A few weeks ago I decided I needed to go on a vision quest. I’ve been feeling the need for a few years now and only recently did things come “to a head” so to speak and cause me to take action. So on November 12th, at first light, I’ll head off alone, into the woods, to sit for 4 days and 4 nights without food.
This won’t be the only time I’ve done this. The first quest I ever did was back in May 2004 in Idaho with Earth-Heart, right before I moved out West to go to Wilderness Awareness School. In fact one of the questions I had while I was on my quest was whether or not to go to the school. That quest was one of the hardest things I had ever done at that point in my life and also incredibly rewarding. I remember walking down off the mountain with my rubbery legs, beaming from head to toe. I felt weak, but totally refreshed and glowing with the energy of moving beyond my edge and coming out better for it on the other side. I remember noticing these small, spindly flowers when I walked in on Day 1. They were closed, I couldn’t see any of their color. When I walked out on Day 4, those flowers had opened and were a beautiful orange color.
Since then I’ve quested four time. Twice in the darkness of a small sweat lodge looking structure that I built and twice sitting outside. This will be the first time I’ve ever quested in the Fall and during such a cold, damp season. Sometimes in the mornings recently I walk outside and think, man it is cold! What’s it going to be like when I’m out there in a couple weeks?! Only one way to find out…
Tom Brown has said, “The vision quest is as old as dirt”. It is a tool used by native peoples across the world. It is often referred to as a “Rite of Passage” and is used at significant times or turning points in people’s lives. And in our modern day culture it is a way to slow down and really tune in to the world around us, tune into our selves, and listen deeply.
To me questing gives me space to grow into who I am more fully. I step away from my day to day distractions, including food and physical digestion, and go into a space where my life’s experiences can be digested more fully. It is also a time to pop the crust. Crust is a consequence of living, it just happens, it’s part of being human. The Quest helps crumble the crust. When I leave I feel clearer, more connected, and much less crusty! Right now, in life, I feel like I’m at a crossroads and before I decide which way to go I need to stop and listen.
And ever since I’ve decided to quest, life has gotten strange. Really strange. But also really wonderful too. It feels like my heart is literally being stretched. I physically feel that in my body. And it feels like the quest process has already begun. Frankly, I don’t know if it ever really ends. Life is a quest. A search. An adventure. Sometimes it’s a living hell. And sometimes it’s pure magic. I’m not really sure what we’re all doing on this spinning globe called Earth. I don’t know if I’ll ever know. But I’m along for the adventure.
Have you ever quested before? Have you ever thought about vision questing? Tell me below.