Ancient cultures throughout the world and Native American tribal people in particular, have used the Vision Quest as a tool to seek direction for life and as a doorway to enter spiritual realms. Retreating into nature in solitude, removed from the distractions and trappings of modern life, the quester, or vision faster, opens to a heightened state of awareness. The vision faster seeks a vision on behalf of the tribe as well as him/herself.
In the Earthtribe, a Vision Quest is a three-year process under the guidance of a pipe carrier. The first year, one has the aspiration to quest. The seeker attends the Vision Quest encampment as a general supporter as part of the Earthtribe community as it dances, chants and prays for the safety of the questers who are out crying for a vision, who sends them out and welcomes them back. The supporters maintain the encampment and provide a loving and nurturing community for the questers to return to.
The second step begins when the seeker puts his/her stake in the ground declaring the intention to quest. It is a year of preparation and purification of body, mind and spirit which culminates in the Vision Quest encampment. The seeker notices what energies come into his/her circle of awareness, and what lessons are to be learned. He/she works with settling the mind and emotions, spending time in nature, and paying attention to how his/her quest is showing up in daily life. This year can culminate in a fasting circle at the vision encampment. The vision faster is expected to develop discipline in fasting from mind-altering drugs, harmful foods, and habits that inhibit the flow of creative energy. Of course, this pathway encourages natural and trans-ordinary states of consciousness. The aim, though, is translating states of consciousness into traits of character that make the person and, thus, the planet better. The vision faster is assigned a vision guide, and, together, they will chart a course. Sometimes, it takes more than one year to reach a point of being ready for the power of sitting in the fasting circle within the vision encampment
During his/her year of preparation, the seeker notices what energies come into his/her circle of awareness, and what lessons are to be learned. He/she works with settling the mind and emotions, spending time in nature, and paying attention to how his/her quest is showing up in daily life. The third year is spent processing the Vision Quest and integrating it into one’s life. It is also time for the quester to give back to the community that supported the quest. One shares aspects of the vision received that may benefit the tribe.
There will be a Vision Quest encampment at least once a year. There are typically eight questers, one for each of the eight directions. We camp out, meditate, have sweat lodges, dream circles, peace circles, and middle of the night healing experiences called pipe circles. We learn about shamanic journeying, new forms of prayer, and situate ourselves within the heart of nature. Laughter, hiking, relaxation, drumming, dancing, chanting and regeneration are always in abundance.