GIFTS: Generosity. Gratitude. Abundance. Migration. Being grounded. Knowing your worth.
CHALLENGES: Self-sacrifice. Martyrdom. Worthlessness. Lack of vision (so grounded that you can’t see beyond where you are).
Spirit Animal Buffalo is a strong symbol of generosity, with Buffalo being known for willingly giving all of itself for the benefit of others. Buffalo teaches that you are the greatest gift you can give to another person. What other people need from you is simply for you to share who you really are. Letting others see and know the real you can be scary. You may hide behind the fears of worthlessness, inadequacy, or vulnerability. But Buffalo knows its own worth. Buffalo knows it is good enough as it is. And Buffalo finds strength in its vulnerability.
Buffalo recognizes the fear-less-ness that comes from sacred ritual, prayer and generosity—giving of yourself completely. Buffalo gifts are powerful in helping you release all 7 primary fears.
(Inadequacy) Buffalo knows that it is always good enough as it right now. It has no need to be “better than” or to be “perfect.”
(Losing control) It willingly relinquishes control . . . and retains control over the one thing it can control—moment-to-moment choice.
(Worthlessness) Buffalo knows fully and deeply its own worth. It needs no proof from outside “authorities.” The only authority that matters is its Self.
(Change) Buffalo feels absolutely confident in its ability to ride the waves of change. It adapts and moves in a synchronous dance with life.
(Lack) Buffalo has no need to acquire anything; it gives everything. It always has or has access to exactly what it needs.
(Vulnerability) Vulnerability—even death—does not diminish Buffalo because its being is eternal.
(Missing out) Buffalo is grounded firmly in the present moment, knowing that *now* is all that matters.
Spirit Animal Buffalo’s gifts of abundance, gratitude, and migration are closely connected. Physical buffaloes make small migrations on a daily basis, eating grass in one area for a few hours, then moving on to another area of abundant grass when they have depleted the first area. Without migrating, Buffalo would not see abundance, but rather depletion, scarcity, and lack.
The lesson for you is more metaphorical: Follow your gut. When you sense lack where you are, Buffalo teaches you not to wait around wishing it to be different. Make the change you need to make in order to find or create the abundance you seek. Sometimes the grass actually is greener on the other side—especially if you’ve run out of grass where you are.
Buffalo teaches that gratitude does not come from abundance, rather abundance comes from gratitude. This is not an excuse to give thanks without taking action. Wishful thinking does not create abundance. Rather, you generate a sense of abundance by feeling gratitude for what is, for what you have, for what you are, and then taking action on what you want.
Having Buffalo as your spirit animal makes you susceptible to slipping into self-sacrifice and martyrdom. While grounded Buffalo energy knows its worth, too much or too little Buffalo energy can succumb to the fear of being worthless. You give of yourself so much that you forget to take care of yourself. You have a hard time saying “no,” believing instead that you absolutely have to be there for anyone who asks for your help.
Buffalo’s groundedness can turn into a stubborn lack of vision, being so grounded that you can’t see beyond where you are. This is related to the wishful thinking aspect of abundance—when you mistakenly believe that you can will abundance into existence even though the truth is that it’s time to move on. On the other hand, unbalanced Buffalo energy can lead to impatience, believing that the grass is always greener on the other side. This can result in moving on too soon, before you are really done where you are.[Added after going on retreat at Earthfire Institute in Idaho]
Buffalo loves being part of the herd. Buffalo needs to be part of a herd.
The two buffaloes I met at Earthfire—Blue Bell (brown buffalo) and Nima (young white buffalo)—were part of their own strange little herd: the two of them, two horses and two donkeys. They loved being together. They followed each other over acres of grassland. They all found comfort and normalcy together.
They even enjoyed the company of human visitors to Earthfire.
When you are intended to be part of a herd, you must be part of a herd. You will be unfulfilled, dissatisfied and lost if you have Buffalo energy but are acting like Lone Wolf.