Roslin Chapel

Mary, Queen of Scots Home Page

Roslin Castle Roslin Chapel 1 Roslin Chapel 2
A representation of the Green Man The Apprentice Pillar
Hidden in Roslin Chapel's lacy stonework lurk many symbolic figures, such as the "Green Man". Born out of the dense forests which once covered most of Britain, the Green Man represents the male fertility principle of the Earth Mother, and the waxing year. He is the spirit of the woods, vegetative strength and life energy. Usually represented as a green giant covered in leaves, the Green Man is a lasting impression of the power of Nature on the minds of our ancestors, and appears in many cultures under different names. In Norse mythology, he was the Giant, Mimir, whose severed head was kept alive by being fed on herbs and fresh water. Odin, the head of the Gods, sacrificed himself on the Tree of Knowledge in order to gain insight into the secrets of wisdom and creation from Mimir. Mimir here is another representation of the Celtic "Green Man". The "Apprentice Pillar" is not only an amazing work of art, but pregnant with symbolism too. At the base are eight dragons out of whose mouths emerge the vine that wraps itself around the pillar. Again, this is a reference to Scandinavian mythology, in which "Yggdrasil" the great ash tree which stretches its branches into the world of Gods, its roots into the Underworld and binds the world of humans to both, is constantly gnawed at by dragon-like creatures representing Time.
Horned figure Angel holding book
Angels, fallen or not, semi-angelic or demonic creatures, the death mask of Robert the Bruce, the face of the over-zealous apprentice struck by his master, and biblical scenes and references to Nordic pagan mythologies rival side by side to complete the eclectic tableau of this intriguing sacred place.
Fallen Angel

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