Legend of White BUffalo Calf Woman
According to the story passed down by Lakota elders for 19 generations
(about 500 years), someday a white buffalo calf would be born in fulfillment of prophecy. On August
19, 1994, a brown eyed white buffalo calf was born into the small herd at a hobby farm in Janesville, Wisconsin.
The elders acknowledged the birth as a sign that White Buffalo Calf Woman's prophecy was being
fulfilled. The calf was named "Miracle". As she grew, her colour changed into the brown of an ordinary buffalo.
She wasn't even an albino! That's how sacred this buffalo and the prophecy actually are.
The legend says that one Autumn, 19 generations ago, the Indian people out on the prairie experienced
an unprecendented hardship. The season was the "Moon of the Ripe Plums" and no buffalos could be found. For as
long as anyone could remember, an abundance of the shaggy buffalos filled their land. The sky was filled with infinite
stars and the land was covered with buffalos as far as the eye could see. Suddenly, they disappeared.
The people were not only hungry, they were also anxious about approaching winter. Always during this season of "Indian
Summer" the camp was bustling with the activity of tanning extra robes & drying supplies of meat for hte cold moons ahead
when deep snow would keep them inside their tipis. Suddenly, these staving people had no daily tasks to fulfill.
Their normal routines turned to depression and concern. They believed that the crisis was happening for some reason,
yet no one could understand why the buffalos had left. Always, the buffalos had taken care of the people like dependable
One day two scouts went out in search of buffalo. The sun was near the horizon and
it was almost time to turn back towards camp. Suddenly they spotted a lone buffalo approaching from the direction
of the north. This buffalo came closer.
"Oh no," declared the first man, disappointedly, that's not a buffalo, it's just a woman."
The figure came forward.
"Hey," he nudged his friend, "this woman's good to look at, I know what I'm gonna do with
her". It was the typical way that this man and others always viewed women....as a challenge for conquest, as a means
to satisfy his need for pleasure.
"Hold on," warned the second scout, "can't you see that this is a special woman?
Look at the beautiful colours of the quillwork on her dress. Those are sacred patterns. None of the women in our tribe
have ever used such marvelous designs. I think she's a holy woman."
As the woman dressed in white buckskin came closer, the men saw that she carried a medicine bundle
made of buffalo fur over her shoulder.
The first man continued to feel lust for the beautiful mystery woman, who now stood in front
of them. Because she actually was a spirit woman, she could 'hear' his thoughts. She looked at the first man and
invited him to come closer. He imagined it was his charm and 'way with women' that was attracting her attention.
He approached, and as she touched his arm, a white cloud suddenly dropped from the sky and covered the pair. The second
man watched in dismay. As the cloud settled to the ground, his friend was no longer a man. At the feet of the
mysterious woman lay a pile of bones. Some of the elders say that snakes were crawling in and out of those bones,
Turning to go, with a shaking voice, the remaining scout spoke to the woman, "I'm
not like that man. I won't bother you, and I'm heading back to my people right now."
"It's okay," reassured the woman,"I understand all that is happening here. Your lives have
grown out of balance. One source of the imbalance is the way that the woman is perceived. This man has always
seen women as only a way to satisfy his needs. To his way of thinking, women are here to serve the men. I come
from the Buffalo Nation and in this medicine bundle, I carry teachings that will help your people. Your people need
to learn new ways of looking at the world. When you change your thinking and practices, the buffalo will come again
to take care of you. For now, you must return to your camp and prepare for my visit. Make a big ceremonial lodge
and in a few days I shall come."
This man did as he was asked, and a speciallodge
was prepared for the visitor. A few days later all the people gathered around. A sacred altar had been prepared,
and the mysterious woman went there. She knelt on the ground and opened the bundle made of buffalo hide. The mystical
woman brought out the stone bowl and the wooden stem of a sacred pipe. It was the very first pipe known to
these Indian people. She explained how the two parts, the wooden stem and the stone bowl, represent the male
and female aspects of life.
She explained, "The stone bowl is of the Earth and symbolizes
the woman. Just as all life comes from Mother Earth, the life of a human comes through the mother. The stem is
made of the tree, which represents the man. The tree grows from the Earth and a baby boy is born from his mother.
The sacred feminine is the source of life."
She joined the two parts together, "when the two parts come together to make a
sacred pipe, its akin to the sacred power to create new life given to a husband and wife."
Next, she took some herbs from her bundle and spoke about the medicine gifts
of the plants. She put the herbs into the bowl and lit the pipe. She held the stem to her lips and drew in the
smoke. Gently, she released the smoke into the air.
"Now," she told everyone, "whenever you pray with the pipe in this way, you can
actually see your prayers rising to the Creator in the smoke.." She passed the pipe around for everyone to share. "Now
your prayers are visible."
She continued with her teachings, "Your lives have grown out of balance and
this is why the buffalos have disappeared. They are not feeling respected. The hunters have known how to find
and kill buffalo. Now, whenever they practice prayers with the sacred pipe, they will remember to take the buffalo's
lives with reverence and gratitude. Your lives have grown out of balance. The physical side of hunting has
become more important than the spiritual impact of taking the life of a buffalo. In another way, your lives are out
of balance. It's become normal for you to think that a man is more powerful and more important than a woman. A
woman is not strong enough to hunt the buffalos that sustain your lives. Many women have become like servants to the
men here. And most men see women only as a means for giving them pleasure. The pipe will be a constant
reminder of the importance of woman as a sacred being who is like Mother Earth who is the source of all life. The bowl
and the stem are equally important parts of the pipe."
Next, the woman took another object from her bundle.
It was a flat stone with seven circles inscribed around the circumference of the stone. Each circle was smaller thatn the
one before, giving the look of a spiral. She explained, "Each of these circles on the stone symbolize a creremony that
will help you in the cycle of your live. Whenever you begin these ceremonies, you will pray with the pipe.
You already know the first two ceremonies, which are the Inipi Purification Lodge, and the Vision Quest." She described
the Sun Dance ceremony to be held every summer as an annual renewal. She was sharing much information, "The last four
ceremonies will be shown to your holy people through dream or vision." Eventually, the people were shown the ceremony
for 'Keeping the Soul' when someone dies, the ceremony for Making Relatives, A Girl Becoming a Woman, and the Throwing of
The mysterious visitor held up the bowl of the pipe for everyone
to examine, "On the bowl is carved a buffalo. You know about cycles of time ~ day and night, the waxing and waning of
the moon, the four seasons, and the cycle of a two~leggeds life. Mother Earth has a long cycle of time." She looked
at the elders, "even the oldest ones here cannot remember when it began because it was so long ago. Each leg of the
mythical buffalo is one Great Age in this long cycle for Earth. Every time one Great Age is finished, the buffalo
loses a leg. First was the Age of Stone. You know you are like the animals, yet different. One day, a two~legged
got the idea to take a stone and grind food. Then, someone dreamed about a bow and arrow for hunting. The Age
of Stone was finished, and the Bow Age began. The buffalo lost one leg. Next, a lightning storm left a fire.
The people decided to use it for warmth and cooking. This began the Fire Age. The buffalo was on two legs.
Now, Earth is beginning the Age of the Pipe. Everything you did before is good, and now you will do it in a sacred
manner. Every year the buffalo loses one hair. When the buffalo is totally bald, it will be time for it to roll
over. The Pipe Age will end, and a new grand cycle of time for Earth will begin. I will return then to help you
transition through the Shift of the Ages."
She got ready to leave, and reminded them of the balance between men and women.
The hunters show great physical prowess in the hunt. The woman has a mystical ability to bear new life in her body and
then teaches the little ones the ways of gentleness and caring for all living things.
The sacred pipe was left with the holy people. Everyone
watched her walk back to the north. Just as she almost disappeared from view, they saw a black buffalo calf in her place.
It rolled in the dust and stood up as a red buffalo calf. The red one rolled and became yellow. Finally, a white
buffalo calf stood looking back at the people. After that day, the herds of buffalos returned to feed the people again.
The birth of "Miracle" is a sign that Earth is coming to the
end of this grand cycle of time and a new great age is about to begin with the 'medicine' of the Sacred Feminine. True
prophecy is rooted in legend and contains instructions. The instructions of White Buffalo Woman's prophecy will be shared
through the film called, "SPIRIT OF SAGITTARIUS: THE STUDENT AS INDIAN".
All material is copyrighted by
White Buffalo Calf Productions, Inc