Quills

Mothering a fierce, independent, wild-souled teenager is hard.

Bordering on torturous.

We’ve been struggling for months now. Years actually.

This morning was tough.
Every day is more tough than its not.  And every day I wake up to a fresh slate, I ask for the guidance to meet her needs without sacrificing too many of my own. I ask for wisdom. I woke up and knew today would be tough the minute my feet hit the floor.  And on these days, if it’s within my means, I climb my mountain. Because I know I need healing. Like a magnet I am pulled to her, and she heals me.

But not without some tough love first.

I started climbing and soon felt the profound presence of a wild animal. I thought is was the momma bear I often run into. We’ve developed a fond kinship over the past 6 years, so I was hoping to cross paths with her but as I rounded the bend it wasn’t momma bear, but a porcupine standing square in my path.

I was excited to see her, but then the tiniest head popped out from behind her and I got downright gleeful because baby porcupines are just about the cutest things on earth.

Mamma porcupine wasn’t havin it.
She hissed at me, turned and raised her quills. I found this endearing and was convinced she couldn’t possibly reach me, so I grabbed for my phone to snap a picture.

“You foolish human. Put that thing away. Give her reverence. Immediately. ”
My spirit guide doesn’t fuck around and she’s not angelic by any stretch of the imagination. She keeps my shit in line.

I put the phone back, drew my hands up to my heart and slowly outstretched my arms and expanded my energy field to encompass her. She looked at me with both terror and curiosity. Quills still at full alert. I filled the space with divine love. I offered her peace. I assured her I meant neither her nor her adorable little baby any harm.
She wasn’t havin it.

“Walk around. I do not grant you safe passage.”
I was a little taken aback by this. I connect pretty easily with wild animals.
Porcupines and I kinda have a thing. I have a tattoo of one on my arm.
My ego was slightly wounded, but I continued sending the love and slowly lowered my arms. She lowered her quills simultaneously. Synchronicity.
“We are one.” I said
“Walk around” she replied.
Who I am to argue with an animal that rocks weapons?

I walked around, and she did not break her gaze from me. She made a noise and the baby scampered off to the bushes. I kept my gushing to a minimum because she was in no mood for my hippy shit today. I found a rock that was far enough away but still allowed us full view of each other.

I sat down and challenged her to a staring contest. Her brown eyes grew wider and she engaged me.

Immediately I was out of my body.
I was not alarmed by this, as I have been astral projecting since I was a child, but I found it peculiar to still be on the same mountain… in a different body.
An ancient version of myself, lifetimes ago, long before white men set foot on this land.

I was walking in the woods with my wolf. My mother, our clan’s medicine women had sent me on a task to gather plants and I was angry by this. I didn’t want to follow this lineage. I didn’t want to take care of people and stay bound to our clan. I didn’t want to learn these stupid plants or spend my days pounding roots, cooking salves. My sights were set to the mountains beyond this one. Who lived there? What were they like? My mother often yelled at me that I had a wandering spirit and I needed to stop this nonsense of leaving. I was bound by blood to serve my clan. And I resented this with every fiber of my being.  I hated her. I hated my clan. I hated this mountain. I hated gathering plants.
I would show her.
I would not come back tonight.
She would know guilt and pain and that would teach her.

I veered off the path and started heading west- towards the sun and into the valley. I would show her. The sun began setting and my wolf whimpered. She looked at me confused, but I assured her, we would just have an adventure for the night and we would head back tomorrow. She did not approve and this made me laugh.  Night fell and I built a fire. I knew it was unsafe to sleep on the ground, even with a wolf at my side. I found a tree with a nice forked limb and climbed it so I could sleep without fear of falling, but it was dark and as I reached my chosen limb, it was already inhabited by a porcupine. I startled her and she sent her quills at me. Three landed in my leg. I fell out of the tree, landing right on them, snapping the outer portion off, and lodging them deep in my leg. No broken bones, but I spent the night wide awake, terrorized by the sounds of wild life nearby sensing my wound, clinging to my wolf.

At the first break of light we headed home and didn’t arrive until nightfall the following day. By then the infection had begun. I could feel it’s heat.

Rather than greet me with open arms, my mother screamed at me. “Where have you been?!? Do you know the trouble you have caused? A search party is out looking for you! What were you thinking? Were are the plants I asked you to gather?”  I told her little of what happened. I was ashamed by my selfishness, but too proud to apologize, or tell her of my wound. I would show her. I would heal it myself.

Days passed and the infection only grew worse. I was helping skin a deer when I grew faint and passed out. When I awoke, a full day later, my wound was dressed and my mother was holding me. My wolf was there. I was afraid because she was never this affectionate unless something was wrong. “My leg…” It was so hard to speak. I was weak.
“Don’t speak. I see the quills. I tried to remove them but they are too deep. Why didn’t you tell me, sweet one?” she stroked my hair out of my face and her hand felt cold and soothing. “I wanted to show you I could heal myself. I’m sorry.” The tears fell from my eyes. She handed me willow bark tea. It was strong. I would sleep well. Only I never woke up. I fell into a deep coma and died shortly thereafter. I watched my mother from the in-between space for a long time after my death. She was consumed by grief and guilt. She renounced her healing abilities and succumbed to mental illness. She died a cold and lonely death in the middle of winter, no one by her side.

She greeted me in the in-between space.

We exchanged no words, but I saw that around her waist was a yellow chord attached to what looked like heavy boulders. The chord bound her to repeat the cycle of mental illness, guilt and shame. I began untying the knot and together we un-wound the chord. On the last loop, it transformed to dandelions, then fluff and they blew away in the wind. Everything felt lighter. My wolf appeared. I recognized her as my dog from this lifetime,  and came to the realization that exactly 15 years ago today I had to put her to sleep. She communicated with me “I have been with you many lifetimes. Twice I was with you in your current life, at your birth and at your daughters. I will return again when you are ready for me.” I wrapped my arms around her and wept with joy and sadness. I have missed her so.

I stood again and reached my right hand to touch my ancient mother’s heart and she did the same. We leaned in and touched foreheads, and for a moment I understood. There was deep forgiveness.  We were suspended in infinite love.
It was so beautiful, it overwhelmed me, and the tears rolled down my face, landing on my leg and bringing me back into the conscious here and now.

The porcupine and I were still locked in each other’s gaze.

I was completely disoriented until I heard the slight whimper of her baby in the bushes, patiently waiting for this interaction to run it’s course.

I raised my hands to my heart.
I spoke aloud.
“I forgive you for taking my life, all those lifetimes ago. You were only protecting yourself. We are one and we are at peace.”

I bowed my head in gratitude and she nodded, turned and scampered off to her baby.

I sat, utterly bedazzled for a few moments processing what had just transpired.
I let my tears run dry.
I caught my breath, stood up and as I released my hands to my side, they brushed 15 years of quills protruding from my heart.

I resumed my ascent, carefully and meticulously removing each one and discarding them on the path.

“I forgive you, my sweet porcupine girl. I forgive you. This time around, we’ll get it right.”

 

Sidenote: If you are at all curious about past life work, I highly recommend scheduling a session with the lovely Heather Bates. I find this work fascinating, deeply healing and though it is intense and requires an open heart and mind, it is well worth it.