White Buffalo Woman

Almost there. We stopped for the night. Here are some thoughts, hurriedly typed on my phone which is losing service…

A few weeks ago, I saw my therapist – whom I hadn’t seen in MONTHS – and told her about my upcoming journey to Standing Rock. She kind of tilted her head and said, “There’s that woman again, Chelsea. I feel her right here.” I blinked at her for a few seconds before I remembered that I had told her about a powerful vision I had years ago during a shamanic journey. The experience flashed back in my mind and body as if it happened the day before.

I lay back on the wooden floor as Shaman Tom begins to beat his drum. It’s a White Buffalo Woman journey. The Lakota Sioux prophecy of this Woman is that her appearance signifies The Great Shift of humanity, a turning point at which we have the choice to wake up to the truth of our interconnection or not – meaning great cataclysm. Tom instructs us to find the White Buffalo Woman and ask her what we can do during this shift.

The White Buffalo woman appears to me, trails of long black hair dancing on the wind. She’s clothed in white buffalo hide. I look at her as if to say, “What can I do?” She looks at me without saying a word and gestures for me to follow her. We begin to descend into a dark and damp network of underground caves. Flames begin to appear at the edges of the cave walls, suddenly shooting high and outward until it seems like the entire place is full of fire. I take her hand and blindly let her lead me through the flames. I can hardly breathe, both from the oppressive heat and the terror coursing through my body. I can’t see her anymore, but I feel her hand, firmly in mine.

Finally, just as I’m sure I’m about to die a fiery death, we come to a small clearing, though the flames are still just inches away from our bodies. White Buffalo Woman lets go of my hand, looks at me as if I know what to do, which, apparently, something in me does know. I open my mouth, take a deep breath, and let out one clear, high tone from my throat. The volume and sure-ness surprises me, but after a minute, I begin to lose my breath. I look at her nervously, she gives a short nod, and I take another deep breath. This time, the note pierces the air, stronger and clearer than I’ve ever sung in my life. I lift my arms, maybe to amplify the vibration – who knows – and tiny cracks begin to appear in the cave walls. They grow and widen and soon, water begins to gush and flow, falling into the flames. I’m still singing, not just from my voice, but my entire body pulsing with this tone.

Finally, as if the earth is breathing a sigh of relief, I hear nothing but steam rising the ground, and I take a rest. My own breath slows and calms. I look up and the see that daylight is now softly streaming through the cracks and gaps above me.

White Buffalo Woman and I look at each other for a moment before she vanishes
before my eyes.

Now, here I am, in a car with a woman I’ve never met, on our last leg of the trip to Standing Rock. We chat about where we’re from and our work and she tells me almost nervously that she does shamanic work, specifically with the White Buffalo Woman. She tells me that it’s here in the Dakotas that White Buffalo Woman first appeared to the Lakota Sioux. I had no clue. I am struck by not only the alignment of my own story but also with the alignment of this action at Standing Rock.

I know now what I’m heading into, but feel the immensity of this calling evermore.


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