Published on November 18, 2011 by Amy
Numerous Native American tribes practiced the rite of Vision Quests, which was often taken by older children before puberty to “find themselves” and their life’s direction.
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How the rite was taken, its length and intensity, and at what age varied greatly from tribe to tribe. In most cases the vision quest was a “supernatural” experience in which the individual seeks to interact with a guardian spirit, usually an animal, to obtain advice or protection.
Much preparation was often taken before the vision quest was undertaken in order to determine the sincerity and commitment of the person. Sometimes the quest required the individual to go alone into the wilderness for several days, in order to become attuned to the spirit world.
Other tribes required the individual to take a long walk, or were confined to a small room. Often the individual was required to fast prior to the quest, and was not allowed to sleep.
During this period of sensory deprivation, the individual was to search for a a guardian spirit’s presence or a sign that would be given to them. Once the presence or sign was “seen,” and the individual had realized his/her direction in life, they would return to the tribe to pursue their life’s journey.