Vision Quest

Haŋbléčheyapi or Vision Quest is life changing and is considered a Rite of Passage to the new You. If you are thinking about “Crying for a Vision”, it is required that you complete at least the Introductory lessons (1-4) and the East Gate lessons (Spring quarter) of the 13th Moon program (Vision Quest Prep Guide), before going to the mountain, as part of the preparation process. Please consider that it can take many months to complete the guide and prepare accordingly.

*Those who have contributed in full for the 13th Moon program will automatically receive the Vision Quest Prep Guide at no additional cost once they register to attend Vision Quest.

As well, prayer ties will need to be made and it takes time to ponder & consider all of the reasons why one is choosing to complete a Vision Quest and to ensure the appropriate intention.

Vision Quest is a rite of passage in many Native American cultures. The ceremony of the Vision Quest is one of the most universal and ancient means to find spiritual guidance and purpose for ones life. A Vision Quest offers clarity into the next phase of life.

Vision Quest is usually held in late Spring (and sometimes in the Fall), or an individual Quest can be tailored for you. Link here for our next Vision Quest dates:

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Participation includes

Vision Quest
  • Teachings of Vision Quest
  • Inipi (Sweat Lodge Ceremony) before and after Quest
  • Firewalk (optional)
  • Plant Medicine (optional)
  • Vision translation by Elder after Quest and again after one week

If you are not yet in the 13th Moon online program, learn more here: 13th Moon Online Program

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What To Expect

Vision Quest with Sacred Wisdom Circle Institute is usually four days and three nights of fasting in nature within a sacred altar.  You start in the afternoon of day one and come off the hill in the morning of day four.

When someone is going on a Vision Quest, we call it “being planted on the hill” or “going on the mountain.” Questers go through extensive preparations to be planted on the Hill. Each Quester is planted in their own sacred altar during the period they are seeking a vision. In our way, the Great Mystery or Grandfather Sky/Creator (Wakan Tanka/Tunkashila) and/or Grandmother Earth (Uŋčí Makȟá) is another name for Great Spirit, the source of life, or God.

Questers dive deep into their soul connection with Great Mystery while fasting on the mountain. This is also known as “Crying for a vision.” Questers fast and pray day and night, asking for this connection, and they wait for the answer to their prayers. There are also spiritual supporters from the community who come to Vision Quest camp. They come to support by eating and drinking for their friends and loved ones on the Hill. This Vision Quest is held at CreeksideAbundance, which is our sacred land in Utah. Questers and supporters are in the sacred surroundings of the first Church or Cathedral: Nature. It is nature that assists all those on the Hill and those who support in camp to have a real spirit connection with what we call the Natural Ways of total connectedness with Creator/Creation/Conmmunity.

All Questers, Supporters and others in Camp will purify with an Inipi (Sweat Lodge) Ceremony when arriving in camp. Questers will also join us in an Inipi after coming off the hill.

Questers are seeking a vision for their lives, finding clarity to an issue, asking what should be the next step in their future, what their work is, or how to come into right relationship with all things. It is a challenge of faith, physicality, and focus. Questers need support as they let go of all the worldly things that distract them from who they really are. They are remembering that they are more then a body or a member in a family. They have asked for this Initiation and time to align with The Great Mystery.

During this time the Questers focus their heart, mind, body, and spirit on the guidance they are seeking. Supporters are praying to support the Questers to overcome their earthly wants and desires and face their human nature to fully receive the Vision.

During this initiation time, Questers have gone through a process that changes them internally (are reborn) and sheds light on what is truly important in life.

Vision Quest

Many find that transformation and change come into their lives during the next year, and that old pathways have come to pass. Later they are given time to speak with the Medicine Person/Spiritual Leader who can help interpret their Vision. The Medicine Person helps the Quester understand their experience, as they are usually very practiced in these ways, and can offer examples and knowledge around these special situations.

The Vision that is received will provide guidance for Questers for the rest of their lives. Some people are called to do many Vision Quests over the course of a lifetime.

Planned Schedule

(subject to change)

Day One:

  • Arrive early
  • Introductions
  • Code of Conduct and Camp Rules
  • Smudging
  • Set up camp
  • Prayer Ties, Intention Process, Sacred Pipe
  • Dinner
  • Sacred Circle

Day Two:

  • Sunrise Chanunpa Ceremony
  • Questers do Walk About to pick Sacred Altar location
  • Visions, Plant Medicine
  • Totem Animals
  • Inipi Ceremony to prepare Questers (with GentleEagle)
  • Questers are escorted to their Sacred Altar after Lunch and start Day One of Quest

Day Three:

Crying for a Vision – Day Two of Quest

  • Sunrise Chanunpa Ceremony for those in camp

Day Four:

Crying for a Vision – Day Three of Quest

Sunrise Chanunpa Ceremony for those in camp

Day Five:

Crying for a Vision – Day Four of Quest

  • Sunrise Chanunpa Ceremony for those in camp
  • Questers escorted off the hill
  • Questers purify in Inipi (with GentleEagle)
  • Breaking the Fast Sacred Meal
  • Wakíčhaǧapi (Giveaway Ceremony)
  • Questers meet with Elder now and also in one week (by teleconference if out of area)
  • Evening FireWalk (Optional but encouraged)
  • Camp Feast
  • Questers can leave for home but are encouraged to camp on location until morning
Vision Quest

Past History of Vision Quests

The Vision Quest was often used as a Rite of Passage, marking the transition between childhood and full acceptance into adulthood.  A person’s first Vision Quest was done during their transformative teenage years. When the older child was ready, he or she would go to a medicine person who was trained in such quests. They would assist this youth by preparing them to be alone in the wilderness, often with a period of fasting. This usually lasted for a number of days while the child became attuned to the spirit world.   Usually, a Guardian animal or force of nature would come in a vision or dream and give guidance for the child’s life.

A Vision Quest helped the teenager to access spiritual communication and to form complex abstract thoughts. Through this Rite of Passage the child would cultivate courage and learn to take responsibility for themselves and their individual contribution to a healthy society. The child returned to the tribe and once the child had grown he or she would pursue the direction and instructions given during the Quest. After a Vision Quest, the child would become an apprentice of an adult in the tribe of the shown direction (Medicine Man/Woman, boat-maker, arrow-maker, or good hunter and so on).

The Vision Quest was the learning and initiation process of the youth to find out One’s place in this world and who they were.

Families and friends of the entire clan prepared for the Vision Quest. They would bring food for those watching out and keeping the sacred fires for the Questers, bringing in the firewood, prayers and other services of support during these days before camp and during the four-day Quest. Supporters celebrated the return of the ones who faced themselves and who found their spiritual connection to the Creator. When they returned, Questers brought the blessing of well-being to the entire Camp.

What to bring

  • Tent and tarp
  • Sleeping bag(s), mat, pillow
  • Flashlight/lantern with extra batteries
  • Water container (we have clean running water on site)
  • Warm clothing (dress in layers and be prepared for hot or cold/wet weather)
  • Sunscreen and sun hat
  • Musical instruments – drums and rattles
  • Towels, washcloth
  • Flip flops, hiking boots, extra socks
  • Personal plate, cup and silverware, with your name or other marking on them
  • Folding camp chair (small) if you aren’t used to sitting on the earth
  • Sweat dress (long cotton sun dress) for women and girls and shorts for men
  • Medications you might need

We limit showers to every few days, but you are welcome/encouraged to regularly wash up with a washcloth and can take a shower in our outdoor solar shower, after the Questers and Elders.

Where

Dress attire for Men: We ask men to wear long pants and a shirt while in camp. If you want to go into your tent and wear shorts or wear them during a sweat then this is fine. When around the kitchen or the ceremonial area, long pants and skirts please in respect to the indigenous peoples’ ways. Short sleeve shirts are fine.

Dress attire for Women: You are encouraged to wear a dress or long skirts while in camp. A sweat dress is usually something of cotton, as other synthetic fabric can get pretty hot. No mini skirts or tank tops. The people can wear ceremonial shirts, dresses, and shawls for feast day and night ceremonies. This is a way of honoring the spirits with our best. We dress up for these times.

Vans & RV: If you are coming with a van or camper, let us know ahead of time so we can plan for your vehicles. We do ask that you not use your generators during the camp.

Cell Phone: We do have service about 5 miles from the Sacred Ceremonial Site. We would ask that you keep your cell phones in your cars if you use them there. If you are required to be on call, then a helper needs to know this. Otherwise we ask that you go to your cars for your cell connections or come and talk with Grandfather Fire to send other messages this way.

Leave at Home: guns, drugs, alcohol, computers. We ask that your pets stay at home or go to resorts for the week or have a loving person watch them that can not attend camp as a way to honor and support the pledges. If your dog is an Assistant animal then by all means they are welcome to assist you.  Just let us know and prepare for their food, shade, and water needs.

Cameras: Cameras are allowed, as long as they are not used during ceremonies. You are welcome to take pictures of the camp. Please do not take pictures of the altar during the ceremony. We ask that you wait until the pipe(s) are smoked at the End, before you take pictures of “returning Questers.”   It would be wonderful to have some pictures of the events in camp, and you can send your pictures to SWCI. Please be respectful by asking to take pictures, as not all people like their pictures taken at this time of ceremony.

Recycling and Sustainability: We recycle and ask if any of you can help haul this away to a recycling center or do a dump run for us at the end of camp with your truck or trailer, we can use the help.

Medical Issues: We ask that you share all medical issues with us in advance. Even those with medical issues can Vision Quest if prepared properly. We can help you to prepare properly.

QUESTING FOR VISION

The sun is beginning to penetrate the interior of the forest with fingers of light. The trees are resplendent as they soar ever higher to greet the morning sky. Squirrels race up and down the tree trunks like they’re hosting a party and I, their first guest, have arrived early.

Here in the forest, the quiet can overwhelm you with its power. Its sights and sounds fill all of your senses, seemingly all at once. The wind through the trees ebbs and flows from an indiscernible whisper to a thunderous crescendo that commands your attention.

I am here seeking clarity, for answers to questions I’ve longed to ask. I speak to the forest as if it were a long-lost companion, one who knows me best.

Here on the mountain everything that enters your experience has a message for you if you have ears to hear and eyes to see. The squirrels race around me now like chickens with their heads cut off. Hmmm. How often have I had that thought about my own life?

The beauty and serenity that surround me are captivating. It seems like a lifetime since I have felt so at peace. The trees enfold me in their branches and give me permission to just “be.” Be one with the wilderness, be one with the Creator, be one with myself.

Our entire life is a vision quest. The one I recently experienced was a “hyper-focused” quest, one where I searched for answers to specific life questions.

A Vision Quest is a vehicle for your soul’s expansion. Your free will helps you decide how long to remain in the vehicle. It offers you an opportunity to gaze into the mirror of the life you have created. The real work begins when you come down off the mountain and begin the process of integrating all that you have learned in order to manifest a new reflection of yourself.

If clarity and vision are summoning you, consider the adventure and challenge of a Vision Quest. There is no better way to know yourself.

Love and Blessings!
Monica Spehler

Cost of Teachings

**Please note that all contributions for Ceremony are just that – Contributions. We do not charge for Ceremony and these suggested contributions are to cover our expenses only. Please let us know if you do not have the resources to contribute and we will work out a work-exchange for you.

5-day Vision Quest with Medicine & all-night tipi ceremony (Sacred Sacrament): $500/$250 w scholarship ($250 deposit)

Adult Supporters (5 days): $200

*All food & activities included

Single day of Ceremony/Teachings participation (tipi meeting or other Sacred Wisdom Circle Teachings): $250/$125 w scholarship

Children: Free

One-on-One Teachings/Mentoring: $100/hour, $500 1/2 day, or $1,000 full day

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