Vision Quest, a modern form of archaic rites of passage

There are times when you have to accept, carry out, and sometimes even celebrate the passage through profound changes. You then know that you have to leave your previous life, but where should the journey go? Vision Quest is the ancient way of leaving all distraction behind, going into the wilderness alone and fasting for an answer to that question.

We grow through such transitional crises. The Greek word “crisis” can be translated as a decision, but more correctly as: “It decides”. Crises are those threshold states in which the old is no longer and the new is not yet. Every step in development and every healing requires a decision between the two.

In addition to the biologically conditioned transitions, such as puberty, parenthood, menopause and old age, we may also go through other, individual ones, such as a change of residence and job, the loss of loved friends or family members, accidents, illnesses and ….. . So we all go through in life partly Dramatic change crises, old roots, securities and habits are becoming fragile, parting and reorientation are still side by side and require a decision over time. Our claim or our task as vision quest guides is not to change people, but rather to support them in naming changes that have already been made and using this “confirmation ritual” to mark them as irreversible in their biography. It is not uncommon for insights and natural further movements in the life process into the spaces that open up, which, however, can neither be done by us nor by the participants, but rather happen following their own nature.

Vision Quest process

During the preparation period you will learn a security system and otherwise you will leave everything you already knew about yourself.

In the lonely silence, the honest mirror of the great nature becomes an unmistakable source of information about everything that you did not know consciously about yourself. During this time the guides in the easily accessible base camp watch over and ensure physical security.

In the follow-up, you will tell your story in a solemn circle and prepare for your return to everyday life.

The vision quest is a modern form of the rites of passage of our ancestors. Free of traditional accessories, it simply follows the basic pattern on which all known rites of passage are based. At the core of a 12-day ritual, we go, like Buddha, Jesus or Mohamed, fasting and alone, only with the most essential equipment, into the wilderness for four days and nights.

The time before that is used for internal and external preparation, which, in addition to the important safety training and nature exercises, revolves around clarification, a dignified farewell to the old and decelerating into simplicity. Everything we already know about ourselves can be left there. True to our philosophy that a vessel must first be empty in order to be filled with something new, vision questers adopt the inner gesture of an empty bowl that is ready to receive, aside from the usual distraction. In this silence the honest mirror of the great nature becomes an unmistakable source of information about everything we did not know about ourselves.

In times of crisis we are used to worrying about what we actually want to do with our lives. During the vision quest, however, we give life the opportunity to tell us what it actually wants to do with us. The vision quest is a real alternative to our habit of consuming something or having to do something when we are lacking something. During a vision quest, however, it is precisely about becoming empty and rather “letting go” than doing something. Most of the participants are not so afraid of starving to death during the short fasting period, but rather of what will come up when one can no longer distract oneself from it by constantly doing. It is this terrifying thing that has to be constantly avoided, this threatening shadow, what can be compared with the dragon of ancient myths and fairy tales. Only when the heroes of the vision quest withstand this dragon can the sought elixir be taken possession of, which was often simply guarded by this dragon. It is precisely this encounter that ensures that the same person does not return to the community who once set out into the wilderness. In the follow-up time, the stories of the personal hero’s journeys are heard and witnessed in a solemn round. Using a technique called “mirroring”, the gifts contained therein are clarified and deepened, but never interpreted. In the end, the most difficult part of the vision quest is devoted to, namely the integration of the new into everyday life at home. The participants in a vision quest can still take advantage of the supervision of their guides for the following year.


Have a look at our English speaking Vision Quest offer