“Wilderness is not a luxury, but a necessity of the human spirit.” Edward Abbey
As I was meditating this morning, my mind began to ponder about the Doctorate program I withdrew from. You see, I am a Vision Quest Guide and what I realized about Mother Earth and this particular ceremony is that one cannot quantify it’s rate of “success”. How can one even project or quantify a “rate of success” onto Mother Earth? I guess if anything I would say her rate of ‘”success” is outstanding and her unconditional love for us, her children, is beyond measure. Even after all the pollution we have caused, she continues to love.
There are several writings with people’s personal experiences on a Vision Quest or even books or academic papers, but most are qualitative rather than quantitative.
I have been in this ceremony as both participant and facilitator. I have seen a decade of healing and have been shown what this ancient ceremony has gifted people. This ceremony surrounds the participants in its loving presence.
The knowledge of this ceremony is not new, it is thousands of years old.
In fact, it is deep-rooted in most indigenous cultures. But, Vision Quest is not shamanism, rather it is an initiatory rite of passage.
It is not limited to a particular tribe, although different tribes may have their own construct and creation story of this rite of passage.
In North America, I have seen and attended different rites of passage like bar or bah mitzvah, a baptism, a bris, a quinceanera, a wedding, or a funeral. All of which mark a major life transition.
Therefore, we are no strangers to rites of passages and the idea of a rite of passage is not unfamiliar. We embody and attend many “rites of passages”.
On the rudimentary level, Vision Quest is two words: Vision, which implies the ability to see, or the “faculty” of sight. Quest is “the act of pursuing something” or an expedition that is undertaken.
Although this particular rite of passage takes places in the wilderness, Vision Quest is not a ropes course, survival skills, wilderness therapy, or camping for an extended period of time.
Vision Quest is a ceremony, first and foremost that teaches us a lesson about love and union that many of us have forgotten.
While we may feel love and union at many of the celebrations I mentioned above, Vision Quest attends to that which is Mysterious and Alive.
In the simplest terms, it creates a deep connection to human nature and Mother Earth. It stretches our boundaries so that we all may feel the relationship to the cosmos and cycles of Nature in a wilderness ceremony.
Through this ceremony, we can release the force of love lavishly without expending the reservoir. As a Vision Quest Guide, this is what resonates for me.
When one comes from one’s center, one comes from love. Vision Quest asks, “What does the reserve of Universal loving look like? Are we cooperating with Nature the way it is? Are we acting directly through the deeper potential of life?”
Vision quest allows the natural potential of each person to learn and to organize him or herself, and respond to that orientation.
Once we can understand we are transformational servers and stewards of the planet, we can access our deeper potential and act directly through that authentic sense of oneself and her or his loving.
As we find a greater level of cooperation with our sacredness and the sacredness of our Mother-Mother Earth, then the universe is set up to help each one of us meet our actualization. Our lives require we meet ourselves and life is sacred and is never to be denied.
Vision Quest is an invitation to a lifestyle and a profound interconnectedness with the deep ability to locate ourselves and not forget who or where we are.
Ceremonies were gifted to us because we need them.
Vision Quest also summons us back to time when we had tribal consciousness and camaraderie. Vision Quest is a call to work on discovering one SELF, honoring one’s process and another’s without telling them.
Vision Quest holds a presence that something new can be birthed or come about. It awakens and fulfills oneself in an innate way, rather than the ego-driven way.
In these exciting times of transformational change, it is these very ceremonies that bring us back to a tribal evolution, organic consciousness, and respect to our evolving soul.
Vision Quest is not a trademark nor does it belong to anyone. Since Vision Quest takes place in Mother Earth, there is no ownership. Mother Earth never did belong to a single person or tribe and never will. Mother Earth denies no one and is not exclusive. She is inclusive and holds all in union, not separation.
It is fear that contains and holds us in separation and fear and continues the cycle of “we own this ceremony or that ceremony”. It is clear that within each culture, there are innate and inherent sacred ceremonies related to those particular cultures and should be honored and respected.
Vision Quest is a stand-alone rite of passage that is threaded uniquely within these indigenous cultures. Its expression within each culture is the nature of its distinct consciousness.
Since my first Vision Fast in 2003, I have apprenticed and have been facilitating this particular ceremony for the past ten years.
I am in a new landscape now and have to learn to hear the voice of this particular land where I live.
I am honored by this fierce love and this work. I will Vision Quest until the day I return to that which is Mysterious and Alive.
Niccole is an earth-based curandera (healer) who has woven her North and South American heritage to create an integrative approach to personal and collective transformation.
Niccole studied and apprenticed with indigenous healers from Mexico, the highlands of the Andes, and North American First Nations. She underwent intense spiritual initiations in these traditions, which became the tapestry for her approaches to healing.
Some of her Earth Based Traditions include Vision Quest, a Wilderness Rites of Passage, the Andean cosmology of the Q’eros, and the Native American ceremonies of the Lakota.
Niccole holds a master’s degree in Transpersonal Counseling and Consciousness from Southwestern College (2003) in Santa Fe, New Mexico and is a Licensed Professional Counselor and Supervisor. She lives in Asheville, NC.