Day of Shiela na Gig

Day of Sheila na Gig


Shelley Irish, 3/18/19

I recently learned of the Day of Sheila na Gig, said to be celebrated on this day in old Ireland. A Sheila na Gig is a carving of a woman squatting and holding her vulva open. They are found all over the UK, mostly on burial mounds. I interpret them as a portal to the next life, the portal through death to rebirth. 

In Celtic Women’s Spirituality by Edain McCoy, she describes the day as a meditative day to contemplate the portal of the Sheila na Gig. The energy is one of introspection and self reflection. Women’s mysteries, thresholds, portals, recycling of matter, ideas and knowledge, fertility, death, sacred space, divination, all of these and related concepts are attuned to delve into today. It feels like a very powerful holiday even in solitary reverence, for womxn and men, a day to meditate upon the mysteries within us and our world. 

Many Christian holidays were placed around pagan holidays for a variety of reasons. When the energy carries the same seasonal and cultural ethics this evolution of holy days in society can be very beautiful. 

For St. Patrick to be celebrated for driving the snakes out of Ireland (or pagans, occult, cyclical existential philosophy) instead of the Day of Sheila na Gigs, are 2 pretty different energies. 

I’m not going to rant about cultural decimation or attempted spiritual genocide, because, no matter how many layers of story lay upon her, Mother Earth is ever claiming, and ever exclaiming to those who listen. 

I am relieved to learn about the Day of Sheila na Gig, something holy and ancient behind the veil. I’ve always been drawn to the symbology. I use it in my art! I’ve been building up the spring energy readying for the spring equinox, and this gives another layer of understanding to work with.

This time of year is all about plants and seeds for me. Today before work I put some sugar snap pea seeds in the ground and composted some old branches. The trees around the city are flowering in beautiful pinks and purple, the air smells like forest dew waking up. I’m so oriented to action in these early weeks of spring. I’m appreciating this Day of Shiela na Gig for it’s emphasis towards slowing down and peering through the veil at the bigger cycles that orchestrate the cycles of our lives, of the seasons, of divine timing.

If you feel drawn to it, I invite you to raise this energy of contemplation of women’s mysteries in these early stages of spring. Not much is known about the original observances, so we must make our own. 🌱