Mitakuye Oyasin and the lessons they bring


Pida Miya Tatanka! (Many Thanks Buffalo)

I have a wonderful set of cards called Medicine Cards. Captured within this deck are north american native teachings of the totem animals and ally spirits, hence the name “Medicine” cards. I’ve had this deck for more than 16 years now and have found using it has always provided me with extra meaning to situations, events or challenges in my life. It always makes me think about how the lessons apply to my current life. More recently I have moved away from using the cards in the most traditonal sense and have adapted the concept to my whole life - so now when I encounter an animal in my day I make a point of learning what that totem teaches and then I allow that wisdom to guide my interpretation of the experience I am having at the time. 

Yesterday Duncan and I spent the day in Elk Island National Park which is full of buffalo so it’s really no surprise that I would encounter a bison. In fact, we saw many, mostly at a distance, but a few up close on a couple of occasions, like this one grazing at the side of the road. We were watching him from the van and normally they completely ignore you, but when he turned and looked right at me he made a connection with me. So I wondered what medicine Bison is bringing me right now.

Buffalo teaches us to remain well grounded; to provide abundantly for others; to find the strength to carry on and be in harmony with Mother Earth; to give selflessly from the heart with pure intent; and also, the meaning of sacrifice and the sacredness of life. All life. But above all, Buffalo Medicine is about abundance. It teaches “that abundance is present in your life when ALL relations are honored as sacred.”

I know there is abundance in my life, especially in those times when it is easy to think there’s not. It’s all too easy to start feeling sorry for myself during those times so Buffalo is a great reminder to look at the real meaning in the world around me and stop being so self focused - my first world problems are not (in most cases) real problems. Also I know from many past experiences that you can’t be open to receiving more abundance in your life if you are not recognizing, appreciating and sharing the abundance that it already there.

The other lesson here - to love and treat all of our relations - every person, creature and element - with equal amounts of love and respect - is the real gift I get from Buffalo today, although it is a difficult one to accept. I have been really struggling recently with this in a certain area of my life and it’s upsetting for me to be so torn in this way. This is a gentle reminder that I need to look past my judgements and passionate beliefs and reactions to see the goodness and humanity in everybody, especially when they need my help. I’m still not really there yet (not even close) but I’m going to try to be a better person in this regard, thanks to Buffalo.

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