The legend of the White Buffalo goes back about 2,000 years. The story is told at many council meetings, sacred ceremonies, and by storytellers. As with many stories and legends, there are several variations, but all have the same theme; communicating with the Creator through prayer, and with clear intent of Peace, Harmony and Balance for all things living on Mother Earth. The Legend tells about how the people had lost the ability to communicate with the Creator. The Creator sends White Buffalo Calf Woman to teach the people how to pray with the pipe. Seven Sacred Ceremonies were given along with the pipe to ensure a future with Harmony, Peace and Balance. Legend says, long ago, two young warriors were hunting, when they came across a beautiful woman dressed in white buckskin. One of the warrior hunters instantly knew her as a Wakan (or sacred being). The other approached the woman with lust in his eyes and wanted to take her as his woman. As the lustful Warrior approached her, a cloud of dust rose that covered them from view. When the dust cleared, White Buffalo Calf Woman appeared with what was left of the hunter; a pile of decaying bones. White Buffalo Calf Woman approached the respectful Warrior and explained to him that she had granted the other Hunter’s wish, allowing him, in those few moments, to live a lifetime, die and decay. She passed on a message to the Brave Warrior to take back to his people; to prepare for her arrival and to teach them to pray. The Hunter obeyed, and when White Buffalo Calf woman returned, she carried a bundle (The sacred pipe) and instructed them in the seven ways to pray. These prayers are through ceremonies that include the Sweat Lodge for purification; the Naming Ceremony for child naming; the Healing Ceremony to restore health to the body, mind and spirit; the adoption ceremony for making of relatives; the marriage ceremony for uniting male and female; the Vision Quest for communing with the Creator for direction and answers to one’s life; and the Sun dance Ceremony to pray for the well-being of all the People. When her teachings were through, she told the people that she would return for the sacred bundle which she had left with them. She said that within her were the four ages, and in each age, she would look back upon the people but return only after the fourth. She would restore Harmony and Spirituality into a troubled world. She walked a short distance; she looked back towards the people and sat down. When she arose she had become a black buffalo. Walking a little further, the buffalo laid down, this time arising as a yellow buffalo. The third time the buffalo walked a little further and this time arose as a red buffalo. Walking a little further it rolled on the ground and rose one last time as a white buffalo calf signaling the fulfillment of the White Buffalo Calf prophecy.
The legend of the White Buffalo Calf Woman remains one of hope that the people will learn from the past and bring promise to the future. This means turning from the war like mentality to one of trust and faith that will come to pass. It is noted that the first three ages of cleansing were as follows, fire, ice and flood. The fourth age that White Buffalo Calf Woman speaks of is the cleansing of the world through war. Only after this event will she return to the people.
Meeting of Minds July 2013