Gifts: Nonchalance. Protection. Trust. Self-confidence.
Challenges: Bluntness. Sarcasm. Pre-emptive strike. Overly defensive. Arrogance (false confidence).
Who would dare touch you with Porcupine by your side? Defenses up, quills out, ready to strike. Only the foolish or the desperate mess with Porcupine—and end up empty-handed, but with a snout full of quills.
Porcupine is fearless because it knows it is safe. Porcupine trusts in its own ability to protect itself. It also trusts that others (potential predators) will recognize the danger to them and, thus, will keep on walking. This total self-confidence gives Porcupine an air of nonchalance. Porcupine doesn’t actually walk around with its quills out, ready to defend itself. Porcupine is relaxed. And Porcupine teaches that being relaxed in the midst of danger comes from having confidence in your own abilities.
As Will Smith says in the movie “After Earth,” “Danger is real. Fear is a choice.” Porcupine knows that danger is real. Porcupine is at risk. It is potential prey for cougars, coyotes, bears, wolves, and others. But Porcupine chooses fearlessness because being relaxed in the zen of your own knowingness feels better than being jacked up on fear-induced adrenaline.
Porcupine symbolizes facing your fear. Rather, Porcupine symbolizes the fear you need to face. When a predator does attack a porcupine, it has a better chance of success if it grabs the porcupine by the face—a vulnerable spot—and then going for the underbelly. This is also a lesson in protecting your vulnerabilities. While some other spirit animals teach flaunting your vulnerability or finding strength in your vulnerability, Porcupine, like Armadillo, teaches caution and self-protection, guarding your vulnerability.
Porcupine helps you harness the power of true self-confidence—the confidence that comes from trusting in yourself, even when you are at risk, even when you may fail, even when you may lose.
A challenge of Porcupine is showing any vulnerability at all. Working with Porcupine, you can easily succumb to the fear of vulnerability and being overly defensive. As a defense mechanism, the shadow side of Porcupine can come across as being too blunt, being sarcastic, and being arrogant. Arrogance is not true confidence; it is puffed up bravado so as to deflect criticism and ridicule. Arrogance and sarcasm are your version of Porcupine’s quills. Yes, they may keep criticism at bay. They may scare people away from exploiting your vulnerabilities. But your quills also block true intimacy.
When you find yourself throwing defensive barbs at someone, call in Porcupine to take over for you. Absorb Porcupine’s nonchalant confidence while you relax into a bit of vulnerability. Porcupine can provide the protection while you exercise a little trust.