This handsome devil sits outside my home, keeping guard. Most people don't notice him right away. But when they do, they are often taken aback. I usually get a comment about my "interesting ornament" or "odd garden statue." I think he's rather charming.
The gargoyles created today may be relegated to common garden statuary, but the original gargoyles had much more elevated beginnings.
The word "gargoyle" is an offshoot of the word "gargle" (from the old French "gargouille" meaning throat.) Considering gargoyles were orginally built as decorative water spouts at the top of tall buildings sending rainwater shooting out of the mouths of the sculptures, the name seems fitting.
Gargoyles were orginally carved in many forms. Humans, animals, human-animal hybrids and chimeras (animal-animal hybrids) were all employed as suitable spouts, but if the carvings were merely decorative and served no water deflecting purposes, they were called "grotesques."
Churches sported these fantastical stone beings too. Were they simply a means to an end as far as architecture? Surely the church could have employed it's builders to create angelic spouts? Speculation states that the gargoyles were an object lesson. See the devil, how he hangs about waiting on the unfaithful? Better is that within these walls than that which is found without. It's easy to see how the strict looking statues could have become a warning against the evils of the world.
Whatever their beginnings, there are few gargoyles being created now in service to their old duties. Because of their weight and risk of falling (and the invention of modern downspouts) any gargoyle being built now is more likely a grotesque meant as decoration.
Smaller, more portable statuary has found it's way into homes and gardens as a symbol of protection, spirit, mystery or simply a source of entertainment.
Ellen Dugan in her newest book Practical Protection Magick has even included a "Gargoyle Warding Spell" to empower your own gargoyle for protection.
Search for them at garden centers, outdoor home furnishing stores or any shop that carries statuary. I had to ask for mine as the store didn't carry them, but they regularly brought in other garden decorations. I merely mentioned what I wanted and they found him for me.
Whether you bring a gargoyle home for protection or mere enjoyment, these wonderful stone charmers are definitely a great addition to your space!