Vision Quests

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Vision Quests


A vision quest is the active seeking of a vision or other sign from spiritual forces. Vision quests are especially associated with the aboriginal cultures of the Americas and are frequently tied to initiation rites and to shamanism. The most widespread initiatory ritual is the puberty rite, in which the individual becomes an adult member of the community.

Vision quests are regularly preceded by fasts, purifying sweats, and other ritual preparations, which are believed to open the mind to visions. The distinction between a vision and a dream is often difficult to draw (see visions and dreams). One thing is clear: Some aspect of visions make them similar, in some way, to dreams.

For example, in the puberty rite vision quest of the Lakota shaman Lame Deer, Lame Deer’s own vision begins during a moment of full wakefulness. Thinking back to his experience, however, he recalls that he worried. “What if I failed, if I had no vision? Or if I dreamed of the Thunder Beings …?” (p. 13—see Sources). He was worried that he might have a vision of beings who, as his guardian spirits, would direct him to undertake a vocation as a sacred clown. However, rather than using the term vision, he refers to this alternative possibility as “dreamed,” a change that indicates he regarded visions and dreams as being on par with each other.

References in periodicals archive ?
To understand Hanblecheyapi's connection to transcendent function, we will first explore the archetypes that are associated with and experienced during a vision quest.
No comfort or distractions whatsoever--this was a traditional vision quest, and my only entertainment would be whatever spiritual clarity happened to rain down on me.
I just went to a spa and I met a guy who was connected to the tribe and he told me about this vision quest which they don't let outsiders on.
Johnson leads vision quests, solo sojourns in nature that allow our vision to clear, exposing our own deep wisdom through nature's wisdom.
The treatment originates from the Native American Hopi tribe who used it as part of their Vision Quests when they wanted a clear head.
As one who more often than not finds himself among Haudenosaunee (Iroquois), who have no tradition of vision quests (Handsome Lake had some visions, but they are not everyday fare), I had to say "No.
Anschutz Exploration plans to drill for oil in the dry, secluded valley southwest of Billings, where Boggess and other Native Americans still go for prayer ceremonies and vision quests.
A failure to honor the inward passage of adolescence with vision quests or dream walks often allows the volatile energy of youth to seek its own path.
She takes young Irish people up to the Galtee mountains for vision quests to dream up their new Indian name.
They visit Native American shamans and participate in drumming ceremonies, sun dances, vision quests, sweat lodges, and rituals that include the smoking of the sacred pipe, among other practices.