|clay figure hedgehog goddess, Late Minoan III culture, 14thc B.C.|
You see, I've always been slightly repulsed by hedgehogs. I could never fully explain why, because honestly they seem to resemble many other rodent-like creatures, and I completely adore hamsters, mice, rats, etc. I would see a hedgehog design and think to myself, "Why are people attracted to this creature and why would they want to wear it? Am I missing something?" Slightly embarrassed by my feelings, I kept my thoughts to myself.
In the midst of some reading about ancient sculpture, I saw this image of a hedgehog goddess pictured above. I was so taken by her charming design that I made a photocopy and tucked it away for future investigation. The little bumps all over her skirt were similar to many of the design elements I was including in my abstract clay sculpture. Here was an example of me being attracted to something hedgehog related...very curious.
I was also intrigued by the snippet of text included with the photograph, explaining that this Aegean goddess was linked to regeneration and up until the twentieth century women in Alpine villages carried spiked balls painted red called "hedgehogs" as folk medicine for uterine problems.
When you are repulsed by something, it is always a clue that there is something you are wanting to learn about yourself but you are deeply afraid. Even though I knew this, I consciously chose to avoid hedgehogs for another three years. Then in a conversation with my mother about a book she thought I might enjoy, The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery, I realized that my curiosity and repulsion to hedgehogs had grown to such magnificent proportions that I had discover what it all meant.
So here begins my journey of understanding the secret of the hedgehog. I hope you will join me during this short blog series, to uncover and share your own thoughts about the hedgehog, and how it may relate to some of the most unique aspects of our human nature.