184 “Gymnosperm” 2017
(at least) 4613-4494 ya (first Egyptian depiction of vegetative-linked green god of the underworld, Osiris). Probably not extant in a materialist sense. Human-plant hybrid (green man [sometimes woman], a.k.a. Osiris, John Barleycorn, Holly King, Oak King, Lud, Green Knight, Viridios, Green George, Father Christmas, Derg Corra, Merlin, Amoghasiddhi, Jack o'Lantern, Pangu, May King, May Queen, Peter Pan, al-Khidr, Jack-in-the-Green, Daphne, Narcissus, dryad, Jack Frost, Leshy, Cyparissus, Sinuus, straw bear, etc.).
Gymnosperm, literally the “naked seed”. Like the naked but hairy man, the human-plant hybrid is found cross-culturally. In Europe, he’s most well known as the Green Man, and is related in folkloric terms to hairy-man goat-human chimeras such as Pan and woodwoses. What both hairy man and human-plantish person have in common is direct connection to matters uncontrolled and wild. There have been human-plant symbolic marriages in many cultures, as collected in tales by folklorist/anthropologist Sir James Frazer. Like non-human animals, plants have been used as proxy humans, e.g. trees nailed to promote healing in humans as the wounded tree itself emits sap and then heals.
This piece is too an illustration for a novel I finished writing during this same time period called “The Stagtress”, which features the Green Man, a human-plant (and sometimes human-goat) hybrid, to be published by Fugue State Press in Autumn 2018. There are here also medieval “vegetable lambs”, a.k.a. borametzes: theorised to grow from stalks, while their meat tastes of honey.
"His vegetable head like a true jack o’ lantern, scooped out with a candle inside, eyes glittering, but she just saw him for the turnip he was. His fingers were leaves, his subtle lips were petals..." (from “The Stagtress”)
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