Many traditions used to have a time when people went out into the wilderness to search for vision or at times of life transitions, probably the most known about is moving from adolescence into adulthood. These rites of passage are sadly lacking in society today.
Much of our time is spent indoors and being busy, whether that is with work or the daily demands of family life or our tendencies to avoid what may be troubling us.
The Nature quest offers a space for this. It involves setting aside time to go into the natural landscape, to search for a vision or to retreat or to spend some time to rejuvenate. This can be especially beneficial if you are going through any major life transition, such as moving from adolescence into adulthood, or after a divorce or relationship ending, or perhaps even before embarking on the journey of marriage, or becoming a parent, going through menopause, retirement, to name a few examples.
In brief the journey into the land, on a nature or vision quest consist of three stages, that of Severance- leaving the life we know behind. Solo time- this is the time spent on your own in the wilderness doing a water fast and seeking for a vision. The third part is the return to your people and is the Integration phase. This is where you take what you have learnt from your time on the land and incorporate it into your life.
The experience of a nature quest can be profound and transforming, a truly life changing experience.
Some recommended reading about this type of journey.
Soulcraft by Bill Plotkin
The Book of the Vision Quest by Steven Foster and Meredith Little
Partnering with Nature – Catriona MacGregor
The World is a Waiting Lover – Trebbe Johnson
The Hero with a Thousand Faces – Joseph Campbell
The Lonely Tumbling Waters – Ken Griffin (especially for a flavour of the Highlands)
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About Liselle Van Zyl
Liselle Van Zyl, MSc Psychotherapy BA(Hons) Psychology. She practices as a gestalt psychotherapist, although her interests are varied and she takes an integrative approach. Liselle is also very interested in the natural world and how we engage with nature. She also runs nature quests, offering individuals time to let go and connect with nature.