Many people come to Wilderness Reflections looking for a vision quest.

For millennia people from many cultures have walked alone into the wilderness to ceremonially mark points of major life transition and to receive their “vision for the people.” This practice is often referred to as a “vision quest.” Anthropologists looking to describe the hanblechia ceremony of the Lakota and other Native American peoples coined the term “vision quest” decades ago. As such, Native people now commonly use the term when describing their traditional ceremony in the English language.

Although the term “vision quest” is popularly used to describe many kinds of wilderness solo experiences (and is co-opted for art dealerships, raves, all sorts of new age workshops, etc.), we prefer to respect the sanctity of the traditional vision quest and do not use this term. Other traditions have similarly offered such practices of going out alone to fast in nature for healing and communion, including Christianity and Judaism. With deepest respect for these age-old practices, we describe our work, what we offer, as a “wilderness quest.”

Our wilderness quests differ from traditional vision quests in numerous ways.

While the wilderness solo, or threshold time, is a key part of our wilderness quests, we do not follow traditional Native American quest procedures and we are not traditional Native American vision quest leaders. We do not use traditional vision quest preparatory sweatlodges, do not offer no-water fasts and do not in any way claim to lead vision quests, nor do we mimic traditional sacred offerings associated with the vision quest (corn, tobacco, prayer ties, etc.).

Our wilderness quests combine the wisdom from ancient rites of passage from around the world with the knowledge and practices of modern body-oriented psychology and mindfulness practices. We equip people to gain the most they can from their solo time through thorough preparation and incorporation processes, including psychological and physical preparation. We find this blend to be the most accessible, fun and effective for the mind, body and soul of contemporary people. Our strongly held goal is that our questers be able to integrate the gifts they receive on their wilderness quests into their everyday lives and that they are supported in a deep, reciprocal relationship with Nature. For more information on our Wilderness Quests, where we work in California and how our approach differs from a traditional vision quest, click here.