VISION QUESTS

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At the end of June 2012, 6 courageous souls from Edmonton (Brian McLeod, Estelle Dube’- Parent, Ian Porteous, Alana Levandoski, Gord Oaks, Katie Ingram) went on a Vision Quest to the back country of Colorado.

The Vision Quest was hosted by an organization out of California called Rites of Passage.

Please feel free to check out their website  www.ritesofpassagevisionquest.org

This is the organization that will be training Alana Levandoski and Estelle Dube-Parent to become assistants the facilitators in this special line of work.

They will also be coming up to host the very first Vision Quest at Cabine Soleil.

 

Here’s an excerpt form the Rites of Passage Handbook:

 

You have decided to go on a Vision Quest. As you prepare for the Quest, the meaning of this decision will become clearer to you, as you leave your old world behind, cross the threshold into the sacred world of the solo, and then begin the return to the world you left behind——one of family, friends, co-workers, responsibilities and community. Going to a wild, sacred place and taking your stand there, you will be enacting a ceremonial process whose roots lie within the inner core of humanity, and whose history is as old as human society. As guides, we have learned that we cannot convince anyone to undertake such a journey. In fact, your friends, family, loved ones or co-workers may not understand your decision, and may even try to talk you out of it. But what brought you to the Vision Quest was an inner calling, a stirring within your own heart and soul, pushing you from within to seek your own vision.

In traditional indigenous cultures, rites of passage always served to mark and celebrate major life transitions. These ceremonial events took place within a framework of meaning that was supported by myth, social structure, and spiritual practice. Young people were then encouraged to ask essential questions: ““Who am I? What unique gifts can I bring to my people? Who are my helpers on the path? What challenges will I need to overcome?”” Sadly, few meaningful rites of passage remain in late twentieth century Western societies. Generally, young people stumble toward adulthood, with little in the way of true challenges requiring courage and skill to test themselves, and to demonstrate that they are ready to to take on a level of independence and responsibility toward self, others and community that means ““I am becoming an adult.””

For adults, there exist official, external markers of the stages of a life journey: marriage licenses, divorce papers, death certificates, and a host of small signposts along the way——but such markers do not necessarily confirm and deepen the meaning

1and significance of these events. People who follow a religious faith may find meaning within the ceremonial pattern of their religious practice, which may celebrate and deepen understanding of important life transitions. But for many people in our modern industrialized world, institutionalized religion does not meet the felt need for a direct, personal and profound encounter with self and Spirit that is longed for, and that is at the heart of traditional rites of passage.

Without such rites of passage, people lack the means to consciously and intentionally cross the threshold that marks a change in life status: from an old life into a new life. Everywhere we look in our society, we see the signs of people in permanent crisis, unable to cross, yet unable to continue in their old station. People freeze up, or fracture and break, under such pressures. Many march along bravely, all sense of joy having been drained out. Ours is an era of stress-related diseases, family breakdowns, and widespread addictions. Society itself seems to have lost the ancient story line that gives birth to heroes and heroines, those that go forth into the darkness and return with gifts for the benefit of the entire community. This story line is at the heart of the Vision Quest.

What crises or transitions lead people to undertake a Vision Quest program? We have seen teens coming, over the years, to demonstrate their willingness and readiness to face the coming challenges of adulthood. For some, it represents but a small (but significant) step in that direction, pointing to the tasks that will need to be accomplished before actually leaving the family nest. For others, the Vision Quest represents the actual mark of departure from the old status of childhood into a new life as a young adult, complete with new freedoms and responsibilities.

The reasons given by adults participants for undertaking a Vision Quest can be more varied and personal. Some may never have spent time alone, and feel a deep need to do so now to claim wholeness and autonomy. For others, divorce, separation or death of a loved one may have prompted a need to mark these changes in their life cycle, and to discover new strengths and gifts. Some come because, despite

 

successful lives, they feel an unnamed longing to understand their place in the Universe——responding to the same questions that youth face, ““Who am I, and what are my gifts?”” Some adults come carrying unfinished issues from childhood, and will use the quest to confirm their own healing and reconciliation with the past. Still others will enact the rite of passage to celebrate their entrance into Elderhood, claiming the strength and wisdom possible in this part of the life cycle.

The important question is, why do you want to go on a Vision Quest? What life passage do you find yourself in? What are you marking? There are no “correct” reasons, but you need to get clear in your own heart and mind why you are going out there. The staff will work with you to clarify your intent, via writing exercises (the Personal Information Form, to be filled out before you come to the field) and in base camp during the days before the solo, when your understanding of your purpose may grow.

One thing we have learned over many years is that human beings are part of Grandmother Nature and not separate from her. So we go out to the wilderness, among other reasons, to connect with the rhythm of nature, the flow of days, sunrise and sunset, wind and rain, to find our place on the earth. With the growing ecological crisis, we can say that an important reason to reintroduce rites of passage is to learn to take care of the Earth as she has always taken care of us——pure water, air and food among her many gifts. We are part of the web of life, not separate from it, and the destruction of species and habitat, the poisoning of air and water, indicate just how alienated a civilization we have become.

For a brief video look at the founders of this particular movement please see http://schooloflostborders.org/