Wilderness Vision Quest

Written by Michael Jospe, Rob Meltzer Posted in Wilderness Guiding


Now that we’re moving into Spring, we’re beginning to contemplate our upcoming annual summer program - the EBI Wilderness Vision Quest. Is the wilderness calling you? Are you one of the few who have been listening to that deep yearning to feel purpose and direction in your life?  

What is a Wilderness Vision Quest? 
A Wilderness Vision Quest is a powerful wilderness experience that is held within the container of sacred ceremony. Traditionally, the quest has long been used as an initiation rite, wherein a young person (usually) is guided by elders, seeking deep seclusion in the wilderness to attain direction, meaning and purpose. More often than not, these quests were not so much about self gain and self understanding, but about individual sacrifice for the greater good of the clan: if the young person did not achieve clarity, direction and clear vision for the future, who would lead when the older generations could not? Yet, the quest is more than just an initiation to leadership -  it also necessitates giving oneself over to the power of Nature, praying to be touched by the Creator, and transcending perceived physical and mental limitations in order to make contact with one's True Power.
The Wilderness Quest is found in nearly every culture. It is ancient, and the overlap of essential steps, stages, and tools found throughout generations and across cultures speaks to its power as an essential part of being a streamhuman who is connected to Nature and Spirit. The Native American Vision Quest Ceremony, which is what most people conjure up when the words “Vision Quest” are mentioned, is but one form of Questing. Each tribe passes down its own set of rituals and dogmas that are essential to its lineage. Yet, if you strip away all the traditional songs, dances, and rituals, you'll find the purity of the Quest that pervades all time and all cultures: the innocence of a young heart ceremonially bearing his or her soul to Mother Nature to be held, healed, guided and loved.  It is critical to recognize the universal nature of this indelible rite of passage: no one tribe or culture owns the Quest -  it is eternally available to all who feel the call to immerse themselves deep in Nature, who long to gain clarity about the yearning they feel deep within their Soul, that they may ensure that the steps they take are connected to something greater, that they are in alignment with the best interest of future generations and the Earth itself.
Answering the Call
One critical aspect to the Quest, that which begins before ceremony is ever initiated, is responding to the internal yearning, "The Call to Adventure.” The Call is most often described as an external or internal event that awakens the individual, spurring him or her into action. This event can be something unsettling or tragic, something wonderful, or it may simply be a low-grade yet pervasive sense that there is something more waiting just beyond the horizon.
Once a person hears The Call, it can be very difficult to accept its invocation, and to act upon it. In fact, many refuse The Call to adventure, choosing instead to stay within the known world, where they are safe. This is why it can take deeply disturbing life events to cause someone to accept The Call. It does not have to be that way, but it usually is.
However the call manifests itself, it must be powerful enough to instigate action. It must be significant enough that it will cause the person to let go of their known world and all that is comfortable in order to step into an unknown world filled with monsters, with the yet unknown shadow material of the individual's inner terrain. It must be strong enough to instill a desire to go searching - questing - for something more.
What Are the Common Elements of a Quest? 
There are several common and very important elements to a Quest.  
First, the Quest is guided by initiated adults and elders, those who have themselves quested and are called to guide others. These people understand the ceremony and know how to hold a safe container. They understand the language of Nature, the power of story, and the internal and external challenges a quester might face. 
Next, fasting. Not just from food, but from day-to-day routines, comforts, direct contact with people, and anything else that might create a disconnection from Source in one’s life. While unnerving and sometimes scary, the tremendous benefits from fasting are too numerous to include in this article.  To discover what truly nourishes, comforts and fuels you is enlightening to say the least. And, when this sacrifice is compounded by a need that is greater than oneself, hunger, loneliness, and the like become powerful healers and teachers.
Next, exposure to the elements: again, the benefits of this aspect of the quest is multi-layered. The less insulated you are from Mother Nature, the more humbled you become to Her power. The more humbled you become, the more you allow Her to guide you. There is great strength, wisdom and healing in the process of becoming one with nature.circle
Next, the circle - or better yet, the spiral:  This symbolic image of cycle and transformation is found throughout cultures. Often, you find the circle divided into 4 equal sections. At times, the lines that divide the sections represent the four cardinal directions, as found in the ubiquitous Native American Medicine Wheel. The circle orients our awareness to the cycles of life (seasons, tides, stars, sun, ages, etc) and provides us with a symbolic context for common stages of experience. The circle also indicates, notably, that this process never ends.
Finally, stages of the ceremony and intention: A Quest is not an impulsive or random experience. It is not something one does for fun or out of curiosity. It requires preparation, intention, and a pervasive need. One knows deep inside that he or she needs to Quest. You may not know why at first, which is absolutely fine, but despite the inherent challenge and sacrifice involved, you still feel the beckoning of the Wilderness and the call to Quest. Once you answer the call, or commit to Quest, the ceremony begins. Everything you experience between that moment of commitment and the time you return from the wilderness is significant and has something to teach you about your intentions, the need that drives you, and unknown and yet untapped internal strength you possess. 
What Differentiates the EBI Wilderness Quest?
Typically, our Quest consists of an 8-day wilderness immersion experience and ceremony. Over the course of these 8 days, we move progressively deeper into the remoteness of the wilderness, and in turn deeper and into contact with the Soul. The principle component of this experience includes a 4 day, 4 night wilderness solo and fast. While we strongly suggest such an experience, we are also entirely committed to co-creating a safe experience that works for you, your body, your mind, your intention and need. By no means will we take away your control or power of choice; in fact, quite the opposite is true. 
At EBI, it is our belief that you have a purpose. You have something important to offer this world, and it is inspired by the needs of our time.  In other words, there is no mistake, no happenstance to your life, and we believe that it is in the best interest of all things that you see this for yourself and feel inspired to live your Truth. Thus, a central tenant that makes our Quest unique is that we offer a ton of follow-up support and coaching. Our Vision as guides is both in helping you find your unique vision, and in the commitment to supporting you in living the life you are called to live.
Next EBI Quest:  
July 23-30th, 2016 
Gunnison, CO
($1350 if registed by June 1)

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