The Stuff of Legends Unfolding Today in Many Areas: Yellow Medicine Dancing Boy (the name for the White Buffalo Calf, an unusual event) from July 28, 2012
The stormy day did not keep hundreds of kind folks from gathering on the hillsides of the Fay farm in Goshen CT, not far from Tyler Lake, to take part in the a special naming ceremony for a male white buffalo calf born on June 16th, 2012.
His arrival at about 1pm, happened to be three years to the day marking the passing of our 16 and a half year old teen son Kaelan Paton. I was spending some time at his Memorial Tree at HVRHS in Falls Village CT.
I offer now that any Memorial effort can be a good reminder to any of us to remember ‘we all have loved ones on the other side..and that we can think kindly of them as helping us still whether through inspiration from the lives they lived.
In particular we can learn from the lessons they showed us by acting out various paths without judging too much ‘good, bad or otherwise, yet learning from the realm of possible life choices any of us may be faced with, whether internal struggles or external challenges
Basically, in heaven I think there’s no more ‘real estate’ per se, so any memorial tree, or bench or garden for one is really an invite for all to remember their loved ones.
Each person is special who has walked the earth, to quote a friend whose husband died about 30 years ago..they need not be forgotten.
Much of anyone’s specialness comes from the connections they make, people who ‘see them for who they are, who they dream to be, and for their ties with their culture and area’…
I grew up on the road that leads to the falls from the Falls Village side of the Iron Bridge which is now closed for safety reasons.
I consider it a way of making it not only a bridge to be ‘scared’ of but rather feel sacred about for the blessings the river provides as well as a sign of our family’s (and area’s) losses and that of a many over the years in the Housatonic River, whether accidental as my son’s was, or more horrific such as the killing of Maryann Measles in New Milford about 17 years ago. May her spirit be at peace..and we can consider that any going on before us are ‘looking out for us’ and helping us to understand more than we’d ever likely figure out without the meaningful connections to such people.
About a month ago, when I happened to meet the mother of that brave girl who was killed for trying to tell of abuse, I barely had to ask. “Were you related to …” and she answered, “I am her mother”.
There had not been any formal fundraising and consideration of her case particularly compared to how attention was given to other situations..such as Tom Drew’s or The Petit Family. I told her I’d hope we could do better along those lines and feel that’s a big initiative worth pursuing and welcome input toward that ‘beginning’..no matter how delayed. Sometimes it takes a decade or two for society to catch up and get in step with what would be healing all around. It’s never too late…
I had been wanting to meet her since I had been interviewed that day about the Tom Drew case, a man with dementia who got lost and was not found in July 2007 (which is on www.countytimes.com with many comments that add insight to the case and give ideas to learn and grow from the loss of this elderly man five years ago, only two days before the Petit Family tragedy).
Why share these seemingly unrelated stories, that affected different families and parts of our state and web community across the country and globe?
Well, it’s 2012 and it’s time to allow more insights and connections to dawn on us( especially as arise from a woman’s or child’s perspective or in a more holistic manner), whether the messages come from movies, hearing news or personal stories, learning from various cultures, and to put events in a larger context. Ideally, we will get a learning curve going collectively that launches us into an era of wanting to be part of a Peace Corps movement locally as well as globally.
Enter then the news of a white buffalo calf born and to be named during a July 28th, 2012 weekend in Goshen.
The Lakota people have a belief that a spirit woman came to their people long ago and gave seven sacred tradtions to help their people reconnect with Creator, the earth, and each other.
These include the sweat lodge, which are sometimes held for each gender and other times for both, with every one in appropriate dress (shorts for men, long skirts and tops which cover shoulders for women, and often people have a towel with them too).
The lodge is placed in alignment with the four directions, which have significance for various tribes as linked to times of life (the East for being born as the sun rises in that direction, the South for a time of youth, the West for adulthood, and the North for being an elder, and dying..).
There are many other connections in each tradition linked to the directions and a medicine wheel, overall counting the importance of all members of a family, group, village and tribe as significant for the strength and success of everyone.
Some gatherings happen locally, with some searching one likely can link up to learn more in a direct way.
People can observe or assist with a sweat lodge by helping prepare the lodge, with rocks and building a fire, Rocks are heated in a fire until they are glowing hot, then after people crawl into the lodge, reminscent of going back into the time of being in the womb of one’s mother, and feeling connected to mother earth, the hot rocks are passed inside by firekeepers.
The rocks are placed in a pit and water is poured on them to create steam. A leader guides people in some songs, drumming and offering gratittude for positive things, as well as asking for healing for people, nature, and earth.
Other sacred traditions given by white buffalo calf woman, for the spirit woman turned into a white buffalo calf as she left the tribe the legend goes, include the pipe ceremony, the naming ceremony, the sundance ceremony, moon lodge for women ceremony…and others as one can research for further information.
The Lakota people shared their gratitude for being welcomed by so many people and the area in general for supporting them in their tradtion.
They felt their was significance to the calf being born in the East, it may have been predicted. They came from Pine Ridge in South Dakota where many people on their reservation need help, with basics such as food and care as well as companionship and honoring their cultural ties.
I have met Wilie Black Cat at a gathering in High Falls NY a few years ago. He made a CD of native songs and his friend Janet Weber has been helpful in bringing him to the East Coast.
He suffered from diabetes and once was snowed in for 5 days when in SD. These people held a naming ceremony last night and had a time for adopting the calf today into their tribe as a brother.
They would call out ‘Mitake Oyasin’ meaning “all my relations’ (underlining the idea that we share one earth, affect nature and are dependent on the earth and natural systems and can be reverent to the divine for all we have, and reflect that in our relationships. Sound familiar?
After having all the people in attendance pass by a sage smudging station to enter a field behind the main house, where those in a ceremony were in a special area, and hundreds could stretch out along a fence to see the white buffalo and a few other buffalo from a distance.
The dark gathering clouds above the fields and surrounding mountains looked like the dust a stampede of buffao would kick up if not the buffaloes themselves racing across the sky.
Thunder and light rains passed by and then flashes of lightning could be see first in one direction then in another. After the final closing song, people were invited to put prayer flags on the fence or tie them to a staff for the field.
Few likely could do so, although I was given some tobacco earlier to think of while saying some prayers and sprinkled that on the field during the ceremony.
Closing my eyes with hundreds around me, the elements drumming up a setting as through from a movie, and being moved by actually getting to see the new small buffalo I had been fortunate to catch newspaper photos of, made me feel I was in the right spot for me today.
I envision more people feeling curious and comforted about learning how other tradtions on this great land of America, which was people by thousands if not millions of Native peoples over millenia, were seeking ways to honor the gift of their own lives and that of others by working together harmoniously.
Shortly after the name was announced, rather playfully as “it’s not Steve”, in the Lakota language (which would be nice to see spelled out as was Tatanka Ska which the buffalo was referred to up to today, the name was announced for all people to know him by: Yellow Medicine Dancing Boy.
There is another spirit name the buffalo will be known to the spirits by, and which will be kept secret from all but in the naming ceremony. I had thought about the kind of name that might be given.
I first thought of ‘shining shadow’, then ‘shedding light on the darkness, healing heart, strong and calm heart’. I think the yellow could be linked to that sense of ‘shining’ and the medicine to ‘healing’, the ‘dancing to the joy one can feeel in one’s heart, and boy for well, if I may, for my boy who is now heavenside, but for all boys and girls, for that brave loving spirit in all children who want to play and be hugged and included.
That inner child we are taught to reconnect with as we start to forget our youth, our historical roots, our place in our family, town, staete or nation or world…
The skies opened up as the final song echoed in the verdant hillsides.
While many had retreated after the first 10 minutes of the gathering, most stayed for a half hour, then as the weather became more stormy more left.
The Lakota woman speaker said she was grateful for rain since they had so little in SD and 40K acres were burning.
We do have major drought problems in our country and our world as water tables decrease and rainfall declines. Whatver we can do to learn about conserving water, sharing resources and welcoming climate refugees would be a smart and healing gesture for our situation.
As people headed en masse back to their cars in the field on the oppposite side of the road, some stopped to eat in a small tent serving buffalo burgers. It was somewhat ironic, and I spoke with an Israeli named Matthew who felt it was more natural to consume buffalo than beef.
My son Kaelan Alexander Palmer Paton (1993–2009) was a vegetarian who promoted everyone eating lower on the food chain, less meat and more veggies to help feed the rest of the world.
Some people have become begetarian following in his footsteps (which I think started around age 12, and he got his grade school to start a salad bar since they had limited options for him and others,)
I aim in that direction but need to make sure I get enough iron and such. Hopefullly more folks are thinking of that for their health and for sharing the weatlth since meat is costly, especially in restaurants. Please make an effort to take leftovers home, and get a second meal since often much good food is tossed.
Within the next half hour, most had found refuge in their cars from the lightning and deluge. I talked with Matthew, about relationship guidance from the Bible since he had studied religion.
He shared that VT Farm and Wilderness Camps as a youth introduced him to Lakota teachers who in turn encouraged him to visit his homeland. He’s been liviing in Israel for almost a decade but comes back to visit his family.
Earlier I spoke with a mother who lost her son in car accident when he was in college. When I noted the small odds of us meeting in a large group, and talking enough to make these meaningful connections, she called it a God thing.
Her daughter works with Native people in Alaska now, so talk about growing connections. I realized I could perhaps talk with her daughter on the internet even if my travels don’t take me to the West Coast anytime soon.
I also met a nice lad named Brad who was trying to get a photo of the white buffalo calf for his major newspaper. But he could not stay late enough to do so. Also, he was not going to be able to write anything so that did not reflect well on his paper I noted.
I said I’d write something, so maybe I’ll revise this and send it there way. The head of a large cultural center did take me up on the invite and attended with his wife.
The event took a while to get going, about 2–3 hours after 10am when most arrived, so that he stayed so long impressed me. He writes many personal notes to people in his business, and has many other commitments but he seemed happy to be there.
Others I said I’d remember in the gathering were parents with busy schedules, Moms who couldn’t find sitters, and people who need extra healing and care.
Basically as the Lakota woman shared, most of how they live is based on respect and ceremony and they pray for everyone, they ‘don’t leave no one out’.
One dynamic duo I met is making a documentary called Converge. Let’s try to find out more.
He had travelled out to the mid West to meet with the ‘keeper of the white buffalo calf pipe’, and had been in a line of 13 generations of keepers, so that seemed remarkable to hear about.
I once met a man who carved special pipes for people, which were sold at a price that seemed high to me.
These were not cermonial, but he came to mind in that they were hosting my daughters at Wild Earth camps in High Falls (called Red Fox Friends back then).
This couple had to flee their country, I forget which one. I was finding out more about the plight of women needing to leave their own homes to find safety for themselves and their children.
Slowly it was dawning on me that every person — including women and children — are supposed to have equal protection under the law and really have nice, safe lives.
I realize if we can get peolpe out to a field out on a stormy day, or out to Falcon Ridge Folk Festival (that continues through Sunday July 19th, 2012 and his held annually in the Hillsdale NY area then there really should be a way to do outreach to all women and children proactively to help them understand types of abuse.
In addition to any kind of physical harm or attempted choking that might include control, threats, intimidation, reverses ( an abuser blaming them for his actions or saying they are the ones doing the abuse, etc), isolation from friends, family, financial support. In additon the abuser(s) may sabotage one’s efforts at learning, attending programs or school, work, other helpful programs and even journalling or using the phone or computer to get help or for ‘any reason he deems makes sense’.
Basically the list is endless and as much as people try to warn each other, too often it gives abusers ‘ideas of what they might do and how to get away with it.” The Center of Judicial Excellence and programs from Battered Mothers Custody Conference speak to the perilous terrain in family courts most victims face even in modern times in America and around the world. Something’s Got To Stop!
And yes with the more current 2018 Women’s Marches and advocacy, and Oprah’s declaration of Times Up, a progressive education and intervention game plan needs to be spelled out far and wide and applied to important life situations to keep people from being harmed or harming others and spending time in jail or worse…
These are the kinds of healing the White Buffalo Calf Woman came to remind Native peoples about and would have wanted for us and for all people, as do most other healing spirits and practices. Still, we need to all do more and see things through to a place of peace and justice for our most vulnerable family and community members..and even ‘the strangers among us’ which we are realizing is more nomenclature than reality. “People are people and deserve protection for basic human rights.”
As these insights emerge, from the day, from the past and for the future, I hope the spirit and energy of the unfolding of events in the small town of Goshen CT can help us weave the sacred hoop or basket of all peoples in our area and country and beyond…and raise the bar.
Let’s learn about healing and helping traditions from many cultures and assist each other in honoring what flows from their own paths but also what they may benefit from understanding or perhaps trying from a new one as well.
I had read some of the ideas in special books from www.drsha.com this morning which promote everyone being a universal servant, seeking healing for oneself and encouraging others to do so as well.
Having the soul, mind and body in alignment with positive intentions and actions keeps one’s soul, mind and body in good health. There are verses to guide one in gaining more conviction about being healed and healthy.
Why not review those ideas as well before only seeking information and treatments from medical doctors, Integrative medicine is about using what works from various modalities.
As one feels comfortable and able, trying some ‘new ideas’ can be helpful, but always checking with medical people as well and early on makes sense.
There are also resources to address basic needs on www.211.org, (Or 311 in NYC )by calling 211 or by dialing 9–1–1 if there’s danger, difficulty, need for medical help or other emergency. Let’s emerge and see what is dawining on the horizon of our times for our area and beyond. The local farms in Goshen will be open for visits on Aug 4 and 5th, 2012.
Maybe I’ll see you there on my way to see Annie at the Warner, a great show for families and friends to see together or maybe sponsor someone who would love to go, or consider becoming a volunteer there or another organization such as a church, daycare or Owl’s Kitchen in Lakeville CTwhich provides some basic good foods for families to stretch their budget, often with donations from local farmers.
The Sharon Audubon has its nature festival with many inspiring talks and demonstrations the second weekend of August annually (though that’s changed nowadays in 2017). A nice spot for one to visit with family and friends, sports groups and classmates and neighbors.
Habitat for Humanity has its giant indoor tag sale that weeked too, with great finds for college kids or those on a low budget. See their shop in Canaan too called This ‘n That on Rt 7N across from the Snack Shack place…
This entry inspired by the buffalo woman is now going to draw to a close and see what dreams play out with such a weekend as going to a ballet last night and to buffalo land today.,.