Sheela na gig

October 14th, 2007 by sabrina

Yes, she’s doing what you think she’s doing.¬† They don’t all wear pretty white dresses, you know!

Sheela na gig (pronounced SHEE-lah-na-geeg) is a Celtic Goddess of fertility and rebirth. Her prominent display of her genitals has been interpreted in many ways; she is associated with sex and fertility, but several of her representations have the sagging breasts of a crone or no breasts at all. She is said to protect against evil; sheelas are often found above doors and windows, even on churches, because it was believed that the Devil was afraid of the sight of a woman’s privates. Perhaps her most enduring interpretation is as the Earth Mother, ruler over life, death, and rebirth—she represents the gateway through which we all must pass and through which we will all return. Alternate spellings of her name include Sile na gCioch (Sheela of the breasts), Sile na Giob (Sheela on her hunkers), Sheela ny Gigg, Sile Ni Ghig, Shila na Gigh, Shela na gig, Sheela na jig, Seela na gig, Sheila na gig, Sheela na gich, Sela na geich, Sheela na Guira, Sile Ni Guire, Sile Ni Dhuibhir, Sileadh na gCioch, and Shee Lena Gig (fairy with her vagina).

This entry was posted on Sunday, October 14th, 2007 at 12:04 pm and is filed under Western European. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

2 responses about “Sheela na gig”

  1. Sheila D. said:

    Hello, just found your site looking for images of sheela-na-gig. Now I know why some people call females “sheila’s”….or I’m guessing that’s why.

    Do you think perhaps the given name Sheila for women descends from the sheela-na-gig?

    Thank you for the site, I’m Christian but I love study of any faith/religion and will visit here often.

    Peace be with you all,

  2. sabrina said:

    Hi Sheila,
    Thanks for commenting. From what I’ve seen, the given name Sheila comes from the Irish Sile, which is a form of Cecilia. The Sheela na gig is more likely from Sighle or Sidhe, meaning “old hag” or “fairy,” respectively.

    I’m glad you felt comfortable enough to leave a comment. I try to be respectful of all religions—I believe that each of us finds our own way to the divine, and I don’t feel that my path is better than anyone else’s, it’s just what’s right for me.

    Blessings to you (from whatever deity you choose!)