The Buffalo

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Last month I was working with Dawn Eagle Woman. We had a very busy time with Wisdom Circle Constellation workshops around the country and her own evening gatherings and sessions. Enriching and intense, with moments of joy and much laughter too.

Our workshops together are a fusion of our two ways of working. I would do the constellating and Dawn brought her shamanic practice through holding space. She also opened and closed each circle with a round ‘held’ by one of the beautiful talking sticks that she makes. The practice of working with a talking stick requires our agreement to two disciplines. The first is that we remain silent whilst another holds the stick and then, when our turn arrives, we are asked to speak first our name and then our deepest truth… this is not the words hovering around in our throat, but the ones that emerge with strength and clarity from the belly.

The talking sticks are made from wood, crystal and horn, and a particularly lovely one had a collar of buffalo fur. When this stick was chosen for the round Dawn would sometimes tell us about the buffalo of Wyoming where she lives. Her story goes something like this…

 “… There are often terrible storms on the plains of Wyoming. The skies darken on the horizon and the pressure builds. As the storm approaches the creatures that live underground find safety, and the birds take to the canopy of the trees to find shelter, but the hoofed animals who can’t find shelter on the ground sometimes try to out run it… in terror they flee, and as they run and run the storm pursues them. Pretty soon exhaustion sets in, and then their final collapse. In the spring their bodies are often found as the snow begins to melt.

But the buffalo does things differently. When he feels the storm approaching he turns to face it. He stands firm and then drops down into his heart, and he begins to walk. He walks and walks right into the eye of the storm… while the wind and rain and thunder and lightening rage all around him he keeps on walking. Until, in time, he emerges right out the other side and feels the sun on his face again and the warmth of it on his back… and he knows he is free….”

I was deeply touched by this story and feel it is a wonderful metaphor for our personal healing work. When we turn and face our fears we often emerge in a blessed place, in touch with the gift of our freedom and the wisdom gained.

The buffalo drawing is done by my little nephew Manu Kay (age 8). Knowing nothing of the stick or the story he asked his mum Yasmin to give it to Dawn when she came over for lunch…. I took a copy as I loved it!

Dawn will be back in the UK in the late autumn. Notification of her programme will follow nearer the time. If you are interested in choosing a stick for yourself then take a look at Dawn’s website.