2018 Sarasvati Award Goes to “Sheela na Gig”

Sheela na gig
: The Dark Goddess of Sacred Power 

by Starr Goode

Published by Inner Traditions


The ASWM Board of Directors is pleased to present the 2018 Sarasvati Award for nonfiction to Inner Traditions for this provocative and beautiful book. With over 150 illustrations, this book explores the archetype of the Dark Goddess in the form of female display figures. It examines a range of images of supernatural females like Sheela na gigs adorning medieval architecture.

The award letter reads in part:

This book advances the field of feminist mythological/Goddess studies, presenting both scholarly information and wonderful images to the reader.  The inclusion of this large number of illustrations is essential in a work of this type, in order to convey the rich and diverse imagery of Sheela na gigs and displaying figures.

This book is very well-balanced in offering descriptions and lists of Sheelas along with scholarly explorations and an understanding of issues regarding their their deep meanings and mystery. Additionally, this book gives evidence of similar sacred display figures throughout the world: in Polynesia, in Africa, in India, in Europe, and in the Far East.  It takes the reader from sacred display figures dating to the Upper Palaeolithic, to those from the Neolithic, to those from the Classical era, and finally those dating to the medieval era in Europe.

 In short, we believe this book has great value in to interdisciplinary studies of myth and folklore.  We would strongly recommend it as a resource to faculty, researchers, travelers, and general readers.  

The author will be on hand to accept this award at our 2018 Conference in March.

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