FIRST VISION QUEST
My yearning for a grand vision, a great revelation, had been nourished by a lifetime of longing to be worthy of my existence. I found teachers who exemplified what I wanted to become and began to model myself in their image. I dreamed of living each day as a sacred journey experiencing the miracle of each moment. My aspirations were not always reality based, but I did know that there was a place inside of me reserved for the truth I felt when in the company of wise elders, sages, holy people. My reason for questing was to fill that place, to be ensouled. I shouldered my pack, picked up two gallon jugs of fresh well water and hiked a mile and a half up a narrow, over grown path to my vision quest site determined to make my dreams come true.
For three days the chaos of my turbulent emotions and thoughts were exhausting. Prayers turned to self-pity. I was tired, hungry and weak in spirit and body.
The flame of hope was faint as the sun abandoned me to the third night. Pride kept me from packing up and going back to camp - I endured. Exhausted, unable to think, I wept for a long time. Self-pity, sorrow and anger drained away with my tears. After a while mental clarity returned. I took stock of my situation. I was not going back to camp. I was not in any danger. I was comfortable although my body was looking forward to my soft bed. Why not just be here, not worry about grand visions, spiritual insights or instructions from invisible beings. My sense of humor began to return and I laughed at my lack of understanding about why I was sitting on this mountain side. I was sitting here to be here, just be here. This was not the time to rush into a life I only imagined or dwell on one that had already been lived.
Ah, commitment - sometimes the way there is through resistance.
I surrendered to learning nothing, to knowing nothing. Internal quiet gave way to listening. The faint hoot of an owl, the sound of a pinecone falling to the ground, coyote song, the gentle swaying and touching of branches. I rested, held by mother earth. There was no place I wanted to go, no other place I wanted to be. The stars were bright and beautiful, the moon’s soft light revealed the gentle outlines of trees, boulders, and the distant mountains. I felt love, that boundless love that one feels when embraced by the universe, soothed by a gentle breeze, delighted by the playfulness of shadows. To feel the touch of all life was reason enough to exist. I wanted to give back to this touch to give my touch, my love. This was purpose enough. Spirit, ancestors, ancient ones were with me and had always been. I was listening now, just listening, feeling. Perhaps meaning, a plan for my life would be revealed, but it really didn’t seem important. I sat with my universal family, the unknowable web that weaves us all together. I was part of the web, woven into the fabric of creation. Separation of mind, body, heart, universe dissolved.
The fourth day and night I sat with the earth, the sun, the stars, the moon, the infinite universe. The ancestors, teachers in many guises, were with me. The following morning I shouldered my pack and walked back to greet the other questers. As I walked I was not alone. The life of the forest, the mountain were with me. Nestled in my heart was the touch of the life web, all my relations.
My vision quest guides, seasoned questers, greeted me with eyes that reflected back my journey, gave me something to eat and told me to be gentle with myself. As each quester entered the welcoming circle I rejoiced in their return, the companionship of others who had those vision quest eyes. We had been brave, afraid, had endured, laughed, cried and returned with something that can only be conveyed by living it. Each face told a story. Later we would sit in circle and try to find the words that would pass on the gifts, the challenges and the blessings of those four days and nights. Each story was a transmission, given by one of our tribe, the people. To embrace my tribe, I went alone into the wilderness and embraced the wild, the unseen, the chaotic perfection and the wonder of the universe. I was to do this again but for now I enjoyed the miracle of this moment. I was between worlds; the one I had taken with me, the one I had discovered and the one yet to be lived. The beliefs I had taken with me were mutating, some becoming compost. My discoveries were to be lived. I did not know what that would be like. It was good to not know, luxurious, adventurous.
My first vision quest was a new beginning, one of many new beginnings. I don’t always know how to weave my destiny, to be true to myself, to touch or feel the touch of the universe. I change, grow, bend to the need of the time. At times with grace. My teacher said that the fundamental reason an individual goes on a vision quest is to grow spiritually and to bring back valuable wisdom to the tribe. I brought back an awareness that the roots of my longing were part of a larger whole. I was part of the whole, touching, giving, receiving. My relatives were all the inhabitants of the Universe. My teacher also said, “Well sister, are you going to do this dance?” Yes I will. I am.
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