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Sheela Na Gig: a portal between Heaven and Earth

Updated on April 16, 2012

A rude and uggly expression of female nudity or a manifestation of the cult of the sacred feminine?

Sheela Na Gig, for all its ugliness, somehow has beauty within itself. Was she the portray of ugly sin, a warning to men not to indulge in sexual practices, or a tribute to the scraded feminine and to the fertility powers of Earth held in the female sacral chakra?

These grotesque figures appear in 12th century buildings, mostly churches but also in the facade of some castles all across Continental Europe and the UK.

At this time Europe was in the midst of the Medieval period, and church had gained hold on the spirituality of the population. Having fought hard to iradicate all pagan symbols, many depicting female fertility and the cult of the Sacred Feminine, the Church skeed to establish an autocratic power based on a monoteist cult symbolised by one man only: Christ in the spiritual world, the Pope as his representant on Earth.

Female figures were relegated to the background of this newly established religion, and only allowed in to emphasise chastity. Virgin Mary the supreme example of this sex voided female presence in Christianity. Mary Magdalene the opposite of virginal purity, portrayed as a prostitute. Eve forever tainted with the blame for Adam's expulsion from the garden of Eden, and the Fall of human kind.

In the dark days of Middle Ages, it was not easy being a female, especially if practicing of the old rituals of the Female cult.

And what better way to ward off the devotees of this ancient cult then to portray the feminine sexuality as something ugly, repulsive and gruesome, as seen in the many Sheela Na Gig figures strategically displayed on the buildings dedicated to worship of a cult that rejected any references to sex except for procreation.

Were these grotesque figures mean to frighten Cristian devotees into sex abstinence, perhaps the Medieval version of family planning advertisement?


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    • Urban Healing profile image

      Claudia Dias 5 years ago from London

      Very true...archaeology and anthropology can only helps us to piece together the fragments of civilization, but not always giving us a complete understanding.

      That's where I find that shamanic journeying, and the reading of energies can contribute to shedding some light.

      In fact I have tuned into this female figure at the British Museum - she is no longer part of the permanent display and has temporarily retired to the vault.

      In terms of its energy is that of the Crone: the feminine energy of an older and wiser mature woman after menopause, once the cycles of procreation, maternity, and child rearing have been completed and can be surrendered in order to progress into a more spiritual role...I've made this emergy into a remedy by channelling this figure's energy. I use the remedy together with the homeopathic remedies indicated for assisting peri-menopausal and menopausal patients to complete this transitional stage with grace.

      Love Claudia

    • Debby Bruck profile image

      Debby Bruck 5 years ago

      Hi Claudia ~ Looks like a visit to the art museum and something caught your eye as you passed the plexiglass enclosed block of an 'ugly' feminine figurine cut into stone with meaning we may not understand in contemporary terms. Blessings Debby