07 May Wisdom Quest featured in The Guardian
Everyone’s experience of the Wisdom Quest is wildly different. From the initial call to the wide range of teachings and transmissions to the nature solo and plant medicine ceremonies, there are a lot of variables that can affect us in various ways, depending on our life processes and how we are programmed as individuals. Some people go out into nature and run around naked. Some people hide fearfully in their tents, shying at every noise they hear in the dark. A lot of people do both.
Truthfully, you’re never truly going to know what your experience will be like until you’re living it, regardless of how many articles and personal reflections you may read. An experienced camper may be scared out of their wits the first night. A camping “virgin” may feel more at home surrounded by the animals and trees than they have ever felt in the city. Everyone’s experience is different, and each is immensely valuable.
Stephanie Theobald, a writer for The Guardian, calls upon her experience of the nature solo in the article Tribal Gathering in the French Pyrenees. Below is an excerpt from the beginning of her reflection.
“I am sitting on a mountaintop in the Pyrenees contemplating sucking the mint flavouring off my dental floss. This is the fourth day of my “vision quest”, a rite of passage traditionally undertaken by young Native Americans. The idea is to go off alone into the mountains, immerse yourself in nature and then return to your community with your “vision”. The Native Americans did it with no food, no water, no shelter, no clothes and no sleep, but we’re having the luxury of just doing it with no food. On your return, the taking of the hallucinogenic self-discovery drug ayahuasca is an optional extra.
This is the ultimate escape holiday – the Duke of Edinburgh award with a Carlos Castaneda twist – and the idea is becoming more popular. There’s a real thirst to find more wild places, to camp à la sauvage (those Bruce Parry-type TV shows may have something to do with it, as may the high-grossing film Avatar, which was basically a massive paean to going back to nature).
Up to now people who really wanted to “discover themselves” in such an epic way had to head off to the US or Brazil, but now it’s on offer in Europe. And this claims to be so much more than self-discovery. A vision quest comes with the exciting promise of transformation, of taking you out of your skin and giving you a new, much more comfortable skin to come home with. Words such as “spiritual”, “sacred” and “mystical” are used a lot, and the literature you are sent before you set off talks of how, during your four days alone and foodless on the mountain (3km from any other living soul), you will “hear the message from within or experience something from without”.”
(to read the rest of the article, click here.)
The nature solo, though it may seem daunting, is an incredible gift. It presents us with the opportunity to truly be with ourselves and disconnect from society, responsibilities, partners, families, friends, coworkers… In our busy world, we can scarcely find a moment of silence to disconnect and be alone. Even when we are alone, are we ever really alone? Phones, computers, and social media connect us to people around the world. Music keeps us distracted from the turmoil within our minds. We surround ourselves with friends so we don’t have to face our inner struggles.
To be alone is to give yourself the opportunity to listen. Listen to your fears, your challenges, your struggling ego, your heart-felt desires. To be alone is to begin to understand yourself and how you interact with others; to understand ourselves is the only way we will successfully be able to change the world for the better.
I urge you- take a risk. Face your fears. Get to know yourself- you deserve it.