Spiritual Autobiography – Ages 59-64 (Part Two)

May 19, 2008

Last week I noted that my trip to Pennsylvania included preparations for a vision quest.  I first read about a vision quest in Richard Amory’s erotic novel, The Song of the Loon.  Later I read about actual vision quests in Black Elk Speaks.  Then I read, The Book of the Vision Quest, in which the authors describe how they had adapted the Native American practice for Caucasians.

I attended a presentation by three people from a retreat center in Wyoming. The vision quest they led was similar to the ones described in The Book of the Vision Quest. They also told of a program called Sacred Hoop Week during which it was possible to make a quest under the guidance of Standing Elk, a Lakota Shaman. This quest would be two days without food or water. I decided that I needed the discipline that the Lakota traditions would give me.

I had read a recommendation for preparing for a quest by spending one day fasting and walking.  On the train to Pennsylvania I started that fast. I took a cab to the conference center motel and checked into my room. The next morning I started walking along the highway, passing several Amish farms. On side roads where there was little traffic, I walked most of the day. 

At one point I found a small patch of woods where I stopped to meditate. I opened my eyes to find an opossum watching me curiously. When I moved, he scurried away.

I returned to the conference center to break my fast by first drinking water. The water in my room tasted terrible.  In the gift shop the only bottled water was flavored, but I bought it anyway.

Next week I’ll tell you about the Pennsylvania class.

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