Buffalo Symbolism and Meaning

The Cape buffalo is one of the most dangerous animals in Africa 2

The majestic American bison, commonly known as the buffalo, holds deep symbolic meaning in many Native American cultures. Revered for its strength and provision, the buffalo has become an icon of the Great Plains of North America. This comprehensive guide will explore the extensive symbolic meanings behind the buffalo spirit animal and provide key examples and insights.

Overview of Buffalo Symbolism

Buffalo Symbolism

In general, buffalo symbolism serves as a reminder that you already have everything you need. The buffalo meaning emphasizes the importance of a grateful attitude towards abundance and viewing all aspects of creation as sacred. When you express gratitude for life’s gifts, you will invite harmony and prosperity.

The buffalo spirit animal is deeply associated with themes of:

  • Abundance and provision
  • Strength and resilience
  • Connection to the earth
  • Prayer and praise
  • Survival and power

If the buffalo is your spirit animal guide, you are being called to walk a spiritual path that honors all aspects of life. By establishing a close bond with the earth and humbly requesting assistance from the spirit realm, you will be able to manifest the resources and strength you need.

Buffalo in Native American Culture

Buffalo in Native American Culture

For many Native American tribes, the buffalo holds deep cultural meaning and significance. Here are some of the key symbolic interpretations:

Lakota Sioux – The Lakota considered the buffalo (tȟatȟáŋka) a sacred source of life. It provided them with food, clothing, shelter, and tools for survival.1They also saw the buffalo as a symbol of sacred rituals, prayers, and connection to the Great Spirit.

Blackfoot – To the Blackfoot people, the buffalo was the most powerful and sacred animal. Buffalo skulls and bones played a significant role in Blackfoot ceremonies, and buffalo hunting was essential to their way of life. The Blackfoot also saw the buffalo as a symbol of abundance.

Cheyenne – For the Cheyenne, the buffalo was considered a gift from the Great Spirit that provided all of life’s necessities. It signified their traditional nomadic way of life on the plains. The Cheyenne performed the Buffalo Dance to honor the buffalo’s sacrifice.

Cherokee – While not relying as heavily on the buffalo, the Cherokee still respected the animal for its endurance and provision. Buffalo symbolized sacred traditions and community rituals for the Cherokee people.

Navajo – To the Navajo, the buffalo represents life, survival, and prosperity. Navajo mythology also tells of how the buffalo sacrificed itself so that the Navajo people could live.

Key Symbolic Meanings of the Buffalo Spirit

Key Symbolic Meanings of the Buffalo Spirit

Beyond cultural symbolism, the buffalo as a spirit animal offers many symbolic meanings we can apply in our own lives:

1. Abundance

A key aspect of buffalo symbolism is its association with abundance and provision. In nature, the buffalo generously provides meat, hides, bones, and more to sustain human life. As a spirit guide, the buffalo reminds us that we already have everything we need if we adopt an attitude of gratitude. It encourages us to appreciate the gifts we’ve been given.

2. Strength

The buffalo is considered one of the strongest animals of the Great Plains. With the ability to endure harsh winters, fierce winds, and predators, the buffalo symbolizes inner strength and resilience. When we face challenges in life, this spirit animal connects us to our inner fortitude.

3. Connection to the Earth

As a wild animal intrinsically tied to the open grasslands, the buffalo embodies a profound connection to the earth. Its symbolic meaning reminds us to establish deep bonds with the natural world. Spending time in nature and appreciating its beauty allows our spirits to thrive.

4. Prayer and Praise

Buffalo symbolism teaches us that sincere prayer and praise invite abundance and prosperity into our lives. Taking time to offer heartfelt gratitude for all we’ve been given opens the flow of divine provision. The buffalo spirit encourages thanksgiving.

5. Survival

With their ability to endure severe winters and food scarcity, buffalos represent survival. This spirit animal sends the message that we have the inner resources to survive challenges and emerge stronger. The buffalo’s meaning inspires us to never give up hope.

6. Power

As a hulking animal that thunders across the plains in great herds, the buffalo signifies raw power. Its presence as a spirit guide connects us to our inner power and ability to accomplish our goals. When harnessed positively, this can be transformative.

Buffalo Dreams and Omens

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Dreaming of a buffalo often symbolizes:

  • Receiving support or resources for a new endeavor
  • Being reminded to stay on your life path
  • Connecting to your heritage or roots
  • Having your wishes or desires come true

Seeing a white buffalo is considered a powerful sign of good blessings soon to manifest.

Alternatively, dreams of injured or deceased buffalo can warn you to carefully evaluate new projects on your path.

Spotting a large buffalo herd signifies a period of harmony and abundance in your life.

Buffalo Messages and Lessons as a Spirit Animal

Buffalo Messages

When the buffalo comes to you as a spirit guide, it offers these key messages and lessons:

  • Walk a spiritual path – Honor all aspects of life and maintain a sacred mindset. A spiritual approach attracts abundance.
  • Connect to the earth – Spend time outdoors, express gratitude for nature, and support environmental causes. This bond will strengthen you.
  • Be humble – Stay grounded and ask the spirit realm for needed assistance and wisdom. Arrogance blocks prosperity.
  • Attract prosperity – By adopting an attitude of praise and thanksgiving, you will open your life to receive abundance in all forms.
  • Manifest strength – During tough times, call on the buffalo spirit to ignite your inner resilience. This spirit animal empowers you to overcome.
  • Respect life’s cycles – Understand that all of life moves in natural rhythms of hardship and ease, shortage and excess. Accept both.
  • Share your gifts – Be generous with your time, talents, and resources. When you give, you make room for more to flow in.

Questions and Answers About Buffalo Symbolism

Here are some commonly asked questions about the deeper meaning behind the buffalo as a spirit animal:

bufallo tatoo

What is the origin of buffalo symbolism?

Buffalo symbolism originated with Native American tribes like the Lakota Sioux and Blackfoot, who depended on the buffalo for survival. They viewed the buffalo as a sacred gift to be honored. The buffalo’s spiritual meaning was woven into tribal ceremonies, songs, and stories.

How does buffalo symbolism vary across cultures?

While buffalo symbolism shares common themes of abundance and strength, specific meanings vary between tribes based on their unique relationships with the buffalo. Plains tribes viewed the buffalo as essential to life, while woodland tribes saw it as important but not central for survival.

Can an individual buffalo hold different symbolic meanings?

Yes, the symbolic meaning can shift based on the situation or context. For example, a white buffalo calf might represent blessings, while an injured buffalo could symbolize a warning of potential struggles ahead.

What does a herd of buffalo represent?

A herd symbolizes community, abundance, prosperity, power, and tranquility. Since buffaloes naturally live in protective herds, this signifies a period where you feel supported, provided for, and peaceful.

What does it mean to have a buffalo spirit animal?

Having a buffalo as your spirit animal suggests you are being called to a greater connection with the earth, walking a spiritual path, showing strength during trials, and living with gratitude for all that you’ve been given.


In conclusion, the buffalo is an incredibly meaningful and mystical animal in Native American culture that symbolizes sacredness, abundance, strength, and spiritual power. By exploring buffalo meanings and symbolism, we can better understand indigenous traditions and apply buffalo wisdom to our modern lives. When the buffalo comes to you as a spirit guide, be prepared for a powerful and transformative relationship.

  1. https://www.stjo.org/native-american-culture/important-animals/buffalo-tatanka/ []

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