“Remembering our humanness is the process by which we remember how to belong to the earth.”- Darren Silver
Our yearly Vision Quest is inspired by a rite of passage from the Lakota, a Native American people and tradition that our founder and head teacher, Soryu Forall, trained with. Every Vision Quest begins with a story told by Darren Silver, our Quest guide and friend of the community, who has been mentored in the Lakota and other Native American traditions over a span of 14 years. Darren’s stories are then woven throughout the whole week, setting the tone for opening to truth and immersing ourselves in the wilderness.
In the first couple of days, we shed our organizational roles and responsibilities, and undergo a deep shift in rhythm. The group begins to behave as one organism, setting up camp together and dropping into the silence and spaciousness of the wild. The structure of our schedule is released as we settle into a slow and spontaneous pace, accomplishing everything in its own natural time.
Darren leads the group into deep inquiry, and we begin to set our intentions of what we are seeking and what we are offering to nature during our week in the wilderness. We offer prayers of our own, for ourselves, others, and for the world, and carry this prayer practice throughout the week, again and again offering our prayers as they come to us.
On some nights there are sweat lodges. This ancient practice is intense and challenging, but also beautiful. We endure the heat together, chant and take turns offering prayers and the boundaries between us begin to dissolve.
In the middle of the week, Questers leave the campground behind and embark on a personal journey, taking only their sleeping bag, tarp, and 3 gallons of water. For 3 days they spend time in a wilderness spot of their own calling, being with nature, fasting, praying, listening and feeling deeply into the Earth. This is typically the most powerful part of the Vision Quest, as few of the participants have ever had the opportunity to settle this deeply into the wild without agenda or distraction. When this portion of the quest is over, we return to the campground and resurface with the group, taking time to process and share stories from our time alone.
Throughout the Quest, a group of volunteer supporters manage everything behind the scenes – from cooking and transporting meals to taking care of business operations.
It is in nature that we are able to see more clearly our true nature and purpose. We reclaim and remember who we are, and our purpose becomes something worth following.
Darren Silver, MA, is a rite of passage guide, Nature-Connected Coach, ceremonialist, and innovative educator. He has over a decade of experience working with ritual, wilderness living skills, and guiding transformational experiences residentially and internationally. A gifted storyteller and apprentice to the old myths, Darren weaves the power of the natural world, vision, and community in devotion to the remembrance of regenerative culture.
Along with his extensive meditation training, Soryu Forall’s teaching is heavily influenced by his experience with Native American spirituality. Soryu lived on a Navajo reservation doing economic development work for a year. During that time, he was invited to participate in sweat lodges (maybe a dozen) along with coming of age ceremonies and annual rites.
He also went up to Pine Ridge for a couple of weeks to help them run a vision quest (hambleceya) and joined in sweat lodges (inipi) afterwards with David Swallow.
He has joined in many (perhaps 100) inipi with Tom Cross’ group, many led by Donny Rollins. He also attended about 10 Sun Dance (wiwanke wachipi) ceremonies, tending to the fire and sitting at the drum (singing).
He did a Native outdoor training/tracking/survival course with Jim Bruchac, and have worked with him many times, receiving songs and stories from him.
Myth is more than a source of knowledge, entertainment, or stories for children. If done well, myth broadens and embeds the listener into the their inner lives and into the living, breathing world.
Listening to a myth-teller with others, can regenerate the values of the individual and collective community; this is the old way of remembering what we value, where we are, and the threads that bring us together.
We listen to stories from all world cultures, reflect on the values they portray,…