Me and my fellow Vision Quest warriors helping to build a sweat lodge that we would be using for the week ahead.
While I was in between jobs here in Utah, I was able to complete an 8-day Vision Quest through the Oklevueha Native American Church. What is a Vision Quest, might you ask? It is a Native American tradition that goes back many generations. Initially it was intended to help young men figure out what their path in life was. It consisted of a series of ceremonies led by elders and included a complete fast for four days and nights, alone at a sacred site in nature. The Vision Quest I attended had ceremonies, fasting, and the purpose of setting an intention to follow through on through the Quest and once the Vision Quest was completed. The Vision Quest has 4 distinct components:
- Severance (you prepare to leave your ordinary world to quest.)
- Liminal Time (you step across the limitations of ordinary life to face the sacred. In this stage, you will face the tests that you have created for yourself.)
- Transformation (you incorporate, or embody, the essence of the gifts or lessons given.)
- Reunion (you bring the benefits of your quest for the renewing of self, your community, the planet, and “the ten thousand worlds.”)
At the particular Vision Quest that I attended there were many different activities and about 14 of us total (including staff.) The first part of the Quest was spent on introductions, eating meals together, and ceremonies. The middle part of the quest was spent alone in nature by ourselves (no tent, just a sleeping bag, sleeping pad, and the stars above) for three days. While we were each alone for those three days, we fasted the whole time and just had a jar of peyote tea to keep us company (the amount of peyote was minuscule, just enough to feel a slight change in the senses.) When we rejoined with each other we shared our experiences, did a sweat lodge ceremony, a fire walk and a prayer circle. And then the last part of the Quest we spent doing the full 24-hour peyote ceremony (this was the real nitty-gritty, face your fears and have time collapse on you-type of peyote experience.) Throughout the whole quest there were pipe ceremonies, drum circles, and prayer circles.
I came back about a week ago and many friends and family have been asking me of my experience. While I have given them little snippets here and there about my Vision Quest, it feels like I haven’t been able to give them the full story. I think that part of it is that I went through so many different layers, I am still trying to remember it all. Thank goodness I brought my journal with me and actually stuck to my intentions of writing in it. So I wanted to type out all of my journal pages and give everyone the raw, unfiltered information of my experience straight from the source. Also, because there were so many journal pages, I am going to break it into a few different blog posts–so this is just the first part! I hope that my words resonate and inspire you (or at the very least entertain you.) Enjoy!
Why do I want to do a Vision Quest?
I want to go truly within to remember why my Spirit came down here. What is my true mission?
I want to be able to open up in every moment, to have an open heart. My intention for this Vision Quest: I am open, I am clear, I am passionate.
What a trip. I am stone-cold sober and I feel as if I am tripping. I am super fucking nervous about this next week, I’m not going to lie. I know that I have a ton of unhealed shit that’s going to come up for me. For now, I’d like to mention that I am so grateful to be in my warm tent, I am so grateful that I made it to camp safely, I am grateful that I got to hang out with my aunt and uncle visiting from Minnesota for a couple of days prior to this. It was so crazy to see them. I was grateful that we got to do Zion’s together and have lots of yummy food, I knew that I’d want to eat a lot before embarking on this spiritual journey.
I have had déjà vu multiple times today and even though I’m feeling a bit shy and nervous around new people, they all kind of feel like family, they seem familiar to me. Nina, one of the staff, told me that there is a labyrinth at Kayenta in St. George, I had no idea about that, but the way that she talked about it, it seemed so familiar. She was telling me that she felt spirits there. I am sleepy, but I want to keep writing. Half of the Vision Quest peeps are out there, I feel bad being anti-social, but I feel tired. Look at me go, I’m just writing to do something.
This was the labryinth she was telling me about that I visited shortly after I got back to St. George from my Vision Quest 🙂
I am sooooooo nervous about doing peyote with people that I don’t know. I feel shy, so I feel as if I’m going to be extra sensitive. I know that a crap ton is going to come up for me, I just know it is.
I have felt a bit intense because I feel as if I’m sensing everyone else’s stuff super strong. I’m cold! What am I going to do up on the hill when I am to sleep in just a sleeping bag?! Yikes—and I was naughty and didn’t bring a wool blanket or flannel.
I am soooooooooo curious about what is going to come up for me on this trip (trip—the context is used in multiple ways, hehe.) I truly do wonder—am I going to feel as if I’m losing my mind? Well, I’ll tell ya what, I already feel as if I’m massively losing my mind, so there is that.
I need to keep looking in the beginning of my journal and remember what my intention was for doing this Vision Quest. Spirit, please be with me on this trip (again, the context is literal and figurative, haha) and please help me to remember my path and why I am doing all of this. K, I seriously think I’m gonna crash—please help me to remember my dreams, I am going to write them down tomorrow morning.
9/3/17 (in the AM)
I kept having dreams that I was helping out at the Vision Quest with different chores and I couldn’t keep anything hidden from anyone. Everyone knew exactly what I was thinking at every moment. Kari from my old job in Minneapolis was at the camp with her son TJ and we had a great big hug.
9/3/17 (in the PM)
Wow, I can’t count how many times that I had déjà vu with these beautiful souls on Vision Quest with me today. I feel so, so, so incredibly blessed that this opportunity came for me. It is truly amazing how fast manifestation can occur. The way that I mentioned to Russell in late August how I really wanted to partake in a peyote ceremony and then within 10 days the opportunity came up. I feel so grateful that I traveled here safely and that I am in such good health to be here. I am also very grateful that they had an extra wool blanket and fleece for me to use tonight and for when I go up on the hill.
I am getting a little nervous for the big day tomorrow. It is after lunch that we’ll grab our things and head up on the hill, although…I do wonder if in actuality we will scope out our places on the hill first? I dunno.
It is so interesting not having any sort of routine right now, I am definitely staying very present and in the moment with it though.
It feels good to be a dirty hippy this week, it feels good to be immersed in nature and out in the middle of nowhere.
I wasn’t positive how tired I was, but as I’m writing I am noticing that my eyelids are getting more and more droopy. I do feel as if I am getting more and more in touch with my soul, there is no doubt about that. K, I am officially going to conk.
9/4/17 (in the AM)
Alrighty! Today is the plunge. Two more meals until fasting for three days! I had this dream where I was constantly helping John with walking his dogs (in real life he doesn’t have any dogs) and then I was in Mrs. Hult’s math class and she kept rudely telling me to go walk his dogs. Then one day I realized he was getting help from his buddy to walk his dogs and didn’t need my help anymore.
9/4/17 (in the PM)
Wow. Wow. Wow. What an incredible experience this has been. Although, I am not going to lie—my back is killing me right now. Today we ate our two meals, egg scramble for breakfast and delicious pancakes with syrup and my new fav (I’m gonna buy a shit ton when I get back to Cori’s) Nutella!!!! I think that the best way that I’ll be able to keep track of time is each night and each morning I will write. I will write, write, write! Hehe. We did animal totem cards today before heading out on the hill and I pulled a butterfly out. It was perfect because yesterday as we were finding items to make our sand drawings I decided to keep picking nature items that a butterfly had just been sitting on. And also, right as a bunch of us arrived a couple days ago, we all remarked about how many butterflies there were at our camp.
I can’t tell if I’m feeling the peyote right now, or just feeling perplexed about the fact that I’m lying out in the open in nature right now. I get this perfect view of the moon through these tree branches—it’s super incredible.
So, we also did sweat lodge ceremony and got our things organized to go up on the hill earlier today too.The sweat lodge was lovely. Brooke, Haylee, and Gent (who I finally figured out reminds me so much of Clay in Canada and of my ex-step brother, it’s uncanny) sang beautiful songs, and we each said our intentions. And woah, Nina is spot on…peyote does feel like a Western cowboy man tipping his hat and having a nice little conversation with you. Wow. Just wow. I am feeling very lucid right now and I’m feeling a lot of love.
So, as Gent took us up onto the hill tonight, he took Brooke and Scott up first, came back to pick up Tanner, Keith, Alan and me. He dropped everyone off to their respective places and dropped me off last. He said the sweetest prayer, he goes “Grandma Earth and Grandpa Sky, please bless this one. Bless her from her head to her toes, please be with her. She is joy, she is love, she is sweet, she is beautiful, she is enough. Please bless her.” As he said it, he gently placed his palm on the top of my spine, middle of my spine, and bottom of my spine, I felt nothing except for pure love. It was wondrous. Wow, so I feel tired, yet I also feel as if I’m seeing wild colors as I close my eyes—although I can’t tell if it is the peyote or if my headlamp is causing that since I can only seem to get my headlamp working on the red light setting. I think that I would like to attempt to sleep just to see if it’s possible.
I’m not gonna lie, lying out here in a random spot that I got dropped off at outside is freaking me out a slight bit. I keep hearing strange noises. I’m starting to feel hunger too, but I know that for right now it’s just a tiny feeling of hunger. I miss my Grandma Lazar, I just had a completely random memory of her and I going out for lunch at this old restaurant in South Minneapolis, I forgot the name of it, but thank you for taking me there Grandma Lazar. Thank you to the random restaurant workers for being there when you were for us. K, I am for realsies gonna conk, but you better believe that I’m gonna write in here bright and early tomorrow. SO MUCH LOVE FOR TODAY.
Tuesday 9/5 (AM)
I had soooooooo many dreams and they were all very vivid.
I also dreamt that I accidentally ate a bunch of Pringles and I told Linda “oh no, I accidentally broke my fast!!” She was sweet about it and just said not to eat anymore, haha. I awoke a couple times throughout the night and noticed how the moon had shifted places. I slept well, REALLY well for the most part and stayed surprisingly very warm, good call on the two wool blankets Linda! I am unsure if I felt much from the peyote tea besides maybe feeling everything a bit more vividly and I had non-stop dreams last night. I truly do feel Spirit/spirits with me. There was also a cute squirrel that locked eyes with me for a brief moment after I awoke.
Tuesday 9/5 (AM continued)
I am massively craving a green smoothie. I am going to make one of those as soon as I get back to St. George, hehe. I don’t care if it’s late afternoon or late at night when I get back home, I am making a green smoothie!
Just think, today is a day that everyone else has to go back to work, but here I get to be free and frolic in the forest. I am so blessed! I’m going to get myself a Jet-boil, get my headlamp fixed, and go out on a backpacking trip in Utah on my own sometime soon…especially since I have my own little single tent now, hehe.
Okay, my ego is getting nervous about not being able to find work in St. George soon. I am going to sit and meditate soon to ground myself. I would like to remind myself about how I need to count my blessings day-by-day. I have a home until January 1st and I am still not in debt. I have a jar of peyote tea to my right to suit me for today. BLESSED.
Tuesday 9/5 (AM continued)
I keep having random flashbacks about Portland, especially about the Hawthorne neighborhood, I am unsure of what that is all about. I can’t wait for it to warm up a bit! I am going to do yoga stretches, meditate, brush my hair, and search for my tampons.
Tuesday 9/5 (PM)
I accomplished all of my intentions. In my meditation this morning I got the message that I should stay off of social media until I have a job or steady income of some sort. That seems reasonable for sure. I still do feel that I’ll land a job within a couple of weeks. I was also informed to just go with the flow with the whole dating thing—not to rush into anything, but to JUST BE.
I am starting to feel the effects of no food. It has been almost 24 hours since my last meal. WOAH! I hear a car! That’s amazing, hehe, I also heard a plane flying above simultaneously.
I feel grateful for this opportunity to detox and BE ME (that is the true me, to be a fairy in the forest, haha!)
I didn’t take pictures at all, but this is kind of how things were feeling and looking the few days I was in that forest alone…
I think that our species has forgotten that we don’t always have to be doing something to be productive. Sometimes the most productive thing to do is to JUST BE.
I keep having flashbacks of going to shows in Minneapolis with Gary (I keep thinking about that one venue in Minneapolis close to the University, I forgot the name of it.) If you can’t tell, I am just writing random stuff that comes to me. Is this what Daft Punk meant when they named that album “Random Access Memories”? I’m starting to feel a bit nauseated, yikes. I really want to drink water baddddddd. Although it’s quite funny, I keep thinking that this next two days will actually fly by. I guess doing the 10-day silent meditation retreat prepared me. Kirk said the cutest thing the other day when we sat down to do prayer flags. He goes, “I tend to babble and make no sense when there are beautiful women around.” Hehe. Why didn’t I bring a book?! Dohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh. I guess I’ll read over my notebook a bit, heh.
Tuesday 9/5 (continued)
I just had the strangest moment while in the midst of doing a walking meditation, I was intuiting to stop in one place and as I looked ahead, there was a superimposed layer on top of everything that looked red..it made it look like a dream-world or like something out of Robocop or something. I don’t quite know what the fuck to do with myself, but these fucking flies are driving me batty! I can’t wait to clean my dirty fingernails! I seem to have forgotten my mini-manicure set. In the hustle and bustle of reorganizing my backpack to make sure to only bring what is important, I forgot a few minor details. You know what dawned on me that I have heard recently and it makes all the sense to me now? It is the quote “Everyone is doing the best that they can with all that they know.” I truly do believe that.
(To be continued….) 🙂