Face to Face with the Sheela-Na-Gig

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L.W Sheela-Na-Gig

 I have been fascinated by the images of Sheela-Na-Gig for as long as I can remember.  She is an enigma!  Her image can be found on churches, castles and old buildings through Ireland and Britain. In my research I found that the first mention of the Sheela-Na-Gig in church documents is the early 12th century. The most common notion is that the Sheela-Na-Gig is a fertility and sex goddess, even though none of the figures have ever depicted a child birth.  It is also of the mind that she represents a warning against lust as well as protection against evil. So as you can see there isn’t really any concrete evidence as to what the Sheela-Na-Gig’s purpose truly is.

It was on my first trip to Wales that I had a chance to get up close and personal with the Her.  I was visiting my husband who at the time was living in Llandrindod Wells in Wales.  He took me to the old parish church which sits above the lake, and he told me about the Sheela-Na-Gig that was found.

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                                                                         Old Parish Church – Llandrindod Wells 

Even though the church is fairly modern, the first mention of it is in the Church documents dated 1291. According to local lore, the Sheela-Na-Gig was found buried face down under the entrance of the church.   The Llandindod Wells Sheela is said to be the one of the most well preserved Sheela’s in the UK .  After it’s discovery it sat in the window of the church up until 1990 where it was moved to the Radnorshire museum.   Because this Sheela is a loose piece of carving, it is very hard to date. However there is some evidence which suggests that it was carved in the 12th century, for it bears an similarities to the Sheela found at St. Pafarn atLlanbadarn Fawr. This suggests that it may have been carved by the same person.

For as much research as I have done in my search for understand the Sheela-na-gig, I was not prepared for what I experienced in seeing her first hand or the excitement that over took me.  First we explored the Old Parish Church which sits on an Old Celtic site a natural mound of sorts. Standing in the doorway you have a beautiful view of the soft rolling hills and a 360 degree view if the church was moved. It is quite breathtaking and so beautiful. I can understand why they picked this spot to build a church, for it felt sacred as we walked the grounds.

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                                                                                 Entrance to the Old Parish Church

Next stop was the Radnorshire museum where I was going to get to see Her in person. It may seem silly, but I was nervous, excited for I was just about to see the REAL Sheela-na-gig. Something that I thought would never happen.  I was amazed at the detail of this Sheela and how fierce she looked compared to the Kilpeck image that we are so used to seeing. One of the most noticeable differences is that she had teeth, and that her ribs were visible as if she were starved.   I stood in silence for some time just taking in the all her detail and feeling a huge sense of gratefulness that I have been able had this experience. For now when working with the Sheela-na-gig, I have real life images and memories to pull from and nothing gets better than that.

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My Kilpeck Sheela-Na-Gig

So in hindsight I was gifted with the experience and a brief glimpse into the minds of locals.  In my own humble opinion I can only see the burial of the Sheela-na-gig in the entrance way as a sign of people who believed deeply in their traditions and heritage. So much so that they buried her deep, knowing that each time they crossed the threshold into the church that they were honoring the old gods, even if they had to “pretend” to honor the new.
A special note of thanks to Will Adams the Curator of the Radnorshire Museum who granted me permission to use the Sheela-na-gig photo.  I enjoyed my visit to the Museum and I recommend it to anyone who is traveling in Powys.

For more information on the Radnorshire Museum please visit :  http://www.powys.gov.uk

For more information on the Sheela-na-gig please visit : http://www.sheelanagig.org

~ The Wild Priestess

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Dark Moon Rising

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This past weekend we were blessed enough to experience something rare black moon. The black moon is defined as a second new moon in a month.  Spiritually this special moon is the harbinger of New Beginnings a time to rethink the direction your life is traveling and make logical decisions to change the shape of your life. It also brings the relationships in your life to the forefront with issues that need to be addressed. There is no hiding in the dark with this moon.  The past month has been filled with astrological blasts of energy and change. With the lunar eclipse, the equinox and now the black moon. It has given us a huge jump start on the inner work that comes with the dark time of the year.  

In my own experiences the past month has kicked my ass.  I was especially challenged in the area of relationships. Be it a co-worker, my spouse, my son and the Gods.  I found myself on the receiving end of some pretty gruesome exchanges and learning a bit about myself. The one thing that I learned that is I cannot control how other people react to any given situation. However, I can control my own response and how I perceive their response. By letting go of my assumptions as they work through their communication with me. I will say that I failed in this aspect for I couldn’t see past my own issues in some of these instances. So I now have to remember that  I also have to check what energy  that I am giving off and remember as an empath I can spew energy around me that affects anyone who walks into it, it goes both ways I feel them and they most diffidently feel me.

I have been testing this theory with my own family. I know I am horrible!  But I needed proof. Over the past week I have altered my moods to see the affect it has on my family.  If I am happy we have a fantastic evening full of fun and play. If I show no emotion it is quiet and nothing out of the ordinary happens, no one wants to engage and they withdraw.  When my anxiety level is high or I am angry so are they. I realized that I am the emotional heart of my family and they react depending on how I am feeling.  Now both my husband and son would never admit it. They are happy in their belief that they are logical and practical men. But they do need me to be at my best and I need me to be at my best.   They are reacting to my emotions and reactions. If I choose to come from a place of love every single day they will be much better for it.

It is along the same lines as my raven sister Lotus Anuket wrote about in her blog “How do you respond to Tragic Events?   this one line hit me like a light bulb “We have the power to turn that chaos into a time of community and family.”   There is so much truth in this one statement.  Again going back to I can’t control who others respond but I can control how I respond and that in turn starts a ripple affect of love.

So with that said during the Dark Moon I light my devotional Candle to The Morrigan and stated my intentions for this New Moon :

I will remember to breathe before I respond so that my actions and reactions will spark the change that I want to see in the world without sacrificing my beliefs ”

“ I will be open to all that I have been receiving even if I doubt what I am receiving”

“ I will be the hollow bone for Spirit to work through me on behalf of Others”

“No more hiding….It is time”

“Blessed Be”

I would love to hear how this past month has been for you all!  Feel free to comment, share and engage.  No more hiding!  I want to hear from you.

Blessings to you,

The Wild Priestess

Magick is everyday life

 

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I have been thinking a lot lately how complicated life can get, when I realized is that it isn’t life that is complicated, it is my way of thinking that gets all tangled up. Life is simple, we breathe, we eat, we sleep and we start all over again. So in a sense it should be easy. I can remember seeing the magick in everything, the way the wind blew through the trees, the way I could call the horses and be taught the lesson of complete trust and I sat among the herd as one of their own. Or the way the blue jays would come sing for me every time I was in the back yard. Those simple things are magick. The spirits would speak to me and I saw them as clearly as I saw my own brothers standing in front of me

It wasn’t until I was told, not to talk about it, or that it isn’t real that I began to doubt myself. Now as an adult and after all the years of searching, creating, and discovering I am once again back to Simple. Magick is everyday life, Spirit is in everything, I am the Alchemist when I start the camp fire, I am the herbalist when I mix my blends of natural remedies, I am the Enchantress when I put on my work face, so people see me in that light, and I am the priestess when I call the spirits to me, I am a healer when they work through me, I am the spell caster when I send my prayers and intentions to the universe. Magick is simple; Magick is a part of everything we do. It isn’t special…..it just is a natural state of being. No more separation….and in that I may find the balance I have been seeking. ~ The Wild Priestess

Photo Credit – The Wild Priestess – Llandrindod Wells, Shakey Bridge Wales 2009

Food for thought – Love, Light and Darknes

This is the post excerpt.

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For whatever reason the term “Love & Light” has now become the buzz word in our community. There are those who feel this term is over used and is being used by those who do not work with their shadow. It feels like a line has been drawn in the sand between “Light & Dark” the same could be said with “Hex or Don’t Hex” or the term “Harm None” the usage of these terms defines one as either a “Fluffy Bunny or Bad Ass Witch” The arguments on both sides of the coin can become very heated and judgmental.

I am sure there are some who read the interactions and start to doubt themselves and the path they have chosen. If you are that person who starts to doubt their ability, or that you are doing something wrong because of certain views and opinions – STOP and BREATHE….and know that this is YOUR path. No one has the right to tell you who and what you are. We all have to go through these discoveries to find ourselves.

After reading all these articles from both perspectives I honestly admit I had to look at myself. From where I started 30 years ago to today. Today, I am a healer who just happens to be a witch and I walk what I call the in-between. I have to move in-between light and dark depending on the healing work being done. At the end of a healing session – I want to be the light for that person who just worked through a pile of darkness…I am the beacon. Then there are those times when I am surrounded in dark, and binding energies of protection. I need to have my shadow at my side. And in my humble opinion it is all about balance, and once you have that you become Bad Ass.

I strive at being Bad Ass every day, does it always work – nope. But I keep on moving forward and never let anyone’s opinions change my view of how I work. Sending you all Love & Light heart emoticon

Feel free to chime in! I would love to hear your thoughts – The Wild Priestess