The self-confidence of the warrior is not the self-confidence of the average man. The average man seeks certainty in the eyes of the onlooker and calls that self-confidence. The warrior seeks impeccability in his own eyes and calls that humbleness. The average man is hooked to his fellow men, while the warrior is hooked only to infinity.
The term “vision quest” was first coined by 19th-century anthropologists to describe the rite-of-passage ceremonies of certain Native American cultures. Traditionally, these rituals have been performed to mark significant life transitions or changes. Generally speaking, they are seen as both personal and collective events that are guided and witnessed within the community, and often involve the “quester” spending time alone in nature in search of a personal vision that becomes a vision to support the entire community. An important vision quest, for example, is one that marks the passage of adolescents into adulthood.
The vision quest has evolved into a general term that refers to Native American and also to the rite-of-passage rituals found in almost every tradition, culture, and religion throughout the world. And a number of these once-private pan-cultural ceremonies and teachings have seeped out and entered into the hearts and lives of the many. http://www.schooloflostborders.org/content/huffington-post-what-vision-quest-and-why-do-one
This last week has been full of teachings for me and my family. My partner attended a traditional fast the Carrier people who live on this land have been doing for many moons, which is now slowly being reborn. The ceremonies themselves may be unique to the nation and it’s land, but rooted in ancient ways.
My good friend and Medicine man Crazyhorse (who does not call himself a medicine man, he says we are ALL medicine people) doesn’t refer to his people as ‘Indians’ or even Carrier necessarily, but rather Spirits of the Land, and so, him and his partner, have created the foundation for the “Spirit of the Land Healing Camp”.
This is the beginning of an exciting journey. A new era in connecting with yourself and the Land all around you. This is the healing work that calls out to all, but only few respond to its subtle whispers.
My partner was one of 5 who responded, this time to it’s calling.
Much work went into setting the space. Meditating and setting things in order, both physically and energetically. Fire wood needed to be cut. Fasting grounds prepared. A new Sweat Lodge was built. Many prayers and Berry ceremonies were held on each night once the fast began.
From my place of observation, the Fast created a balance, from ‘outer’ work to deep ‘inner’ work. The Masculine and Feminine worked together as a team. As the fasters did heavy work, going without food or water for 4 days and 3 nights, digging deeply within, those who ran the camp, also came together to do the work that was needed to keep those helpers fed, the space clean, and the energy flowing harmoniously without. This is how ‘Community’ is built.
When people come together in such a meaningful way, bonds are made! We sat together in ceremony and we sat together and joked around. There was a time to be disciplined and serious and there was a time to be silly and humorous. Both are needed on this path. The path is the Red road, the road of self-responsibility, healing and connection to all things. It is a Spiritual path that is personal. No one can do the work for you. The red road basically is living a life of truth, humbleness, respect, friendship & spirituality. Those on this road are by no means walking a perfect path, but are in search of self-discovery and instructions from Spirit directly. You stumble and fall but you journey on. It means you take ceremony with YOU on your daily walk. It’s not just there when you sit in a Lodge or fast, or meditate. It’s with you every breath and every step.
As i observed the energies around the Fast it always brought me back to seeing it much like pregnancy & birth. Birth is also the closest initiation i have come to. The preparation you either put into it consciously Or just winging it to find out where the unknown will lead you. You either find yourself fighting yourself or you surrender to yourself, either way, your Mind is the biggest player. You find out how your mind works, both in birth and in fasting. It can become your ally or be your enemy. It can be dangerous or it can be empowering.
After the fast you are delicate, much like a newborn. You go up to the fasting grounds as Spirit and you come back down reborn. Like a snake that sheds her skin you become tender as you feel your new body.Your senses become so alive. Your feelings also. You appreciate the little things and the petty tyrants that fought for your attention, grasping to pull you into drama, melt away. Crazyhorse told me, the point of the fast is to refocus and realign the Mind!
My partner did not think of petty things while out there, alone. It became clear to him he needed to take better care of himself. Not once did he think of money, only WATER was on his mind and the things of true value in his life. The sacredness of water became so very CLEAR. Without water there is no life! period. Even air carries water, and with no water, there is no air. There is no weather, there simply is NO life.
What are we made of? Water!
We must protect our sacred Waters at all cost, including the rivers of life blood that flows through our veins. Our bodies too are sacred.
The Fast ends with a Sweat & until you have taken your first drink of water you are still in Silence. Once the Sweat is over and the Berry Ceremony ends, it’s like birth. You are then allowed to touch again. You have taken in physical sustenance again. The Lodge itself is a womb giving birth. As soon as the water touched Mike’s lips and he took his first drink he felt instantly lighter, almost drunk. He then had the pleasure of one last purge after the sweat and then the berry ceremony filled them all up with sweet beautiful berries. Probably the best berries they ever ate!
After that the FEAST of fruit & soup, which we happily prepared in the wee hours. Everything for the fasters feast was smudged. The people, who handled the food, the knife that cut the food and the bowl that would hold the food. Smudging is an important part of the process. Mainly Sweetgrass, which invites the good spirits to come.
The fasters who came, all were drawn to this rebirth for their own heartfelt reasons. One of them a young boy, coming of age. It was a powerful rite of passage for him and i’m certain it will affect him in a good way for the rest of his life.
My partner is a gentle soul with loving intentions. He took this time to do what many think about but would rather not act on. To take the courage of solitude and silence. To give up physical comforts and necessities. Who’d wanna do that? lol.
The one who wants to get to know his mind does. 🙂
Out there, that is all that is essentially left. As life slows to a bear minimum and you kiss death on the cheek.
“Death is the only wise advisor that we have. Whenever you feel, as you always do, that everything is going wrong and you’re about to be annihilated, turn to your death and ask if that is so. Your death will tell you that you’re wrong; that nothing really matters outside its touch. Your death will tell you, ‘I haven’t touched you yet.”
Remembering Who You Are
There’s another important way the vision quest is good for us, and that is how it reconnects us to nature, the place from whence we came!
Researchers are increasingly recognizing that direct and immediate contact with the natural world promotes health and development, and that a disconnection from the natural world has negative consequences for human health and development. The documented benefits of spending time in nature include stress reduction, fascination and appreciation for the environment, a sense of competence and self-esteem balanced with a sense of trust in oneself and the world, a more mature morality and care for others, and a sense of awe, wonder, and sacredness. Direct contact with nature also leads to greater commitment to positive environmental action.
I am humbled and grateful for being led to this world, where everything comes alive with Mystery & awe. Hand to Heart =:= I love my Lodge family. hiy hiy. =:=
a beautiful tune ~ its depths so in tune ❤ thank you Great Spirit for its creation through Nahko Bear & Medicine for the people! Medicine indeed!