Slavin (2018 Congress)

Bridgette Slavin
(Medaille College, Buffalo, New York)

“Gendered Magic in Early Irish Texts”

Abstract of Paper
To be presented at the 53rd International Congress on Medieval Studies
(Kalamazoo, 2018)

Session on
“Celtic Magic Texts”

Sponsored by the Research Group on Manuscript Evidence
and the Societas Magica

Organized by Phillip A. Bernhardt–House
2018 Congress Program

[Published on 19 February 2018]


As I am currently completing the final edits to a monograph devoted to the contextual analysis of druídecht (“magic”, “druidic practice”), which is an abstract noun based on the Old Irish druí, or “druid,” I am extremely aware of the breadth of terminology concerning magical practices in medieval Irish texts. As my current research on the perception of druídecht draws to a close, my interest is shifting toward a gendered examination of supernatural practitioners portrayed in early Irish textual material.

This paper will analyze the terminology for female magical practitioners within medieval Irish religious, narrative, and normative texts. The study of figures referred to as ammait (“witch”) and bandruí (“druidess”) will be examined in contrast to the more familiar druí and his Latin counterpart, magus, to ascertain if the authors of this material perceived a difference in the actions and motivations of female and male magical practitioners.