MONIQUE REES RN, MA, LPC
There is a magical place where one has the opportunity to discover the divine in the ordinary. Through intention and guidance one crosses a threshold to the other side, only to learn that they’ve been there the whole time.
The Vision Fast
The Vision Fast
The Vision Fast can be seen as a type of birthing experience, there is a death of the old and a rebirth of the new. It is a reconnecting with what is basic, beyond all the concepts and structures we put around everything. It is as Steven Foster and Meredith Little put it, a very primordial "reentering the womb of things". We’ve gone so far from our primordial nature with each year and each layer of experience, so far that we loose track of the bigger picture. Our attention becomes very focused and convoluted. We need to take time to return to the place before all the confusion, a place of primordial wisdom. In this place we can see with clear vision and discover why it is that we are here. We can take the ordinary random experience and see the profundity with in it. This is a grand opportunity to harness our inner power and strength.
To do this we need to cut ties to the neurotic outside world and our usual lives so that we can step away from the web of daily details. Off with an open mind and heart to a place where we can let nature speak to us.
Most widely known as a Native American practice, rights of passage ceremonies have been practiced throughout the world for thousands of years. This ceremony does not belong to a particular cultural group, it is a process that is informed by your own particular values and beliefs. We use the term Vision Fast to describe a form of rights of passage inspired by the School of Lost Borders. It has been only in our modern times have we lost track of this essential practice of defining intention and seeking truth.
The Vision Fast is a chance to reconnect with our true nature, to who we really are beneath all the masks and distractions of modern times and rediscover the sacredness in everything. It is an chance to seek guidance, to mark life transitions, to let the old die and give birth to something new. It is also an opportunity to find the wisdom in crisis.
We are repeatedly in crisis of some form or another. Some of us become stuck in crisis, unable to move through. When this happens we have a tendency toward depression, harmful behavior to ourselves, to others and to the earth. And we become more susceptible to psychological and physical neurosis and illness. This ceremony is a chance to seek understanding of the crises, to grow from them and to move on to the privileges and responsibilities of the future.
Out there alone in nature there is also the opportunity to forgive, seek, grow, open, extend, connect, let go, welcome, give away, offer up, pray, face fears, and much more.
The Vision Fast is an opportunity for
- severance from the self the self with limitations
- touching the timeless
- getting to know the rhythms and elements of the earth
- learning about survival, yourself, even death
- "learning to love, respect, and cherish each other, to walk in balance between the two worlds, to give away, to worship the fire in the heart of our mother earth who brought us into being."
- understanding life crises, confidently assumeing their responsibilities and privileges conferred by a new life station.
- leaving everything behind and go into the wilderness
- questing for guidence
"I learned that nature spoke to me when I emptied my ears of my own internal dialogue. I saw many powerful teachings when my eyes were not distracted by my brain"
"The desert, my mother taught me that the flash of a mocking bird’s wing was more precious then the finest sapphire. She taught me that the smell of sagebrush after a rain was more lush than the words of a poet’s mouth." -Steven Foster
Stages of the Vision fast
Severence: This stage starts as soon as you decide to do a vision fast. It involves saying good bye to family and friends, working out unresolved issues, and tying up loose ends. Letting go of the old to make room for the new.
This is a time of preperation, both physically and emotionally. It is during this time that the quester will think about his/her intention, to help with this we request that you go on a day walk about a month to two weeks before the fast.
You may wish to perform a death lodge ceremony as well as plan ceremony for your quest. (More information about ceremony will be given apon application)
This is the time to gather equipment, please use our list accessed by clicking here: equipment
Some time before the trip we will meet as a group, those from out of town will have personal meetings with the guides over the phone to discuss the tasks of this stage.
Threshold: Stepping beyond your former self, crossing the threshold into sacred time. Out in nature alone for three or four days and nights is where you will confront your deepest self. Your stomach will be empty, but your spirit full. With an open mind and heart just what you need will arise. You may dance with the wind, talk to the rocks and listen for the wisdom of the trees. You may perform a ceremony or ritual, one that you have planned or one that arises spontaneously. Pay attention to your dreams during this time.
Incorporation: How will you bring back what you have learned, how can you bridge the sacred found during your fast with the mundane world?
Emptiness, in my core
I am feeling the great mother
Dissolving into her arms
Melting into the puddle of the all
United once again
I am nothing in this vast space,
No arms, no legs, no body, no ears
Sinking further into the womb of the divine
Diving through the portal of her embrace
My body trembles, pulsates
Energy swimming on every cell
My heart pounding,
Bounding in my ears…
The Four Shields
The Four Shields
Steven Foster and Meridith Little have pulled from various Native American traditions to come up with a framework for viewing the human psych in relation to the four directions and four seasons. In healthy individuals the seasons would look like the following: The summer shields which have a strongly developed child within would be athletic, earthy in a physical way, instinctive, playful, emotional, sensual and innocently erotic. The fall shield would be capable of deep introspection, would crave solitude, be able to feel deeply and empathetically, love self, possess a conscience and dream the dreams of sacred ancestors. They would have moved on from their childhood and have adopted a greater mother and father. These people would have inner character and soul. The winter shield in the north, which is the adult aspect, would be capable of mature judgment, self control, appropriate action, marriage, parenting, working, with a strong sense of community and family. Actions would be in tune with the mind of nature as evidenced by the natural laws with which self cooperated. Socially they would be responsible, diplomatic, have foresight and tact. The spring shield, which is birth, would be imaginative, creative, inventive, spiritual, and capable of awe and reverence. They would see life as holy, sacred and saturated with sprit. Inspiration and regeneration would flow through ever event. Their experience of nature would include the mystical and non-ordinary.
There are few in our modern society who have developed all these aspects of themselves fully. It is very difficult when we live in a culture that is so disconnected. It seems that as a culture we tend to be stuck in the fall, behaving like adolescents, like we are the center of the world, always wanting more without examining the consequences. We are trying to be adults without even knowing what it is like to be mature.
We use the four shields as a rough guideline to help the people we work with locate where they are and which aspects of themselve they may have neglected, or are too attached to. We teach and use the four shields to support individuals to connecet to all aspects of themselves, moving toward more complete wholeness.