WISDOM STORIES – BUFFALO MOTHER
We are the ancient ones who have returned for our people.
Once we have filled their bellies and sheltered their bodies and taught their spirits….
We have returned.
Dawn broke across the Mother Mountain and she called me from my dreams. Today I was to become family in the truest sense of that word.
Sacred Ground International is a unique and special place on this earth. Here we walk connected and integrated with a powerful, living ecosystem. Everyone speaks. Every resident has a unique song that can be heard and learned from. Here, as humans, we remember who we really are in the story of all things.
This morning my God sister Alexis was arriving from Denver to walk with me in our first sacred harvest with the buffalo. Our community had joined in and contributed money, child care and love towards the process allowing us both to be here – now – together.
The sacred hunt is an ancient practice that was passed down from the Buffalo themselves. Tanah (the guardian of this place) will tell you the story if you ask her. It is one where we, the human hunters, become the hunted. Where the purity and openness of our hearts determine the outcome. The sacred harvest places us in a situation where we cannot deny how connected we are to all things.
Hugs exchanged, we entered into ceremony. Tanah explaining that the molecules of our thoughts, feelings and stories were already communicating with the molecules of the Buffalo. How could they not be? After all, quantum entanglement is now a known reality. When I closed my eyes, I could feel the herd moving across the wide, open grasslands of the ranch towards us. I could feel myself being assessed and observed. My prayers that morning were humble. They were a grace-filled request to know life and death in new ways and to understand the cycle of life here and everywhere. As we left the ranch with our hunters and protectors, Don and Tom, the balance of four struck me; two men, two women. All with a shared intention to honor life.
The herd found us easily. Alexis said they appeared to her as the old ones, cresting the hill in the distance, walking cloaked in ancient wisdom. For me, they appeared as love. As always when I first see them, my heart bursts open with the same feeling I get when a long absent, adored family member appears. This morning however, we approached each other with intent. This morning, a sacred and ancient exchange was about to take place.
We stopped the trucks and were surrounded in a matter of minutes. Unlike the normal friskiness that accompanies feeding, today they were calm and assured. They knew better than we did what was about to occur and were circling us to support our initiation.
Stepping out of the truck, hesitantly at first and then with growing confidence, Alexis and I walked out amongst them. Blondie and Hiawa, the new matriarch and bull appeared and stood with us. I knelt down in front of them and asked for their guidance and love. It is a powerful thing to be kneeling in front of two large buffalo in supplication. Without any thought of fear, I closed my eyes and heard the soft movement of hoof beats all around me, drumming in time with my own heart. Peace was the prevailing emotion and I knew my inner state was a perfect reflection of the outer behavior of the herd. Then like soft music, I could feel a presence approaching. The melody was enchanting and yet deeply wise. It held the promise of a whole new way of life in its notes and looking up, my eyes opened just as Alexis appeared at my side.
In front of us was a beautiful cow. Her eyes were the deepest brown and her hide soft and smooth. Standing next to her was a bull that I had been in conversation with over the preceding days and I was unsurprised to see him nuzzle her briefly before giving me one of his inviting stares. We had been chosen.
Rising to my feet, I took Alexis’s hand and we stood together, sisters, communing with our cow. Her name was Buffalo Mother and she was offering herself to us as a gift in one of the most ancient exchanges in the cycle of life on earth.
Don approached and stood with us as we watched Buffalo Mother walk slowly away from the rest of the herd. We stood amongst the buffalo, attentive and silent in reverence.
Then it came. The moment Tanah had told us would. The moment I had been waiting for my whole life. She stopped and turned her head, offering Don the perfect single shot to consummate the ceremony. With a breath of prayer, he honored her life and death with that blessed bullet. It was a moment that would forever change me. With the shot, my spirit flew out of my body and instantaneously become one with hers. Our souls entwined in that moment of life and death exchanged.
She became me.
I became buffalo family.
Most surprisingly to me, the rest of the herd didn’t flinch or move – just stood still and witnessed. With tears running down our faces, Alexis and I walked hand in hand with Don and Tom over to her body. We shared gratitude for her gifts and spoke prayers that the little ones from our community had written for her. Of course as always, their words summed up our communal thankfulness better than anything we could have said.
Buffalo for giving us life
for giving yourself for us
Tanah had told us that the buffalo grandmothers were walking with us on this morning. She said that they were honoring us for breaking new ground where others would follow. Our harvest had been number 501 for Sacred Ground – fitting for the beginning of a new cycle of life and education into the practices of restorying what it means to be human in these times of transition.
A few months later when Alexis was sharing some of the meat from Buffalo Mother with the little ones, Laurel her younger daughter wrote and shared this prayer of gratefulness.
“Mother Buffalo gave her life for us.
And we love her from her heart.
And she is part of our family.
(She then paused for a moment before continuing)
She is sacred to all of us.
And we should care for her.
And I think she is everything.”
The wisdom of Buffalo Mother walks with us all. The instinctive knowledge of what it means to be human in the web of life on earth is there for each of us to remember and reconnect with in our own ways.
Sacred Ground exists as a place of education and knowledge, waiting for those who wish to find it and share what they learn here. As Tanah says, “It is a place, a time, a reflection, a model of a vision, dream and hope that sits in the minds and hearts of mankind around the world.”
You can be a part of this vision and remember who you came here to be.
You can reconnect and walk with the buffalo.