As a vegetarian for 18 years, it seemed odd to be flying north to go pig hunting. I couldn’t even say “pig huntin'” without adding a hick twang (the “g” is silent). Although I had abstained from meat for nearly two decades, I had one weakness – bacon. How I adore that crunchy, greasy, salty goodness!
I decided if I was going to eat pig (pastrami sandwiches had been slipping under the radar lately) then I needed to respect the pig’s sacrifice and bear witness to its transition from life to death. I looked down on the snow covered Eastern Sierras and imagined holding the pig’s head while the life drained from its eyes.
This slightly romantic vision seemed apropos as I had recently resigned from a project I loved. I was scared of the unknown and trying so very hard not to worry about my decision. Many people said they were proud of me to stand up for my integrity and truth. But I feared I was being selfish, possibly risking security for myself and my boys. At the same time, my angels repeatedly told me not to worry or be fearful because it made me spiritually stinky and would repel the goodness coming my way
So, I dropped into the adventure at hand and read up on wild boar behavior. I quickly realized it was not likely to wearily rest its snout in my lap while drifting peaceably to the other side. More likely it would gnash at me with this fangs til its last breath. Hmmm.
The next morning I donned pigtails and newly purchased camo and silently followed Joey up and down rolling hills of fresh spring grass dotted with live oak trees and manzanitas looking for pig scat, signs of snuffling and game trails. Joey admired the beauty of the countryside, but I was torn.
For the first time instead of simply admiring the trees, brightly colored wildflowers, and possibly looking for faeries, I was looking to kill.
I tried to recall the power of Boar Medicine from Native American spirituality. Ever the idealist, I imagined through a strong connection with the animal, I could summon the beast to its sacrifice and what a good girlfriend I would be!
This fantasy calmed me until we entered a thicket of poison oak. We could go back up the insanely steep incline or bushwhack through the green, yet still ominous, poison oak. Onward we went until we reached a fallen log with four-foot poison oak on either side that would enable us to reach another hill – gratefully free of poison oak. Joey crossed first and waited with an encouraging smile.
After a couple of steps I wobbled and almost fell over – quickly snapping back to balance. Who was I kidding? Falling wasn’t an option. That poison oak was starting to look like molten lava. I took another step and my foot broke through the deteriorating log. Shit. Really? I kept going.
As I reached the other side and trudged up and down more hills under the hot sun, the word “fierce” bubbled to the surface – Boar Medicine is fierce medicine. Goosebumps. For weeks, I had been building courage to be fierce. I was scared for what life would bring, but always moving fiercely forward, fiercely in my integrity and in my truth, fiercely protective of me and all I love. I will never give up – and as long as I have Boar Medicine with me, I will have self-respect.
When I got home, the first thing that caught my eye was a sign I took my dad’s office after he died. It’s for Blue Boar Chewing Tobacco. That man is still watching out for me.
Wild Boar. . .teaches us to confront without fear,
Ripping apart the denials and lies that appear,
Testing courage, finding truth, its medicine will remain,
A part of every human path, marking the victories we attain. *
*Excerpt from Jamie Sams’ & David Carson’s Medicine Cards: The Discovery of Power Through the Ways of the Animal