it is a once-a-month hour-long session of Kundalini yoga for men, with themes such as creativity or acceptance, loosely based on movement through the chakras. The same instructor runs a parallel group for women called Goddess Gathering. I have enjoyed the meetings so far. I had a hand in coming up with the Green Man name for the group, because I had already been thinking and writing, last year, about the Green Man as a phenomenon that can be related to naturism. I posted at naturistfiction.org about how this figure from Northern European folklore embodies a union of masculinity with nature, through counterparts or avatars in many other cultural traditions and literary treatments as well.

I decided to compose a series of mystery readings, in the ancient spiritual tradition of the term “mystery.” These mysteries are brief texts that illuminate aspects of masculinity through nature while exploring the major masculine archetypes. I’ve designed them to be read aloud and/or to serve as prompts for meditation, not only for people who identify as male. Though the idea for these mysteries sprang from the Green Man of Celtic tradition, I’ve intentionally opened them to include phenomena from other cultures. My work here is inspired by Jung, Campbell and other canonical writers about archetypes, and also more specifically informed by the recent work of Isaac Cotec, whose Masculine Archetype Deck sits here near my desk. These readings also have a special connection to the writing of fellow naturist author Robert Longpré, who explores archetypes and their relation to naturism in novels such as A Small Company of Pilgrims. A final note: These mystery readings are not erotic; however, they do treat aspects of male sexuality in holistic anatomical detail.

The first mystery, below, is a reading on the Green Man himself. Each Wednesday for the next six weeks I will post a new mystery on one of five main archetypes, followed by a dream reading and a conclusion.

Green Man Collage: Images from Wikipedia, Etsy, and my own camera.

A Mystery Reading on the Green Man

The Green Man is a hybrid of man and oak from the original traditions of Northern Europe. He roots masculinity firmly and deeply in the earth, and sends it soaring gracefully and powerfully to the sky in his branches. Sometimes he is depicted as an older man, while at other times he is more middle-aged or even young, but he always has a beard – a symbol of masculine potency and organic growth. As a representation of man in nature, or nature in man, he is nude, and his tree-like appearance embodies male sexuality as reflected in the many slang expressions that relate erections to wood. If he wears anything at all, he is cloaked only in the leaves that sprout, change color, fall and sprout again. In this cycle of leaves, shoots, vines and other vegetal manifestations, the Green Man personifies the core mystery of growth, death, and rebirth. He is the masculine counterpart to Mother Nature or the Earth Goddess.

Though the Green Man represents masculine strength, he also represents vulnerability. After all, he’s not a mountain or an ocean, but an animate tree that can be burned or chopped or infected. The Green Man must exist within nature as his support system, and for this reason he is often understood as an avatar of the masculine protector role – a male force that knows the need for protecting others because he knows his own need for protection as well. He is the Forest Father or Old Man of the Forest, whose many acorns scatter the potential for new generations to grow into the future and perpetuate the cycle. The Green Man shall be seen to unite the five main masculine archetypes: Warrior, Lover, Father, Wizard and King.

Naturist News from Brazil

Did you know that Brazil is the fifth largest country in the world, in both size and population? Personally I wish everyone knew a lot more about Brazil, a nation whose rich culture and fascinating history should command more of the world’s attention. I’ve had the good fortune to travel to Brazil several times and meet Brazilian naturist leaders. This month – January 2022 – there have been some developments to report on related to two very important figures in Brazilian naturism, past and present: Luz del Fuego, and Jorge Bandeira (photo above).

Brazil has a stable and growing system of naturist parks, clubs and resorts through the Federação Brasileira de Naturismo, and it also has a national naturist pioneer: the mid-twentieth-century performance artist, author and politician Luz del Fuego. Much has been written about her already, including by my good friend and naturist superstar Jorge Bandeira (my translation here), but there has been a surge of recent interest in her thanks to a new edition of a biography that came out in 2019. A long-lost documentary about Luz del Fuego, A Nativa Solitária, that was restored in the 90s, was only made available on YouTube earlier this month. She was also featured this month in an episode of Eduardo Bueno’s popular program about Brazilian history, Buenas Idéias. True to his style, Eduardo Bueno often goes for the easy laugh or the hyperbolic caricature of Dora Vivacqua (who chose the stage name Luz del Fuego), but he does manage to foreground her contributions as an ahead-of-her-time pioneer in naturism as well as in women’s rights. In contrast, the thirty-minute, black-and-white documentary A Nativa Solitária provides personal footage of Luz del Fuego as a dancer learning to handle the snakes that often accompanied her on stage, and as a writer/philosopher explaining naturism (as she did in her 1950 book A Verdade Nua [The Naked Truth]). The final half of the documentary features stunning footage of a group of athletic naturists on the beach of Ilha do Sol (Island of the Sun), which was Luz del Fuego’s personal property in Rio de Janeiro’s Guanabara Bay as well as Brazil’s first naturist destination.

My friend Jorge Bandeira founded GRAUNA, the only naturist group in northern Brazil, in 2003. He is an actor, activist, director and playwright, as well as the owner of a used book and vinyl shop in Manaus – a fascinating person I’ve written about here and here. I even created a fictional version of him in my novel Aglow! For Jorge’s latest project, he brought together a new exhibit and performance event highlighting the social nudist traditions of the Brazilian Indigenous peoples long before the arrival of Europeans or concepts such as “naturism.” The exhibit focuses on how Indigenous traditions in the Amazon region interface with two very present dangers: the current Covid pandemic, and the highly environmentally destructive practice of garimpo, a kind of surface mining for gold that often leaves streams and rivers contaminated with mercury. The exhibit and performance took place this month, not in Jorge’s home state of Amazonas, but in the Atlantic coast state of Bahia (far from the Amazon region), at the renowned naturist community Ecoparque da Mata. The exhibit consisted of various artifacts as well as Jorge’s own drawings and other art. His performance was a loose adaptation in Portuguese of “The Vision” by Exuma. The exhibit was made possible by support from the Secretaria de Cultura e Economia Criativa do Estado do Amazonas (Amazonas State Department of Culture and the Creative Economy).

Social nudism has always had some sort of context in all human societies – it’s international by definition. I know I always feel stronger and more grounded as a naturist when I learn about naturist initiatives and events taking place around the world. Many thanks to Jorge for keeping me up to date and for permission to feature his materials here. Para a frente! (Onward!)

Traveling with the Nomadic Nudists

It’s always a pleasure to discover the work of another naturist writer, and Scott Lunt is a great one to discover. He’s a professional advertising copywriter who began writing for NUSA SUN magazine about traveling with his wife Julie to nudist destinations around the country – all while decidedly *not* retired! His new book, Sun Blocked: Traveling by RV in the states of undress, contains all 39 of his NUSA SUN columns spanning 2014-2019, plus one extra.

If you’re a nudist and/or an RV owner, this book is definitely for you. As an avowed naturist, I found out a lot more about nudist parks I haven’t had the opportunity to visit yet. And having no experience with RVs, I appreciated the many tips and tricks, trials and travails of RV operating that Scott describes.

With titles like “Naked, and Sometimes Afraid” and “Flight of the Snowbirds,” these three-page chronicles are just plain fun to read. Scott has a sense of humor that comes through very clearly in his writing. He would not write, for example, that there was a horse walking down the lane toward the school. Through his lens of humorous hyperbole, it would probably be expressed something like, “There was a large mammal stomping down the road toward the unsuspecting children.” Here’s an example:

Apparently, one of my favorite hobbies is smacking various body parts (usually my head) against cupboards, door frames, and whatever part of the motorhome is handy at the time. Thankfully evolution had me in mind when human skulls developed to their current protective state, and nothing serious has happened yet.

Sun Blocked p. 45

This self-deprecating description comes from a how-to section on medical care, something that can be difficult to find or afford when traveling around the country. It’s an example of taking something serious and adding a good dose of humor.

Here’s another tragicomic passage that makes for very engaging reading. Our intrepid naturists Scott and Julie are getting settled in at Sun Meadow, a nudist resort in Idaho:

Lost in thought, I didn’t realize that at that very moment Julie was having an intimate encounter with a sociopathic yellow jacket wasp.

“Quit dancing and come check out this view,” I said, a bit put out.

“I just got stung!”

“Oh no. Well, careful dear,” I cautioned, expecting a cascade of profanities. “This is a family resort. Think of the children!”

OK maybe I wasn’t that callous, and in fact I was impressed with how stoically she quietly rubbed her arm.

Sun Blocked p. 66

See what he did there? Not only did he thwart your expectations as to how a husband might react to his spouse’s dilemma, but also he threw in that line that is so often used against naturists–Think of the children!–in an unexpected way: not because a nude woman is hopping around in pain in an open-air setting, but because she might utter (or holler!) a few unpleasantries. Very clever writing indeed!

I wouldn’t be able to pick a favorite chapter out of so much great prose, but the one I found most interesting is “Trail Ride,” about the park where I’m currently a member and have frequented over the past twenty years: Oaklake Trails in central Oklahoma. Thing is, I haven’t yet had the pleasure of participating in a midnight trail ride (golf cart caravan through the woods) at Oaklake… and wow, is it on my bucket list now!

11 p.m. [of Friday night, June 16, 2017]

We pass through a corridor of trees by a lake, and a naked woman wearing a furry animal head lunges out at me. It’s Kathy, and I thought she had been behind us. I’m pretty lost and it’s a good thing I’m not driving.

The convoy parks in circle on the shore. There’s a flag pole here and a naked guy is inching his way to the top. “Your turn,” he says, but I like my goolies too much to shimmy up the cold steel. The lake shimmers in the starlight, lightening bugs flicker in the brush and we listen to the cicadas serenade us.

Sun Blocked p. 135

Another highlight of this book is its title – there is a meaning to it beyond skincare products, and I refuse to spoil it for you! You’ll just have to find out for yourself, in the chapter of the same name, “Sun Blocked.” It’ll afford you a new appreciation of the stellar book cover image!

It takes a lot of work to get a book written, full stop. Then after that there is still more work: getting it laid out properly, copy-edited, paginated (*this is much, much harder than you would think*) designed and marketed and distributed to the various formats, and–hopefully–actually read by real live readers. I know all this from experience, and in my estimation, Sun Blocked is very handsomely produced. Between amusing anecdotes and tips for nudist travel–on a sliding scale from facetious to earnest–the book also includes several destination photos, and a couple of images of Julie’s attractive art. It’s an all-around terrific read, and you can find it on Amazon and Kobo, as well as Nook, Scribd and other formats here.

Are the Nomadic Nudists still out there somewhere in the world, doing their thing? Find out the latest at nomadicnudists.com!