What is Vision Quest?
The journey into the wilderness: to seek vision, wisdom and self-knowledge is as old as human civilisation itself. In all cultures and societies it has existed in one form or another and all great spiritual leaders, from Jesus and Buddha to Knights of the Middle Ages and modern day Medicine men and women, have tested themselves and sought enlightenment in this way, bringing back what they have learned to their people, so that they may all benefit from the experience.
Every earth-based culture has had a tradition of enacting formal rites of passage of one kind or another, such as the Celts, Siberians, Africans, Tibetans and Native Americans. The most effective way of moving from one life stage to another, is by ‘marking’ that transition with ritual and ceremony. One of the most effective and simple ways of doing this is to allow ourselves to really feel, deeply feel, our connection to the land and allow the land to move us.
The hero’s journey consists of 3 stages – severance, threshold and incorporation. Choosing to embark on this journey is a sign that you are ready to letting go of the old life which no longer satisfies, into the unknown dark mystery to find the sparks of life you have been craving and gently bring them into your life. It is a transition between stages of existence, often referred to as “the dark night of the soul”, and must be passed through to discover the next level of being.
This stage begins when you make the decision to undertake a Vision Quest. It’s time to look at your life until this point and describe the key events in an autobiography of your life.
Before you even step foot on the land the ceremony has begun and it will become more and more difficult to keep holding onto those things which are no longer serving your life. Change is about to happen, you are about to enter into a powerful ceremony and fear is going to be a natural part of that process.
You stand on the edge of a new land – all the preparation has lead you to this point. Now is the time to step off the cliff that was separating you from the comfortable and familiar into the unknown. The process of facing yourself has started.
Everything that happens here is loaded with significance, because this time alone in nature is time in the “spirit world”, your own inner landscapes. There are childhood toys, words from a forgotten argument, an old injury lying on the ground around you – they all carry a story and now is the time to listen and let go, as you do so you’ll the voice of your soul lies waiting underneath.
You will feel alive and invincible – but the real “work” has just begun. The revelations and insights will fade away and not count for anything until you bring the medicine of the quest back into your life and your community. They have been visitors to you and now you need to integrate them and allow them to gently guide the changes that will ripple out from your quest.
Keep your story inside for one year and watch it grow into your life – now is the time to incorporate what you have learned.