Offering Visionary Leadership Training - Healing, Optimism, Purpose, Evolution
The first day consists of:
Beginning Fasting and Prayer
On the first day of the Vision Quest, the quester should rise before sunrise and greet the day with prayer. Then, the quester begins to fast at dawn.
They should not take a shower, brush their teeth, or put any liquid into their mouth unless directed by the facilitator. They should also forgo sleep.
Now the quester spends the morning preparing their offerings.
Steaming and Smudging
All items used for the Vision Quest can now be steamed and smudged. First, the quester should stack stones in a fire and heat the rocks. Once the rocks are heated, the offering items which make the altar must be steamed and smudged thoroughly. Steaming of the items can be accomplished by placing the stone into a metal bucket and pouring water on them. The smudging with juniper/cedar or sweetgrass can occur simultaneously.
Setting up the Vision Quest Altar
After high noon, the Vision Quest altar can be set up within which the quester will sit or stand during their time of isolation. The Vision Quest site can be in a sweat lodge, a vision pit, a prayer lodge, or out in the open. The configuration of the altar is all the same.
Preparation for the “Evening Steam-Off”
The quester returns to the sweat lodge and then stacks stones in a fire for that evenings’ “steam-off.” Depending on the time of day, the fire can be stacked and then lit later, closer to sunset.
Once the fire is ready, the quester and the ceremonial facilitator/mentor enter the sweat lodge. Men questers are naked but wrapped in a towel, and women questers wear ceremonial dress.
A helper brings the stones, one at a time, into the lodge. After the stones are placed, the lodge door is closed. Prayers are said, and special Vision Quest songs are sung. The quester receives instructions from the mentor. The quester also receives water—up to but no more than four ladles. When the “steam-off” has been completed, the mentor leaves first. Then the quester’s blanket(s) is placed over the door, and the quester backs out of the lodge. The quester exits the lodge; they are wrapped in their blanket(s), with the blankets covering their head. No other cloths are used for the duration of the Quest.
Being led to the Vision Quest Altar
The quester is guided to the location of their Quest.
There should be no direct skin-to-skin contact between the quester and the guide. The helper guides the quester, holding their shoulders which are covered by the blankets. The helper puts the quester into their altar, smudges them with sweetgrass, and closes up the ties.
The quester is left for the duration of their commitment: alone, praying to the creation and the powers of creation about the intention of the Quest.
Time Alone in the Wilderness
While the Vision Quester is at their altar, they should remain in constant prayer. They may sing or pray out loud or silently.
The only time they can leave the Quest altar is to use the bathroom. Before the quester enters back into the altar, they smudge themselves off with the sweet grass.
By spending an extended duration in nature, in communion with creation, the quester comes to a deep state of connection.