Porcupine: A Symbolic Guide Through Grief

Porcupine Symbolism In Times of Grief
Porcupine Symbolism In Times of Grief

My mother-by-marriage (and mother-by-heart) passed away on Monday. 

Her transition naturally triggers a chain reaction for every soul she touched in her life, including me.

It’s been numbing.  Also, it’s been very telling to observe how each human copes so differently with the physical loss of our beloved.

Equally intriguing is the observance of various energies surfacing amidst raw human emotion.

Upon every encounter with physical death, the Porcupine wobbles into my presence with aplomb.  It enters my awareness with a casual authority, squatty legs shuffling through my mind, my meditations, moving through my moods.

I observe those quills as I have in the past, and know with piercing clarity the ability to barb in reactive situations.  So, I become mindful of my tongue & the energy I’m outputting in these moments of crude emotion.  Porcupine quills are slightly snagged at the tip making them neigh impossible to remove.  Once they meet their target those clever darts tend to stay put. 

 I keep my quills in-check these days following the death of my mother; keeping close watch on my behavior so as not to cause damage that cannot be undone.

Thankfully, those quills are multi-purpose.  Did you know they serve as floating devices?  Very apropos.  In murky pools of turbulent emotion, I feel my energetic quills fanning out – filled with air, they keep me afloat.  When waves of melancholy and morose moods threaten to overcome, Porcupine ingenuity keeps me buoyant, solvent, topside.

Also, mom’s passing and the ensuing madness are tailor-made for burrowing, something the Porcupine and I do together in silence.  Retreat.  Withdraw.  Porc’s don’t hibernate, but they are masters at holing up until the sun chooses to show itself again.

Which reminds me, Porcupines are considered solar or fire animals in many cultures.  Their quills are likened to sun rays spanning out from our solar orb.    I take comfort in this, as I am reminded of the radiant nature of my mom, she was a penetrating light and a presence of compassionate warmth to all who knew her – including me. 

I also find it fitting that aboriginal Nigerians paid special homage to the Porcupine, and saw the creature as a liaison to the spirit-realms. I totally dig this association.  With its unassuming candor, the Porcupine is a perfect travel guide through the veils of parallel life/lives. 

My Native American kin tell me the Porcupine is also an “in-between” walker.  With nonchalance, it moves through shadows of life and death…  straddling weird and paradoxical realities with aloof matter-of-fact’ness.

For these and many more reasons, the Porcupine has a stoic calm that proves invaluable in times of excruciating grief.   This totemic guide also opens channels of curious awareness – which, in solemn pits of sorrow can be priceless. 

The Porcupine delivers a childlike sense of wonder, which breathes new life in topics of death.  Adjustable focus, silver linings, awe, inspiration – all effective tools for healing in times like these.

In both life and physical death the Porcupine remains a remarkably effective compatriot:   A reminder, a guardian, a friend, and of course, a consummate flotation device in consumptive, emotional waves.

Other pages of interest:

Solar Animals

Hedgehog Symbolism

Animal Totemism

Thanks to Moosealope on Flickr for the Porcupine image above.

6 thoughts on “Porcupine: A Symbolic Guide Through Grief”

  1. Deep thoughts and prayers are with you & R. at this difficult time.
    Bright blessings of peace to all.

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