My Vision-Quest Experiance 2003:
I made my plans for several months, decided on a where, when and for how long I'd do this journey. In the week before my journey, I practiced a pre-fast diet. I ate no meat or animal products. I ate no salt or "processed" foods that were pre-cooked or had additives. I avoided fatty and rich foods. I ate mostly fresh fruits, boiled vegetables and some boiled organic grains (rolled oats, long-cooked rice). I drank plenty of water and fresh-squeezed juices, some natural baby-foods.
I packed up my equiptment on the friday and hit the road, eating a baked potato (straight-up, no toppings or butter or even salt. hm... it's an aquired taste.) It took me several hours to reach my secluded destination, an abandoned wooded property used by the neighboring microscopic neighborhood/township as a sort of recreational park. Very few people ever used the area except for a few horseback riders who would use the trails and the odd fly fisherman or two in the river. I parked my car and hiked my equiptment about a mile back into the woods, setting up camp in an especially hidden area in the middle of the trees, away from the trail. (This took a while, since I had a lot of stuff and it was pretty hot out.)
I scouted the area to decide on various tasks (like a personal "ladies room" etc...). I would have no fire (it was warm and I had no need for cooking), all I had with me for "entertainment" was a few books on herbology which I only used when I wished to ID something. I filled my hiking pack with water and the books, took my walking staff and headed out to do a survay of the area, a place I remembered and loved from previous visits. I wanted to visit some trees I'd befreinded earlier. I spent much time talking quietly to the living things I came across, observing the flow of life and enjoying the company of trees and wild things in their own habitats. I barley noticed any hunger pangs, although I was aware of the effects of not eating.
When I started to notice nightfall, I went back to my tent and attempted to sleep. I started to feel the effects of boredom. Boredom was as much a part of this process as fasting. An abstainance from my typical entertainments and distractions was difficult for someone like me, used to modern persutes of TV, music, internet, crafting, balancing my checkbook, planning tomarrows schedule and even reading books. Without these distractions I almost felt a prisoner in my own mind. Being alone in the wilderness at night also enhanced my emotional state, I became frightened at sounds and aware of movements... worried that I'd gone too far out of my comfort zone and had exposed myself to dangers foolishly. Sleep was fitful.
The morning was incredibly beautiful and sweet. Here I had something like 14 hours of daylight to do... what? I didn't have to do any work in camp, I didn't have to eat or prepare food. I could read my books, but chose only to reference them occasionally since I didn't want too get caught up in trying to distract and entertain myself. I spent the day wandering the paths and examining the plant life, watching with great attention when an animal crossed my path. I spent a lot of time thinking and watching the water of the river. I spent time with a handsom, timeless old tree who looked like the physical incarnation of the tree of life... an old White Willow tree with strong branches and silvery leaves... it seemed as if time and again it had encountered destruction but didn't die, despite the beating the weather and the shoreline had given it. Life even sprang from the limbs that had died in amazing glory of mosses, bird and insect nests, even a whole different species of tree seemed to share in it's life-giving joy by growing from the branches that had started to decay, providing a fertile bed for such a companion. I admired this tree for so many reasons and it holds a special place in my heart. I sat for a long time beneath its sheltering arch and created a circle space to call to my totem there. I continued hiking about, stopping several times for long periods to meditate. I remember hearing the calling of hawks very often after a time. I allready had a relationship with Hawk and was pleased to see him appear so fruitfully.
Again, nightfall crept in and I went back to my tent hoping for dreams. Rain fell that night, soothing me into a more complete sleep (that and me being exhausted helped!) I heard the murmering of white-tailed deer. Previously, I hadn't known that they made verbal sounds... they sound like pre-adolecsent cows, before their voices changed! lol! I remember having an amazing dream about poetry and the process of flowers that I later found insightful. The morning was bright, but I didn't feel well. Fasting hit me and I felt nauseated and dizzy. I knew I had to pack up and planned to pray before I ate, but I was worried that I'd gone a little too far. Once I'd been awake for a short while I began to feel better, but still planned to leave. As I hiked back to my car to get my breakfast, I stopped several times and tried to meditate. Each time I saw and heard Hawks flying above me, distracting me from my prayers, drawing my attention upwards. As yesterday, they seemed protective about their territory and their insistant, bold, heart-rendering cry couldn't be ignored. I accepted this as about as close as I was going to get to a sign or vision and was satisfied, knowing that I wanted to do this again someday.
Once I'd broken my fast (2 bananas that never tasted so good!) I calculated how I was going to get my equiptment back to my car while feeling so out-of-it and weak. I though. "Hey, I'll just drive my car along the horseback-riding paths and get at least closer to my tent..." So woozy Scarlet got in the car and tried to drive through a lake-sized mud puddle in the "road." That, as can be expected, didn't go over well with the puddle, who felt justified in turning my car on a 45% angle and not letting go of it. I ceded the point and thought, "Great. Now I'm discheveled, delirious and have to walk 2 miles to the nearest farm just so that the farmer can take one look at the crazy lady stumbling out of the woods and call the newspaper..." I wasn't too worried, I was still high on my experiance... and the universe delivered a timely gift. Not 30 seconds after I had muddily clambered out the passanger door, I heard a buzzing... a roaring... a... an engine! A little one, from a motorized dirt-bike that a young man was taking a thrill-ride up and down the gravel pile nearbye!! The first human I'd even heard since my arrival!
I flagged him down and explained my situation. "Hang on, I'll go get help," he said. So I prepared to wait an hour or two while he rounded up someone in town to get some equiptment or something... 15 seconds later I hear more buzzing. There are two handsome young men on dirt-bikes with big muscles!! With some brute strength and countrified ingenuity, we worked to get the car successfully unlodged and then (after deciding I should hike my equiptment out just as I'd hiked it in) they offered to drive me back to my camp! What fun!! I was ecstatic by the time I started lugging my stuff back out. It took even longer on the way out, but I was so happy!
Two days isn't very long, but I'm happy with my first experiance. It was a very fullfilling and joyous experiance and I hope to do it again someday!