For those of you that love and enjoy hunting, for those of you who abhor it and for those who do not understand it… the following is for you. It is not always about what we do here, it is about what is here, what is really happening here and what is being offered here. Demonstrations that we are participating in and with Nature and Nature is participating with and FOR US.
Ten years ago we opened the ‘Sacred Hunts’ to the public. We did this to assist us in the culling of our Buffalo herd, to preserve the health and balance of the herd size and sustain the grasslands. Sacred Ground Intl. is a Center of Learning and a Buffalo Preserve, not a commercial endeavor. It is a teaching platform for the ‘Circle of Life’ for all of Nature and what abides here on this Mountain. The ‘Sacred Hunts’ could be more aptly called The Sacred Trilogy for it honors the Sacred Hunt, a Sacred Ceremony, the Sacred Hunter and the Sacred Hunted. I looked up the meaning of the word sacred… ‘that which is worthy of respect and honor’.
500 buffalo ‘hunts’ and thousands of visitors later, I wake up this morning and realize so fully that these ‘hunts’ are not hunts at all. Yes, men and women come here with their mindset to harvest and take home the bounty, but they are the ones being ‘hunted’.
Buffalo are providers, it is their purpose, it is their ancient DNA plan. To quote them, “We are the Ancient Ones who have returned for our people, ALL people. Once we filled their bellies, sheltered their bodies and taught their Spirits … We have returned.”
The mornings begin with a teaching that echoes this message. There will be an exchange of gifts on the field today and the ‘hunters’ are made aware of them. The Buffalo are grateful for the opportunity to complete their mission inside the circle of an honoring ‘ceremony’. Gratitude and recognition prayers are said that honor all that the buffalo contributes to the ecosystem, to their herd family and to our wisdom and joy. They will lay down their body but their Spirit will live with us always. Prayers are followed by an ancient smudging and cleansing ceremony of everyone and everything going on the mountain that day. Very clear instructions are given that the Buffalo will do the choosing, no one ever selects and yet the very animal they prayed for always presents. The ‘hunters’ are escorted by our team, a guide and assistants who will see to their safe journey on the mountain and the respectful follow through of harvest and more gratitude prayers in the field.
The only hunting that really happens is the scouting to find the herd on a 3500 acre mountain landscape. Once found the buffalo do the ‘hunting’. There is one who will ‘hunt’ the team, sometimes from a distance and often they come in near the trucks as if counting coup, “Here I am,” and then move off away from the herd. They stand there and watch and wait to get their attention. They ‘meet’ in the field, they exchange their gratitude and gifts. The buffalo welcomes them into their family for the honor they have shown, they join with and will always walk with the one who now receives the bounty of its life. The ancient truths of respect and honor will now forever live with this ‘hunter’ in the moments of their life to follow. I believe the buffalo when they say, “feed their Spirits.” I know when you leave here you are changed. I ask again, who is hunting who?