What is Vision Quest?
Re-Awaken your Potential – Modern Vision Quest for All – This is a guided, personal development process for everyone, for re-awakening life, purpose, direction, decisions and work. It takes place over a week or two weeks, in remote but accessible areas of the Borders of Scotland. Participants wild-camp together, on site in a forest, but you can if required choose to live off site in local accommodation.
At eQeOUTDOORS, we have worked hard to ensure this powerful, ancient process is appropriate for the challenges of the natural environment of Scotland, and bringing it up to date to make it accessible and relevant to everyone from all walks of modern life. Alongside the Native American Vision Fast process, tools and practice, we have integrated our own Scottish (Pictish) and northern European elements and culture. This keeps it authentic and relevant, and prevents it being an unauthentic or disrespectful facsimile of the Native American process.
eQeOUTDOORS VISION QUEST comprises:
- Traditional Wilderness Vision Quest and Rites of Passage
- Wilderness Therapy and Therapeutic Intervention
- Established and Recognised Therapeutic Approaches (including Trauma Treatment)
Uniquely integrated tightly with…
- Advanced and Basic Bushcraft
- Backwoods Survival
- Mesolithic Hunter-Gatherer Long Term Living Skills
Is it for me?
Vision Quest is for everyone – People who choose to Vision Quest are as many and varied as their reasons and intentions. Many don’t have a concrete reason – They simply know they need to do this. We have worked hard to make this personal-development process relevant and up to date, so that it feels accessible and relevant to everyone today, whether you wear a suit and tie, makeup and manicure, hiking boots, a uniform or camouflage. Whoever we are, however we define ourselves, Wilderness Vision Quest is more relevant today than ever.
Step away from all the technology of modern western life, or jobs (if we have one), or families (if we have one), things that influence us – What are we left with? Who are we really? Who and what defines us? Can we remember who we were meant to be, and what is our purpose or direction? Or are we lost? Has life damaged us, so that we don’t know who we are anymore or what we want to do? Is there some problem or issue we need to identify and deal with? Do we need to move on?
This is a chance to move forward. To address the questions and issues, whether in our personal lives, our work or organisations. For others, it’s about trying to figure out what the questions and issues actually are in the first place!
Engaging in Vision Quest helps remove the fog, revealing the issues and the answers – Clarity.
What happens on Vision Quest?
What happens on this Pictish Vision Quest? A “Pictish Hero Quest” Sometimes called “The Hero Quest”, it is part of this guided personal development process, in the wilderness, taking place over a week or two weeks. This is a wilderness-living experience – we live, eat, and sleep at base camp, usually in a forest.
Accessibility and Inclusivity – Not too far from civilisation, we appreciate some may genuinely need to use local accommodation. Also, we may all need to do food / supply runs into town.
Our programme involves four stages:
- SEVERANCE: Mentally separating from day to day life pressures and distractions, to focus on Vision Quest
- PREPARATION: A number of days for developing our tribe, necessary outdoor skills and bushcraft (no previous bushcraft experience is needed). Guided self-exploration, and guidance to find personal focus and direction. Finding your own personal and very firm Intentions around what you identify is going on in your life. Preparing to embark on your Solo Wilderness Fast.
- We each make a Mesolithic Spear in this process, to symbolise our progress, and our commitment to our Intention Statements
- THRESHOLD: A period of being alone day and night in the wilderness – the Hero Quest – usually fasting (drinking water, but not eating). This is where the magic happens. (Week programme = 2 nights / 1 day solo; Two week programme = 3 or 4 days and nights solo)
- INCORPORATION: A period to begin to make sense of your experience and make full committment to your refined “Intention Statement”… Incorporating your experiences back into your own life situation as you leave the Vision Quest.
- BELONGING – As part of Incorporation, you will be invited into the New Pict tribe. We will assist you to decide which of four Pict Houses you feel you belong most strongly in – NORTH: House of the Wolf, EAST: House of the Crow, SOUTH: House of the Otter; or WEST: House of the Kelpie. Ultimately, you should strive for positive elements from all four houses in your makeup.
What is the Pictish Spear about?
What is the Pictish Spear? – This is from our Pictish (ancient Scottish) culture. We enter this Pictish Vision Quest as an inanimate stone. We leave as a Spear. On this Pictish Vision Quest, we each create a stone-age spear as a metaphor for our own development during this process.
We all begin the Vision Quest with a rock and a stick. As we progress we may engage in flint knapping – the prehistoric skill of shaping a cutting tool out of rock. We transform rock and stick into a Mesolithic spear, a Mesolithic living skill using natural materials. As Vision Quest progresses this activity is a mirror of us, as we ourselves become a cutting edge once again, with purpose, with direction, with a target, with momentum.
Leaving Vision Quest with our spear, we are like a spear in flight. We have been launched, and cannot be turned back. Like our new intentions.
CALGACH – The Pictish Principle of Purpose
A Pictish leader – Calgach – when faced with the Roman invasion encroaching on Scotland didn’t know how to best protect his people. Perhaps he took himself off to the wilderness, to fast, and find an answer. When he returned he knew what to do. He remembered who and what he and his people were, and when they were strongest – as hunters and guerrilla warriors in the forest and glens. Enlightened with the truth of how he and his people were at their best, they drew Roman legions into their land, and repeatedly destroyed them. The Romans could not defeat this “primitive” people. Why do you think we have Hadrian’s Wall?
“CALGACH” derives from Gaelic and infers the meaning “a cutting edge in motion, with momentum, direction and a target”. Like a spear.
May we all be able to say “I am Calgach. I am a spear”.
What is the Pict Tribe?
THE NEW PICT TRIBE – BELONGING: During my own Rites of Passage – my Vision Quest in the Mojave Desert – I realised one of the biggest issues in modern society is the lack of “tribe”. I felt the crushing truth that I didn’t belong or integrate anywhere. I’d lost the “tribe” of my youth. I felt irrelevant. I’d forgotten who I was. Throughout the Vision Quest Process you will be making new friends for life, building your Vision Quest tribe, finding your place within it. This is as a metaphor for your own life, as you are rediscovering your own purpose, drives, passions, direction and meaning in life.
The Four Pict Houses and the Four Shields
On Vision Quest we start as a group of individuals, but we end as a tribe – often of new individuals. We will naturally self-select into one of four Pictish Tribal “Houses”, or sub-tribes, based on who we discover we are, and our current life situations. The Four Houses are: Wolf; Crow; Otter; and Kelpie. These are our Pictish reflection of the Native American Four Shields, each identifying with who and how we are at any point in life. We may fit into more than one House, and indeed we flit from one to another depending on situations. Also, I advocate that a measure of mental wellbeing could be that we are able to demonstrate the positive elements of all four houses – all four characters – in our personal make up. So it’s a tool – A mirror to see your real self in, understand what is going on with you, and begin to make plans for what you are going to do about it.
What experience or skills do I need?
All you need is a desire to identify and explore areas in your life that are holding you back, and want to move forward. This is your journey – a powerful, guided self-exploration and self-development opportunity. You will get back what you put in, participating fully in the process and supporting your fellow Vision Questors, as well as being supported by them.
Be prepared to wild camp with the rest of the group (unless you are opting to use local accommodation for some reason), and look after yourself and feed yourself. It’s normal that the group starts to naturally buddy up on basic tasks like cooking, shopping etc.
You do not need previous bushcraft experience or expertise. However, if you do already have these outdoor skills, be prepared to share them with your tribe and support others who may not be skilled like you! Obviously it would help if you have camped before in some context. You will be sent a suggested kit list and briefing handbook.
Vision Quest is not a survival exercise. Although exploring some of these basic skills, and being immersed in nature and the beauty of the forest, does form an important backdrop to the whole experience of re-engaging with ourselves and with the environment. We must be mindful that this is wild Scotland, and in many ways can be more challenging to our mindset and character than the south of France or even the desert. Learning specific outdoor skills will be a necessary part of the process.
What benefits does Vision Quest hold for me?
Clear away the rubbish, the noise, the clutter. Get out of your comfort zone and get to the heart of the issues at hand. Get clarity and purity of vision. See past the obstacles, strip away the voices and the lies, and see your true objective and purpose. To make decisions. And have the space and guidance to help you do that.
Make change. Deal with change. Change your life. Choose your path. Reclaim your life.
Remember your dreams. Make new dreams. Remember, or discover, who you were made to be.
Re-awaken your human potential.
Where do we do it, and when?
Scottish Borders – Our main base camp is set in a borders estate in Scotland, on 127 000 acres of Scottish wilderness – forest, glens, rivers, hills, and moorland.
eQeOUTDOORS are proud to have developed a License Agreement with Buccleuch Estates, and to be supported by the Bowhill House Estate team to run our Wilderness Vision Quest programmes from a designated forest base camp there. The site is only a few miles from the historic town of Selkirk. So although remote, and in the Scottish wilderness for our adventures, it is accessible and easily within striking distance by car for food and supplies (or for local accommodation if some participants are unable to wild camp at base camp).
Isle of Skye, Scotland – We also have a site in the remote NW of the Isle of Skye. This provides access into a variety of landscapes for Wilderness Vision Quest – coastal environment, forests, glens, upland moor, and mountain.