Evidence of Fertility Gods at Rochester Cathedral, Kent

From earlier posts here you'll recall that the Green Man is a nickname for any entheogenic god of the garden, such as Dionysus, Bacchus, Mithra and others. One of the lesser known Green Men is Roman Vertumnus who was adapted from an earlier Etruscan god of vegetation named Vortumnus. The Green Man of Rochester cathedral (top left) reminds me of Giuseppe-Arcimboldo's painting of Vertumnus.

Often associated with the Green Man is the mother goddess called Sheila-na-gig. In the bottom left photo, we see the Sheila goddess on the outside of the Rochester cathedral apparently holding two fish. This seems to refer to the Pisces astrological sign and is suggestive of the Melusine split-tailed mermaid legend. The term "Gig" was slang for genitals and referred to her exposed vulva ("whirlygig" referred specifically to male genitals).

Sheila is a Celtic fertility symbol, once used as a birthing stone or for display at weddings. Descended from the Hebrew Asherah and Babylonian/ Assyrian Ashtarts (or Ashtarot) goddess, she represents the aphros of Aphrodite and is an anthropomorphization of Venus as a sea goddess.

Now, the Roman festival of Vertumnus, known as Vertumnalia, was held on August 13th. This too is a fertility symbol as August 13th is the 225th day of the year and approximates the annual golden mean as 365/225 equal to 1.62. Similarly, the 13th of August, or 13/8, equates to 1.625. Either way, the celebration marks the 13:8 resonance proportion of Venus to Earth in years. Here again we find the ancient theme of fertility first written as the celestial mating of the Sun and Venus in the Rig-Veda.

So we see that the Green Man and Sheila-na-gig at Rochester cathedral tell an ancient story of fertility at the heart of religion. The Green Man is the entheogenic plant god Soma (the son of the Sun) who fertilizes your mind through the communal wine while the Sheila-na-gig represents the Vedic mother goddess Vena rising out of the sea at dawn, giving birth and resurrecting the Sun (and presumably us with it) into the afterlife.

(Many thanks to Erica Thomas in Rochester, Kent in southeastern England for sending these wonderful pictures of the cathedral.)