These symbols* are also present in the strange stories surrounding Saint Barbara, a classic example of the way symbols and identities of saints and folktale characters are commingled. Saint Barbara, according to to legends that the church now calls spurious, was a virgin martyr, the daughter of a pagan gentleman of the third century in Syria. She wanted to be a Christian, and her father, horrified by that prospect, locked her up in a tower. The priest who came secretly to intrust her in the faith is said to have climbed her braid to her her prison. Wild as this story’s claims appear to us, Saint Barbara was not discredited until 1969! For centuries, she was depicted in the Christian iconography–a beautiful lady with fabulous long hair carrying her tower in her arms.
*bride who restores the kingdom, eternity in captivity, wicked parental figure, magical long hair
The Woman with the Alabaster Jar, Margaret Starbird