|“||Shadow, what do you believe?||”|
–The Buffalo, "Come to Jesus"
The Buffalo, also known as the Buffalo Man or Buffalo Woman, is a mysterious entity manifesting as a buffalo or a humanoid with the head of a buffalo.They are a personification of the American land.
Shadow falls asleep and dreams of the place were he is surrounded by human bones and dead trees. He walks toward the middle where there is one massive, dead tree. He sees a white buffalo approaching him with its eyes aflame. As he backs away, the buffalo tells him to "believe" and Shadow wakes up.
In Mr. Ibis's recounting of the arrival of a Siberian tribe to America during the Pleistocene, the Buffalo has been worshiped by the earliest arrivals to North America. He is the patron god of an endemic tribe, and Atsula, the high priest of a recently arrived tribe, has to sacrifice herself to him to allow her people's survival.
Shadow dreams of digging out from a pile of skulls and climbing to the top of it where he encounters a massive tree. The Buffalo approaches him and he is surrounded by the smoke from its eyes. He awakens in the passenger seat of Betty with Wednesday driving them to Kentucky.
Shadow frequently encounters the Buffalo Man in his dreams. Shadow dreams that he is deep below the earth in a primordial cave, talking to the Buffalo across a campfire and can hear the Buffalo's words, but the Buffalo's mouth does not move when he speaks. In these dreams, he often gives Shadow advice or leaves him with a question to ponder, such as "What are gods?" He is often accompanied by Whiskey Jack. Near the end of the story, Shadow comes across him and directly asks who he is. The Buffalo replies, "I am the land."Samantha Black Crow has also encountered a female version of the Buffalo in her dreams.
Powers and abilities
- Land Embodiment: The Buffalo is the personification of the lands and possesses every aspect of that, and which also gives him powers over the lands he covets. He has yet to show any abilities related to this.
- Prophetic Dreams: The Buffalo visits Shadow in his dreams and communicates with him as seen in "The Bone Orchard", "Come to Jesus", "Moon Shadow" and "Serious Moonlight"
- Telepathy: The Buffalo is able to commune with Shadow in his dreams without moving his mouth.
- Fire Generation: The Buffalo is able to physically generate fire from his body as he does with eyes.
Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab
Notes and trivia
- The American Bison is considered sacred to several Native American religions.
- In the series, Ian McShane is the voice of the Buffalo
- Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab created a perfume oil for their "American Gods II" line of products based on the Buffalo Man. It is described as: Warm dark brown musk, woodsmoke, and deep pools of labdanum.