Seasonal Salon

A Witch on the Wall: The Sheela-na-Gig of Ballaghmore Castle


For some reason, I have spent the last month reading about and drawing Sheela-na-gigs.  Maybe it’s a combination of Spring quickening with my own crone stage of life.  Maybe it’s the approach of Beltane, the season of wildness and pleasure.  Sheelas are ancient sculptures that combine attributes of sacred dance with bald and skeletal hags.  Their common characteristic is that of sacred display of their vulvas, a gesture of defiant and protective women’s power.

This Sheela is a badly worn relief from the wall of Ballaghmore Castle in Ireland.  Is she a frightening reminder of the end of life, or a celebration of the gateway to birth?  Or both?  Or more?  It’s up to you.

 If you too are called to learn more about these mysterious and powerful figures, check out Barbara Freitag’s excellent book, Sheela-na-Gigs:  Unraveling an Enigma.  If you want to see lots of photos, try Gabriel Cannon’s Sheela Na Gig web site).


Sid Reger is an artist and independent scholar living in western PA with her temple dog and two nearly perfect felines.  She is an ordained priestess of RCG-I and a member of the faculty of the Women’s Thealogical Institute. 

Category: Beltane 2014