I’m in the thick of revising my capstone paper right now, but even once I turn in the draft that I currently have it remains far from over. As I’ve mentioned before, my capstone paper is about the religious figure Brigid, but since that was at the beginning of the semester and now I’m in the thick of writing and revision I’m free to dive in with a bit more detail.
The first thing to get across is that as I said, this project is far from over and will continue well after the semester ends. I envision my capstone paper to be only the first chapter in a much longer work about Brigid, which hopefully will one day be published, though whether that is through self-publishing or an established publishing house is yet to be seen.
In any case, this first chapter is an examination of the assimilation of the pre-Christian goddess Brigit with Saint Brigit, as a precursor to my larger project rooted in looking at representations and worship of Brigit throughout her beginnings as shown in the capstone paper down to modern Christian and Neopagan worship of Saint Bridget and the goddess Brigid respectively. My argument for this paper is that even though what we know about the Pagan Brigit is known through an exclusively Christian lens, there exists the possibility of extracting Pagan influence from the aspects of Brigit seen in the lives of Saint Brigit beyond the Christian context that they exist in. This paper functions then as a close reading of key sections of extant texts regarding Brigit, combined with analyses of previous examinations of the connection between the goddess and Saint, concluding with my own thoughts and assumptions about the role of Brigit.
(You may notice that I’m switching back and forth here between Brigid, Bridget, and Brigit. For me, this change signifies the marker between talking about Brigit the pre-Christian goddess, Brigit the early Christian saint, Bridget the modern Christian saint, and Brigid the Neopagan goddess. I’m actually simplifying here, believe it or not, because another common Neopagan spelling is Brighid, among many other variations on the name.)
But I digress. The revision process has been an enjoyable one for me, as I feel that seeing how my arguments and ideas are understood by others greatly aids my ability to craft them. I am fairly confident that my first draft kinda sucked, but it’s the worst kept secret in writing that every first draft does, so I don’t beat myself up about it too hard, and I know that I just have to keep going back to working on the project and fine-tuning it so that it will be the best that it can be. I’ll admit that there have been not a few roadblocks and distractions, namely that certain sources have been a task and a half to get a hold of, but I think that what I have puts me in a good enough position to be somewhat of an authority in terms of knowing what I am talking about. That said, every day I find myself wishing more and more that I knew more Latin because it would be incredibly useful in this circumstance.
All the same, I know that where I am now is only the tipping point, and that I have quite a bit of work ahead of me for when I intend to pursue this project further after graduation. All of this depends on what I end up doing after graduation of course, and while I know that research would be easier if I pursued a PhD, given that I could conceivably make this the subject of my dissertation, I don’t think that is the path that I wish to pursue at this time, since I would prefer to work for at least a few years before going back to school.
Nevertheless, the idea of leaving Brandeis and academia in general is intimidating. I’ve already graduated once, but I came back right away, so it doesn’t feel the same, knowing that this time I won’t be coming back in the fall. We just had the early registration period, and it was the first one in five years that I haven’t used to sign up for a class, which was such an odd thought to wrap my brain around I hardly could.
In the meantime though, the party is not quite over yet, as I still have a couple more weeks to push through, and this paper isn’t going to revise itself, so I’d best be off! I have writing and revising to do.