Is it time for ‘deflector shields up!’ or have your defense mechanisms lodged you into a corner?
Porcupine medicine asks you to look at how you are going about reaching your current goal. If you’ve forced your way into a situation prematurely you may get the sharp end of life to teach you it’s time to back off. On the other hand, if you’ve made yourself unapproachable and inconsolable, not even your loved ones can get near enough to help you. Porcupine medicine advises against isolation at this time and she reminds us that you also have your own built-in security system.
We have ‘invisible’ energetic quills that project out past our bodies and silently define our boundaries. This quill shield is known as the auric field in yoga traditions, and if strong, can keep trouble far away. Porcupine medicine teaches us how to access our inner quills to communicate non-verbally when we want someone to back off, or not even approach at all. The next time you want out of an interaction with someone, visualize Porcupine’s quills rising and protecting you. Then watch how quickly the exchange ends. If you find you just can’t seem to locate your inner defense system you may need to strengthen your auric field. Yoga is a sure way to do this, but also any physical activity such as hiking, or sports will improve your inner power.
The human body is designed for action. But our high tech culture has removed the need for most action from our day to day lives so we have to consciously make time for physical exertion. When we let our physical bodies fade into lethargy we are rarely aware of the energetic effects that has on our life. People we don’t want to talk to suddenly call or stop by, co-workers get the better of us, and we feel generally unprepared or just on the verge of catching up. Porcupine says it’s time to polish your inner armor with physical exercise.
Contrary to her appearance, this little ball of daggers is ironically non- confrontational. She is an herbivore who has made it visibly clear what she will and won’t tolerate. She’s not looking for a fight, (see Badger) and she lets her natural defense system speak for itself so that she can get on with being innocent and curious about life. It is perfectly legal to make yourself unapproachable to people you don’t wish to interact with. But under all her weapons, Porcupine is a playful spirit, and her teachings advise us to stay social, stay communicative, and open to play. Contrary porcupine warns against excessive isolation and ‘do-it-yourself’ philosophies. When this medicine is out of balance she may be stuck in a situation due to her own unwillingness to let go of defenses. When arguments occur between people it is rare that friendly behavior will emerge immediatly out of the grips of frustration. There needs to be a release, a break, a walk-away for renewal. Leave the room, drink water, step outside into the fresh air and let time and space sweep away the energy charge between you and the other person.
Where there may be situations where stealth and sideways strategies are appropriate, this is not one of those times. Hunters of porcupines (Mountain Lions, Lynx, Wolf, Coyote) are required to attack head-on in order to avoid her lethal quills. Approaching a situation indirectly at this time could be deadly. Face the problem, the person, or the new event eye to eye. Are you causing more aggravation or are you smoothing things out?
Porcupine quills are designed with hooked barbs which sink deeper into the skin when pulled on. Where this design is inspiring advancement in medical equipment, it also has much to teach about the power of speach. Words also have barbs that cling and can’t be removed. Like porcupine’s quills, words are easy to release, impossible to retrieve. Throwing a spiked comment at someone may relieve your anger in the moment but the damage the words cause will linger and deepen the very pain you were trying to escape. Porcupine advises we always wait until anger has gone to speak what is in our hearts to say. If it is true, it will be there when the anger has passed and it will probably reach the person more effectively without the hostile tone. The truth can be deadly if not managed with care. Everyone has their own preferred ways of being approached and spoken to. It won’t kill you to play by their reasonable requests for kindness. It may kill your ego, though, which would, in turn, enable you to relate to a wider variety of people.
Though Porcupine can stand her ground in a confrontation, it takes weeks for a her to regrow lost quills. If she fought hard and escaped a battle, she is still in a greatly compromised position for weeks to come until her armory is renewed. Even though she is well-armed, confrontation is her last resort. Choose your battles wisely and conserve all energy.