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  • Writer's pictureMichelle Cade

What is a Vision Quest?

Updated: Sep 14, 2022

What’s a vision quest you ask?

A vision quest is a powerful ritual process that includes three core elements:

  1. Solitude

  2. Nature, often a wilderness setting

  3. Fasting

A rite of passage in some Native American cultures and although often associated with Native Americans, vision quests have been undertaken by people in diverse cultures for millennia.

It´s an opportunity to go into nature alone with very little comforts, with the intention of gaining a deeper clarity into who you are and your purpose. (The ground is fertile for self discovery when you are pushed to your edge.) They can vary in terms of length and circumstance but the aim is the same.

I spent 54 hours in the woods with me, myself and I. We were allowed 1 bottle of water, 1 apple, a drum and a sleeping bag and were only allowed to move within your circle (about 2 metres of our sleeping space). No early morning woodland strolls for me.

I was really struggling with depression and anxiety at the time, dealing with a broken heart and had a particularly painful period yet somehow, I thought this would be a good idea. Turns out, it was!

I received so many lessons from it even though it was HARD and extremely painful both emotionally and physically. There was no distraction from my pain and the thoughts of being alone, hungry, cold and wet for two days was only fuelling my discomfort.

After a really tough first day and relentless intrusive thoughts, I hit a wall and the only thing I could do was surrender and be with myself in that uncomfortable place. I met and embraced my inner wild woman, banged on my drum, cried, screamed and moved my body to help me release the energy that was stuck in a negative loop.

When I let go of the past and the future, I only had to deal with the now and the overwhelming feelings started to settle. The pain didn’t go away but the resistance to it did.

It taught me that most of the struggle I experience is the resistance to what is, and releasing it frees up so much energy to actually deal with what is right in front of me, in the now. I gained more respect for myself, my body and for nature. And my capacity for dealing with tough situations has significantly stretched. I also have a new found appreciation for my bed sans slugs, a roof over my head, food and water!

To close the Vision Quest experience, we were offered the choice to join Mila of Sacred Motion to guide us through a sweat lodge ritual. Mila has a very special gift and her intuitive work is informed by the guidance of Shaman Alba Maria passed down to her through 18 years of rigorous initiations in Peru, Brazil and Europe.

The Purification Lodge, also known as a sweat lodge or Cabana, is intended as a Spiritual Reunion. A calling back of our original connection to the Earth, as well as a means for purging toxins from our physical and emotional bodies.

Every aspect of a Purification Lodge ceremony, from the construction to the intentions offered, is imbued with shamanic symbolism.

There are four main dimensions that we encounter inside the Cabana;

  • Physical: cleansing through sweating and releasing muscular tensions.

  • Mental: frees the mind of burdens, offering clarity, lightness & insights.

  • Emotional: expression of repressed emotions, fears, and anxiety.

  • Spiritual: introspection, connection to Nature, the ancestors and the intuitive world.

The experience was transformative, cleansing and insightful. It helped me to connect more deeply with myself and integrate my experience in the woods.

I want to thank In-wood Visions for holding such a beautifully safe space and highly recommend this experience. However, make sure you check in with yourself and feel ready for this kind of inner journey. Putting yourself through difficult situations in the name of healing of course has its benefits but there are also many more gentle approaches if this seems too extreme or is not the right time. Especially if you are dealing with mental and physical health issues. Listen to your body!

I am so excited to be joining Mila and Ria of Sacred Motion to offer sound meditations at their Equinox Retreat in Wales on 22nd September 2022. You will be journeying to 28 acres of secluded and ancient Welsh woodlands, inviting the archetype of the Greek Goddess, Persephone, as you descend into hidden realms where she reigns as Sovereign Queen.

An immersive four-day experience in nature will allow us to explore ourselves through ancient and contemporary practices.

Some of the offerings include a cabana/sweat lodge, sound meditation, healing movement, a forest vigil, wild swimming and the myth of Persephone.

This retreat is welcome to all.

BOOK your space and find out more here.


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