This September, even with a pandemic happening around us, I lead a Vision Fast for two courageous souls. I had been approached in the spring and asked if I would lead, and of course I had to say yes. We had a lot of conversation about Vision Fast or Vision Quest or Wilderness Quest, and I keep being asked, as it's seems confusing for people.
So this is why I'm calling this work a Vision Fast.
I trained as a Guide with the School of Lost Borders in California in 2017. It was a month in the high desert of the Inyo Mountains, looking out on the Sierra Nevada. The land is the ancestral land of people who are now called the Paiute, and there is a reservation in Big Pine, which is where the School has its base. Meredith and others from the School have worked closely with the Big Pine Tribe so that the land on which we camped and worked is properly honoured. I found this to be really important - in my bones as well as in my mind- as I work hard in my homeland to honour the places I know, and to make ceremony and 'feed' the soul of the land I work with or visit or know. I was told that the Elders had asked that if this work is done on their land- and yes that is ok- please can we not call it Vision Quest, as that is their ceremony. So the term Vision Fast is used.
I could call call the work a Wilderness Quest, as some others do here in the UK - and the term Wilderness Guide is often used. Well, I'm not sure about that here where I am working, as there is no real wilderness in these green isles! Being based in the South West, the land I am working with has all been managed or cultivated at some point. And I'm not that comfortable with the term Wilderness either. What do we mean we talk of wild and wilderness? It sounds exciting and exotic, which is why it's great for marketing purposes. However, it seems to assume the separation of that nature and our nature. Aren't we all wild somewhere inside?
So do you fast?
Yes! This rite of passage, this time crossing a threshold into another place, this sublime liminal experience, is made more real for us rather-too-comfy humans by taking away the distraction of food. For three of four day and nights. There is time to prepare and drop into it, to create an intention, and there is time to come gently back into the world afterwards. You are welcomed back with food!
"I will never forget the day of the return, arriving back at camp to see Jenny waiting for me, with nurturing food and a fire. My soul felt replenished and loved and seen. " Fasting also changes our relationship with time, and that allows things to shift for us time-bound people.
So if you are thinking... is this for me? Then find out more. You can book a free half hour 1:1 with Jenny.