Notes From The Frontier
Badger Blood Prophesy
Native Americans revered the fierce badger & believed its lifeblood could tell their future.
The badger is one of the most fierce and courageous beasts in the animal kingdom and Native Americans revered the animal. They had seen badgers challenge mountain lions, wolves and even grizzly bears and hold their ground. Many tribes wore its long claws as necklaces or wore its striking striped head and pelt as a headdress. Many used its spiky hair as magnificent roaches. Zuni shaman fashioned stone badger fetishes assist them in digging roots and herbs for healing. And the Navajo created badger kachina dolls to channel their fierceness and courage.
But the most profound and meaningful ritual involving the badger and Native American lore is sacred and little known by whites. Many tribes believed the lifeblood of the badger held the secret to its ferocity and courage. Many warriors believed that badger blood also held the secret of their fate, their future. The ritual to see their future in badger blood was not easy and required courage and skill. The warrior must first find a badger and confront it head on, then thrust his knife precisely into the badge’s aorta. Then the warrior lays the dead badger on its back on a bed of sage. (Sage is used to conjure the spirits.) He takes his knife and slits open the badger gently from chest to tail. He pulls out the entrails, careful not to spill any precious blood. Then he waits. He waits for the badger’s cavity to fill with its mighty blood.
When its blood has pooled and thickened into a ruby reflection, the warrior looks deep into the pool, as if looking into the badger’s soul and seeing his own. If he sees in the reflection his young face, he will die young. And he prays his death will be a good death and brave. If he sees in the reflection his face sun-beaten and creased with wrinkled, his hair gray, he will know that he will see many summers, he will survive many battles, will have children and maybe even grandchildren. Either way, he will thank the spirits for his future and he will thank the badger, too, and find strength in the courage he has left the young warrior.
To witness the amazing courage of the badger, see this video of a badger standing his ground against a grizzly bear! https://youtu.be/3RqJFza3sbE
For more information about the Native American badger blood ritual, see this article by Lakota Sioux poet, Lois Red Elk of the Mountain Journal:
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• The Magical Bond Between the Badger and the Coyote
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