What is Vision Questing?
There are times in life when you long for deeper clarity and vision about your life purpose. You feel a transition or shift in perspective is necessary, but your plugged in life constantly distracts you from taking those steps.
When I have been confused, uncertain, sad, or dealing with any other blockage that can come, I reconnect with nature to explore new insights and perspectives, not only within myself but also about the world I live in. One way I have done that is through vision questing. I have been on three vision quests over the years and my life has been inexorably transformed having gone through these experiences. I feel it is important to provide some understanding of the process.
WHAT IS VISION QUESTING?
Vision questing is choosing to take time away from your familiar, every day life to completely unplug from all the tasks and technology that weigh you down and go into a nature setting in order to seek greater depth and clarity about your life purpose. It is based on indigenous rites of passage that mark significant life transitions.
There are a variety of organizations that lead questing, so It is important to find seasoned guides to ensure you have a meaningful and safe experience. Your work with the guides and the gathering of other seekers who go into the wilderness or a place of nature involves a lot of introspection and sharing through journaling, dream work, medicine walks, drumming, etc., all preparing you to sit solo - alone for up to four days and nights while fasting. Sitting solo is the hallmark of a vision quest.
The stages of vision questing usually involve:
Severance - as you separate from your familiar world, you prepare physically, psychologically, and spiritually to begin the experience of fasting solo in nature. The descent into the natural world helps you to disengage from the knowns and beliefs by which you operate. Your mind’s chatter loosens its grip to increase objectivity in viewing how you live your life.
Threshold - the time when you leave the group and cross a threshold into the solo experience. You seek out the solo spot, making sure it is in a safe location which includes a method to be checked on while a private perimeter is maintained. As you sink into that chosen area of the earth, you are able to observe how the outer nature is a reflection of your inner nature. What you feel drawn to exactly mirrors what you may be going through - (e.g. a dead tree that represents a part of you that holds you back and needs to die in order to create a larger life). There are many ways to spend solo time. The guides provide their suggestions, but it’s ultimately your creation. (And yes, there is physical hunger which contributes to deepening your experience.)
Incorporation - when you return from your fast, you and the group share your stories of your solo time with the guides and each other. Using deep listening, the guides mirror your story back so you may hear the larger, archetypal struggles you went through. This brings greater objectivity about and learning from that magical, sacred experience. You also learn how to incorporate your unique soulful lessons into your life so you, as well as your community, will benefit.