Over the Labor Day holiday, I had the great blessing to “labor” for a vision. This vision quest helped define the next steps that I am to take in my life to fulfill my life purpose and be of the greatest service to the planet and all whom I share it with.
What is a vision quest?
Different cultures have different ways of getting in tune with Spirit. I have participated in several, but never in one from my own native land. When I was invited to participate in a Lakota tradition vision quest, I immediately knew it was time.
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 or an animal during lucid dreaming.
I am not going to go into detail about my own experience, except to say it was absolutely incredible. I spent my four days and three nights in isolation in the mountains of Colorado. I had encounters with beings I had not met before in prior spiritual experiences. I had a brush with lightning. A bear visited me and left me with a powerful vision that is definitely going to write the next chapter of my life.
Going without food and water for that period of time seems daunting and even perhaps dangerous. However, it is done as a sacred ceremony involving the guidance of a Medicine Man and the community of supporters that stay below and drum, tend the fire, sweat in the sweat lodge daily, and eat and drink for the seeker. Sounds odd doesn’t it? However, when done as a sacred ceremony, it does indeed work.
The most exhilarating part of this sacred event for me was a life mystery that was solved for me; the mystery of why I break computers, watches, and other electronic gadgets, why I set off car alarms, and why I have seen dragons in my visions since I was a child. I was born breech, and according to one of my Ayurvedic teachers, that means energy moves in an opposite direction for me as for others. It also means I am prone to lightning strikes. That is all I have known about this odd energy of mine, until my vision quest…when I was struck by lightning. According to our Wičasa Wakan, this means I am a “contrarian” or what the Lakota call a Heyoka Empath.
A Heyoka is a trickster, jester, integrator, and powerful healer and intuitive. They attract lightning, have been visited by the Thunderbirds (dragon-like creatures) of the West in their visions, and are not afraid to be mirrors for their fellow humans to see their shadow aspects. They are the little boy who calls out that the Emperor has no clothes on, because they must state what is obvious to their sight. In Tibetan Buddhism, a Heyoka would be referred to as someone who has the attributes of “Crazy Wisdom.” Jesus Christ is thought to be Heyoka, as he challenged the rigidity of the Old Testament laws. Buddha was Heyoka in the way he separated the spiritual seeker from attachment.
The Heyoka is the most powerful of the empaths. They feel what others feel and then mirror what the “other” needs to know about themselves to heal and evolve. The spirit of a Heyoka is the Great Mirror. You will react to a Heyoka with the emotion that is meant to be a reflection of what you need to evolve spiritually. If you find them arrogant, it means you need to work on your humility. If you feel anger, you must delve under your emotion to see what the reflection is for you. If you feel love, you are being shown the path of self-love. The Heyoka Empath is merely the reflector. My patients and students, children and family all know that this is indeed how I am experienced. People either are attracted to my style of healing, or they are filled with projections from their own mind’s fear.
The Heyoka’s gift is to help people transcend “stuckness” by showing them the backward way that will bring chaos to their lives as they disrupt old patterns and create new ones. This is powerful medicine, medicine of pure love that drops the mirror of truth in front of you, a mirror that is often difficult to look into…just as difficult as it is to humble the ego. If you resonate with an Heyoka in your life, you have the courage to experience yourself as you are meant to be. It turns out the Thunderbirds of my visions, the lightning strike, the near-death experiences, the breech birth…were all telling me I am a Heyoka…the sacred clown. Let the laughing begin!