It remains to be seen if there will be any alterations, but the preview clips from season six have given us a title card perhaps loaded with more depth and imagery than ever before, if not outright Supernatural allegory and thematic recapitulation.
Green, the first thing we see, and what sense does this hue project? Nature, things vegetal which, according to the OED, are characterized by, exhibiting or producing, the phenomena of physical life and growth; from this we can infer a simultaneous rebirth, the renewing power of nature that lies, most obviously, in the cycle of seasons. To wit, 1)Dean’s growth into a family man, a caring significant other and a surrogate father – an apple pie life at last – and 2)the rebirth of both Sam, out of an inhuman hell and back into a human world, and the brother’s partnership in fighting those inhuman things, and each other from time to time; not called growing pains for nothing, that have managed to leave their mark on this world.
Though vestigial, from the Latin vestigium, does not in fact share an etymologic root with vegetal, nor can it even be classified as a false cognate, our brains might perhaps link the two words merely on their first-syllable similarity. Thus, footstep, footprint, trace, mark in the Latin; of the nature of a vestige; remaining or surviving in a degenerate, atrophied, or imperfect condition or form in the English. The world is indeed imperfect, but beautiful, and the next striking image to sear itself in our brain is that of a tree, many trees, to be exact.
In Dark Side of the Moon, Castiel spoke of the axis mundi, and in myriad world mythologies, this central sacred notion is found in a tree: Yggdrasil, the world ash of the Norse; Irminsul of the Saxons and the sacred groves found in Germanic and other peoples; the totem poles of the Native Americans of the Pacific Northwest; the Tree of Knowledge in Genesis. Even the Christmas tree, whether religious or secular, often holds pride of place in our jaded, postmodern age. For Supernatural, this represents a grounding, home, whether a literal one of the traditional nuclear family, or an unorthodox one between Sam, Dean, Bobby and, in the new season, the (re)introduction of the Campbells into the lives of the John and Maryâ€™s sons. Axis mundi, if viewed as a road, can certainly be considered the home of heroes, for thatâ€™s where they ply their trade.
These trees, these woods, however, have their dark side, and are also the home of shadow. “Don’t go into the woods” has been a horror movie trope for decades, representing the liminal border between this world and the next, the rational and the irrational, safety and danger, humanity and the things that wish to make short work of us.
The wild is also the home of the Green Man, thus codifying nature as both giving and taking. The Welsh origin of Merlin, perhaps the exemplar of magic par excellence, has him as a wild man of the woods. The partner of Gilgamesh, Enkidu, was a creature of the wild. But the wild is dangerous, an underworld that the hero must journey through upon his or her quest. The celestial and abyssal of the last couple of seasons has been replaced by a return to the past, one’s monster-of-the-week roots, a return to the old neighborhood, if you will. The cycle of seasons begins anew. Danger may come from without, but the strength to fight must come from within, within ourselves, our home, our family.