Brigid can be many things to many people. I often say there are as many Brigids as there are people who work with/for her. (Yes, I’m still not fully sold on the preposition there) And yes, I’ve written before about why to bother with deity, and why deity bothers with us. I could probably write entire volumes on what I’ve heard called “god-bothering” as well.
But today, I want to talk about herself specifically and the good and bad she can bring into our lives.
The good of Brigid
Yeah, I’m following the age-old structure of the good, the bad and the ugly. But we’ll start with the good anyway.
Brigid is a powerful deity in my experience. She can and will bring change to your life, as long as you do your part as well. She will open your mind and heart to possibilities you never suspected existed. You don’t believe me?
Ten years ago, I had just married, in a hell of a lot of debt, feeling fairly unhappy with myself, the world, but having no idea how to change things. I felt prompted, by something I didn’t fully understand to sign up to the waitlist of a women’s transformational retreat. It took me three years from the time I was first offered a place on this retreat to the time I actually turned up.
One my first night there, I spent the entire time planning how I could escape if I needed to. Car keys, and other items had been taken away since we “didn’t need them”. I felt some relief when I heard the following morning that someone had left and had been allowed to leave. When I voiced this, the woman leading that session was a bit shocked. I had thought I was trapped, but we moved through it.
I won’t go into the details of what happens in the retreat, in case anyone ever wants to attend. But it was indeed transformational. And at one point, I called on Brigid, along with some other Irish deities. Not expecting a return answer, but I called nonetheless. I remember standing in the final circle and saying outright “These lands are not my lands. These gods are not my gods. But I have land and gods to go home to.” It was a powerful reclamation of myself.
Now, ok, on the one hand, the almost-immediate answer came from the Dagda rather than Brigid, but he came and then kinda pointed me in the direction of Brigid herself. This was as I was sitting in a Travelodge, bawling my eyes out crying, just allowing a lot of emotion to leave my body.
Since then, my journey has continued through up and down, but always with herself beside me. That’s the good. Brigid commits when needed.
The bad of Brigid
I mean, it’s not really horrendous, but she does have a tendency to forget sometimes that we are human rather than inanimate tools. And, even with her inanimate tools, she’s not always too careful to mind them when she’s deep in the work. Check out the Scealaí Beag’s take on that here! It’s a story that rings true for me, because she is like most engineers of my experience. When you’re deep in the work, the work consumes you and the details like looking after your tools, whether your body or your mind or your actual tools, kinda slips.
But with Brigid, we are not powerless. You can, and should, shout out to her to get the support and rest you need. It’s easy to forget – most of what she asks is eminently practical and useful. But there are times when we need to say no. There might be consequences for saying no. We have to accept that and live with it. But prioritising ourselves is important!
She asks a lot. And this isn’t a Christian “you won’t be asked more than you can give”. Brigid can and will drive you to the edge of your abilities and beyond, when she chooses to push. “Comfort zones” mean nothing, really. Now, you still have to consent, but remember a deity has different ideas of consent than a human court would.
On the other hand, she helps you develop your abilities. She pushes you to achieve things you never thought possible. Brigid will stand behind you and push you to improve. For some of us, that looks like forcing ourselves through physio exercises, even if we don’t want to. For others, it looks like founding a school to talk about Brigid. Still others, she will push to publish a book. She is a deity of skill and craft, and if she sees a need for it. she will pester you until you give in.
How does Brigid get ugly?
I’ll be honest, starting this post, I was mostly thinking about how many times I’ve ugly cried in her service. That’s a lot of the ugly. But there have been ugly conversations. Ugly confrontations – even with myself.
I mentioned shadow work in my last post. You think that was pretty? Aside from the vomiting and diarrhoea, I mean. Looking into the parts of myself that I had suppressed led me down some very dark paths at times. Confronting those parts of myself that I was most ashamed of or embarrassed by – it’s not easy. None of it is easy.
But it helps things improve. Seriously. And yes, it’s hard and it’s difficult, and yes, ugly. We like to think of ourselves as good people, usually. But inside all of us is the capacity for positive and negative actions. We all have the capacity to be ugly in and of ourselves.
That work isn’t pretty. Whether it’s personal or group work, we end up exposing ourselves, making ourselves vulnerable and risking judgement and displeasure from others. Sometimes it can lead to friendships or other relationships breaking.
Brigid can, and does in my experience, insist on you knowing yourself though. She asks us to read to lore, fair enough, there’s little enough of it. But learning about ourselves, the ugly, dark, shameful parts of ourselves? That’s tough. And of course, you can have a good row with Brigid as well. I’ve done it and survived.
Not being disrespectful you understand, but a definite airing of views on different items. That rarely looks pretty either.
With all of this, why bother with Brigid?
Long time followers of Brigid, or those who have with/for her for a long time, often joke about the time on the Anvil. The time when Brigid shapes and hammers her tools into what she needs and wants. And it is hard, really hard going through those times.
Ultimately, it comes back to something I said in a previous post.
But when we work in line with our deities priorities and desires, things happen.https://mybrigidsforge.com/2021/07/25/why-bother-with-deity/
Yes, I realise quoting myself in my own blog post is a bit strange, but it’s true. Brigid has a need to get things done, and get things done in the most efficient way possible. There are times this feels like a steamroller passing over you. Time on the Anvil is not comfortable. But in my experience, I come out of those periods with my life being better.
When I’ve been sick, or needed to change a job, or needed a major change in my life – it has been really painful at times, but she has come through for me. For my last three job changes, I’ve only gone to one company’s interviews to get the job I wanted. That’s almost unheard of! But that’s her power.
Brigid can be comforting. She can be motherly, warm, helpful. But she won’t coddle you unnecessarily – and it’s her opinion, not yours that counts there. She will heal, shape and form you in ways you probably can’t even imagine at the start of your journey. She will push you into liminal spaces so uncertain, you’re not entirely sure where you are or what you’re doing there. But always, always, she is there at your back.
Why bother with Brigid? She is a force for necessary change in this world and by all the gods, do we need it!