What Is A Vision Quest And Why Go On One?

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Vision Quest


We explore what a vision quest is and why you should go on one. Additionally, we explain how you prepare for this journey and how it is executed. And eventually, we try to give you some kind of idea of what you can expect from it.

In times where more and more of us are rediscovering and reconnecting our relationship with nature; in times where people search for guidance to overcome specific challenges in their lives; in times where folks go out to participate in increasingly popular ayahuasca rituals to seek truth and enlightenment, it can be of great use for an individual to go on a vision quest.

This is because a vision quest could help you with all the things mentioned above - reconnect with nature and your inner-self, find purpose, truth and experience visions.

In this article, we cover everything that surrounds a vision quest. We tell you what it is and why you should go on one. We provide you with information about the preparations and execution of the quest. We will do our best to give you an impression of what to expect from such an epiphany (although, each experience differentiates vastly for each "quester").

Before we start, it should be noted that the following guide attempts to give you a general idea of a vision quest. However, the individual factors surrounding the event can vary greatly. For example, you can do it in a more traditional way on your own, or with the assistance of a guide. You can do it with entheogens or without them, or you can get in contact with one of the many companies and organisations that provide a more controlled environment for your quest.

How you choose to approach this important spiritual journey depends a lot on your personal motivations and mindset. We will not go into all the details for all kinds of vision quests. Instead, we give you the basics and a launch point from which you can move forward. So, with that out of the way, we can begin.

WHAT IS A VISION QUEST?

What Is A Vision Quest

Historically (and still to this day), a vision quest can be best described as a rite of passage practiced in Native Americans cultures. These rituals are performed to mark an important transition in life - a turning point.

Most commonly, a vision quest is performed to mark the passage from childhood to puberty, or in other words, from adolescence to adulthood. But it can be done in whatever phase of life you are in right now. Traditionally, a vision quest has a very strong shamanistic component.

Nowadays, the term “vision quest” is used almost in the same sense as the historical rite, but has been detached a little bit from the Native American cultures that bore it. Now, vision quests encompass all kinds of cultures, traditions, religions, ceremonies and teachings. The true meaning, however, is still firmly rooted in respect for the tradition.

A vision quest usually lasts for two to four days and may involve long walks in nature, fasting, and sleep deprivation. It is a rite of cleansing and purification, similar to the "heroic journey." A significant part of it is being alone in the wilderness, finding yourself, seeking truth and guidance, maybe even experiencing visions and subsequent enlightenment.

It should ideally give you some kind of answer to the questions of existence, like "Who am I?" or "Why am I here?" The challenge of it is that you are vulnerable and hand over control. For many individuals, this notion can be terrifying.

WHY GO ON A VISION QUEST?

As said above, the reasons for going on a vision quest are highly individual and can be hugely different for each of us. Typically, vision quests are inspired by some kind of new situation, passage, challenge or change. This can include births or deaths (real and symbolic), career changes, marriage or divorce, menopause, birthdays, successes, achievements, a serious illness, recovery from addiction...you name it.

Such a quest can be deeply cathartic; a way to recharge your batteries. It can empower you, humble and enlighten you, and strengthen you all at once! It connects us with the spirit and creative force we are all part of.

Many that have undergone such a deep experience report that it is the ultimate medicine for the soul, the mind, and the body. Some say it brings us back from the lunacy of the modern world to the true nature of ourselves and the universe. It heals you in many different ways.

Why Go On A Vision Quest?

PREPARATIONS AND EXECUTION

So, you have decided to go on a vision quest for one reason or another. Now you ask yourself, “How do I prepare for this?” It's easy to say, but at first you have to be psychologically, physically, and spiritually ready for your journey.

You should be able to fast, camp outside for a few days, be comfortable with solitude and gain some knowledge of spiritual practices like meditation. You should prepare your equipment: A sleeping bag, clothes according to the weather, more than enough water for all the days of your undertaking, and a journal and pencils to record your quest.

It can also be helpful to have some kind of first aid knowledge. And last but not least, you have to find the perfect spot for your journey where you set a stone circle in which you can meditate.

Note that all of these are just recommendations. Depending on your specific vision quest, you may leave something out or add another thing. For example, some people like to have a supply of nuts, chocolate, and dried fruits nearby in case the hunger gets too bad. But remember, it can be distracting to know that you have food in reach when you attempt to fast. In the end, it all depends on the location, the length of your quest, if you are alone or guided, etc.

If you want to take entheogens and hallucinogens, you should, of course, bring them with you as well. Magic mushrooms, mescaline, DMT or ayahuasca can enhance your journey and visions greatly, but quests can be just as fulfilling without their help. LSD can also do the trick, but the more natural the substance, the better. It's all about getting back to nature and your inner-self - synthetic drugs can distract from that.

The actual execution of the ritual involves some key points. You are alone in a natural environment (solitude), you fast (emptiness), you are exposed to the elements (vulnerability), and have to rely on yourself (self-trust). It is here where you will meditate in your stone circle and be extremely hungry, but therefore experience profound insights and visions.

The fasting may be one of the hardest parts. Prepare to be very, very hungry! Especially if you have never fasted before. Some people prepare themselves with a specific diet that they will approach up to 40 days before the quest even begins. Stay hydrated despite the fasting!

The fasting itself has many benefits for you. It cleanses your body and mind; reactivates and regenerates you. Research shows that fasting is a method of natural super-healing, which can boost your immune system and renew stem cells.

After your time of solitude and insight, the journey is either over, or, depending on which kind of quest you take, a time of return and getting together with others can follow. Here, you can share your experiences and stories by reflecting upon your vision quest.

Included in all kinds of vision quests is the time of solitude where you basically sit, your stomach growls from hunger, you meditate, chant, pray, or whatever you feel like. But, what actually happens inside of you during this phase is probably the hardest part to explain. This brings us to our next point.

Ritual

WHAT TO EXPECT?

As shown above, the preparations and setting of a vision quest can be more or less the same. What makes the experience personal is what goes on inside of your mind and the visions and insights you experience. In this section, we try to give you an idea of what to expect when you sit there in nature, contemplating your thoughts and existence while feeling incredibly hungry.

In short, you are kind of reborn. It is life-changing, for the better. You will be destroyed, shattered, ripped apart and assembled back together as, hopefully, a new and better version of yourself. You will be more mindful and aware of everything in existence. Maybe you realise that you are part of something greater and channel the divinity in all of us and our surroundings.

As a result, you will be more patient, more thankful, cleansed, and recharged. In the best possible scenario, you get visions, an epiphany, insights or enlightenment of some sort. This way, the girl or boy inside of you has finally made the transition into another phase of existence. In a more abstract way, you will discover symbolism for your life and your journey. You will find meaning!

THE BENEFITS OF A VISION QUEST

So, hopefully, you have an impression of what a vision quest is, how it is done and what you can possibly take away from it. Furthermore, you see that it's not an easy undertaking and certainly not for everyone.

In some situations, without the proper preparations, vision quests can even be a bit dangerous. But for those of you who are willing to challenge yourself and seek a profound and unique experience, it can be extremely rewarding!

In stillness and silence, you feel a sense of oneness, alignment, and connection. You can cure emotional, physical and/or spiritual illnesses. You can find out what your "mission" is on our beautiful planet. You can communicate with nature, move beyond outmoded paradigms, and ultimately find truth, balance, and peace.

To sum it up, this mystical journey can promote good health, reduce stress and rekindle your fascination with nature and the environment, as well as others. Vision quests will help you trust yourself and get a sense of awe and wonder in life again. What a truly wonderful experience a vision quest is!

Guest Writer

Written by: Guest Writer
Occasionally we have guest writers contribute to our blog here at Zamnesia. They come from a wide range of backgrounds and experiences, making their knowledge invaluable.

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