What is the Vision Fast?
This Vision Fast is a powerful nature based initiation process. It is a ceremony for all those involved and a time that creates and encourages deep connection with the sacred. It is a rite of passage - the marking and claiming of a change in a person’s life.
As a rite of passage, it honours the pattern that many cultures have discovered work well, stages that we also can see in nature if we take time to look. It is about being immersed in a ‘wild’ place; where there is direct and immediate connection with nature and where she can be guide, mirror and bring forward what is needed. Questers are asked to be open to what Nature has to say, in whatever way things are said.
The design grows from ancestors in many lands; it is pan-cultural, so can work for people of any faith, orientation and background. Pioneered by Meredith Little and the late Steven Foster and the School of Lost Borders in California, the Vision Fast form that I work with is also used by many people and organisations around the world.
The Form it takes
There are three parts to the pattern. The first is Severance, when Fasters are asked to leave behind their everyday world. We do this by taking ourselves deep into the wild woods away from the everyday, and spending the first few days breaking links, gathering energy and honing intention.
The second is the Threshold, when a line is crossed into the threshing-ground of change. This is the solo time, when Questers have no company, no food and no shelter. The purpose is for Questers to be alone with all-that-is, to have no distractions. We hold these three taboos as well as we each can, and there is further guidance about how to stay safe.
The Third is Incorporation - coming back into the body. This is the Quester coming back to their own body and to the bigger body of the world and their life. In many ways this is the hardest part as it takes time, and there is no specific way to make it easy. We will do the first part of that, by breaking the fast, by eating together and then by spending a few days witnessing and mirroring the stories of the Threshold time. The rest is for your life.
Is this personal development?
No! Although it may help a person to grow and become who they really are, it is not in the league of a personal development course or training. It is definitely not therapy. It is a ceremony, it is bigger than us, and demands that a person comes ready to let go of who they currently are, and fully enter the Threshing Ground of who they are becoming. It will most likely to be very tough in places and also full joy, and everything in between.
It is time of letting the seeds that are sitting inside us to see the light of day, for them to find the ground upon which they may grow.
What do we do?
The plan is for us to spend the first three days working with the Four Shields model to hone each persons intent, build community between us and to devise rituals for the fast time. We will talk through health, consider how to put up tarps, and make sure each one knows how to stay safe during the Fast alone.
We move to Dartmoor for five nights, and have a little time to make a connection with the place. On dawn of the first morning there, the fasters will cross a threshold and enter the fasting time, the threshold, which lasts four days and nights. On their return, there is a marking and celebration as the final phase begins.
We return to Young Wood, finding somewhere to bathe or swim along the way and making or going out for a feast. A literal 'incorporation'. The last few days are full of the potent stories, as each person brings back to us, their community, their experiences. We all listen and are nourished. We end with some kind of ritual or ceremony, that works for the group and honours the land and all that has been present.
What about practicalities?
Each person will be sent an equipment list for the whole event, and especially for the fast. During the fast, you will need water for each day and clothing to keep you warm, dry and safe.
For the time at Young Wood we will be camping, and with current expectations of covid protocols, we plan to suggest that people bring food to share and cook together. There is a covered camp kitchen and stoves, pans, plates etc will be provided. There is a campfire that can be lit as people choose and the weather allows. We have a covered roundhouse to work in, and that will be our group space.
There are ticks in the woods and the moor, just as there are in most wild places, so precautions to prevent being bitten will be given.
Reading and Preparation
Once you have booked, there will be a few preparations to make. To help with your decision here is some reading...
The Vision Fast Book by Meredith Little and Steven Foster - a good background book
The Roaring of the Sacred River - Steve Foster & Meredith Little
Betsy Perluss - Touching Earth, Finding Spirit - a lovely piece, and Betsy is guide and was my teacher at the School of Lost Borders.
£500 -£650 (sliding scale so those who have more can support those who have less) Payments can be made in instalments. Deposit payable to secure a place.
For more details please contact me for a phone or zoom conversation, and booking form.
We will work with latest guidance about covid, so that we respect everyones health and wellbeing.
Places are limited to a maximum of six.
If you health issues that you think may prevent you from coming or fasting (like diabetes or mobility issues) please do talk with me.
Based at Young Wood in the Blackdown Hills for the first and last parts, and on Dartmoor for the Fast-time. We will be based outdoors with basic facilities, including cooking outdoors, camping and composting loos.
I will be ably assisted by Sarah Churchill, who has completed her own fast and works outdoors some of the time and teaches Pilates locally.