Wind and wan light prance around Rosslyn Chapel in the shadow of the Pentland Hills south of Edinburgh. This Midlothian alien reaches toward its seventh century of age. The chapel was born of Roman Catholicism, but it looks like a melange of every known religion worked into stone by a twisted fantasist. Spires and arches and vaulted roofs of aging blonde stone shoulder uncomfortably next to each other. I leave my breath at the door and step into the dreams and night terrors of a mad stonemason. Every surface is carved with angels and demons, biblical scenes, and flora and fauna from worlds that had not yet been discovered. Hidden within the stone opus are more than one hundred faces of a more distant time.
The Green Man. A mischievous, almost demonic, face wreathed in vegetation leers from bosses and pillars around the chapel. From what lost religion does he hail? And why is he here in Rosslyn Chapel? I am reminded that religions build over and erase one another, but not without traces. Ancient beliefs carry forward into old beliefs and then into current beliefs like blue eyes through a family’s generations. There is something primordial and entrancing in the Green Man’s visage. There are secrets here, waiting. There is still mystery left in our world.