Vision Quest

Also found in: Dictionary, Medical, Wikipedia.

Vision Quest

(religion, spiritualism, and occult)

The vision quest is an important aspect of many indigenous religious traditions. Usually a young man undertook such a quest as part of his coming-of-age initiation, but often it became a ritual called upon when someone, usually a medicine person or shaman, needed spiritual guidance.

In many American Indian traditions, a young man would fast alone in the desert, mountains, or woods for four days. Four was considered to be a sacred number. He would pray for the Great Spirit to send him a vision. Perhaps a spirit from the animal powers would talk to him or send a sign. That animal would become the young man's totem, or spirit guide. A feather or claw, depending on the animal spirit, would be carried in the young man's medicine bag for the rest of his life. Perhaps he would even receive a new name as a result of his quest, with the name symbolizing a brand-new life.

When Christian missionaries began to read the Bible to Indian tribes, in many respects the native people had no trouble at all bridging the gap between their world and the world of the white Europeans. They felt right at home when they heard about Moses going up the mountain to talk to God or when they were told Abraham's name was changed after he received a vision from the Divine. Stories like these were very much a part of their tradition.

Often vision quests were undertaken by shamans who sought guidance. Sometimes a vision quest would be enhanced with the aid of hallucinogenic herbs. Other times, a ritualistic dance such as the Sundance would be an integral component. The idea was to place oneself in a receptive frame of mind and in a position conducive to hearing or seeing messages sent from the other side of life—the realm of the spirit.

References in periodicals archive ?
He had tried to complete a vision quest when he was a child, but he was not ready then either.
presence in my vision quest, was now morphing into a messenger demanding
This time my vision quest featured a different animal, the owl, and
Bellatrix is pleased to announce its eBook publication release of 'Between the Cartwheels' - the second part of the vision quest of a maverick young physician, and his five-year hitchhiking odyssey around the world.
Bellatrix is pleased to announce its eBook publication release of 'Orion's Cartwheel' - the vision quest of a maverick young physician, and his five-year hitchhiking odyssey around the world.
We are fortunate this year to have Vision Quest Services managing the events and providing connections through their satellite network.
in Casselberry, Club Esteem in Melbourne, Deliver the Dream in Fort Lauderdale, Florida's Vision Quest in Orange City, Handson Jacksonville, Inc.
Vision Quest Windelectric Incorporated (Calgary, Alberta), a subsidiary of TransAlta Corporation (TSX:TA; NYSE:TAC) (Calgary, Alberta), commenced full operation of its Summerview Windfarm on Oct.
Also highlighting the event were performances from Vision Quest, the Lighthouse's own group of talented musicians, and renowned jazz vocalist Amanda Hunt as well as the auctioning of prizes ranging from a special lunch package with Bill Kurtis at Harry Caray's Restaurant to a vacation at a luxurious Jamaican resort.
Summerview is operated by Vision Quest Windelectric.
TransAlta Corporation (TSX:TA) (NYSE:TAC), through its subsidiary Vision Quest Windelectric Inc.
Vision Quest and ENMAX, through its wholly owned subsidiary ENMAX Green Power Inc.