My teacher Jonathan, offers that a Vision Fast Rite of Passage is a community endeavor. The seeker goes out onto the land to be in solitude, fasting and praying for a vision, answers, and guidance. Whatever the seeker experiences is then to be brought back to the community and shared with all. The seeker does not own the message or vision as only for herself. It is instead one that has the ability to affect many.
I find that as I share stories and messages from my own Vision Fast Rite of Passage the words feels sacred. I feel vulnerable and seen to my depths when I relay my experience to others. As the stories are shared I trust that who, when and what I share is not mine to own, but rather myths of the great Mystery and how they touch others is guided by something greater than what I could imagine. In this way, I recognize and release that it was my experience alone. The time spent in solitude in wild nature becomes activism for the greater good of all. I am a being, a reader of the great story of existence, whom is willingly used for the good of the entire mythos. A character with conscious of the author and a feeling of having a say in the plot. A character that has the will to make decisions such as in one of those “Choose Your Own Adventure” books. In this case though, the characters of the plot are ego, the reader is consciousness, the author is Mystery and none are really separate from the other. It’s like being Tarzan, writing Tarzan, and reading it all in one moment.
As part of my studies with the Purpose Guides Institute I choose to self guide a 4 day, 4 night solo near Moab Utah. This rite of passage was informed by the pancultural vision fast, and was done with my own knowledge and studies of these sorts of endeavors. I call it a Soul Quest coined from Jonathan Gustin who suggests a minimum of 8 hours fasting in wild nature as part of the Soul Purpose Discovery Course. The Lakota tradition names the vision fast, Haŋblečeya - crying for a vision. In the text “Black Elk Speaks” Black Elk calls this “the lament”.
My lament for Soul Quest went something like this: “Please allow me to remember my soul’s true purpose. Please show and teach me how I can be of service to the greatest good in this lifetime” My experience was amazing and I’m still learning and understanding the messages and visions that I received during my time in the desert.
As Earth Day celebrations are being planned and pondered this April a story from my December 2018 Soul Quest Rite of Passage is swirling in my awareness. The canyonland during December was cold, still, and quieter than The Great Stupa of Dharmakaya near Red Feather Lakes, Colorado. The nights were so very long compared to the sun and relative warmth of the day. As dark took over I retreated to my red 3 season tent which gave some false sense of protection and comfort in the wide open land of high desert and endless black sky sparkling with diamonds. The land and sky were not what I needed comfort from, but rather the bone chilling cold. Layered with mountains of fleece and synthetic down I huddled like a crazy woman in a straight jacket. I was barely able to move or turn over due to the tight cocoon of layers. Even through the freezing cold I could have perhaps found rest and sleep. Perhaps it was part of the great plan of Mystery that I was not to sleep. Fasting and solitude was not enough for my lament, I also needed to succumb to sleep deprivation. A very unexpected and surprising thing occurred as darkness of night descended each night. My comfortable, quiet, peaceful piece of paradise was overtaken by a dull, grinding vibration. The type of sound that makes you perk up your ears like a fox who’s heard a mouse underground. The sound and feel of this grind was disturbing to a deep layer of my psyche. It was far off enough to not be loud, but amplified by the otherwise soundless landscape. I couldn’t help but to stretch my listening and figure out, “what is that?”. Am I imagining it? I’d learned through Yoga practice to feel and trust my body. This sound could be felt throughout my muscles and bones. It was not a pleasant feeling. It felt like danger. It felt like an obtrusion. It felt like my Soul was being penetrated by a dark unknown force. I tried without success to cover my ears, hum, and ignore the sound and feeling so that I could fall into blessed rest. As dawn turned the sky from black to dark blue the sound suddenly stopped. Silence fell into place again. Exhale.
After a day of sitting in sunshine I almost forgot about the troubles of the night. As twilight took over, the deep, penetrating, grind vibrated through the landscape again. Being far out “no-where” I never expected the presence of the modern world. There was no mistaking that this sound was man made. It sounded like drilling. Like a big metal monster with a sharp cylinder tool drilling further and further into the earth. It felt very, very wrong. The vibrations that I felt with my body were unwanted and inescapable. As much as I wanted to run, hide, numb out, and escape from the violating sound I had no choice but to stay and hold witness. I wondered if this is what it felt like to be overpowered and raped? Disgust, anger, and grief overwhelmed my senses. What does this mean? Why is this my experience during my Soul Quest which felt otherwise held in a motherly embrace. This mother of Earth was caring for me so gently during the day, but at night I sat with her during her pain. What she felt, I also felt. I fell deeper in love and gratitude for her and in response she turned love and grace back on to me.
Earth, the great mother loves and cares so much. She is hurting and her children are the ones that hurt her. Still she gives. She tries to discipline, warn and get us to get our shit together and make something real of our lives. My relationship with Earth is deep, strong and emotional. I feel her calling for help. Calling to be loved and held in high regard and gratitude. This week the call from her is loud and deep. It’s like she is calling me to her bedside. To sit with her in her pain and dis-ease.
Today I hiked, slowly, quietly and alertly. Listening for her. She was happy that I was present. I poured my love for her into the moments. I appreciated the smell of the slippery mud, the feel of the cool spring breeze, and the playful bounding of the deer that ran through. She is so beautiful! SHE IS HEAVEN.
DO YOU SEE IT?