Sheila Ni Gig

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Sheila Ni Gig

Postby John Olinger on November 26th, 2009, 8:51 am

Does anybody know just how (Ancient) Celtic is Sheila Ni Gig really is?
http://www.monstropedia.org/index.php?t ... ela_Na_Gig
I've done some "googling" and haven't really come up with much.
Any input is welcome!
John/Scota
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Re: Sheila Ni Gig

Postby Andrew Byrne on December 10th, 2009, 3:08 pm

All carvings of Sheila-na-gigs are of a medieval date, as stated in the article you posted. I don;t think there is any older attestations for it.
there is doubtfully any ''Celtic'' origins for it, unless you can somehow link it to fertility goddesses, or soveirgnty goddesses?
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Re: Sheila Ni Gig

Postby John Olinger on December 10th, 2009, 3:15 pm

That's pretty much what I thought. But as "un-Christian" as the images appear to be I can't imagine that they
simply appeared during the Middle Ages out of nowhere! They must be rooted somewhere in the past.
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Re: Sheila Ni Gig

Postby Wenzel Ribbens on December 10th, 2009, 3:25 pm

These first two images might be of your interest ;) http://www.beyond-the-pale.org.uk/zxBauboBeset.htm
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Re: Sheila Ni Gig

Postby Sarah Hare on February 19th, 2011, 12:24 pm

There's a website dedicated solely to Sheela Ni Gig's.. http://www.sheelanagig.org/

I personally believe they do come from an earlier source.. I don't have solid evidence for this, it's just my opinion. I think they are a representation of a mother goddess, birthing the world.. or something to that effect... Like John I believe they have to be rooted somewhere in the past, too. It's just finding where and how...

Anyway, on the link I gave at the top of this post, there's a section called "theories".. it's an interesting read. Not full of solid evidence or anything, but interesting none the less.
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Re: Sheila Ni Gig

Postby Denis Grabow on February 21st, 2011, 1:57 pm

John Olinger wrote:That's pretty much what I thought. But as "un-Christian" as the images appear to be I can't imagine that they
simply appeared during the Middle Ages out of nowhere! They must be rooted somewhere in the past.
John/Scota


They might have roots in some old fertility goddess. Maybe located in Spain. And the image wandered from there to the british isles, as implied in one of the links above.
The christian church has included a lot of old pagan practices, myths, even gods becoming saints as well as holidays. So it's not unthinkable.
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Re: Sheila Ni Gig

Postby Sarah Hare on February 21st, 2011, 2:13 pm

A good example of gods and goddesses becoming saints is Brigit, becoming Saint Bridget. I think also some of the builders of churches were trying to sneak in some of their deities... I can't remember where I read about this though. :(
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Re: Sheila Ni Gig

Postby Denis Grabow on February 22nd, 2011, 9:38 pm

Also, the cult of Mary, especially in southern Europe, bears strong resemblance to pagan goddess worship. Although at the moment I can't remember the name.
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Re: Sheila Ni Gig

Postby Arevaco Macanudo on February 23rd, 2011, 9:05 pm

Whoa!
Never seen that! With the Celts having so many gods and goddesses connected with the earth and fertility it seems difficult to pinpoint it to any one belief! Have they been able to map out the distribution of these statuettes throughout the landscape?
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Re: Sheila Ni Gig

Postby Sarah Hare on February 23rd, 2011, 9:50 pm

Pretty weird, eh? I was taken a back the first time I saw one of those. ;) Have you checked this website www.sheelanagig.com ? I just viewed it breifly, but I recall there been something about mapping the distribution of those stattues on there.. they seem to be all over Britain and Ireland, and even Spain.. but the website I linked should give you more info than I can. :)
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Re: Sheila Ni Gig

Postby Arevaco Macanudo on February 24th, 2011, 12:20 am

Indeed, I checked out the site but was kind of lost on it and I couldn't figure out exactly how to explore it... I am not the most computer savvy bloke around.
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Re: Sheila Ni Gig

Postby Denis Grabow on February 24th, 2011, 10:37 am

I have a strong suspicion that it's a placeholder site.
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Re: Sheila Ni Gig

Postby Alex Hovorka on February 24th, 2011, 6:29 pm

A what?
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Re: Sheila Ni Gig

Postby Denis Grabow on February 25th, 2011, 12:18 pm

When someones website gets put down, for example because the one can't pay the fee anymore, some companies buy the domain name to resell it for a higher price. They put in a placeholder website. With the same domain name, but only containing adverts and a cheap search engine/link to google.
The original content is then lost.
It seems to me this happened here.

I just checked, it even states on the site that the domain may be for sale.
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Re: Sheila Ni Gig

Postby solenne Meyer on March 11th, 2011, 1:44 pm

i made some research on Sheelas. They are indeed dated from middle ages onward, but they appreared at the same time as stone buildings and viking invasions. It is thus thought that there might have been older wooden carvings lost to us, while the stone trend allowed us to keep some of the middle ages carvings.

to me they look much like medusa's heads in southern Europe, depicted on buidlings as a protective sign.

anyway they are still a big mystery...
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Re: Sheila Ni Gig

Postby Angus M on March 20th, 2013, 4:03 am

I noticed this Sheila-na-gig figure on the medieval church of St Clement at Rodel in Harris, Western Isles of Scotland.
Sheila na gig 1.JPG


I believe the idea was to depict the world outside the church as vulgar and sinful, while the inside was serene and peaceful.
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