eclectic arts from Western Canada
"Awakening the Green Man" made its public debut at the 2012 North Country Fair on the weekend of June 24th, 2012.


"We have needed a Father Nature for a long time, and never more urgently than now, when all over the planet, armored men, in or out of uniform, terrorize each other, women and children, and what remains of the wildwood."

Daniel C. Noel, Ph. D.
Who Is the Green Man? An Ancient Pagan Icon Offers Visions of a Time We Cannot Remember


Who said the old deities are dead? The Green Man has only been sleeping for the last few millennia but he’s about to wake up and, once he sees the troubled state of the earth and our careless treatment of his fair Mother Goddess, he’s likely to get a bit hot under the collar! 

Appearing as characters in the pantheon of pagan gods and goddesses, from Freya to Baphomet to Mammon, each of whom have their own take on the condition of the planet, the Green Man advances his argument: 

Destroy the old! Create the New! Yet the Goddess remains fond of this flawed world and seeks to lull her cranky companion back to sleep so she, and all of us, can carry on.

Powerful in message, playful & sensual in form, Awakening the Green Man seeks to converse with the audience about the importance of the earth and the value of the ancient deities through the eternal beauties of song, dance & story. 

Will Gaia continue to reign, will the Green Man become victor – or will they join forces to give the planet another kind of future entirely ? 

From Brass Monkey Productions, the company that brought you the popular musical version of Charles Dickens’ classic tale, The Christmas Carol Project.

Contributors:

John Armstrong

is an artist and producer who lives in Edmonton, Alberta.  Whether he's laying down bass with a roots band, manipulating Theremin and other electronic instruments or staging a guerrilla-style, community folk festival, John is all about musical interactivity.   John is the creator and producer of the Christmas Carol Project, which has been presented since 1996 across Western and Northern Canada and exists as both a CD (2004) of songs from the show and an award winning television production (2006) and DVD.

Kevin Cook

This long, lean guitar picker from Alberta conjures up his own brand of
raw folk voodoo.  Critics unanimously agree, Cook's obvious ace is his
lyrics. From haunting ballads to edgy country blues his songs often
reflect his western roots. Cook tours as a solo artist as well as
working with a rockin' four piece band. Recently he's been exploring the
world of film, scoring the music for the documentary "One More Mile".
His new recording "Calahoo" has just been released. 
kevincookmusic.com

Tophie Davies

Tophie Davies is a multi-instrumentalist who specializes in piano / keyboards, guitar and flute.  He is a recent grad of the acclaimed Grant MacEwan music program where he studied guitar performance and will be continuing to study composition.  He is also a singer songwriter and has produced two albums, “Playing in the Backyard” (2005) and “Taking Notes” (2008).

Sherry-Lee Heschel

Sherry-Lee Heschel has been making music in Edmonton and around the globe for over 20 years. Starting out on bass, she's played and toured with many bands including Po' Girl, Jerry Jerry & the Sons of Rhythm Orchestra, Luann Kowalek, Fat Dave Johnston, Hookahman and many more... for the last 5 years she's moved to the centre stage to perform her own songs.

Drawing on old-time traditional, 60's pop music and her punk rock roots to bring to life songs of love and heartbreak, banjo and acoustic guitar are her weapons of choice. Her music is most often compared to Lucinda Williams, Martha Wainwright, Bob Dylan and sometimes Mazzy Starr.

Catherine Owen
 
Catherine Owen is a Vancouver poet and writer. She's published nine trade books of poetry and prose to
date, including Frenzy (2009) which won the Alberta Book Award.  She's also had her work nominated for the BC Book Prize, the Earle Birney & Fiddlehead awards, the Re-lit and George Ryga prizes. Her work has been translated into three languages and toured across North America. She's also played bass in the blackmetal band, Inhuman and the doom band Helgrind. Currently, she's working on a new musical project Medea, while collaborating with photographer Paul Saturley on Pandemonium and multimedia artist Sydney Lancaster on Nest.

Her website is www.catherineowen.org

Terry Morrison

Terry Morrison has been described as "…one of the most intellectually
compelling songwriters in town." She has performed at many Canadian folk
fests and toured throughout North America. Terry has 4 CD’s of original
music to her credit and is featured on a number of compilations
including a Smithsonian Folkways Collection of Alberta Songwriters. Her
music is played on CKUA, CBC, numerous college stations across Canada as
well as radio stations in Europe and the USA. Her voice is rich and
deep, her melodies, rhythm and lyrics, strong and uniquely her own.
www.terrymorrison.net

Tom Roschkov

Based out of Edmonton, for the past twenty-five years Tom Roschkov has been a constant face on the western Canadian music scene. He began by fronting a number of rockabilly ensembles, such as, the Screamin’ Roosters and Charlie Don’t surf.  Over the years, Tom has moved on to explore a variety of styles such as rhythm and blues, soul, folk-rock, country and experimental jazz. He is mostly recognized for his work with the Swingin’ Ya Band and the Stone Merchants. He has a long list of recordings to his credit.

www.tomroschkov.weebly.com

Jenika Watson

jenika pretends to be a musician as well as a yoga instructor, trail guide, and teacher and facilitator, but really she's an elf-ninja who communes with animals and nature while advocating for a radically free and loving society.  she is not at all surprised to find herself among the cast of a pagan rock opera as it provides yet another medium to spread magic and inspire humans to love and care for this beautiful little planet

The Lyrics

Ready To Erupt - Vulcan (Armstrong)

My blood is boiling, lightning fills the sky
The rain keeps falling, steam is rising high
I’ve finished toiling at the fire
I’m ready to erupt

My mind is restless and searching from within
My body arches and quakes will begin
This time, you’re paying for your sins
I’m ready to erupt

Feel me, I’m the heat beneath your feet
See me, I’m the fire that cooks your meat
Free me, and start to make your peace
‘cause your world will turn to cinder and your end will be complete
I’m ready to erupt


My hands are idle, but my intentions are good
If I cause destruction it’s not because I’m rude
Fire and brimstone are my food
I’m ready to erupt

There’s some disruption in my function
mechanical contraptions, provoking my reactions
I love the Lady who rules in May
I’ll clear the path, she’ll have her way
And then we’ll start a brand new day
I’m ready to erupt

Change Will Come - Oya (Armstrong & Roschkov)

Although the end is now in sight

I fear the time is not quite right

For now, my gentle winds will blow

Hush My Lord, Change Will Come

Hush My Lord, Change Will Come

Clouds are fast over the land

Weather’s stranger every day

That’s just our planet’s ancient way

Chorus

Change is a constant thing you know

Only certainty will flow

Old will eventually go

Chorus

Destroyer of Worlds - Shiva (Armstrong, Owen & Roschkov)

Like the Phoenix I am born with the ashes of fate

I spring from what is burned and what blossoms again

I seek no death for death’s sake but for life

To soar from all pain, from the wreckage of gain

As if I were evil,

Destroyer of the Worlds

you will rise and fall without me

as your Destroyer

With fierce wild robes

and a beast at my side

With my half open eyes

I can see a new sky

As if I were evil,

Destroyer of the Worlds

you will rise and fall without me

as your Destroyer

The Garden is Overgrown - Gaia (Armstrong & Morrison)

Yes my love I know that you're not evil
you only strive for change
this ship, it isn't sinking
the deck chairs can still be re-arranged

Have pity on my creations
they've worked hard to stake their place
Show a little cheer for them
as they near the end of the race

They really are noble creatures
who aspire to my goals
suffer the little humans
as they try to wield control
Too little, too late.  We might as well wait
The garden is overgrown

Can you feel the satisfaction
as they fashion their own doom ?
Just a little more rope
and the end is coming soon

It's not what they intended
they're only trying to get by -
misguided and mismanaged,
with stars in their eyes

They really are noble creatures
who aspire to my goals
suffer the little humans
as they try to wield control
Too little, too late.  We might as well wait
The garden is overgrown

Suicide Seeds - The Green Man (Armstrong, Owen & Watson)

For a century Monsanto
has weighed the earth with pain
making saccharine & styrofoam
and even Agent Orange


They also specialize
in bovine growth hormone
and hey I hear they're breeding pigs
that only they will own


Give them your cow, give them your land
they'll sell you a bag of beans
give them your hard earned money
they'll sell you suicide seeds


Destroying other species
poisoning the soil
reaping massive profits
while the farmers toil

They've taken over the food supply
with GM seeds for crops
You get sued if you don't buy them
who will tell the bastards STOP !

Give them your cow, give them your land
they'll sell you a bag of beans
give them your hard earned money
they'll sell you suicide seeds



Playing with fire - Baphomet (Cook)

Welcome to the underworld, leave your conscience at the door

Information is leaking, all over the floor

Just a fallen angel, a spark of sacred fire

Divine and depraved, greed and desire

Greed and desire

Chorus

Rules were made to be broken, the livings easy down below

Lead us into temptation all we want is your soul

Messing with the chemicals

Playing with fire

Some might call it criminal

Greed and desire

Greed and desire

Chorus

The mystery of mystery

A spark of sacred fire,

divine and depraved

Greed and desire

Greed and desire (repeat)

Gods of Love - Freya (Davies, Owen & Watson)

You think I've not known hate

but I have, I have

my spouse vanished after the wedding night

I thought he was dead then found him turned into a monster

no longer at my side

I know these feelings of revenge

but this is not how we will thrive

I sing you this song to still your hearts of war

there is nothing that cannot be healed

the Gods of Love are everywhere

You think I've not known sorrow

but I have, you know I have

when he disappeared in the darkness

I wept for many years

riding through the night

crying tears of gold

I know these feelings of despair

but this is not how we should rule

Chorus

You think I've not been crucified

by enmity or shame

but I've known the pain of shunning

I've felt the sting of names

for being magically apparelled

for being desired by all

I know these feelings of hurt

but with them we will fall

Chorus

Man is Greed - Mammon (Davies & Owen)

Well I agree that humanity has gotta see it’s own insanity

but for me I’d rather cash in for myself

I didn’t ask to be a deity, I didn’t want all this authority

But if you were me, I think you’d like the perks

I wanna start a corporation that makes cheap junk

And hire some nice south asian kids

Or better yet I’ll buy a bank and when the profits are down

The government pays for my vacations

I don’t care how much money I make

As long as I make more money than you  

I really care about every tree, that’s why I cut them down efficiently

Cuz when I look at forests, all I see is green

They say a dog is a man’s best friend, and that’s because we’re all richer than them

And we all like to be better off than someone

I don’t care how much money I make

As long as I make more money than you  


Yeah, they call me Big M, the god of green

And by green, they mean moula,

Not the grass and the trees –

Monsanto, McDonald’s, it’s all

Mammon if you please – so you

Stupid human race, get down on your knees

And pray to the deity who rules the world –

Who makes good slaves of your boys & your girls

By telling them BLING is what the whole thing’s

About – no they can’t live without it, they can’t live

Without their Gap and their Nikes, their Gucci

& their Fuel, their Diesel & their Levis – that’s

What rules the world – if you doubt it for a minute,

Just take a look around – my face is plastered everywhere,

The Green Man’s nowhere to be found –

No, it’s Mammon this, and Mammon that, man we

Love that Mammon guy – yeah I’m the reason earth is turning,

I’m the who & what & why – so don’t think that with your Bandaids,

Your eco this and eco that, you’re going to stop Mammon from growing,

From getting huge and stinking fat, cuz the dollar is your collar

And the bill is your sweet pill –Mammon’s got you cornered,

He won’t ever let you get your fill. So they call me Big M,

I’m the god of green, M-A-M-M-O-N  yeah, pleased ta meet ya,

Now you’re mine.

The Reluctant Devil - Satan (Owen & Roschkov)

Transformed into this

hellish thing of evil

When I was at the side

of the great majesty

The fire beneath their feet

The way they've created

the lake of fumes
and the flames beneath the burning world

Transformed into this

hellish thing of evil

When I was at the side

of the great majesty

I am but a symbol
of what everybody just might be

a slanderous image

of their own fea

When they cease to heed

the pulsing of the land

for the Reluctant Devil

is not a paragon of evil

Transformed into this 

hellish thing of evil

When I was at the side

of the great majesty

The Wild Life - Dionysus (Cook)

She's a thing of beauty, she's tragic art

Her vines are tangled around my heart

The wine reveals the heart of the man

Every thing for those who live the wild life  2X

Chorus

Join the feast, taste the wine, there's wild women

And you can dance to the music

She goes to my head, she makes me stagger

I'm a honey bee, she's the sweet, sweet nectar

The wine reveals the heart of the man

Every thing for those who live the wild life 2X

Chorus 

Repeat 1st verse

Every thing for those who live the wild life (repeat)

Moonshine & Moonbeams - Morpheus (Heschel)

Moonshine and moonbeams lay waste darling, to dreams

That stir you to wake too soon

And lock you up in those little rooms

Sleep, sleep my little love, your day has just begun

Wake, wake, to the greatest of fakes

a moon dressed up as a sun

See the dream be the dream all it is just a dream

Dream the dream, all you’ve seen all it is what you dream

Sensible, reprehensible we’ll leave behind the nonsensical

All you thought you knew, you knew was nothing but a backwards tune…

So sleep, sleep my little love those days are gone and we’ll start with love

Wake wake to the greatest of fakes

A moon dressed up as the sun…

Moonshine and moonbeams, our bed shall be simplicity

The lies, the lies we’ll watch them die

And kiss the sun when we rise

And kiss the sun as we rise

The Characters

Vulcan is the Roman god of fire and volcanoes (known to the Greeks as Hephaestus). The fires of Vulcan are considered to be both destructive and symbolic of male fertility.  He is cited as the father of a variety of men, monsters and gods.  The origins of Vulcan likely go back the Cretan god Velchanos, a young god who had a mastery of fire and was consort to the great goddess.  Through later Roman and Greek mythology, Vulcan was also married to Maia, eldest of the Pleiades, and Venus, Roman goddess of love and beauty (originally a goddess of vegetation).  Vulcan is often depicted with a thunderbolt and is considered to be a master blacksmith.  His forge is located deep in the bowels of the earth.

Oya is an orisha of the Yoruba religion of Nigeria, Benin and Togo.  Oya is a warrior spirit who represents wind, fertility and magic.  She also represents change as the guardian of the gates of death and the keeper of the cemetery.  She was the first wife of Chango, orisha of fire and thunder, and she stole his power over fire by drinking some of his magic potion when he was away at battle.  As such she is also associated with thunder and lightning.  In Santeria, a syncretic religion of West Africa and the Caribbean, Oya is identified with Our Lady of the Candelaria (a Spanish word meaning conflagration or large, destructive fire). 

Shiva is a pan-Hindu deity celebrated for his, or perhaps her, extremely attractive attributes.  His name means kind and auspicious, he was inordinately handsome and eternally young, his powers stretch from creation all the way to eradication and he was even a dancer of note.  Shiva is also associated with other powerful Vedic deities such as Brahma and Vishnu.  Shiva has hermaphroditic qualities, sports a crescent moon on her head, five ornamental serpents wrapped around his ash-smeared body and, in some depictions, a third eye that he uses to burn away desire and thus retain a pure form.  Her other name is Rudra which highlights more ferocious qualities; however Shiva the Destroyer is actually a misnomer - Shiva the Transformer would be a more accurate name for this god who is both ascetic and spouse, tiger and lamb, ambivalence and yet deep and searing truth.

The Green Man, our titular hero, epitomizes the shape-shifting nature of pagan deity figures. He is also known as Green George, Green Jack or Jack in the Green and is directly related to the figures of Cernunnos, the Horned God and Pan as a woodlands deity.  The name, Green Man, wasn't even coined until Lady Raglan’s 1939 article, “The Green Man in Church Architecture.”  Prior to this date, these images carved in stone of a male face surrounded by ivy or leaves were known as “foliate masks” in architectural discourse.  They were also more luridly and precisely called “disgorging” or “bloodsucker” heads, depending on whether their mouths were stuffed with foliage or if they were sprouting vegetation from every facial orifice. The Green Man has been carved into holy edifices since the 11th century, an image that likely traveled to Britain from India. He reappears with vigour during the Renaissance on many Gothic buildings and has had a 20th and 21st century rebirth in everything from kimono designs to sculptures to tattoos. Curiously, The Green Man, like a mythic Hugo, Man of a Thousand Faces doll, is connected with a range of traditions and their deities, from the Mesopotamian Tammuz to Jesus to the Norse god Odin to even Peter Pan and Father Christmas. Pretty wild.

I love troubadour culture and so what’s initially cool about Baphomet is that the first mention of this god surfaced in a Occitanian poem from 1195 called "Senhors, per los nostres peccatz" by the troubadour Gavaudan. Later on, in the 13th century, the order of the Knights Templar were persecuted for supposedly worshipping Baphomet but no one could torture a consistent description of what this god looked like out of any of the knights. Centuries later though, Joseph von Hammer-Purgstall (1774-1856) uncovered a series of carved or engraved images found on a number of supposed 13th century Templar artifacts (such as cups, bowls and coffers) and claimed that this was indeed the Baphometic idol. Only in the 19th century, in the drawings of Eliphas Levi, did this powerful mythic figure assume the shape we associate with it today, its image closely tied to Satanic beliefs of self-containment. It is usually depicted as a half male-half female or hermaphroditic being with goat horns, a pentagram on its forehead and with its hands pointing in alternate directions: one to the white moon of Chesed, and the other to the black moon of Geburah. Sometimes its arms are also emblazoned with the words, Dissolve & Congeal, designed to represent the dichotomous yet conjoined forces this deity holds. Although this figure has become associated with the evil powers of the Christian devil, Satan, in fact, this god was originally supposed to represent the fusion of mercy with justice, man with woman, human with beast; in other words, a perfect being. Baphomet appears in the writings of Freemasons and in the text of the Gnostic Catholic mass. As a source of contained, unified energy, Baphomet is a potent figure in the mythic realm of earth-dwelling gods.

As a strong female figure in Norse mythology, first appearing in the 13th c. Poetic Edda,  Freya is both gifted and cursed.  A great beauty who is associated with love and fertility, she is also haunted by the regular disappearance of her husband Oor for whom she weeps tears of gold.  Associated with the powers of nature, due to her ambivalent moral attitudes and her fiercely productive energies, as well as the fact that she is pulled in a chariot by two blue cats and keeps a boar companion, Freya is a beautifully threatening mythical being.  Although many plants were named after Freya, the early Christian church aimed to efface this natural goddess by re-naming them after Mary instead.  Freya however prevails.

Mammon is a fairly self-explanatory and one dimensional deity when it comes down to it.  Stemming from an Arabic term for wealth or perhaps even, ironically, “that in which one trusts,” Mammon was a term in the Bible that evolved, through the course of the Gospels, into a personification of evil or Beelzebub. 

When we think of Mammon though, we more commonly imagine him in his literary incarnation, such as that from Spenser’s Faerie Queen or Milton’s Paradise Lost. Associated with the Greek God Plutus, Mammon in any form is opposed to all manifestations of the Green Man, simply serving as the embodiment of cold hard cash in its most domineering guises.

Satan has the worst rap of all these deities. Many Christians believe that he was a prideful angel cast down from Heaven by God and condemned to burn eternally in the Lake of Fire.  Actually, the Christian Church created the figure of Satan from a range of pagan sources such as The Horned God and The Green Man, thus making Satanism, in its prior form, one of the world's oldest religions.  The Christian Satan however is basically your all-purpose bad guy. Supposed to have done everything from tempting Eve to sin in the Old Testament to encouraging Judas to betray Jesus in the New Testament, Satan is depicted with horns, wings, a tail and often as a serpent or dragon. Satan’s name means Enemy, Rebel or Evil; he is also known as Lucifer or, in Arabic cultures, Shaitan. Although he is associated with an anti-Christian sect called Satanists, actually very few of these people worship a figure called Satan. Instead they adhere to principles associated with the positive side of his purported darkness; namely informed individualism, connection to nature and an honouring of the primal forces in humanity.

The Cast

John Armstrong - Theremin & fx

Robyn Bright - vocals

Kevin Cook - vocals & guitar

Tophie Davies - vocals, flute, guitar, keyboard & dance

Sherry-Lee Heschel - vocals & banjo

Kelly Pikula - drums & percussion

Tom Roschkov - vocals & guitar

Jenika Watson - vocals & dance

Rod Wolfe - bass

Videos

Here are a few songs recorded at the debut performance of Awakening the Green Man at North Country Fair on June 24th, 2012.  Many thanks to Natalia Stoll & Corey Matsumoto for the video work and to Angus at Findlay Productions for the edit and mix !



Ready to Erupt - Vulcan (Armstrong)


Shiva: Destroyer of Worlds (Armstrong, Owen & Roschkov)


The Garden is Overgrown - Gaia (Armstrong & Morrison)


Suicide Seeds - The Green Man (Armstrong, Owen & Watson)


Playing with Fire - Baphomet (Cook)