After my recent post about the Green Man, vilajunkie suggested that I take a look at the female equivalent, the Sheela na Gig. I actually don't think I'd heard of them before, but they're basically carvings of women (often hags) flashing their vulvae at passers-by. Like the Green Men, they're usually found on churches, which seems a bit contrary to the general hatred of female sexuality in Christianity. They're found primarily on the British Isles, but sometimes on the European continent as well, and some people speculate that they were continental first. While there doesn't seem to be any particular connection between the Green Man and the Sheela na Gig other than both being church carvings, the theories about their origins are similar. It's commonly believed that they're remnants of paganism, warnings against lust, or just figures to ward off evil spirits. While reading the Wikipedia article on the carvings, I came across a reference to Hunky Punks, which are essentially gargoyles that serve no architectural purpose (gargoyles themselves being drainage spouts, and hence practical as well as decorative). I figured there had to be a band with that name, and it looks like there might be, and they have something to do with Harry Potter. At least, when I did a Google search, I came up with this page, which mentions "Patrick of the Hunky Punks." For that matter, Sheela na Gig kind of sounds like she should be a badass female musician. There apparently is a PJ Harvey song called "Sheela Na Gig," but I've never heard it.
The picture shows one of the most famous Sheela na Gig, which can be found at Kilpeck Church in England. Is it just me, or does the face remind anyone else of E.T.? Or maybe it's a grown-up version of the baby from Eraserhead.