I’ve written before about Brigid and her anvil, but since at that time I was focused mostly on what it isn’t, I thought it time to revisit the idea. Just to reconfirm, the anvil isn’t and never will be:
- your fault
- something that someone else has done, i.e. not a robbery or not an attack
- without end
I don’t subscribe to the idea that these things are sent to us to have us learn a lesson and I doubt I ever will.
What is an anvil?
An anvil is a tool for making other tools. There is a chance that at times you might be serving as such for other people! Delivering the messages or guidance that others might need to hear. I wouldn’t go about saying that mind, or indeed offering to be one for someone else. If you do serve in such a role, it’s doubtful you’d be fully aware of it at the time, in my experience.
An anvil is a rock solid, dense piece of metal. It has to be, to stand up to the blows and tempering done on it. So, to be an anvil is tough to say the least. You withstand blows that shatter other pieces. You also, to a certain extent, protect other pieces. It might seem like a passive role, but only in that resistant can be passive.
How do I know I’m on the Anvil?
Well, try asking Brigid for a start. Let’s face it, she’s usually pretty good at letting us know what she wants us to know. But also, it’s not always good for us to know when we’re on the anvil. It can be easier to focus on getting through rather than worrying about the process. Think about the effort required to train in martial arts, or medicine, or engineering – none of it is painless. But a lot of the time, we have to trust that process and focus on getting the next box ticker.
Now, we all know stories of people asking Brigid for help and finding their lives turned upside-down. From my own stories of feeding two people on a tenner a month (yes, seriously!) to others describing break-ups, abrupt evictions, job losses… it’s not always easy when Brigid (or indeed any deity) gives you assistance. They have this insistence that they know better how to get you what you need…
So bear in mind, that even the act of asking Brigid for help can be perilous at times. On the other hand, sometimes she decides we need time on the anvil. So there is an aspect here of “what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger” (even if I don’t fully agree with that). A better way of looking at it might be of tempering a metal to make it more useful.
And it fits better with the whole Anvil theme as well.
OK, but seriously, how do I know I’m on the bloody Anvil?
Well, how are you feeling? Are you going through a tough time that’s forcing you to develop new resilience, new skills, new habits? Is your life being turned upside down, but it appears it might work out better than it was?
Is it tough, with no end in sight, but you feel optimistic? Do you know this is a process you need to go through to attain a goal?
Have you asked her? Have you spoken to her? Remember your basics. For me, these are: sleep, food, fresh air, water, walking. These are the foundation blocks, the basics for my life working. Regardless of whether I’m on the anvil, being the anvil or just living normally, these are the things that help everything else work.
Surviving the Anvil
Really, for me, it is about those basics. The Anvil is a time of pressure, of tempering, whether the soul, the mind or the body. So, there needs to be a certain quality of metal involved to help survival in the first place. I wouldn’t worry too much about that, mind you. If Brigid decides you’re hitting the Anvil, chances are, you have been tested a bit before this already. Whether you realise it or not.
And this advice can help with all the tough times. Decide on your basics and make sure they’re in place. Sleep, food, fresh air, water and walking are mine, but yours may differ. To be honest, reading is a basic as well, but it’s like breathing for me, so I don’t bother putting it on the list. What are the foundation pillars for you life and how do you ensure they get done?
Then think about the next level – how do you ensure income, shelter, etc during tough periods. Money is a great buffer against problems, but unfortunately not available to everyone. What supports in the community can you access?
Is there someone close to you who can help you in a spiritual way? Is there a counsellor, priest/ess/ex, therapist, whatever you can talk to about this time? It’s not easy, I know it’s really not. But if you’re going through the Anvil, the outcome is nearly always worth it!