Since my encounters with the Buffalo on the summer solstice, I’ve given some thought to their spiritual and symbolic significance. Rather than relying upon existing cultural interpretations, I sought to identify what their characteristics & behaviors signified to me. Here are my thoughts about two things that struck me about these majestic beasts….
Driven by the urge to procreate, Bison bulls charge and clash heads with any foe that would deny them their ardent desire to be the lord of a harem of cows. Built to sustain severe head-to-head impacts, their brain is protected by a system of bone struts which divide the inner and outer walls of the skull. These blows are also softened by thick hide and mat of hair that cover their skull.
The elephant-headed god Ganesha of the Hindu religion is revered as the remover of obstacles. The name Ganesha means “lord of the community”.
Like Ganesha, the American Buffalo can instill in one the energy necessary to meet head-on and overcome the obstacles that stand in the way of them and their heart’s desires. Even if it feels like one is banging one’s head against a wall, that’s no reason to abandon one’s objective ~ if one is inflamed by their desire, invoke the Buffalo and allow him to do the banging, for his skull is built to take the punishment necessary to break down the energetic barrier.
In stark contrast to their aggressive behavior around mating, another notable characteristic of the buffalo is their very zen-like approach to obtaining sustenance.
Their daily routine involves periods of grazing, resting, and cud chewing, then moving to a new location to graze again. Being ruminants, they have a four-chambered stomach that enables them to draw more nutrients from the grasses they ingest by fermenting it in specialized chambers and then chewing it again. The word “ruminant” comes from the Latin ruminare, which means “to chew over again”.
So the bison can also teach us, not to meditate, but to “ruminate”:
~ ‘to think carefully and deeply about something”,
~ “to go over in the mind repeatedly and often casually or slowly”.
Following their pattern, one would take in information and then pause to digest it, reconsidering its significance on 4 levels, such as: personal, familial, tribal, and global, or financial, social, ethical, and environmental, or physical, emotional, psychological, and spiritual, or scientific, metaphoric, symbolic, and etheric, etc. Thus, by ruminating, we can extract more meaning from the information that we consume.
picture at top from Wikipedia