I’ve been going on Vision Quest solo for years. Not the Hollywood-ized or New Age version, but a modern woman/wife/mom taking herself out of her life and going somewhere alone without a plan, putting herself in the hands of the universe for the purpose of cleansing and ritual, and to know in the silence of her heart how she can be of service to her people.  This is closer to the original intent of our indigenous ancestors’ vision quests.

I’ve been doing them for many years, actually since I was a child…I value the alone time, am delighted with it. It nourishes my soul.  It’s only then that I can feel myself as one of the pulses of the heartbeat of life.

A Vision Quest can be a little scary at first, I won’t lie to you…being alone with yourself can make some folks’ skin crawl.  I remember a period of time when I was afraid of being alone, and it was when I was the farthest from my center. I guess I’d gotten caught up in the game of my life and forgotten to keep a finger on that tether to my soul that lets me know the fish is still on the line.  That was in 1999, when I really took a deep dive into my consciousness and began the exploration and retrieval of the treasures below, while my spirit held the torch.

I cured that fear of being alone by going on Vision Quest for 10 days in the desert. The drive across the country from North Carolina was astonishing; I met a cast of characters straight out of Carlos Casteneda novels, including a man with a vibrating face (seriously, I literally could not see his face, no matter how hard I blinked), spy ravens hanging and cackling on the phone wires, and an angel in the form of a white haired motorcycle policeman,  who pulled up next to me between 18-wheelers in the left lane of I-40 at 11:00 at night, and somehow mouthed to me to “Slow down!!!” as I barreled down the highway at 90 miles an hour…then disappeared.  You’d better believe I slowed down…when an angel tells me to do something, I find it best to turn on a dime!

I traveled the southwest, camping in the desert under the stars and in my car, purposely avoiding contact with people, my only companion my journal.  What did I do with myself for 10 days?  A lot of sitting in the dust and on the rocks, a lot of looking at the simple horizon of sky and land, a lot of listening to the wind.  I was searching for guidance, but of course what I was really searching for was myself.

Bear Paw Petroglyph

Bear Paw Petroglyph

Who IS this woman called Licia?  How does she fit into the Big Picture?  What is the meaning of her life?  How do I help her unfold her wings and fly?   These are the kinds of soul-tending questions I asked myself…and in the silence of the desert wind, the witnessing of the face of the mountains and the company of my own spirit, received the answers.

The trees along the underground rivers caressed my face as I released my self-doubt and cried, my tears watering the grateful ground.  The dragonflies hovering around me reminded me of the ancient knowledge that lay in my very blood, waiting to be discovered.  I had a come-to-Mama moment at Shiprock NM, the Great Nipple (my name), and an interaction with a spirit dog that reminded me that my family was my strength and an answer I was searching for (dog is a symbol for loyalty to family and clan).

The result of that journey was a tremendous breaking open of the dam in my heart and the resulting flood of tears, the bliss of knowing in every cell that I am part of something larger than me and my little mind, and the quiet reinstatement of my center as the thread of my life.

I’ve learned  over the years that the length and breadth of an effective Vision Quest can vary…I see them as proportional to the distance we are from our soul.  If your life has really become a mystery to you, a nice long Vision Quest is a good course.  Other times, a few days alone, or even a few hours, will suffice.  We are busy in our lives, after all, especially if you are a woman, life partner and mom like I am.

But we still need to take care of ourselves; we still need to answer the call to go within and slake our deep thirst for the nourishment of spirit.  And this is how we know our service to the world, how to show up in our role in All Creation.  And this makes us very joyful.

I recommend Vision Quests for everyone…it is so easy to forget that we are indeed a thread in the web of life, so easy to get distracted and pulled away by the tide of the culture that wants you to be off-center so you will buy more stuff.  Say no to that.

Say yes to you.  That’s who you find when you go on  Vision Quest.  There’s something that we see (if we are willing to look) reflected in the face of Nature…our magnificence, our place in the world.

We all have a s/hero’s journey to undertake…our lives have meaning.  There is a story there, and it is important that we find it and map it out…not so much that we can show others, but so that we can make sense of our lives and release the ridiculous notion that we have no importance in the design of the stars.

And if you do, may you be tender with yourself in those moments you feel your wings beating against the cages in your own mind, and may you experience the relief and joy when you realize there are no cages after all. 🙂


Do you feel the calling of your soul?  Perhaps a Vision Quest is in order!

P.S.  Get my free article, “10 Tips for Taking Your Own Modern Vision Quest”!   

P.P.S.  Want to go deeper right now?  Take The Frontier Inside eCourse!

P.P.P.S.  Let me know if I can assist you in finding the map of your life.