This tends to be the first thing that comes to my mind when I think of “transformation” – the typical caterpillar – to – butterfly. It’s obvious, it’s clear, there is a process involved. But what the hell does it have to do with Brigid? Well, ye know it’s coming!
What do I mean by “transformation”?
- 1.a marked change in form, nature, or appearance.
Transformation is change. Now, I have changed significantly in the last, say, 20 years. It’s not all entirely down to Brigid of course. Some of it is just the generally changes that come in life between your 20’s and your 40’s. There are very few people I know living the same life at 40 that they did at 20.
And so from hour to hour we ripe and ripe,Shakespeare’s “As You Like It”
And then from hour to hour we rot and rot;
I love that quote, you know. It sums up the changes and transformations we go through as we move through life. And ok, it might seem a bit miserable, but it’s true. There are natural changes our bodies go through as we age (not to sound all primary school teacher-ish!)
But… what does Brigid have to do with transformation?
Fair question. And it’s not something we consider very often with Brigid. But, think about her links with liminality. That’s where the transformation, the change, happens. It’s not usually in the core of things, our comfort zones, the things we do, same old, same old. It’s in the differences. Transformation happens when we push ourselves a little bit. Or indeed, when Brigid pushes us a little. Or maybe a lot.
Take me as an example. I am far more comfortable in my own skin than I was 20yrs ago. Now part of that is, as I said above, just getting older. But part of it is the transformation that Brigid has helped me achieve. When I talk about shadow work, I’m talking about transformation. When I talk about pushing myself to teach, I’m talking bout transformation. Even the simple act of lighting candles, consciously and with intent, has helped me change and grow.
Part of the work that I do is to know myself. Be able to look myself in the eyes. To not be ashamed of myself. And I like helping other people, women in particular, to achieve this as well. That is a massive transformation for me. Both knowing myself and being willing to put myself out there to help other people. Because for a long time, the thought I had was “who the hell would listen to me?” As it turns out – a fair few people. And I’m very happy about that, even if I still get those doubts sometimes.
Alright, so what kinds of transformation are we talking about?
Well, first and foremost – honesty. I spent a lot of my youth lying. Lying to myself, to those around me, strangers, friends… it didn’t really matter. Lies came as easily to me as truth, and in some cases, easier. It took a lot of work to get to the point where the truth comes first now. Sometimes it comes a bit quickly or bluntly, but I can live with that. It saves me so much energy and emotional output to just – be honest. I don’t have to remember who knows what about what. I don’t have to consider what stories I’ve told where. It’s just easier.
Now this doesn’t mean I reveal all to everyone of course. I took the warnings in the book The Circle to heart! (Great book by the way, raised some very interesting questions) But I don’t lie much at all anymore.
Another major transformation is to accept myself as I am. This doesn’t mean I won’t work to change things I don’t like. But the first step in any meaningful, long term change, in my experience, is that acceptance. The ability to say “This is who I am, today”. You wouldn’t believe the hassles I had with this. Even accepting that I used to be a certain way that I really don’t approve of anymore – major work involved there. But…
Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.Maya Angelou
What did the work of transformation look like?
As I said above – shadow work. Looking myself in the mirror. A lot of navel gazing. Writing. Remembering. Accepting there are some things I don’t remember and probably never will. That was hard. I had to give up the image I had of myself. I had some very long talks with Brigid about this. Crying, begging forgiveness.
But, I have to live with the fact that I did things I am very definitely not proud of when I was younger. I probably will do things I’m not proud of in the future. They’ll be different things I’m not proud of – there’s that transformation again. But it will happen.
Y’see, no matter how much I change and transform – Brigid isn’t one for forgiveness as such. As in, she was fairly blunt about the fact that her forgiveness for these things wasn’t going to be worth much at all. And some of the people I’ve wronged can’t be tracked down or aren’t alive anymore. Forgiveness is something I have to live without. What I can do, is to make sure I don’t make the same mistakes again.
Any journey will lead to transformation
There is a school of thought that any journey will lead to transformation. And I kinda agree with that, to an extent. I think any journey with Brigid will definitely lead to transformation. Change happens in the margins, in pushing the envelope. Changes happens when we’re forced to view things differently.
Think of the different aspects of Brigid – deity, saint, druid, nun, healer, smith, poet. She’s not too keen on being put into boxes, so she’s really a great guide for a transformative journey. With her, I have found a day job that fulfils me and pays the bills with a little bit spare. I have found a side gig that brings in some extra, allows me to speak to some amazing people and develops my skills and talents in ways that I can then use in the day job. I got married to a man who is a brilliant support and counterpart for me. (And, I hope, I to him!) I live in a place I can find peace.
A journey with Brigid, over days, months or years, will bring transformations, whether it’s something as small as a new 5 min daily practice you can commit to, or, in a more extreme case, asking her for help and finding your life completely turned upside down overnight. I mean, be careful what you ask for with Brigid – sometimes the transformation can be a bit extreme. Or a lot extreme.
She can and will help, whether is the slow and gradual work of years, or the overnight option. I mean, I’ve suffered the overnight option once or twice. Life was definitely better afterwards, once the dust settles, but slow and gradual was definitely easier. So, y’know, be careful what you wish for.