Vision Quest is sometimes known as crying for a vision or dream, seeking a vision and connecting to spiritual forces. The Vision Quest Ceremony is a way of communicating with the Great Spirit. There are many misconceptions about this fascinating rite. One misconception is that a vision is obtained by reaching a delirious state of exhaustion through fasting. This is untrue, visions are obtained because specific Spirits are called and sent to the person requesting a vision.
The magic of the ritual is dependent on many things. Mostly they depend upon an ancient lineage of Spirit Helpers that have been handed down within the tradition. Also a very important factor is that people pray in support from a distance. The supporters maintain a specially prepared sacred fire without letting it go out. Another important part of the vision quest are the prayer ties. Participant tie 405 tiny bundles of tobacco to a single string. This string will encircle the quester forming the Hocoka or center. This is done so that only certain spirits can enter. The tobacco each contain a prayer, the spirits then read each prayer as they arrive.
Vision Quest takes place annually in Crestone, Colorado with members of The Singing Stone and as well in other areas around the globe. Contact us if you would like to help out and learn more about this life changing Ceremony and visit our Offerings Page to see when the next Vision Quest takes place.
Like many ceremonies it begins with a sweat lodge. Within the sweat lodge the person questing is handed a sacred canupa (sacred pipe). The quester is covered with a star quilt and led to a specific secluded place. The medicine man or woman prays and sings calling the spirits. The quester is left alone to pray all the while holding faithfully the sacred canupa and not letting it go.
When this ceremony is properly performed the person praying for a vision should not experience undue thirst or hunger. Also they will experience a communion with the Divine. Depending on the circumstance, that may include teleportation, a soul journey, a visitation, or a simple message. The songs, the medicine man or woman, the supporters, the fire, the Pipe, the tobacco prayer ties, the offerings, and the sweat lodge all work together to create a doorway for the person vision questing.
A vision quest is usually a 24 hour experience. In our tradition the quest can last up to 4 days (and 3 nights). The amount of time depends upon the purpose of the ceremony and the individual. One does not necessarily have a more profound experience by questing for a long time. It is a magical rite depending upon the Spirit’s intervention and the prayers involved. The songs, the medicine man or woman, the supporters, the fire, the tobacco prayer ties, the offerings, and the sweat lodge all work together to create a doorway for the person vision questing. After blessing oneself with the sacred chanupa and drinking water the ceremony comes to a close.
What to expect:
To do the vision quest one would need to make the tobacco prayer ties. The 405 prayer ties are offerings for the 405 spirits of the Earth. The spirits that come will inspect each one ( they may not all come ). The ties are also a protective device, in that only the 405 spirit may enter. Usually we use just basic cotton fabric. Normally the 405 ties are red but colors can vary depending on the situation. Be sure and contact us about this important detail. The fabric is cut into 2 inch squares.
The string to use may be yarn, kite string, or sinew (waxed nylon). A tiny pinch of tobacco is placed into a cloth square, using two slip knots, the bundle is tied without cutting the string. Keep the prayer ties an inch apart. You should only be praying while you do this, nothing else. It is nice to smudge the prayer ties each time you sit down to work on them. The ties should be rolled onto a small wad of sage as you go along, sort of like rolling a ball of yarn. They can be made in stages or all at once. Be sure the string will be long enough, pieces of string cannot be tied together. So make sure you wind up with one continuous line of 405 prayer ties 1 inch apart.You will also need to make prayer flags, also known as robes. You will need 1/4 yard of red, yellow, black, gray, blue, green, brown, orange, and lavender. These should be new basic cotton. Also you will need 1/4 yard of red felt of any kind. A small hand full of tobacco is placed into the corner of the fabric and tied into a bundle with string. Each flag will be separate but make sure you leave about 7 inches of string on either side of the bundle to tie these to sticks later.
Just before vision quest we will take a short hike to gather fresh sage and five forked sticks either chokecherry or juniper. The prayer flags will be tied to these just before the sweat lodge. The sage will be laid out upon the ground within the circle.
You will also need to make prayer flags, also known as robes. You will need 1/4 yard of red, yellow, black, gray, blue, green, brown, orange, and lavender. These should be new basic cotton. Also you will need 1/4 yard of red felt of any kind. A small hand full of tobacco is placed into the corner of the fabric and tied into a bundle with string. Each flag will be separate but make sure you leave about 7 inches of string on either side of the bundle to tie these to sticks later. For the red felt prayer flag (waluta) you will also need a shell button, a medicine wheel disc decorated with porcupine quills, and a special feather. These will be tied to the bundle in that order. Please contact us if you cannot find some of these supplies.
A metal bucket with a dipper and a plain knife will be needed. An extra quarter yard of red basic cotton fabric will be used to wrap all of these things with sage. All of the items used in the vision quest must be new and unused. Bring a NEW star quilt, Pendleton blanket or buffalo hide. Everything that has been mentioned so far will be given away afterwards, except the sage, which can be used throughout the year as smudge incense. An extra blanket should be brought. This can be a used blanket of any kind that you will not give away.
The most important item for the vision quest is the sacred canupa or sacred pipe. Those people who carry a canupa will use their own. We will provide a pipe (on loan) to those who do not have one. Like the bucket, dipper, and knife, their handles will be wrapped in sage with the extra red fabric.
During the Vision Quest, if you need to use the “bathroom” you will place your sweetgrass braid over the prayer tie string. You will step over the braid outside of the hocoka use the “bathroom” and step back over the sweetgrass braid into the hocoka and remove the sweetgrass braid from the prayer tie string. To avoid all this one should fast from solid foods one or two days before going up on the hill. In the event of the menses unexpectedly occurring while questing, a woman then is led away from the sequestered area and will be taken to the Moon Lodge. The ceremony ends for her then and can resume at a later date.
Appropriate attire for this event for men is a pair of shorts or underwear. Ladies wear a simple cotton dress. We have sweat dresses and much of the necessary ceremonial equipment available.
Anyone participating in the vision quest would be responsible for providing a feast for all of the supporters. In some cases one would give gifts to all of the supporters as well. Contact us for more details in regards to this. Some of the foods are specific and would have to be prepared during the Ceremony. A few groceries to feed some of the supporters are necessary as well (they will participate in a light fast).
Supporting a Vision Quest is not complete without singing!!!The gift of song, like all animals , is what we have been given to call out to the powers of the universe in a time of need! Naturally one would not want to sing closing songs . There are a whole variety of songs you would not want to sing which is just common sense. Each person has particular affiliations and powers that guide them, so in your heart you know what you need to call in.
Any songs appropriate to you is good. keep in mind you have a limited time to receive a message so don’t waste you time singing “Jack and Jill went up the hill”. So many people decide to do a vision quest and wind up twiddling their thumbs, pining away the hours waiting for it to be over. Vision Quest is not the time and place to be daydreaming of food and talking to yourself in the same endless chatter that occupies your daily life. It is a time to stand and address the Sky, Earth, Moon, Stars and all the rest of nature. As it says in a prominent Hanbleceya song, “With difficulty I am standing”.
Know that most all Spiritual songs have come through a vision or dream, mostly from Vision Quest. Everyone has a song, a prayer, and a message to receive from the spirits. A song from the spirits is a gift of power. Do not take it lightly when you hear a song during vision quest or even an ordinary dream. Songs are doorways, corridors for the spiritual forces to use to help you. Do not idly sing them in the shower. It is said that some of the spirits may have to travel long distances and may take extreme risks to find you. Be sure you are not calling things unnecessarily. When on Vision Quest, SING and pay attention!