Linda Neale's Blog

Vision Quest

Linda Neale - Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Recently Rod and I participated in a vision quest camp in a remote region of SE Oregon where seven men and women sought direction for their lives.  The vision quest ceremony is common among tribal peoples of North America;  there are similar ceremonies in India and Persia, and within the monastic and ascetic traditions of Christianity.  Jesus did a kind of vision quest, when he retreated into the desert for 40 days and 40 nights.


In many traditions the vision quest was used as a coming-of-age ceremony for young people, to help them discern their true path in life.  It was also performed before going to war, as a preparation for the sundance ceremony, and for personal guidance regarding some particular issue.


The vision quest is the most fundamental of ceremonies, because the structure is so clear and simple.  It’s just the quester, the Creator, and Mother Earth. No food, no water, no distractions.  The quester usually chooses a spot somewhere high up, where he or she can view the earth like an eagle.  However, sometimes these ceremonies are conducted in a sweat lodge, in a cave or pit, or in a forest setting.


Most people I know who have vision quested prepare for months, or even years,  before “going on the hill”.  They choose their spot in Nature where they will pray and meditate in isolation, within the boundaries of a small altar space, for up to four days and nights.   We have friends who go to South America for their vision quest.  There it is common for the ceremony to last for up to thirteen days, although the quester is given a small amount of food and water on particular days during these longer quests. 


How many of us who are raised in the Western Culture set aside the time to pray and be alone in nature?  It’s a tremendous gift that one can give oneself.   I am honored to witness and support people in this ceremony.  They usually return from their vision quest ceremony to their “normal” lives with a renewed sense of purpose and connection.


   Sometimes I wish that all our political leaders would take the time to go on the hill. 
    How would our world be different if this were the case?
Dave the Rave commented on 14-Jul-2011 10:08 AM
Well... from what the news outlets report, politicians are up on the hill quite a lot.
Ga-lo commented on 14-Jul-2011 11:09 AM
I find it very interesting that among the spiritual practices of the world, the ones in which we participate are closer to following the teachings of Christ literally.
Dave Cooley commented on 09-Aug-2011 03:58 PM
Yes... i remember U. Buck saying that when the Christians brought "Christianity" to the natives here on Turtle Island, the natives understood it and lived it far more completely than did the white "teachers"

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