What Happens on a VQ?
“Leaving it all behind, you head for The Sacred Mountain, taking your problem, your dilemma, your need for understanding and fulfilment, to the breast of Mother Earth. There you will remain alone: fasting, seeking, crying for vision, for a period of up to four days and nights.”
Severance, the first stage of the process, begins as soon as you decide to undertake the Vision Quest. It involves clarifying in your mind the reasons that you want to go through a rite of passage ceremony and what you wish to gain from the experience. Then, when you arrive in North Wales, the formal part of Severance begins. There are three days of instruction, earth awareness exercises, ceremonies and counselling. During this time you will learn about what lies before you and begin to open your eyes and heart to the energies of the earth. The counselling will help you to focus on your purpose. Next, you will go out to the land and find your place of power, in which your Threshold time will be spent.
The Threshold time will take 4 days and nights. You will depart from base camp at sunrise and spend your time fasting, praying, making ceremonies – doing whatever you feel is appropriate for you.
Even if the weather is beautiful and sunny and you spend most of your time bathing in its glory, you will probably find that you can’t avoid your own darkness sneaking up on you. Four days and nights can seem like an eternity: fear will probably raise its ugly head and so will boredom. You might well find that an awful lot of suppressed pain, anger, hatred, grief, guilt or whatever will start to surface and it’s you who has to work it through. Over the period of 4 days, your inhibitions will drop, your resistance will give way and you will find that you can give yourself permission to cry, to do ceremonies, to scream at the sky, to do whatever it is you need to do. You are the Ceremonial Leader, the Medicine Person and you find that nature does respond.
You might feel that it’s all too much for you to handle; that you’re all alone with it, but you’re not. The whole of nature is around you and ready and willing to help. You might even get the sense that behind you are all those who have gone before, all those that have gone this way: Jesus Christ; Buddha; Mohammed; Black Elk; Crazy Horse; Odin and millions of others. You are now walking in their footsteps.
Doing a Vision Quest is not easy. It can push you to your limits, both emotionally and physically, but it is immensely powerful, rewarding and life transforming. And it will bring you a heightened sense of your place within nature, or your true self.
On the 5th sunrise, you will return back to base camp. This signifies your return to the real world, but also leaving behind your old self, to begin afresh. There will be a ceremonial meal and the sharing of stories among your fellow participants. After coming face to face with modern civilisation again, it will be time to tell your story and, most powerfully, hear it mirrored back to you by David, as a symbolic myth of your life.