Picture This: The Green Man of Rosslyn Chapel

by Keith Savage · 9 comments


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.


Daniel MeloyNo Gravatar June 10, 2012 at 9:28 AM

Wow, very well written! Brief but captivating. So interesting, for that little bit of time while reading I was completely enraptured in the story.

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ChaelNo Gravatar May 28, 2012 at 4:22 PM

I dig your writing. It’s something quite different from the norm, and that’s something I think people should take note of. Keep doing that.

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Keith SavageNo Gravatar May 28, 2012 at 9:47 PM

Thank you for the kind words. It’s exactly the thought I’ve been trying to elicit.

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KristinaNo Gravatar May 28, 2012 at 6:38 AM

The demonic faces in this chapel makes me scared 🙁

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JesseNo Gravatar May 28, 2012 at 3:11 AM

One of the special thing Catholic Church leaves to the current and for the future generations marked very old culture and traditions for good faith and moral conservations.

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LindaNo Gravatar May 26, 2012 at 6:17 AM

Ditto what Andi said. I had similar thoughts this week, checking the origins of a Christian festival, I found out that, as so often, its roots were, actually, Pagan. Fascinating stuff.

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Keith SavageNo Gravatar May 27, 2012 at 10:47 AM

Fascinating and purposefully buried. But places like Rosslyn Chapel help us remember.

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AndiNo Gravatar May 25, 2012 at 4:11 PM

Beautiful words & shot!

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ngwrightNo Gravatar May 25, 2012 at 7:25 AM

I really enjoyed the story about the master and apprentice

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