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Geige [SHEE-luh-nah-GIG] is a shadowy sometimes-controversial Celtic
goddess. She represents both mother and crone aspects of the Goddess. Her
image is found carved on stone thresholds, lintels, and standing stones of
sacred sites or places of worship throughout the British Isles (2,6,7,10).
Not a lot has been written or is known about this Goddess or her origins,
and much information may have been lost through the ignorant prudishness
of a patriarchal culture that saw only a vulgar caricature. Sila, however,
survived into Christianity, and Her image can still be found carved on
lintels and thresholds of churches in Ireland. In the 19th century,
patriarchal society was appalled by the unrestricted feminine sexuality of
the Sila images, and many Sila images were defaced or destroyed entirely
(2, 9, 10, 11). Sila na Geige is represented by a crudely carved female
figure holding her vulva wide. The open vulva is a gateway symbol, a
portal to greater mysteries (10, 13). Generally considered a birthing
Goddess (4) and shown as the "Mother of All," Her often skeletal
appearance and emaciated breasts give her the crone status and connects
her with the passage of the soul to the afterlife. Sila is the guardian of
the gateway that governs many rites of passage and the unending circle of
life and death (4, 10, 11, 13).
Kiltinan Church Sheela na
|Sila is connected with liminal birds, herons,
cranes, and storks (
animals serve as guides and guardians of souls and carry spirits
from the Islands of the Blessed in the Western Sea to the earth
realm to be incarnated in a new life. Sila is protector of living
and dead (2, 4, 5, 9, 10, 11). She offers her protection in passage into life as well as
death. Her vulva is the welcoming arch into the world and in coming
home. She is considered a special protector of the poor. On May 4th,
people hang old clothes on Hawthorn to appeal to Sila and ward away
associated with fertility, openness, and sexuality. In one town in
Ireland, the local image of Sila is used in birthings (11). Women in labor
lean against the figure during their delivery to insure a safe birth.
Worshipers often touch the open vulva to promote fertility, healing, or
protection (9, 10, 11, 13).
Sila is the
guardian of the gateway to life, death, and knowledge of the mysteries of
the universe. Sila's message to us is "Open up! Open yourself to life,"
(8). By embracing Sila na Geige, perhaps we can pass through the gateway
to greater understanding.
Spellings of the name are based frequently on
phonetic spelling of the original Irish.
Symbols/Aspects of Sila na Geige
Colors:red, orange, purple, magenta
full or waning
Animals: heron, crane, stork
Herbs/Flowers: Hawthorn, birch, willow, cedar, black
Stones: any hard
stones or building stone
Aspects: Protection, death, fertility, birth, lust, opening, enjoyment of
feminine power, feminine mysteries,
Wheel of the Year:
Alder moon (Fearn): March 18 - April 14
(Saille): April 15 - May 12
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Sila na Geige is associated with fertility and
protection magic. Believers invoke Her to protect themselves and their
loved ones, and women consider Her a special protector in childbirth (9,
10, 11, 13). In voke Sila for protection, to increase fertility (of
mind or body), or to heat up your sex or social life.
Here are a few spells:
The Social Creature
Meditate on Sila na Geige and the gateway.
Imagine a scene framed in the gateway.
You see yourself in a social situation having a wonderful time,
laughing and enjoying yourself with confidence.
Feel yourself stepping through the gateway into the scene and
becoming the self in the scene you painted.
Chant 3 times:
"To the left and right of me
Above and below me
I awaken the spirit of nature within me!"
This is a very
simple spell which can be performed anywhere with as few or as many
materials as you wish. Lighting red or orange candles can add to the
focus of the spell.
|Heating Up Your Sex
Needs: red or orange
Incense - vanilla or other lust
Soft scarf or long
piece of material
Favorite perfume or
This spell is
best performed in your bedroom.
Take a ritual bath.
Cast a circle.
|Wrap the scarf or cloth around your
hips, and stand before the mirror. |
Annoint your heart and womb
chakra with perfume or essential oil.
Raise the energy by
"Sheelah my hunger see; Let
my body love freely." (12)
Ground, and tell the
Goddess image in the mirror how beautiful and sexy she
To Conceive a Child
This spell should be performed with a willing partner.
Need: orange candles
Image of Sila na Geige
Birch branch or wand
Paper and writing utensil
Light your candles.
Cast a circle with the birch branch/wand.
Call the corners.
Meditate upon the image of Sila:
Imagine through the gateway a rosebud.
Step through the gate and the rose becomes a part of you.
It enters your womb.
Imagine the rose opening to its full glory.
Keep that image in your mind.
Take the piece of paper, and write down your request for a child.
Fold the paper and place it beneath the image of Sila na Geige while chanting:
"My wish goes out with love and light
Sila encourage the spark of life."
Let the candles burn down.
Have sex with your partner.
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language, and alphabets are associated with the crone aspect of the
Goddess. As a crone Goddess, Sila na Geige governs the gateway of
knowledge and mysteries of divining (9, 10, 13). Ogham is an ancient
Celtic alphabet used for communication and divination (3, 9, 14). The Ogham alphabet is a set of 25 characters often carved into
wood or stone. The letters represent 25 sacred trees when lent their
names to the characters.
Meditate on a question or situation
on which you wish to be advised.
From the bag of ogham staves, draw 3
Hold the staves in your left hand
and concentrate on your question.
When you feel ready, toss the staves
out in front of you.
Read the most central character.
This gives you the general tone of
Read all the other face up
These represent elements manifesting
themselves currently in your life.
Read face down ogham staves
These represent that which is hidden
or yet to come.
For more complete readings use more
Use multiples of 3.
There are many books and websites
relating information about Ogham. The ogham are interpreted on three
planes phisical, mental and spiritual. As you become more comfortable
with ogham, you will become adept in relating the characters to each
other and transcending the three planes, as Sila controls the gateways
to the spiritual, mental, and emotional realms of
Here is an excellent site to
interpret the meaning of the ogham staves:
Meanings of the Ogham Staves
Scrying is a method of divination also attributed to Sila
na Geige (9, 10). This is probably related to the crone's cauldron
of creation in which the future can be seen forming
Scrying Through the Gateway
an image of Sila na Geige near your scrying mirror, crystal ball,
or cauldron of salt water.
If you are new to scrying, you might want to keep paper and pen
nearby as well.
Focus on the image of Sila, and meditate upon the
Focus on entering the gateway, passing through to the
Turn your eyes to your scrying vessel.
Make note of any images that present themselves to you.
Study these images and ask yourself what the Sila na Geige is wanting you to
Sila na Geige Scrying Mirror
Sheila Na Gig
Amy Sophia Maranshinsky from The Goddess Oracle
I flash my vulva for all to see
I stretch it wide
the gateway that all comes through
the passageway to life
I say come through my doorway
open yourself to what is
if you have something important
so everyone can see
I am the opening to this world
the sacred and the silly
the wild and the wooly
the bold and the brazen
I am the Hag
opened by so many turnings
I am the portal to Life
and I say
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- Budapest, Z. E. (1989).
Grandmother of Time. HarperSanFrancisco.
Cartwright's Goddess Art - http://www.katecartwright.com/sheela.htm
- Celtic Ogham - http://www.is.csupomona.edu/~jcclark/ogham/
- Conway, D. J. (1994). Maiden, Mother,
Crone. St. Paul, MN:
- Elsbeth, M. & Johnson, K.
(1996). The Silver Wheel. St. Paul, MN: Llewellyn
- Fethard Historical Society. Sheela Na Gig: The
Fethard Connection - http://www.fethard.com/histor/sheela.html
- Goddess House: Sheela-Na-Gig - http://ourworld.compuserve.com/homepages/moonstone/Sheela.htm
- Marashinsky, Amy Sophia.
(1997). The Goddess Oracle: A Way to Wholeness Through the Goddess
and Ritual (illus.: Hrana Janto). Boston: Element.
- McCoy, E. (1995). Celtic Myth & Magick
. St. Paul: Llewellyn Publications.
- McCoy, E. (1998). Celtic Women's
Spirituality. St. Paul: Llewellyn Publications.
- Sheela-na-gig Theories - http://www.memebers.tripod.com/~taramc/myths.html
- Telesco, P. (1998). 365
Goddess . NY: HarperCollins Publishers,
- Theatana, K. P. Sila na Geige: Sheela na Gig and Sacred Space - http://ourworld.compuserve.com/homepages/moonstone/Sheela.htm
- Ogham: A System of Divination - http://www.cldproducts.com/ogham/ogintro.html
Resource List - http://www.evertype.com/standards/og/ogmharc.html
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