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Thread: Sheela-Na-Gig: The Mysterious Medieval Carvings of Women Exhibitionists

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    UK Avalon Member Le Chat's Avatar
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    Default Sheela-Na-Gig: The Mysterious Medieval Carvings of Women Exhibitionists

    The Church of St Mary and St David at Kilpeck in the English county of Herefordshire is famous for its Norman carvings of writhing snakes and mysterious beasts. But the most extraordinary of all is that of a sheela-na-gig.

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    Sheela-na-gigs are medieval stone figures of a naked woman spreading her legs. She is shown using her hands to pull open and proudly display her exaggerated genitals. What makes these figures so puzzling is the fact that they occur predominantly in medieval religious buildings, such as churches and monastic sites. They are not something you would expect to see in a church. But a sizable number of them have also been found in castles, holy wells, bridges, culverts, and pillars. These figures usually occur in isolation, unattached and freed from any background that could establish their provenance. Their origin and significance remain a mystery.

    When these bizarre carvings first came to scientific attention some two centuries ago, they were considered too vulgar, lewd, and repulsive for serious study. Embarrassed clergymen pried them out of church walls. Archeologists ignored them while museums locked them away out of public eyes. It was only in the last few decades that academics have turned their interests to these curious carvings.

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    While the sheela-na-gigs appear to be erotic in nature, they are most likely pagan symbols of fertility or warnings against lust. They might also have been used as protection against evil, and hence their positions over entranceways. In the Romanesque art of the mediaeval period, lust was often portrayed as a naked woman with snakes and toads eating her breasts and genitals. Church buildings along many pilgrimage routes depicted a range of exhibitionist figures, both male and female, to alert the faithful to the dangers of the sin of lust. The emphasis was always on the genitalia, which were made disproportionately larger. These Romanesque female exhibitionist carvings might have given rise to sheela-na-gigs.

    The origin of the name, sheela-na-gigs, is also a mystery. According to Jorgen Andersen—whose book The Witch on the Wall , published in 1977, was the first serious book on sheela-na-gigs—the name comes from the Irish phrase Sighle na gCíoch, meaning "the old hag of the breasts". But some scholars have expressed doubt on the connection since very few sheela-na-gigs are shown with breasts. One scholar, Barbara Freitag, discovered that "gig" was actually a Northern English slang word for a woman's genitals.

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    Sheela-na-gigs can be found all over western and central Europe, but Ireland and Britain have the highest number of surviving sheela-na-gig carvings. The Heritage Council of Ireland has identified at least a hundred examples across the island. There are also about forty-five carvings in Britain.

    Source: https://www.amusingplanet.com/2017/1...-medieval.html
    Last edited by Le Chat; 29th October 2020 at 15:29.

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    Default Re: Sheela-Na-Gig: The Mysterious Medieval Carvings of Women Exhibitionists

    Very interesting thank you 🙏🏼

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    UK Avalon Member Le Chat's Avatar
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    Default Re: Sheela-Na-Gig: The Mysterious Medieval Carvings of Women Exhibitionists

    Thanks Mare

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    Avalon Member loungelizard's Avatar
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    Default Re: Sheela-Na-Gig: The Mysterious Medieval Carvings of Women Exhibitionists

    Just down the road from where we live ... I feel a trip coming on! Fascinating

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    Default Re: Sheela-Na-Gig: The Mysterious Medieval Carvings of Women Exhibitionists

    It's always striking and curious to see such a graphic image on a church building, lots of them here in Ireland.

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    United States Moderator Sue (Ayt)'s Avatar
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    Default Re: Sheela-Na-Gig: The Mysterious Medieval Carvings of Women Exhibitionists

    I would imagine folks back in those times were likely not as shocked, as they lived directly in nature and saw live births of animals routinely.
    Fertility still played a huge part in their lives, so it makes sense that it was incorporated early on into their early worship and reverence practices.
    "We're all bozos on this bus"

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    Default Re: Sheela-Na-Gig: The Mysterious Medieval Carvings of Women Exhibitionists

    In 1996 I had the opportunity of doing research with Prof. Phil Callaghan on the ancient round towers of Ireland. We got some intriguing data and results that demonstrated technologies used to support the communities in the area. Some of the round towers had Sheela-na-gigs above the entrance openings.

    We discovered that the towers emit a 2000 Hz frequency within the tower. It’s a resonant cavity. i.e. interesting frequency correlation with the anaesthesia line may suggest that the upper level where the frequency is the highest may be the birthing chamber.

    We made some further discoveries as listed at this PA link.

    http://projectavalon.net/forum4/show...De-Dian-people

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    Default Re: Sheela-Na-Gig: The Mysterious Medieval Carvings of Women Exhibitionists

    A friend of mine told me about Kilpeck Church a while ago as she visits that area a lot. She has been told that there are strong Templar links to that area. She gave me a link to this video, there is a lot of what could be called pagan carving there; it's presented by one of the church wardens, who is very knowledgeable and seems very comfortable with it all - in fact, I detect a sense of pride at his unique church!


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    Default Re: Sheela-Na-Gig: The Mysterious Medieval Carvings of Women Exhibitionists

    Quote Posted by aoibhghaire (here)
    In 1996 I had the opportunity of doing research with Prof. Phil Callaghan on the ancient round towers of Ireland. We got some intriguing data and results that demonstrated technologies used to support the communities in the area. Some of the round towers had Sheela-na-gigs above the entrance openings.

    We discovered that the towers emit a 2000 Hz frequency within the tower. It’s a resonant cavity. i.e. interesting frequency correlation with the anaesthesia line may suggest that the upper level where the frequency is the highest may be the birthing chamber.

    We made some further discoveries as listed at this PA link.

    http://projectavalon.net/forum4/show...De-Dian-people
    Are you familiar with Michael Tsarion the author/researcher? He claims that most of the round towers in Ireland actually pre-date the arrival of Christianity, and that they didn't originally serve as 'safe houses'.

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    Default Re: Sheela-Na-Gig: The Mysterious Medieval Carvings of Women Exhibitionists

    Hello Pueblo

    I am familiar with Michael Tsarion work over some years.

    There has been quite a lot of discussion on this topic this year here on PA as regards the period before Christianity in particular the round towers of Ireland. The building of the towers can be narrowed down to one civilization before Christianity.

    http://projectavalon.net/forum4/show...De-Dian-people

    Posts 7,17 and 18

    http://projectavalon.net/forum4/show...n-people/page2

    Posts 22 and 26.

    Aoibhghaire

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