For A Vision)
‘The Sacred Pipe’ By: Joseph Epes Brown, and:
‘Quest – A Guide To Creating Your Own Vision Quest’ By
(From: ‘Earth People’ Volume 2 Number 4)
Playing: 'Prayer Song'
Contact me for a copy
is so much involved in discussing the sacred and personal ceremony
that is referred to as 'Vision Quest' that I couldn't hope to make
a full discussion here. I am here giving some basic ideas based on
information from the above mentioned books. This brief guide is to
help those interested to be somewhat prepared and have some
understanding of this important ceremony that is most often
performed at times of transition in one's life; rites of passage.
I strongly suggest you experience it for yourself; I am available
to be asked.
is vitally important to have a clear purpose for doing a Vision
Quest, whether it be for healing, over coming fears, finding your
spirit guides, or seeking answers to questions of life; basically
there is no limit to the reasons for seeking help from the higher
preparation for a quest it is advised to spend 4 weeks, or at
least 4 days on clearing yourself of each of the four directions
by concentrating: firstly on your spiritual self, connecting it to
your purpose (East); and then your emotions (North); your physical
self, by eating and drinking lightly in preparation for fasting
and being aware of all bodily movements (West); and finally
clearing the mind and being mindful, or conscious, of all thoughts
(South). It is also advisable to have the questing site already
a shaman to conduct a Vision Quest.
a quester presents their pipe, stem first to the shaman, then puts
it on the ground with the stem to themselves, and then asks the
shaman to conduct a Vision Quest for them. The shaman may say:
“Hee-ay, Hay-ee-ee” 4times, and then say:
and Father, Wakan-Tanka, you are the source and end of everything.
Everything belongs to you. It is you who have created all things.
We send a voice to you. (Quester’s name) wishes to offer
the pipe to you. We ask that you give (Him/Her) help in a
few days when (he/she) will offer (His/Her) mind and
body to you. (He/She) will place (His/Her) feet on
Grandmother and Mother Earth in a sacred manner. I (Shaman)
ask all the Powers to bless this pipe that is being offered, so
that Wakan-Tanka will bless (Quester).” The shaman
then offers the pipe to the six directions and lights it before
passing it to the Quester. The pipe is then smoked till finished,
and the shaman asks: “When do you want to do this quest.”
THE WORLD BEHIND
the day of the Quest
unpacked pipe is layed down in front of the shaman, who asks:
“How long (1 to 4 days or more) do you (Quester)
wish to cry for a vision.” The shaman then purifies
(Smudges) the pipe and everything before entering the Inipi,
Purification, or Sweat Lodge
other participants enter after the Shaman and the Quester, who sit
in the East and South respectively. The shaman then says: “O’
Grandfather, Wakan-Tanka, you are the source and end of
everything. Everything belongs to you, your pipe, this sacred
place we have made, the centre is your dwelling place.” As
he/she rotates the pipe and then touches it to Mother Earth.
shaman and the quester then make tobacco ties, after which the
shaman will pack the pipe to the 6 directions and the quester
tapes it closed until after the quest is completed. The pipe is
then held by the quester, who now sits in the West of the lodge
with the pipe stem facing the East. The shaman will then conduct
his/her own pipe ceremony. Each participant then mentions their
relationship to the quester, or the reason for them participating.
Shaman begins with the opening prayer something like: “O’
Great Spirit, Grandfather and Father, Wakan-Tanka, you are the
source and end of everything. Everything belongs to you. It is you
who have created all things. We send a voice to you. (Quester)
wishes to offer the pipe to you. We ask that you give (Him/Her)
help in a few days when (He/She) will offer (His/Her) mind and
body to you. (He/She) will place (His/Her) feet on Grandmother and
Mother Earth in a sacred manner. I (Shaman) ask all the Powers to
bless this pipe that is being offered, so that Wakan-Tanka will
participants then sing: “Grandfather, I am sending a voice to
the heavens of the universe. Grandfather, I am sending a voice
that my people may live.”
everyone embraces the quester’s pipe before it is layed on the
altar with the stem facing the East (spirit).
the water is brought in, the quester can drink all or some of the
water, but they must not spill a single drop.
other participants now pray for the quester and tell a story about
one of their experiences in doing a Vision Quest.
and fourth rounds
shaman prays, asking the powers to help (Quester) as he/she ‘Cries
for a Vision’.
the quest site.
first task is to locate or feel the centre point where the
strongest power and connection to your heart ‘feels right’.
Then as you collect the direction stones feel for the stones that
call to you for the particular directions, connect with the
stones. As you create your circle call in the powers of the
directions and of each stone person. When completed, stand back
and see if it ‘feels right’, it can always be adjusted now but
preferably not during the quest. The quest circle should have a
pole in the centre, tobacco in the hole, with the prayer ties
attached. On the perimeter there should be the 4 direction poles
with robes tied. The quester can have a bed, of leaves, with their
head touching the centre pole and their feet facing the east.
the circle from the east and symbolically, with intent if not with
smoke also, purify yourself; beginning with your head, so as to
think pure thoughts, then your eyes, to see the truth, your ears,
to hear the truth, your throat, to speak the truth with clarity,
and finally purify your heart, so as to give and receive love
freely and unconditionally.
you keep the intention and purpose of the quest clearly in your
mind pray to your creator, asking for blessing. Call in your
guides and give thanks to them as you centre yourself with seven
breaths drawing in energy from each direction and the centre.
quester can pray by holding their pipe up to Wakan-Tanka at the
centre, and then do the same at the east returning to the centre
after each prayer to the directions, in the natural order of
nature (East, North, West, South, for the Southern Hemisphere).
Praying something like: “O’ Great Spirit, be merciful to me
that my people may live.”
only according to the cross of the directions. Be attentive. Note
all thoughts and beings that come into vision, especially the
winged ones. Be aware and pure of heart. The quester may sleep,
but should pray mostly in the middle of the night and be up before
sunrise, to pray to it.
EXAMINE LIFE by re-experiencing every part of your life like an
observer, and determine the turning points, the happy moments and
the painful ones. Ask yourself, “What is your essence (truth)
and your theme (freedom)?” Look at life’s consequences and try
to project into your future, based on knowledge of your past and
present. Take responsibility for your actions, but don’t get
bogged down in guilt or fears.
EXAMINE RELATIONSHIPS, looking at your self-beliefs (belief
systems), especially the core beliefs, and see how you may like to
restructure them. Ask yourself: “Do you identify yourself with
your body, mind, or possessions?”; remember that you are spirit.
“What is your joy? Where is your power?”
EXAMINE PAST RELATIONSHIPS with forgiveness to yourself and
EXAMINE CURRENT RELATIONSHIPS listing each person and their
quality, good point and bad; and any actions to be taken to
strengthen the relationship or dissolve it.
EXAMINE RELATIONSHIPS WITH PARENTS, listing the beliefs you have
adopted from them and how you feel about them.
FACE FEARS. RELEASE AND SURRENDER ATTACHMENTS. A fear named is a
fear tamed. Visualise a worst case and in the comfort of
detachment find a solution or acceptance of any fear, anger,
addictions, possessions, children, parents or beliefs by cutting
the connecting energy cord, through creative visualisation.
TAPPING INTO SPIRIT AND POWER WITHIN by shape-shifting –
expanding consciousness into other forms; sensing energy, light
and sound; drumming; finding a spirit name, a spirit song – to
sing the world into existence, a spirit animal, a spirit guide, or
a spirit dance – allowing emotions to flow freer; or making a
prayer stick, being specific with your intent.
GIVING THANKS for every event in your life, for it has a hidden
gift. Give thanks to your body, part by part. And give thanks to
nature and your Creator.
OPEN FOR A VISION
for a vision actively by beseeching – calling sincerely from the
heart. “O’ Great Spirit, be merciful to me, that my people may
live.” Call on spirit guides, ancestors, angels, or allies. Be
open and accept, with a still mind, to receive, breathe, and
observe all things, all actions, and all dreams.
At the end of the Quest.
quester goes strait into the lodge with the shaman who lights the
quester’s pipe and smokes it to the 6 directions before passing
it to the quester and back until it is all smoked. While the
shaman then holds the pipe he/she says: “Words are very sacred,
even more sacred now. Tell us the truth of everything that
happened, and don’t leave out a single ant’s movement.”
the story is told and discussed by the shaman as to the messages
that where symbolically given during the quest, he/she hands the
pipe back to the quester who embraces it before passing it outside
to be placed on the altar, stem to the west (manifestation).
shaman will pray something like: “I thank you Wakan-Tanka for
the vision that you have given, which is for the good of All Our
Relations.” At the end of three more rounds of prayers, the
whole gathering of friends, relatives and well-wishers join in a
and REFLECTION are just as important as the purpose for questing,
or any visions that you may have received. Give time, persistence
and patience to understand all the messages given in each vision
or experience. It can take many years.
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