Sheela Na Gig by Goode Starr
For millennia the human imagination has been devoted to the Goddess so it is hardly a surprise to find images of supernatural females like Sheela na gigs adorning sacred and secular architecture throughout Ireland England Wales and Scotland. Appearing on rural churches castles bridges holy wells tombs and standing stones these powerful images of a figure fearlessly displaying her vulva embody the power of the Dark Goddess over the mysteries of sex life death and rebirth. Exploring the art and myth of the Sheela na gig from Celtic and Classical times back to Paleolithic cave art Starr Goode shows how the Sheela embraces a conundrum of opposites: she clearly offers up her ripe sex yet emanates a repelling menace from the upper half of her hag-like body. Through more than 150 photographs the author shows how the Sheela is a goddess with the power to renew a folk deity used to help women survive childbirth and as a guardian of doorways and castle walls a liminal entity representing the gateway to the divine. She explains how these powerful images survived eradication during the rise of Christianity and retained their preeminent positions on sacred sites including medieval churches.