A year ago I wrote a diary that has comforted many bereaved people, called My Adventures With the Green Man. Since it has now been exactly TWO years since an aneurysm suddenly burst inside my brain, almost killing me, I thought it was time to write an update.
My brave, loyal husband and my wonderful son and daughter- in-law showed what they were made of that day, and in the frightening weeks that followed. If I had been aware enough to judge their actions, I wouldn’t have been at all surprised, since I would have expected no less from them.
Ever since writing that diary, I have become a kind of ambassador for the Green Man, taking his message wherever I go. Whenever I accompany Whitley to a book signing, I always wear green. Most of the people I meet don’t know anything about the diary, but there’s always at least one person there who recognizes the message I’m sending and comes over to me and takes my hand and thanks me for writing those words.
One of my best friends suddenly lost her daughter last year. I felt privileged to be able to bring her the Green Man message, and to help her remember it, I also gave her a small silver leaf to wear around her neck. I’m sure she often wears green as well.
In Seattle, on Whitley’s recent tour, we visited one of Whitley’s cousins, who had lost her husband about a year earlier. He was a great guy and she was still grieving for him. I was able to bring her the Green Man message and she later told me how much it comforted her.
When my hairdresser, who has become a good friend, told me how much he missed his dead sister, I folded up a printed copy of the Green Man diary and slipped it into his pocket while he was washing someone’s hair (he doesn’t have a computer), and he later said it meant a great deal to him.
When the medium Glennys MacKay came to the US, “called,” she said, by her “spirit guides,” and was tested by Dr. Gary Schwartz, I brought her a lock of his hair and she was able to contact his sister for him.
I gave the Green Man message to a gay friend whose partner recently died. When he chaired a panel at a book fair where Whitley appeared, he wore a green, plant-patterned shirt in honor of the Man and thanked me for the message.
At a book signing in Los Angeles that was held at the horror bookstore Dark Delicacies, Whitley signed The Grays and I signed my mystery novels. I noticed a priest (wearing full clericals) standing in line, and thought, ‘Why is he here? Is he a horror fan? Is he interested in UFOs?’ Then I realized he was there for the GREEN MAN.
We recently had supper in Los Angeles with a new friend who lost his wife to a devastating disease a few years ago. We didn’t talk directly about the Green Man, but as we were leaving, he quietly gave me a green guitar pick, which I immediately put in my wallet to keep. It’s still there today. I also have a bas-relief of the Green Man hanging above my desk, a gift from the psychic Starfire Tor.
When you begin to heal after the kind of brain shock I had, you notice small, but telling, improvements. When I first came out of the hospital and began to go to restaurants and movies again, I found myself getting lost a lot. When I went into a Ladies Room, Whitley would stand outside the door and speak to me, so that I could find my way out again.
I remember going into the rest room of one of our favorite movie theaters about a year ago, and thinking, ‘I’ll never find my way out if here.’ I used to tell friends, “The Ladies Room in that theater is like a maze inside!” I noticed them looking at me a little strangely whenever I said that, and when we went there again last week, I didn’t find it confusing at all. I enjoyed the movie too?when I first went to movies after leaving the hospital, I sometimes had to watch them with one eye closed.
I still have some strange vision problems. Sometimes I just can’t seem to “see” things that are right in front of me. I couldn’t find the TV listing from Sunday’s paper, even though it was lying right on the kitchen table and had a bright picture of the American flag on the front. I thought I had lost a large kitchen tool the other day, because I somehow couldn’t spot it. I also have a little trouble recognizing people, unless they have something very distinctive-looking about themselves. I once gave myself hints to help remember people’s names, such as telling myself, ‘You can remember that his name is Bob Black because he always wears black.’ Now I use similar hints to remember what people LOOK like (‘Paul is the one who has that whispy little beard’). People who are too bland looking (or maybe the right word is too “perfect” looking) are hard for me to recognize sometimes.
I no longer wear wigs (I’m wearing my favorite wig in the photo that accompanies this diary). It’s nice not to have to bother with that, although I got compliments on my hair when I wore them, and I rarely get them anymore (although several people have told me, “Your hair is growing back nicely.”) I now use my wig stands to dry baggies, so I can re-use them.
Four people, besides myself, are part of the Green Man diary. Graham Hancock initiated it by telling about the vision he had, which he describes in his book Supernatural. We were lucky enough to be able to meet up with Graham and his wife Santha when they came to the US recently. There’s William Henry, who put it all together for me, and there is also the unnamed woman, who related the tale about the “jolly green giant” she met and told how he startled her by pressing her head against the crystals he was wearing around his neck. The fourth person is Laurence Gardner. The reason he’s part of it is that he is the one who reported, in a Dreamland interview years ago, that green is the traditional color of magic. Because I remembered this, I was able to tell this woman that the man she met who puzzled her so much was a magician.
In an email, Gardner recently told me more about the significance of the color green: “From the 12th century, Lincoln was a major center of England’s wool industry and was especially famed for its unique green dye, which was used in the best ceremonial apparel. Green was especially the color of the royal ambassadors and was particularly associated with Fenian Ireland, where the ‘wearing of the green’ was symbolic of the shamrock and of the ancient fairy culture. In England, Lincoln Green was strictly representative of those in royal service. Hence, Robin Hood’s wearing of Lincoln Green in his support of King Richard I.
“The color associated with the transcendent state was always green ? the color of Nature. It was said to be the heraldic color of the royal stag of the Caille Daouine in the forests of Caledonia. Green is additionally associated with the goddess Venus and with fertility, which is why it is not ritually used by a Christian Church establishment that places itself and its God above Nature. Even today, the harbor at Marseilles gleams for a night every February as hundreds of people gather in ceremony, holding long green candles.
“In fairy lore, green is reckoned to be the color of wisdom and the color of elphame, both of which are inaccessible to the uninitiated, but are envied and sought by them. As a product of this, green has become the traditional color of envy.”
When cryptozoologist Loren Coleman read this diary, he wrote: “As you may or may not know, I wrote all about the Green Man in my 2003 book ‘Bigfoot! The True Story of Apes in America.’ I had some ‘Eureka’ moments when I discovered a California fruit crate label from the 1930s that filled in some gaps in the history of Bigfoot. And it nicely connected to the Green Man for me. Indeed, there is a very direct link between Bigfoot and the ‘Jolly Green Giant.’
“Curiously, there are no contemporary accounts of Bigfoot in California from 1900 through 1957…Though news accounts of Bigfoot for this era are not available, some stunning cultural evidence for the existence of Bigfoot in California does exist for this period. I recently found a fruit crate label that appears to have a direct bearing on Bigfoot in early 20th century California…In October of 2000 I happened to stumble upon a fruit crate label called the California Giant…The label shows a large hairy, humanlike form not unlike what we have grown to know from the descriptions of Bigfoot…Since I knew that such labels essentially disappeared in the 1950s, I decided to track down, if possible, the age of this particular art. I thought it curious that a hairy giant would be on a California crate, and that no one in cryptozoology had ever mentioned this before…The image on the California Giant Brand Lettuce fruit label definitely shows a large hairy, hominid form. The figure looks strong, well muscled, with brown, short hair all over the body but on the face. The neck is unusually solid looking and well defined. It is a rather typical image of a Bigfoot…There is one image, familiar to most of us, that parallels the California Giant…This would be the Jolly Green Giant…In 1903, Green Giant was founded in Le Sueur, Minnesota, as the Minnesota Valley Canning Company. In 1925, a boy-like, pale, giant human figure with a leafy bit of clothing was introduced to market the company’s new line of giant sweet, early green peas…the tradition of the Green Giant appears to have a direct link, in terms of artistic imagery, with the folklore and widespread art of the European Green Man.
“From ancient times, the archetypal figure shown as the Green Giant is commonly referred to as The Green Man, or leafy man, and has been discussed throughout European texts, especially in England, and as well as, in France, where it is called Le Feuillou, and in Germany, where it is known as Blattqesicht. Authors have written extensively on the pagan and Celtic traditions of these Green Men, and books and web sites about them are abundant. Scholars, furthermore, see a direct link between the European traditions of the Green Man, and the old tales and encounters with real Wild Men.”
When Whitley and I went into the chat room recently to talk with subscribers, one of the questions that was asked is, “Is there life after death?” I don?t know the answer to that. I DO know mediums who say there is, so I leave the question to their greater wisdom and knowledge.
I don’t know if the Green Man message is evidence that our souls live on after we’re gone. If I had knowledge like that, I would no longer have anything left to learn here on earth. But I made the choice to return, and I’ve lasted for two more years and I literally learn more every day. I’m walking the spiritual path, but so far I’m still looking down, trying to avoid the stones and puddles that might be in my way.
When I advance enough so that I can look straight ahead to where I’m going, then perhaps I will become a more enlightened being. For now, I have the Green Man, and you have him too, if you need him.
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