Nima and Susan
— By Susan Eirich, Ph.D. —
We had a particularly powerful workshop last October with Rose De Dan of Wild Reiki and Shamanic Healing. According to Rose and other shamans who look at life from an alternative frame, Windwalker the cougar, near the end of his days, had hung onto life to be here through the last retreat of the year. People had flown in from around the country to see him one last time. Rose made him the focus of the workshop with ceremonies honoring him and his courage and beauty of spirit. Paralyzed in his hind legs, he lay regally and greeted each participant with warmth and dignity, purring his way through the entire visit. People in turn helped him into his wheelchair, groomed him, lay with him in the grass. At the end of the weekend Rose and Debbie, her assistant, came to say goodbye, realizing they would not see him again in this world. Windwalker, who had been unable to walk for weeks, struggled to his feet. Step by difficult step he managed to unsteadily but purposefully make his way over to meet them. Tears streaming, Rose and Debbie said goodbye. Windwalker passed away peacefully in Jean’s arms a few weeks later.
The entire weekend had such moments of power and beauty. At the end one of the participants, a Native American pipe carrier in the Lakota Sioux tradition, handed us a check. She said, “You need to have a white buffalo calf on the land.” We were stunned. To have such a responsibility and honor, caring for a representative of a people’s sacred tradition is daunting. But it is a gift one cannot refuse. She said, “The white buffalo teachings are very significant to many of the tribes, teaching the correct way of interacting with each other, pulling the tribe together. She teaches the value of right relationship with the people; the land. At the time the white buffalo came to the Lakota they were in conflict and she brought unity. She left them with the Sacred Pipe as a way to communicate with the Great Spirit, teaching unity and coming back around in full circle.” I asked her why she was giving this to Earthfire. She replied, “The land here is ancient Indian ground. This is a way to honor the elders, the ancient ones who have come before us. Earthfire’s vision is of teaching people how to come back into circle through animals. It all just fit.” She dedicated her gift to Chief Buddy Redbow and Sequoia, whose teachings were all about right relations.
In a book called White Buffalo Teachings by Chief Arvol Looking Horse, he wrote, “Nineteen generations ago the beautiful spirit we now refer to as White Buffalo Calf Woman brought the Sacred C’anupa (Sacred Pipe) to our People. She taught the People the Seven Sacred Rites and how to walk on Mother Earth in a sacred manner. Pte-san win-yan. As she left, she turned into a young beautiful white buffalo and then she walked over the hill and out of sight. This is where she received her name, White Buffalo Calf Woman. She gifted us with the Seven Sacred Rites that still sustain our People today. The person who smokes the sacred pipe achieves union with all Beings. By smoking this C’anupa, you will make direct personal contact with the Great Mystery. . . Following the Way of this Sacred C’anupa, you will walk in a sacred way upon the earth, for the Earth is your grandmother and your mother and she is sacred. . .”
“She told us her Spirit would return to help us one day in times of great hardship, and that we would recognize her.”
How do you find a white buffalo calf? We did the research and located a place that raised buffalo that carried white buffalo genes. We put in a request. We waited. We prepared as best we could mentally.
Dr. Susan Eirich is the Founder and Executive Director of Earthfire Institute Wildlife Sanctuary and Retreat Center. A licensed psychologist, biologist and educator, her goal is to widen the circle of conversation about conservation to include the voices of all living beings.
White Buffalo Teachings by Chief Arvol Looking Horse, 19th Generation Keeper of the Sacred White Buffalo Pipe of the Lakota, Dakota and Nakota Great Sioux Nation HYT Publishing www.haveyouthought.com.
Chief Arvol Looking Horse talks about his hopes for world peace between all nations. “I encourage the Nations to pray in their own ways and to revive their own ancient traditions for love and respect, which are the foundations stones of all Indigenous cultures.” He ends the book with a prayer for All Our Relations . . . Mitakuye Oyasin.