Where do vision quests take place?
We usually go to the desert, either in California or Oregon (unless there is a trip specially planned for another area, such as Colorado or Idaho). Depending on the time of year we either go to the higher (i.e. in the heat of summer) or lower elevations (in the coolness of early Spring or late Fall) in order to be as comfortable as possible. In addition, we travel from either 6 to 10 hours to reach our wilderness basecamp, depending on the length of the trip itself. The basecamp is accessible by vehicle and we take in all our equipment and food.
Do I need to know how to camp or backpack in order to do this?
No previous camping or backpacking experience is necessary to undertake the wilderness quest. All necessary guidance and information is provided for you to know how to camp and backpack if this is your first time. In addition, it is only necessary that you backpack from the basecamp site to the place where you will spend time in solitude. That is often only 15 minutes away. If someone is unable to carry her gear and needs help, that too is provided.
How safe is it?
Spending time in the wilderness setting is much safer than it is in 'town'. All necessary guidance and information is provided for you to understand the flora and fauna of the area you will be in and how to take care of yourself in this new environment. Since its inception in 1990, Wilderness Rites has not had a single significant injury among the hundreds of participants.
I am afraid to be alone.
Being alone with oneself in nature for a designated period of time is one of the most ancient practices of self-awareness and spiritual growth known to humans. Most of what concerns us is what we will do with ourselves without the distractions and activities of everyday life. As we spend time alone with ourselves, we will have the opportunity to get to know who we are in new and authentic ways and understand more deeply our place in the natural world. Again, you will be prepared to meet the challenges of this experience.
I have never fasted; I am afraid to fast; I don't know if it is good for me to fast?
First of all fasting is optional. We will spend a lot of time discussing the physical, psychological and spiritual aspects of this ancient practice. You will have plenty of time for questions and to prepare yourself. In addition to fasting from food, participants are fasting from daily life and all that is familiar to them. They can choose to come to basecamp for food if necessary, or take some out on their time alone. Most people discover that they enjoy the simplicity and new openness that the fasting offers and discover that it is easier than they anticipated. The choice is up to each quester how s/he handles the question of food.
How strenuous is the trip? What kind of physical condition do I need to be in?
This is not a physically strenuous trip. You will be living outdoors for the duration of the wilderness phase of the trip, so your body will be exposed to the air, the stars, the wind, the earth. Spending as much time as possible in nature before the actual wilderness journey is advised in order to acclimatize the body to being in the natural environment. You will have the right equipment for this and will be taught how to live simply and easily in the natural world.