Beltane Deity Spotlight: Sheela-Na-Gig

April 7, 2021 Obsidia Musette Sage


Ancient pagans celebrated Beltane as a fertility Sabbat. During this holiday they honored their gods and goddesses for a lush growing season. Therefore, the Celtic goddess Sheela-Na-Gig is honored during this sexual fire holiday.



The meaning of the name “Sheela-Na-Gig” suggests “Hag of the Vulva.” The word “gig” is slang in England and Scotland for a woman’s private parts. The Sheela-Na-Gig is a grotesque carving or statue found all over much of the United Kingdom, most prominent in Ireland. Pagans find her on gateposts, castles, and churches across the land. Depictions of Sheela-Na-Gig are a bald figure with exaggerated labia that is held open by her hands. The extremely large genitals of this sexual pagan Earth goddess represent many ideals.

Symbols of Fertility, Warning, Protection, Empowerment

Sheela-Na-Gig possesses a womb that is ready to give birth and take in death, therefore completing the physical cycle of being human for pagans. Legend says that many medieval brides touch or kiss the Sheela in order to conceive a child. This also brought the Sheela into fertility rites. There is speculation that the Sheela was a warning from the Church to keep the sin of lust out of the mind of clergy and congregations. She offers protection to the inhabitants of the land. This is because of the belief of the ancient Greeks that a woman flaunting her lady bits might scare off daemons.

In the modern-day, the Sheela-Na-Gig is a symbol of Irish women’s struggle against prejudice. Project Sheela placed new Sheela-Na-Gigs around Dublin to call attention to discriminating practices against women. Many Irish women find them empowering and positive. An Indie musician, PJ Harvey, also devoted a song to the fertility goddess in 1992, entitled “Sheela-Na-Gig.” This single hit the Billboard Alternative Songs charts at number nine.



Including Sheela-Na-Gig in your Beltane fertility rituals will surely bring you a plentiful “growing” season. Perhaps you will see an increase of positive energy in the form of income, good health, or exciting life changes. Honoring the Sheela is always beneficial if you are trying to conceive a child, breed animals, or grow crops of your own. You can show your appreciation for Sheela-Na-Gig by creating your own version of her and making her the centerpiece of your Beltane altar. This is particularly important if you plan on performing a symbolic version of the Great Rite. Sheela-Na-Gig would make the perfect counterpart if you choose to honor Kokopelli during your Beltane ritual. And if you are frightened that daemons may come and ruin your fun – you can always flaunt your own lady bits in honor of the Sheela-Na-Gig!


“Big Vagina Energy: The Return of the Sheela Na Gig.” The Guardian, Guardian News and Media, 8 Mar. 2021, www.theguardian.com/world/2021/mar/08/big-vagina-energy-the-return-of-the-sheela-na-gig.

Jones, Sarah. “Sheela-Na-Gigs: The Naked Women Adorning Britain’s Churches.” BBC News, BBC, 19 Feb. 2019, www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-45116614.

“Sheela Na Gig – Gaelic Symbol.” GaelicMatters.com, www.gaelicmatters.com/sheela-na-gig.html.

“Sheela-Na-Gig (Song).” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 7 Feb. 2021, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sheela-Na-Gig_(song).

Obsidia Musette Sage

Wife, Poet, Mother, Certifiably Crazy, but above all else, a Witch. I am a Crone that resides in the Wild Wasteland and have 20 years of experience as a practicing pagan. I am an Augury witch that specializes in the art of Tarot. I do not follow a specific spiritual path, but rather gather wisdom from all types of belief systems and use that to form my own special blend of witchcraft. I like to spend my days with my husband and my fur babies, who include my familiar: a golden lab mix named Xena Marie. I have been drawn to the beauty of the high desert ever since I was a young woman and now have the pleasure and privilege of living in the Wild Wasteland in the Great Basin of Nevada. Obsidia crossed the veil in May, 2022

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