Context: An Essay written in partial fulfillment towards the award of the Masters in Art, Psyche and the Creative Imagination
Brigid holds personal significance for me; I bear Brigid as my middle name and was born on the 9th of February, close to Brigid's feast day. Brigid also has a rich presence in my family lineage, with my maternal grandmother, great-grandmother, and great-great-grandmother all sharing the name.
While sorting through my mother's belongings after her sudden passing on January 8th, 2023, I experienced a profound connection to her St. Brigid cross. Although initially uncertain about the reason behind this bond, its significance became apparent through reflection. Brigid may have met me at this transitional moment, offering me the opportunity to embark on an apprenticeship with her. It is also worth noting that Brigid may have been invoked when I enrolled in this course of study in the Autumn of 2022 when I was asked to provide my middle name during registration. Ever since that moment, every correspondence I encounter is a constant reminder that Brigid is providing support as I navigate this pivotal stage of my life. Amidst the conflicting forces and opposing directions that seem to tug at me, Brigid assures me that I am not alone.
In February 2023, Brigid's Day was celebrated as a national holiday in Ireland for the first time. Brigid embodies the symbolism of the threshold, representing the liminal space between two opposing polarities. She was born during a period of transition—at dawn on the first day of February, associated with the ancient pagan festival of Imbolc. She was born with her mother’s feet straddling the threshold of their home. Various versions of her birth story exist, with one narrative portraying her as the daughter of a nobleman and an enslaved woman. Another depicts her as the offspring of two powerful deities, the Dagda and Boann, or the Morrigan. Brigid was also invoked during significant life transitions, such as birth and death, in Celtic traditions (McFadden, 2021, p.39).
Brigid's character embodies the duality of many spiritual practices, simultaneously representing pagan and Christian traditions.
Brigid, the influential Christian saint associated with a Celtic goddess, is a study of liminality. She lives on the boundary between pagan mythology and Christian spirituality, between what was and what will be.
(Sellner, 1990, p. 2)
The Celtic tradition recognises liminal spaces as "thin places" where the boundary between worlds becomes permeable (Koch, 2018, p.12). Jungian psychotherapy employs dreams analysis and active imagination to bridge the gap between the conscious and unconscious, our personal thin place. Through my deepening connection with Brigid, I have discovered the significance of immersing myself in her symbolism to navigate the ambiguous aspects of my life.
In this essay, I explore Brigid's role as a conduit between consciousness and the unconscious, drawing insights from Jungian depth psychology concepts and practices. I examine the transformative potential of liminality and how cultivating the creative imagination can aid the journey towards individuation.
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