Last week I had the great blessing of participating once again in a vision quest. During a vision quest, you “labor” for a vision that is meant to help define the next steps you are meant to take to fulfill your life purpose and be of the greatest service to the planet and all whom you share it with. What is a vision quest? Different cultures have different ways of getting in tune with Spirit. I have participated in several that include plant medicine of various kinds, but a vision quest undertaken in the traditional Lakota way is done without substances of any kind. Instead, preparations are made by infusing 405 prayer ties with prayers, fasting is done while on the mountain for 4 days and 3 nights, and the entire time is spent immersed deeply in communion with Spirit.
Native Americans undertake a vision quest to help them grow closer to Spirit and to help them define their next steps in their lives. They generally “lament for a vision”—in an isolated area, without food or water, and under the guidance of a Medicine Healer or Wičasa Wakan. It begins and ends in a sweat lodge. The seeker stays out in the wilderness for three to four days, or until they have successfully received guidance, which often comes through a spirit(s) or an animal(s) during lucid dreaming.
While a quester is in the wilderness, supporters are hard at work in the encampment as a community of helpers “eating and drinking” for the quester and also staying deeply immersed in prayer on the questers’ behalf. The supporters participate in sweat lodges, drumming circles, songs, ceremony, and prayers together. The support of this community and the medicine man is what makes the fasting and austerity of a quest possible for the one on the mountain. (In other words, do not try this at home.)
The last vision quest I undertook was in September of 2017. This one dovetailed with my 2017 messages and took them deeper. I discovered that the events that transpired last time had laid the groundwork for what I was meant to know this time. In 2017 there were some rather frightening experiences, including an encounter with a bear and being struck by lightning. This time my visions took me into “being a bear” and “dancing with the Lightning Dancers” in the center of all universes. It was as if the elements needed this time “claimed” me last time so I could play and move with them. As I sat in meditation and heard the “Thunderbirds” begin to clash their thunder drums together and saw the lightning light up the sky, I was no longer frightened. I somehow had their familiar energy running through me and new it was akin to what Eastern philosophy calls “Shakti,” or the creative energy of the universe. I felt that all I needed to do was to stomp my feet in the lightning dance and whatever was meant to be created would be.
The 3rd night is the “big night.” It’s when the digestive system is shut down and the body is light and bright with prayers. A white buffalo came and laid 2 tobacco leaves on my altar space in my prayer ties. It then shifted into a woman with long black hair who smiled with the most amazing unconditional love shining from her eyes that I have ever seen. Later that night those 2 tobacco leaves were revealed to be the 2 books I am currently working on. I was told that my role as a “contrarian” (think cosmic clown or court jester) was to shine through these books. Rather than writing about serious material in a playful way, which I currently do, I was to write from a comic perspective with serious material embedded in it. I kept asking, “are you sure?” because what I was being shown was hilarious but WAY out of my comfort zone. I spent most of that third night giggling with God. Seriously, we had a giggle fest. I was shown dozens of book titles with a similar formula to the first two I was instructed to write. My next job is to carve out the time to do it.
I came away from this vision quest with such an open heart and the deepest gratitude for the supporters and facilitators who make time in their lives for this kind of ceremony. I was sitting on the mountain and realized this was my menopause rite of passage sacred ceremony. These rites of passage are missing in our culture today and I committed to Spirit to help bring them back. The marking of the passage of time, the movement from one developmental level to the next, the integration of the sacred with the flow of life…this is what enables us to live to our highest potential and leave this life knowing we accomplished our mission and purpose. I believe that autoimmune disease and cancer are a soul sickness that arise out of a cultural forgetting of who we are and why we are here. Moving from conscious conception to a blessed birth, to coming of age with mentorship to puberty with purpose, to intentional living, to menopause and andropause with vision and a conscious death makes life a lot more fluid and those of us living it more resilient as we meet its inevitable challenges with grace and courage.