Female Sex Signs in Churches
by Ernest L. Martin, Ph.D., 1998
As I mentioned in my former Doctrinal Report titled: "The Anatomy of a Church," this subject is not an easy one to write about. This is because the subject is one that can cause offense even when the matter is discussed academically and in a non-personal manner. Yet, we are all adults and we should wish to know the grand truths of the Holy Scriptures and to fully understand the erroneous historical developments that have occurred in our ecclesiastical world since the time of Christ Jesus. Since we at the Associates for Scriptural Knowledge (A.S.K.) are devoted to teaching the truths of the Bible and to illuminate the real facts of history and geography, I feel it is incumbent upon me to tell you readers and associates what the symbols actually mean that comprise much of the architecture of our church edifices within Christendom today. Let us take a close look at the subject.
The "Gothic style" of architecture that we are used to was introduced in the eleventh century into that part of Western Europe that was controlled by Roman Christianity. Since that time, our ecclesiastical world has been deluged with church buildings designed in "Gothic style" to instruct the initiated with a variety of mystical meanings. Most of Christendom have forgot those meanings. Only specialized professional historians are aware of them today. Among those esoteric themes are those associated with the anatomical parts of the human body that involve the use of human sexuality. This was one of the main themes within "Gothic" architecture. The universal adoption of these abtruse meanings developed some 800 years ago has resulted in virtually every Catholic or Protestant church today showing some architectural features (or "church decorations") that are directly derived from those early "Gothic" designs. The central motif that the medieval architects were endeavoring to show in their church buildings rested upon the biblical teaching that the "church" (Greek: ekklesia) was reckoned to be a "woman," especially and specifically the "Wife of Christ" (indeed the apostle Paul showed that the ekklesia was to be understood as a "Wife" in Ephesians 5:25-33).
Those who constructed the "Gothic style" of architectural forms wanted to represent their "churches" as buildings of stone, wood and metal but designed with various shapes that mystically denoted that the building was symbolically a "Woman." Thus, all entrances into "Gothic style" church buildings (entry locations where it was supposed that Christ and the Father allegorically engendered children for the Family of God) were acknowledged as being equated with the female genitalia. Furthermore, the interior of the church was supposed to represent the "womb" of the mystical Woman, the ribbed buttresses (and what were called "flying buttresses") were analogous to the rib-cage of a womanís body. The long hallway of most "Gothic churches" was called the Nave (originally after the Greek word "naos" meaning "inner sanctum of a temple" and it was noticed that its shape appeared like the interior of a boat with its two ribbed sidings, so "Nave" was connected with a ship). The center part of the Nave was the "navel" or the umbilical cord, to which a symbolic baby was attached in the womb of the woman. This region of the church was also located in the transept area (the transverse region of any cruciform shaped church, as most "Gothic churches" were designed). And depending on where the transept was located (if positioned midway along the hallway of the "Gothic church") it represented a womanís womb with each wing of the transept on either side answering to the fallopian tubes, or (if positioned two-thirds of the way along the church hallway or aisle) it often represented the heart of the woman as the emotional center of her being. Sometimes there were two transepts (a double cruciform area), and the centers of these two transverse halls represented both the womb and the heart of the Woman/Church.
In the middle of the transept (where the transverse halls of the crucifix form intersected with the Nave, or the long hallway) there was often a place of consecration. It was a type of altar located at the "navel" (in the transept area). This was often positioned to catch the rays of the Sun that would enter the church interior through the circular Rose Window located either behind or on the side of the transept region. The circular Rose Window represented the Sun. The rays of the Sun were believed to emanate from the Father, who was reckoned at the symbolic Sun (Malachi 4:2). This analogous relationship of the Sun to "God the Father" justified the area of the church as being a region where spiritual "conception" could occur. This altar answered to the area of conception, dedication or consecration within view of the Rose Window. This is where people could be consecrated, baptized or married in the church (or even where funerals could be conducted in which the ceremony would symbolically receive the life-giving elements of the Sunís rays to the dead person ó a carry-over from pagan Sun-God worship ó in order to convey the spark of an immortal life into his or her person). Even the crypt area of the "Gothic church" (located directly underneath the long hallway or the Nave) was the resting-place of dead Christians who were then reckoned to be in Purgatory (they were called the "Church Suffering"). In short, the church building was designed to show these various phases of Christian redemption. So, the architects introduced these mystical "female" signs within the "feminine" buildings themselves.
The whole story of how medieval people conceived of Christian salvation was conveyed within the architecture of the "Gothic church." Within these "feminine" buildings, one could see in symbolic form a type of conception, birth, baptism, marriage, the consecration of a king or the ordination of a priest, and even the ceremonies associated with death, resurrection and an exaltation into immortal life. These important mystical features associated with all phases of human life were thought to be necessary in the symbolic designs of the "Gothic church" structure. Allegorically, the building itself was supposed to be the "Woman" (the "Church" in the Bible).
So, the "Gothic style" of architecture was to emphasize the church building as being female in its interior (to represent the Woman as "Christís Wife" and the bearer of His offspring along with those of God the Father). Other women of the Bible such as Eve, Sarah, Ruth and Mary the mother of Jesus figured into the architectural design in certain circumstances. The feminine aspect dominated the design, but not everything about the church building was reckoned as female. The exterior part of the "Gothic church," with its spires and steeples and obelisks located in front of the entrance (the female genitalia), symbolically represented the male genitalia in their reproductive stance (this was explained in my former Doctrinal Report). All these symbolic motifs of Gothic architecture were to teach the masses of Christian people (who were often illiterate and uneducated) the "womb to tomb" phases of human life. It also helped to bolster the teaching that the church (its monks and priests) had full power and control over the people.
To many churchgoers today who normally shy away with excessive sensitivities from the portrayal of the human genitalia, these symbolic themes in "Gothic" architecture may appear to be a gross and licentious practice, but this type of physical display of sexual features was held in the highest esteem in the eyes of the early monks and ecclesiastical leaders within official Christendom when the "Gothic style" came into vogue. These medieval Christian authorities showed no prudery whatever in openly displaying such sexual themes, which they portrayed in an official capacity. Even today, with our own modern prudery cast aside, we still own household tools or fixtures of a house that we candidly call either male or female because of the general shape of the tools or the fixtures (for example, male and female plugs in electrical outlets). Our common practice today in naming such things with sexual nuances shows that these principles of identification are not entirely new, nor are they considered socially offensive even by us living in modern times. Yet the medieval church architects were sexually blatant and to some licentious.
The Early Licentiousness of the Original "Gothic Style" Architecture
The outer adornments that we normally associate with "Gothic style" building designs that at first were unblushingly sexual in portrayal have been jettisoned from their once prominent positions over doorways and pointed arched windows of cathedrals and churches. Only the esoteric designs (of the same things) remain for us to behold today. This "clean-up" of these outlandish sexual displays on cathedrals and churches commenced at first with the Protestant Reformation, but more particularly with the aftermath of the Great Fire of London, which took place in September, 1666. Sir Christopher Wren was commissioned to rebuild the City of London. The fire (which consumed the former St. Paulís cathedral, along with 86 churches and 13,200 houses) had destroyed some four-fifths of the city inside the walls. Londoners had never seen such destruction, and some thought the end of the world was upon them.
Another person interested in architecture just after the Fire of London (who wanted to have a hand in the design and reconstruction of London and its buildings) was John Evelyn. The question came up regarding the restoration of the "Gothic" ecclesiastical buildings. Should they be rebuilt exactly as they were before? In this regard Evelyn and most people at the time were not keen on the retention of the sexual architectural themes that graced (or, as some people would say, disgraced) the outer adornment of many of the churches. Evelyn said: "The ancient Greek and Roman architecture answered all the perfections required in a faultless and accomplished building" ó but the Goths and Vandals destroyed these and "introduced in their stead a certain fantastical and licentious manner of building: congestions of heavy, dark, melancholy, monkish piles, without any just proportion, use or beauty." When London was rebuilt after the fire, the outward fantastic and licentious adornments that became repulsive to decent people were not restored. Yet pointed arches, spires and steeples (with identical sexual meanings) were rebuilt or retained.
What Was Displayed on the Original "Gothic Churches"?
To show that the "churches" were to be reckoned as "women," female sexuality was openly revealed from the time of the introduction of the "Gothic style" by positioning small idols depicting an old woman (completely naked and emphasizing her genitalia) placed in conspicuous spots over the arched and pointed doorways and windows of many "Gothic churches," including even cathedrals. These idols were called Shiela-Na-Gigs. As I explained in my former Doctrinal Report, these idols were deliberately placed over external doorways and windows on churches throughout the British Isles, and in adjacent European areas into Germany and even Switzerland. They were deposited in these noticeable spots for mystical and symbolic reasons. The ecclesiastical authorities even sanctioned their existence at these sites as a means of teaching the uneducated and illiterate masses the principles of religious concepts taught by the medieval churches. As mentioned above, these licentious idols (as we view them today) remained on many churches and cathedrals until the Protestant Reformation and until the Fire of London in A.D.1666 (when there was revulsion expressed in certain quarters for their display). Many of these Shiela-Na-Gigs were then taken down and destroyed in England, Wales, Scotland and on the continent, but they were retained well into the nineteenth century in parts of Ireland because the nostalgia of the religious people for the "holiness" of their church edifices as they viewed them. I will shortly explain in this Doctrinal Report why the Shiela-Na-Gigs were depicted as old women.
While it became popular to destroy the outward blatant displays of the Shiela-Na-Gigs on the cathedrals and churches, the esoteric adornments that we now associate with what we call "church architecture" were allowed to continue. Indeed, even when new churches were built, it was common to retain the clandestine symbolic architectural themes because the people had become so used to them as depicting "holy architecture." Though the pointed arches and spires/steeples were esoterically designed female and male genitalia, they were not as barefaced and unabashed in their depictions as were the Shiela-Na-Gigs. Those more modest designs that were not so obviously sexual (that the church authorities decided to retain as representing "church architecture") became patterns and motifs that only the initiated would continue to understand. Today, however, even preachers and priests have forgot what they mean.
As a matter of fact, the common folk soon lost their ability to readily identify the symbolic designs as being intentionally sexual. And today, only specialized professional historians know their significance. So, most doorways and windows shaped with pointed arches and superimposed with filigrees (the clitorial region) which augmented and highlighted the symbolic role of the female genitalia in church architecture were allowed to remain, but these mystical displays were only permitted to exist in a subtle and esoteric manner (I showed historical evidence of this in my former Doctrinal Report). Still, these outward sexual features of church buildings were intended by the medieval architects to help demonstrate that the whole of the "church building" itself represented a mystical "Woman" with various spiritual functions (either as the "Wife of Christ," or in some cases as the "Mother of Christ," or, as we will soon observe, even as "Eve the Mother of All Living" or also as "Sarah, the wife of Abraham who gave birth to Isaac and who was succeeded by Jacob, the progenitor of the nation of Israel).
Fairy Tales and Folklore Stories Emerged from the Same Cultural Environment
There is another historical development that helps to explain the medieval mind-set. Most of us are familiar with fairy tales and folklore stories. Jack and the Beanstalk and Cinderella are among the most well known. These stories (in the form we now recognize them) originated in the same period that "Gothic architecture" came on the historical scene. Most people do not realize that many of these tales began as stories from the Bible. They were told by professional storytellers at the times of feasts and ceremonies of the medieval church when masses of people would assemble together to be spiritually fed and physically entertained by travelling storytellers and troubadours. Jack and the Beanstalk is actually a corruption of the story of Jacob (Jack) and the Ladder that reached into heaven (Genesis 28:12,13) where angels were seen going to and from heaven and with God speaking great promises to Jacob. The ladder became the beanstalk. God became the Giant. The Fe, Fi, Fo, Fum of the story (eliminating the letter "f" from the sound, one gets EIOU, the Tetragrammaton, the vowels that in Hebrew answered to YHVH or Yahweh).
Jack and the Beanstalk was simply a corruption of the true biblical account. But when the medieval storytellers began to tell stories to the illiterate masses, much got added to the scriptural event. As Sir Walter Scott said: "I cannot repeat a story without adding a hat and cane." And so it was with many stories of the Bible. Cinderella (the Ash or Carbon Girl) was Ruth of the Bible. While the real Ruth of scriptural fame had a good stepmother and two step-sisters-in-law, the Cinderella story of the medieval storytellers turned them into evil women. The Prince in the Bible was Boaz, the grandfather of David who answered to the Prince in the Cinderella corruption. The strange custom of the shoe mentioned in Ruth 4:7, became the glass shoe of the storytellers that precisely fit the foot of Cinderella.
There was even the blending of various narratives of the Bible. This account of Ruth even got mixed up with the story of Sarah a woman of almost 90 years of age who was so attractive to Pharaoh that he took her away from Abraham and brought her into his harem (Genesis 12:14-20). To the medieval storytellers (who sometimes had beautiful young women changing into old women (or vice versa) or into char women (that is, with carbon or soot on the face) or by changing handsome men into dwarfs or into paupers at the stroke of midnight. These storytellers simply took the account of Sarah and said that God could change her from being an old woman of about 90 years of age and make her so attractive that Pharaoh (a Prince) would desire her. In the Fairy Stories, after the encounter with the Prince, the woman would turn back into an old woman (or into a Char or Carbon Girl in the Cinderella story ó that is, into a "Black Girl" who was a foreigner such as was Ruth, or as the "Black Girl" who desired Solomon as recorded in the Song of Songs 1:6). It should be remembered that all the Shiela-Na-Gigs that were placed on the churches/cathedrals were shown as old women but they could turn themselves (in the various stories told about them ó see my Part One) into beautiful women (as they thought God changed Sarah from an old women into an attractive young woman so that Pharaoh desired her). These stories are corruptions, of course, of various biblical accounts with lots of "hats and canes" thrown in to mix up and intertwine stories with one another.
The reason the story of Sarah and Abraham was important to medieval storytellers is because Sarah was a type of Mary the mother of Jesus, and Abraham was a type of God the Father. Isaac was a miracle baby as was Jesus. While Christ was born of a virgin, both Sarah and Abraham were "dead in body" and were too old to have children. But Sarah "became young" (in medieval eyes) and produced a single and only begotten son for Abraham named Isaac. Then, like God the Father, Abraham attempted to offer up on the same spot as Christ his only son Isaac. This was analogous to God the Father offering up Christ as a sacrifice for all of us. Isaac also volunteered to become a sacrifice to please his father Abraham, like Jesus volunteered to become a sacrifice to please God the Father.
So, Sarah and Abraham (with Isaac) became similar to (and types of) Mary and God the Father (with Jesus). Also, both Sarah and Mary came to resemble Eve our first parent who was the Mother of All-Living. Both Sarah and Eve lived into very old age (thus the Shiela-Na-Gigs who were their types were shown to be old women) but they could (so the story goes) turn themselves into beautiful young women as were Ruth and Mary (their co-partners in the medieval stories that helped to become the actors in some of our Fairy Tales and Folklore accounts). All these four particular women were depicted as righteous in the biblical accounts, but strange as it may seem, in the genealogy of Jesus as shown in Matthew, other than Ruth the foreigner, those three women in the genealogy were conversely singled out as being a harlot (Rachab), a woman who committed incest (Tamar), and a woman who was a deliberate adulteress (Bathsheba). There was a good reason why these latter four women were placed in Christís genealogy.
In closing, we should remember that cute little church in the vale (that we see on Christmas cards or on calendars with its pointed arched entrances, filigree windows and steeple). You may think the scene is charming and delightful, and from a human point of view I would agree. These churches seem so quaint and they nostalgically remind us of a wonderful righteous neighborhood in which peace and serenity reigns. But what of God the Father and Christ who know precisely what those allegorical designs mean? The whole thing is humorous in one way of looking at it. God has got Satan to deceive us moderns so thoroughly (II Thessalonians 2:9-11), and we have bought Satanís ploy hook, line and sinker, that churchgoers today (without blushing) are now surrounded with copious sexual designs in their worship services that represent in symbolic form the female and male genitalia in their full reproductive stances.
And though all adult Christians should know that God is not as prudish about sexual matters as most immature Christians think, it should be remembered that there was not a single sexual theme found in the Holy Temple at Jerusalem that God designed Himself. There were no pinnacles or towers associated with the Temple. The so-called "pinnacle" mentioned in Matthew 4:5 in the original Greek meant a "wing" or an "arm" of the Temple. What all of us should do who are mature Christians is to ask if such symbols as pointed arched windows and spires/steeples ought to adorn our modern Christian churches? They are esoteric sexual symbols. As for me, I do not think the Reformation went far enough in "cleaning up" the medieval churches and their doctrines. And soon, the Bible prophesies, people will turn from this symbolic idolatry (Zechariah 12:10 through 13:6). God speed that day.
Ernest L. Martin
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