Animals & Prophecy Red Cow - The White Buffalo
Animals & Prophecy
Red Cow - White Buffalo Calf
Animals are often represented as sacred symbols and are part of
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The Red Cow
Associated Press - 1997 - Kfar Hisidim, Israel
In the Middle East the birth of a red cow denotes end times. Two such
cows have been born. One in the US and one in the Middle east.
--Watched over by an armed guard in a skullcap and visited by rabbis
and other seekers of meaning, a rust-colored 10-month old heifer in Israel
is hailed as a sign of the coming of the Messiah and decried as a walking
Of a variety believed extinct for centuries, the red heifer is seen by
some as the missing link needed for religious Jews to rebuild their ancient
Temple in Jerusalem. Sacrificing the animal in its third year and using its
ashes in a purification rite would allow Jews to return 2000 years later
to the Temple site, a spot holy to both Jews and Muslims.
SACRED COW? Rabbi Shmaria Shore strokes the nose of 10 month-old Melody,
which some see as a harbinger of the Messiah. She is believed to be the first
red heifer born in Israel in at least 2,000 years.
COW: Religious Jews view heifer as a biblical portent
With tensions already high between Israel and the Palestinians, many
fear that the calf's arrival could create an explosive situation.
That cow represents the risk of a massive religious war," said Avraham
Poraz, a member of the parliament from the leftist Meretz Party. "If the
fanatics get ahold of it and try to take over the Temple Mount, God knows
what will happen. It only takes a few crazies to endanger all our lives."
Ten-month old Melody seems happy just lying around in the shade. But
the debate over her theological import is one of the more bizarre signs of
the growing rupture between religious and secular Israelis.
"The red heifer is one of the most important signs that we are living
in a special time," says Gershon Solomon, head of a group dedicated to rebuilding
the ancient Jewish Temple, destroyed by the Romans in 70 A.D.
Asked whether his group advocated that, Solomon would say only that he
believed the Dome of the Rock and al-Aska Mosque could be dismantled and
moved to Mecca -- a move that could hurt if not destroy prospects for regional
peace. Even though mainstream religious groups have not rallied around the
cow, some secular Israelis see her as a threat. "The potential harm from
this heifer is far greater than the destructive properties of a terrorist
bomb," the liberal Haaretz newspaper wrote recently, recommending that Melody
Menachem Friedman, an expert on religious affairs at Bar-Ilan University,
said Melody's birth created "a very delicate situation." "We don't know how
radical groups . . . will use it," he told the Associate Press. "People are
looking for those signs, and talking seriously about it."
The White Buffalo
To the Native Amercians the birth of a white buffalo signals 'end
Three such animals have been born since 1995. One died shortly after
In 1996 the world ushered in another white buffalo calf in South Dakota.
This is a prophecy symbol related to the end times we are now entering.
Legend of White Buffalo Calf Woman
One summer, long ago, the seven sacred council fires of the Lakota Oyate,
the nation, came together and camped. Every day they sent scouts to look
for game, but the scouts found nothing, and the people were starving.
Among the bands assembled were the Itazipcho, the Without-Bows, who had
their own camp circle under their chief, Standing Hollow Horn. Early one
mornng the chief sent two of his young men to hunt for game. They searched
everywhere but could find nothing. Seeing a high hill, they decided to climb
it in order to look over the whole country. Halfway up, they saw something
coming toward them from far off, but the figure was floating instead of walking.
From this they knew that the person was wakan, holy.
At first they could make out only a small moving speck and had to squint
to see that it was a human form. But as it came nearer, they realized that
it was a beautiful young woman, more beautiful than any they had ever seen.
She wore a wonderful white buckskin outfit, tanned until it shone a long
way in the sun. It was embroidered with sacred and marvellous designs of
porcipine quill, in radiant colors no ordinary woman could have made. This
wakan stranger was Ptesan-Wi, White Buffalo Calf Woman. In her hands
she carried a large bundle and a fan of sage leaves. She wore her hair loose
except for a strand at the left side, which was tied up with buffalo fur.
Her eyes shone dark and sparkling, with great power in them.
The two young men looked at her open-mouthed. One was overawed, but the
other desired her and stretched his hand out to touch her. This waman was
lila wakan, very sacred, and could not be treated with disrespect.
Lightning instantly struck the brash young man and burned him up, so that
only a small heap of blackened bones was left.
To the other scout who had behaved rightly, the White Buffalo Calf Woman
said: "Good things I am bringing, something holy to your nation. A message
I carry for your people from the buffalo nation. Go back to the camp and
tell the people to prepare for my arrival. Tell your chief to put up a medicine
lodge with twenty-four poles. Let it be made holy for my coming."
This young hunter returned to the camp. He told the chief, and the people,
what the sacred woman had commanded. So the people put up the big medicine
tipi and waited. After four days they saw the White Buffalo Calf Woman
approaching, carrying her bundle before her. Her wonderful white buckskin
dress shone from afar. The chief, Standing Hollow Horn, invited her to enter
the medicine lodge. She went in and circled the interior sunwise. The chief
addressed her respectfully, saying: "Sister, we are glad you have come to
She told him what she wanted done. In the center of the tipi they were
to put up an owanka wakan, a sacred altar, made of red earth, with
a buffalo skull and a three-stick rack for a holy thing she was bringing.
They did what she directed, and she traced a design with her finger on the
smoothed earth of the altar. She showed them how to do all this, then circled
the lodge again sunwise. Halting before the chief, she now opened the bundle.
The holy thing it contained was the chanunpa, the sacred pipe. She
held it out to the people and let them look at it. She was grasping the stem
with her right hand and the bowl with her left, and thus the pipe has been
held ever since.
Again the chief spoke, saying: "Sister, we are glad. We have had no meat
for some time. All we can give you is water." They dipped some
wacanga, sweet grass, into a skin bag of water and gave it to her,
and to this day the people dip sweet grass or an eagle wing in water and
sprinkle it on a person to be purified.
The White Buffalo Calf Woman showed the people how to use the pipe. She
filled it with chan-shasha, red willow-bark tobacco. She walked around
the lodge four times after the manner of Anpetu-Wi, the great sun. This
represented the circle without end, the sacred hoop, the road of life.The
woman placed a dry buffalo chip on the fire and lit the pipe with it. This
was peta-owihankeshni, the fire without end, the flame to be passed
on from generation to generation. She told them that the smoke rising from
the bowl was Tunkashila's breath, the living breath of the great Grandfather
The White Buffalo Calf Woman showed the people the right way to pray,
the right words and the right gestures. She taught them how to sing the
pipe-filling song and how to lift the pipe up to the sky, toward Grandfather,
and down toward Grandmother Earth, to Unci, and then to the four directions
of the universe.
"With this holy pipe,"she said, "you will walk like a living prayer.
With your feet resting upon the earth and the pipestem reaching into the
sky, your body forms a living bridge between the Sacred Beneath and the Sacred
Above. Wakan Tanka smiles upon us, because now we are as one: earth, sky,
all living things, the two-legged, the four-legged, the winged ones, the
trees, the grasses. Together with the people, they are all related, one family.
The pipe holds them all together.
"Look at this bowl,"said the White Buffalo Calf Woman. "Its stone represents
the buffalo, but also the flesh and blood of the red man. The buffalo represents
the universe and the four directions, because he stands on four legs, for
the four ages of creation. The buffalo was put in the west by Wakan Tanka
at the making of the world, to hold back the waters. Every year he loses
one hair, and in every one of the four ages he loses a leg. The sacred hoop
will end when all the hair and legs of the great buffalo are gone, and the
water comes back to cover Mother Earth.
The wooden stem of this chanunpa stands for all that grows on
the earth. Twelve feathers hanging from where the stem -- the backbone --
joins the bowl -- the skull -- are from Wanblee Galeshka, the spotted eagle,
the very sacred bird who is the Great Spirit's messenger and the wisest of
all flying ones. You are joined to all things of the universe, for they all
cry out to Tunkashila. Look at the bowl: engraved in it are seven circles
of various sizes. They stand for the seven sacred ceremonies you will practice
with this pipe, and for the Oceti Shakowin, the seven sacred campfires of
our Lakota nation."
The White Buffalo Calf Woman then spoke to the women, tellng them that
it was the work of their hands and the fruit of their bodies which kept the
people alive. "You are from Mother Earth," she told them. "What you are doing
is as great as what the warriors do."
And therefore the sacred pipe is also something that binds men and women
together in a circle of love. It is the one holy object in the making of
which both men and women have a hand. The men carve the bowl and make the
stem; the women decorate it with bands of colored porcupine quills. When
a man takes a wife, they both hold the pipe at the same time and red trade
cloth is wound around their hands, thus tying them together for life.
The White Buffalo Calf Woman also talked to the children, because they
have an understanding beyond their years. She told them that what their fathers
and mothers did was for them, that their parents could remember being little
once, and that they, the children, would grow up to have little ones of their
own. She told them: "You are the coming generation, that's why you are the
most important and precious ones. Some day you will hold this pipe and smoke
it. Some day you will pray with it."
She spoke once more to all the people: "The pipe is alive; it is a red
being showing you a red life and a red road. And this is the first ceremony
for which you will use the pipe. You will use it to keep the soul of a dead
person, because through it you can talk to Wakan Tanka, the Great Mysterious.
The day a human dies is always a sacred day. The day when the soul is released
to the Great Spirit is another."
She spoke one last time to Standing Hollow Horn, the chief, saying,
"Remember: this pipe is very sacred. Respect it and it will take you to the
end of the road. The four ages of creation are in me. I will come to see
you in every generation cycle. I shall come back to you."
The sacred woman then took leave of the people, saying: "Toksha ake
wacinyanktin ktelo -- I shall see you again."
The people saw her walking off in the same direction from which she had
come, outlined against the red ball of the setting sun. As she went, she
stopped and rolled over four times. The first time, she turned into a black
buffalo; the second into a brown one; the third into a red one; and finally,
the fourth time she rolled over, she turned into a white buffalo calf. A
white buffalo is the most sacred living thing you could ever encounter.
The White Buffalo Calf Woman disappeared over the horizon. As soon as
she had vanished, buffalo in great herds appeared, allowing themselves to
be killed so that the people might survive. And from that day on, our relations,
the buffalo, furnished the people with everything they need -- meat for their
food, skins for their clothes and tipis, and bones for their many
The White Buffalo
Excerpted from: Miracle: By Tom Laskin,
Isthmus Newspaper, Madison, WI; Nov. 25-Dec 1, 1994
"To tell the truth, the first time I looked out there, I saw a million
dollars, "says Janesville farmer Dave Heider as he watches Miracle, the white
buffalo calf, chew contentedly on a mouthful of silage.
"But once I saw how much this calf means to so many people, I couldn't
see charging money for people to come and look at her. I mean, how can you
put a price on something that's sacred and holy?"
News of the calf spread quickly through the Native American community
because its birth fulfilled a 2,000-year-old prophecy of northern Plains
Indians. Joseph Chasing Horse, traditional leader of the Lakota nation, said
that 2,000 years ago a young woman who first appeared in the shape of a white
buffalo gave the Lakotas' ancestors a sacred pipe and sacred ceremonies and
made them guardians of the Black Hills. Before leaving, she also promised
that one day she would return to purify the world, bringing back spiritual
balance and harmony; the birth of a white buffalo calf would be a sign that
her return was at hand.
Despite her enormous spiritual and cultural significance, Miracle isn't
scientifically important. UW-Madison geneticist Dr. Richard Spritz, an expert
in albinism and other pigmentation disorders, disputes news reports that
the odds of a white buffalo being born are less than one in 10 million.
"In humans, the frequency of albinism in most populations is about one
in 15,000, which turns out to be a pretty handy number for buffalo because
the estimated number of them in the U.S. is something around 150,000. That
means, that any given time, if the frequency of albinism in buffalo is similar
to that in humans, there ought to be 10 white buffalo out there."
But even if other white buffalo have been born in modern times, Miracle
holds special significance for Native Americans. She's female, and the bull
that sired her died, just as in the prophecy. And, while recent visitors
to the Heider farm are sometimes disappointed that the calf's head has turned
brown and its body is now a silvery tan, versions of the prophecy state that
the white buffalo calf would change colors four times, thus signifying the
colors of the four peoples she would unify: black, red, yellow, and white.
Joseph Chasing Horse, in a phone interview from his home in Rapid City,
S.D., adds that winter counts -- which date the telling of the White Buffalo
Calf Woman story in sacred ceremonies -- confirm that this is the buffalo
calf of the prophecy.
Larry Johns, a member of the Oneida tribe who works to preserve Indian
mounds and other sacred sites, stresses the cultural importance of such recent
discoveries as the Gottschall Rock Shelter in Iowa County, which includes
a rock painting from CE 900 that tells a story still told by Ho-Chunk
"My father and grandfather went to Indian schools, and they were beaten
for speaking their language," says Johns, who along with fellow Oneida and
representatives of other tribes has helped put together the new Native American
Council of Madison, a group dedicated to promoting cultural awareness. "They
tried to beat the Indian out of us. It's imperative that we go back to these
stories and find out what they mean to us -- and who we are."
And how does Miracle fit into all of this? Says Johns, "There's so little
understanding of Native American issues and ideas that any opportunity to
get people interested -- even if it's just coming to see a white buffalo
calf -- is a good thing."
No matter what happens to Miracle in the coming months and years, Joseph
Chasing Horse says the birth is a sign from the Great Spirit and the ensuing
age of harmony and balance it represents cannot be revoked. That doesn't
mean that the severe trials Native Americans have endured since the arrival
of Europeans on these shores are over. Indeed, the Lakota nation mounted
the longest court case in U.S. history in an unsuccessful effort to regain
control of the Black Hills, the sacred land on which the White Buffalo Calf
Woman appeared 2,000 years ago.
"Mention that we are praying, many of the medicine people, the spiritual
leaders, the elders, are praying for the world," says Joseph Chasing Horse.
"We are praying that mankind does wake up and think about the future, for
we haven't just inherited this earth from our ancestors, but we are borrowing
it from our unborn children."
Copyright 1994, Isthmus Publishing.
NEXT! An Eskimo Woman Prophesys!