White Buffalo Calf Woman – Goddess, Healer, Teacher, and Inspirational Spirit
Folklore of the Lakota people, a native American tribe, tells of the powerful White Buffalo calf Woman. There is something truly miraculous about the traditional folklore of the Native American People; it has the power to enchant, yet it brings a belief while enchanting. A belief in something far greater than man on earth. It brings the surety that there is a Universe and that we are a part of that universe.
This is so intrinsic and easily understandable to the Native American people, yet we grasp it but somehow cannot fathom it.
Over centuries, legends carried by oral tradition tell of a supernatural woman who taught the Lakota people their “Seven Scroll Ritual.” Also known as Pte Ska Win or Ptesanwi, her story forms the central belief system for the Lakota people. However, she also appears in other native American legends as a goddess figure.
White Buffalo Calf Woman appears to people during times of uncertainty and crisis. She brings messages from the ancestors but is also regarded as a healer.
As a goddess, she is the inspiration, strength, and power of creation. More recently, Native American people have told of intricate connections among nations and religions that are a part of the goddess legend.
‘White Buffalo Calf Woman.’ ( nativeheritageproject)
The 2000-year-old legend tells of a period of famine that had spread across the land. This famine had caused hunger amongst the tribes, and it was a time of war and uncertainty.
Two young Lakota warriors were riding their lean horses and on the lookout for something to hunt to feed their tribe. They saw a warm, gleaming light and a woman enveloped in gleaming mist as they looked up. With the tall, lean woman was an amazing white buffalo. She was the most incredibly beautiful woman they had ever seen. She had a feather in her hair and carried a bundle of sage with her. Her white robe was embroidered with sacred symbols that glistened in the early twilight.
One of the warriors approached her with lust in his eyes, but before he could come near her, a dark cloud descended over him, and he was frozen as if by a bolt of lightning.
The other warrior immediately fell to his knees and thought the same fate would befall him. The beautiful woman addressed him, saying, “I am a wakan, a holy woman, and I have come to help your tribes” with that, she softly brushed her hand through his hair.
The young warrior took the woman to his tribe. Here the Lakota town welcomed her and prepared a teepee for her. The tribe wanted to give the woman something to eat, but all they had were roots and insects, with some dried herbs and water.
White Buffalo Calf Woman sat down with the Lakota people and taught them how to smoke a pipe. She offered them tobacco made from red willow bark and encouraged them to go from tent to tent. In doing so, they created a circle, thus honoring the sun. This circle gave strength and honor and thanks to the sun.
She showed them how to use spiritual practices to preserve nature, she taught the tribe to revere and honor nature, and she taught them the words of prayer that honored their ancestral rites, as these had been forgotten over time.
This beautiful tribal goddess invited the people to sing with her to please mother earth, and she taught the tribe incantations and verses that needed to be offered to the four cardinal directions, North, South, East, and West. This pleased mother earth greatly.
She reminded the people about keeping the ceremony of the peace pipe and that during this ceremony, men and women should come together to honor their souls, their community, and their union.
Farewell for now
The White Buffalo Calf Woman said farewell and told the Lakota that she would be their protector as long as they followed the ceremonies as she showed them. If they followed these sacred rituals and took care of the earth, the earth would, in turn, take care of them.
Before she left, a great herd of black buffalo came from beyond the horizon. There were so many buffalo it seemed as if the mountains had turned black. The ground trembled with the thudding of their hooves.
As the goddess, healer, and teacher left, she said, “Toksha ake wacinyanktin ktelo,” which means “I shall see you again.”
To this day, they keep her legend alive as they wait for her return to the world. They know that the world will once again be purified when she returns. Her return will bring harmony, balance, and spirituality to all nations.