In Need of a Vision Quest

I have been on three Vision Quests at different points in my life. While I did not have an encounter with spirit guides on any of these quests, each time I learned something important about myself that helped me to move forward with my life.

With my first Vision Quest, I was a young woman doing a  job I had dreamed of, but finding it extremely stressful. I selected a site beside the lake, out in the open, on a large slab of granite.  I set up my circle with prayers and sat in the middle as darkness fell.  Several times through the night, I stood in each of the eight directions on my circle and meditated on the energies and the spirits for each.   At one point, I found myself dancing the energy of each direction as it was expressed in my life.  I pounded my feet into the ground and pressed my fist into the air aggressively in the north, the place of the mind, while I danced myself into a sobbing child in the south, the place of emotions.  

In the darkness of the night, with emotional armour stripped away by fear and exhaustion, I saw how my beliefs were shaped by my emotions, and knew that I worked so hard in an attempt to earn the love I had never felt as a child.  There was beauty in the clarity of my vision, if not in the vision itself.  This would be the first step towards leaving my job.

Several years later, in a different job with a young son of two, I went on my third Vision Quest.  This time, I selected a site deep in the forest.  I called upon the energies and spirits of the eight directions while it grew dark.  At the beginning of the night, I was scared of every sound.  I peered into the darkness at shadows that seemed to be moving.  I felt separate from the forest.  I felt like I did not belong.  And I felt like every living creature in the forest could sense my presence.

I meditated in the centre of my circle.  I focused on my breathing.  I sent my energy into the earth.  Several times through the night, I walked to the perimeter of my circle and called on the energies of each of the eight direction in turn.  I asked for clarity and direction in my life.  But each time, I mistakenly skipped the northwest, the direction of karma and destiny, until I finally asked myself: “What piece of my destiny am I trying to avoid?” For months, I had been trying to decide whether to have a second child.  Two years of sleepless nights with my “high needs” son had almost done me in.  I really felt that I could not survive mentally if I had a second child.  But every time I thought of not having a second child, I broke into tears.  I realized in that dark forest that a second child was written into my script; it was a choice I had made before I was born.

When dawn arrived, I was quiet inside.  I felt like I was part of the forest.  I no longer felt afraid of the forest or the creatures living in it.  I felt a peaceful sense of alignment with all the energies around me.   

Now 18 years later, as the mother of two children who are preparing to leave home, I feel the need for a Vision Quest.  I feel worn down by the material demands of life.  I feel disappointed in people; discouraged about the world.  I feel disconnected from the earth.  I don’t feel finished yet, but I don’t feel passionate about anything any more.   I need to remember what it feels like to sit alone in the wild; to feel a part of the earth; to re-connect with the mystery.

About kp

I am a woman and a mother, a sister and a wife. I have called myself a socialist and a feminist, an environmentalist and an activist, a pagan and an atheist. But, at this stage in my life, none of these labels feel right. I am searching; trying to find an inner calm; trying to make peace with life's disappointments; trying to answer the big questions in my own small life.
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6 Responses to In Need of a Vision Quest

  1. Julie says:

    I had never heard of a vision quest before – intriguing. It sounds like you should go on another one. If you do, let us know what you learn.

  2. Hi KP, Forgive me for not coming by sooner. (I’ve been having my own struggles with life questions since my last child has moved out and adjusting to a new town–though it feels right to be here.)

    Having our children, whom we carried in our bodies and nurtured for so many years, grow up and leave is like suddenly finding a hole in your soul. It’s not really a hole, but it feels like one. I hope you have found again your awareness of your connections, to our Mother and to the Great Spirit, for you are always connected, even when you don’t feel that way. You, beautiful soul, cannot be unconnected!

    I found this post from Jeff Brown on my Facebook page this morning:
    “I cannot overstate the value of sitting in the place of not knowing. Sometimes our sacred purpose arises through action, sometimes only when we sit in the heart of the not knowing. We allow space for our deepest self to arise when we stop moving, when we stop dodging it with jerky moment and over-activity. Embracing the unknown allows our sacred purpose to catch up with us, to find its way through a maze of distraction. By fully surrendering to the not knowing, we create the space for a deeper knowing to emerge.”

    • kp says:

      Dear pam….thank you for understanding and for your re-affirming words. You hear terms such as “morning sickness”, “hot flashes” and “empty nest syndrome” but they do not begin to capture the reality of these experiences. Having our children move out into the world is such a bittersweet experience. I know that you are excited, proud and happy for your son, but I can imagine that your home feels very quiet right now. thank you for passing along that beautiful piece of writing. Surrender is the hard part I find, but I am working on it. I am hugging you in my mind’s eye. Kp

  3. jazzminey says:

    Hello Julie, I just recently went on a second vision quest. I enjoyed reading about yours. I don’t feel alone in doing this kind of thing. I think it is amazing that you did it a such a young age. I feel you are very wise indeed. Janice

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