Since I’ve posted the new graphics and logos, a few questions have come up, so I’ll spend a few weeks posting about them. One of the most commonly asked questions is why the anvil? Aside from the obvious forge connection anyway. So that’s what we’ll be exploring in this post.
I was looking up anvils before the logos got finalised and I came across the above link. Call me daft, but I do love learning about the history of these things. Now, you can see from the above drawing that an anvil is a fairly complicated bit of kit for a lump of iron. But it’s also hugely useful. There is an anvil rusting away in the shed at my grandparents place – I discovered it with my bare toe when I was younger, which is not something I recommend, just FYI. It was an extremely common farm tool. And as for how it was made, well…
“Wrought-iron anvils were made of blocks that started out as piles of scrap iron. The scrap iron was forge-welded, and the resulting block was shaped into an anvil under a trip hammer. Next, the hardened steel faceplate was hammer-welded into place and final finishing was done by hand, using sledge hammers, flatters and other shaping tools as well as grinders. As many as seven men were needed to position and hammer a single anvil during this process. Present-day anvils are made mostly of cast steel with a hardened face.” (from Farm Collector again)
So, we’re talking about a tough bit of kit and one that used to hard treatment and work. What then do we mean about being put through Brigid’s Anvil?
Here’s where we need to deal with some misconceptions about Brigid. Very often, I see people new to working with Brigid, who see her as a kind, motherly, gentle deity. And in some ways she is. But no more than a parent has to instill discipline in their children, and usually shape their children to some extent at least, so too with Brigid. She doesn’t just see us as tools, but she does need to shape her tools to suit the work that is coming towards us.
It can be really hard. I’ve heard stories of people’s lives falling apart in many ways, relationships falling apart, jobs being lost, financial insecurity, loss, pain, strife. We need to be very clear though that this isn’t abuse. And it’s not the old “everything happens for a reason bullshit” (more on that later). What these changes and upheavals have in common is that generally we either learn skills she needs us to have or we are in a better position with work, relationships, life to be the tool she needs.
It’s even hard to describe what it’s like going through the anvil, because frankly, most people I know who talk about this, only really recognise it afterwards. But there are a few things it’s not:
- It’s not abuse
- It’s not your fault
- It’s not miscarriage
- It’s not trauma
- It’s not something that someone else has done, i.e. not a robbery or not an attack
- It’s not pointless
- It’s not without end
If you have a chronic illness – this is not what I’m talking about. If you have lost someone close to you – this is not what I’m talking about. Rape, abuse, assault – none of these things. If it’s a decision that someone else has taken to do something to you, then no, this isn’t it.
But the end of what you realise now is an abusive relationship and the recovery after it, that could be it. Not the abuse, but the recovery and the painful steps to rebuild yourself afterwards. Brigid isn’t going to cause a miscarriage to better prepare you for something, miscarriage isn’t not something I believe happens for a reason. She may use the recovery from such an event to help you come back stronger, but she will not cause such things.
But she does want her tools shaped, so if there’s a great project at work that will help you develop skills she knows you’re going to need, but it will put pressure on you, eh… she might give you a push in the right direction. If there’s a short term emergency that means you risk burnout or extreme fatigue, but the payback will be massive – you might get a nudge for that as well. But she doesn’t want or need broken tools. Tempering – sure. Shaping – absolutely. Broken? Sure what use would you be to her?
Now, I’m going to return to the “everything happens for a reason” thing. It is my firm belief it doesn’t. I don’t see any benefit in thinking that an abused child “chose” their parents or abuser to learn a lesson. That to me is someone (not the child) choosing to abuse and torment someone weaker than themselves. All anyone learns from that is how to deal with trauma. Equally, I don’t see how a miscarriage happens for a reason, unless it is that the body recognises something in the foetus that isn’t compatibly with life. It’s a biological process, not a learning moment. A partner that turns violent? This is on them, not you – you’re not responsible for other people’s actions.
I hope this helps a little bit. If you think you are going through the anvil and would like some support, check out the school for the available options. I will be talking through some more about the new logos and images in the coming weeks, so if you have questions, shout up now!