What is a vision quest

Back in February, I decided that I was going to do a vision quest in March.

I didn’t have all the details, but I know I wanted to commit to the idea.

You might be wondering what the heck is a vision quest?

It’s a journey in nature in order to receive an insight (a vision) on a specific topic or as an initiation.

Why do a vision quest

My intention was for a vision on the next steps to take in my business and how to be of greater service.

I also wanted to dismantle some mental patterns that seemed to regularly pull me back in a lack mentality. You know, that thing you thought you dealt with already!

What seems to be the recurring pattern in your life you’d like to move beyond?

How to plan your vision quest

So I pick the dates I was going to go away. I was undecided between 2 or 3 days.

I figured that 2 days might be best for me since it was my first time doing an almost authentic vision quest.

In a real vision quest, one goes in nature with nothing… Not a tent, not a sleeping back, no food (and in some cultures not even clothes).

I was going to bring my tent and a tiny bit of food & water (but mostly doing a fast).

I had found a good spot to go to. A campsite that was quite remote and quiet and was not yet open since it’s still winter (sort of).

You want to make sure that no one will be there. This is you and nature only.

It’s also supposed to be sort of a secret. I did tell a few supportive people for advice and safety.

Please tell someone where and when you are leaving and coming back if you decided to do a vision quest on your own.

Let them know you will phone by a certain time. If not, let the authorities know (same as when you go out hiking on your own…please stay safe).

What happens on-site?

Once you arrive at your site, you need to find a comfortable spot. You will have to sit in contemplation in that spot until you get a vision.

Some people do a ritual to establish the start of the vision quest. This ritual might be delimitating a 5-6 foot circle with rocks. Some might want to drum or rattle.

Giving an offering of tobacco or some other gift bundle to Spirit is a good way to honor the Elements.

An important step is to address the spirit of the land and share your intent. Ask for permission to do your vision quest on this land. Ask to connect with the spirit of nature and the higher realms for protection, support, and guidance during your vision quest.

From there you can go back from the start and pass your life in review.

As an adult now, can you reframe the hardship that occurred in childhood? Can you try to see the events differently?

Can you forgive the people in your life? Can you forgive yourself?

When faced with a difficult situation – current or from the past – don’t hesitate to ask for help from the benevolent spirits of the unseen realms. Observe what and who appears. Ask to see the truth.

Alternative ideas for a vision quest

It might not be possible for everyone to do a full on vision quest.

If the idea of sleeping under the stars with a gurgling stomach freaks you out, here are a few ideas you could still benefit from.

  • A 1 day Vision Quest (no sleeping outside)
  • A more comfortable version at a natural retreat center or lodge
  • A silent retreat – called Vipassana (http://www.dhamma.org)
  • A shamanic retreat (not silent, but lots of ‘journeying’ for visions)
  • A Vision Quest at home (might work if you have access to a quiet backyard)
  • Make time for regular silence and inward contemplation in your life


Even though I enjoy silence and make time for regular inward contemplation, this was a lot more difficult than I thought.

I had to change my plans from a 2-day vision quest to a 1 day since the weather channel was advertising rain on those 2 days.

I was quite disappointed, but in the end, I still received my vision and lots of insights. I am learning to have compassion for myself. It’s ok if plans change. I am planning another one for the summer.

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