By B. Freitag

The following Barbara Freitag examines the entire literature at the topic considering the fact that their discovery one hundred sixty years in the past, highlighting the inconsistencies of many of the interpretations in regard to beginning, functionality and identify. via contemplating the Sheela-na-gigs of their medieval social context, she means that they have been folks deities with specific accountability for information in childbirth. This attention-grabbing survey sheds new mild on a debatable phenomenon, and in addition includes a whole catalogue of all recognized Sheela-na-gigs, together with hitherto unrecorded or unpublished figures.  

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This conundrum has never been resolved satisfactorily. It is, however, usually pointed out that the Christian redactors did not preserve an accurate account, that, for instance, they omitted reference to a cohesive religious system and to explicit ritual worship, and that they euhemerized the Celtic gods; that is, reduced them to a semi-humanized, mortal shape. 158 In other words, we do not know what and how much the monastic scribes left out, but neither do we know what and how much they put in.

At this stage, however, he had changed his mind regarding the dating of the stone. He no longer concurred with the idea that it belonged to the Bronze Age. He now believed that it was the work of the heathen Northmen, who after the Anglo-Saxons had become Christianized, settled in this part of the country, bringing with them their pagan creed. In the meantime he had communicated at length with a number of scholars and he quotes from some of his correspondence. From Professor Macalister, ‘the greatest living authority upon all Irish antiquities’, he had learned that in Ireland two different views on the matter were being debated, neither of which Macalister subscribed to.

74 Having studied mother-goddess figures from various parts of the world, she identified three recurrent types, all of which she considered as divine, but having derived from different religio-psychological needs. 26 SHEELAS AND ACADEMIC RESEARCH The first of these, the Universal Mother, the true ‘mother’-goddess, or Isis type, constant throughout the world, and well known in ancient times, is represented with full breasts, pregnant or with a child in her arms. The child, actual or implied, is an essential part of this type.

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