Nature Takes Life as Well as Gives It
The forest, like nature herself, was changeable. Sometimes it was a safe retreat from society, a place for visions and communion with the gods and goddesses; at other times it was a frightening place, dangerous and life-threatening. But however ambivalent, the Celt always found the forest inherently spiritual and, for that reason, exciting. For as the shaman knows only too well, initiation into the mysteries of the spirit can be both comforting and frightful. Like the Green Man of the Forest, the Lord of the Animals, or the Witch of the Woods, nature takes life as well as gives it, for nature is the source of life and death. Like the goddess of the wells, nature is the lovely maiden ready to bestow kingdoms and palaces, but she is also the miserable hag with foul breath.
— Tom Cowan, Fire in the Head, p. 133