A Pictish Vision Hero Quest, to find a Vision for our lives.
This is a guided personal development process, in the wilderness. A chance to address questions and issues in our lives. To get clarity. To make decisions. And to have the space and guidance to help us do that. For some, it’s about trying to figure out what the questions and issues actually are in the first place!
This is a wilderness-living experience – we live, eat, and sleep at base camp, usually in a forest.
(N.B. Accessibility and Inclusivity – Not too far from civilisation, we appreciate some may genuinely need to use local accommodation. Also, we need to do food / supply runs into town.)
Our ancient Pictish (Scottish) ancestors were clever, resourceful, strong, and worked as a team. They thrived in this wilderness environment. You will prepare together (physically, mentally, and emotionally) so that you might fully benefit from a solo experience of fasting alone in the Scottish wilderness.
Our Pictish Vision Hero Quest includes a range of therapeutic and coaching techniques and processes, solo activities, group activities, and self-exploration. We integrate this process tightly with bushcraft and wilderness long-term living skills, to facilitate our rediscovering of “who am I, how did I get to where I am, what is important to me, and what should I be doing with my life?”
Our programme involves four stages:
- SEVERANCE: Mentally separating from day to day life pressures and distractions, to focus on Vision Hero 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 committment 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 Hero 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.
THE NEW PICT TRIBE – BELONGING: Throughout, you will be building your tribe, finding your place within it, and re-awakening your potential. We start as a group of individuals. We end as a tribe – often a tribe of new individuals. In the process, we will slowly self-select into one of four Pictish Tribal “Houses” or sub-tribes based on who we discover we are, and our current situations.
THE SPEAR – We enter the process 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 begin with a rock and a stick. As the week progresses, we engage in flint knapping – the prehistoric skill of shaping a cutting tool out of rock. Ultimately, we transform a rock and a stick into a Mesolithic spear, using Mesolithic living skills and natural materials. This is the mirror for us, as we ourselves become a cutting edge, with purpose, with direction, with a target, with momentum. When we leave the process taking our spear home with us, we are like the spear in flight – It has been launched – let go – and so cannot now be turned back.
- PHYSICAL PREPARATION – Basic and Advanced Bushcraft; Prehistoric Wilderness Skills
No prior experience of bushcraft is required. We will use these activities to help bind us into a Tribe, and also to help us understand ourselves better. It will also reconnect us with the natural world, so we feel comfortable as a human being back in nature.
This preparation will come in handy. This is Scotland. Not the south of France or California. We will more than cover the necessary outdoor living skills we will need to look after ourselves during our solo wilderness time. It will involve elements of e.g.:
- – Fire mastery
- – Shelter mastery
- – Basic Tool mastery e.g. sheath knife, folding saw
- – Basic First Aid principles
- – Making tools and items we may need as a tribe from forest materials
- – Water / hydration mastery
- – Safety systems and keeping yourself safe – the Buddy System
- – Orientation and natural navigation in the landscape
- – Familiarisation with the local terrain and your solo area
2. MENTAL AND EMOTIONAL PREPARATION
We start as a group of individuals. We end as a New Pict Tribe.
We will make new friends for life here – surprising people, that we would never dream of making friends with in our everyday lives. But that’s because we’d never actually meet the “real them” in everyday life, and they would never meet the real us. Everyone will support others throughout their personal Vision Quest, and we will be supported by everyone. It is a unique solo experience, yet something deeply shared.
Who am I?
We will spend time together operating as a tribe, meeting as a Tribal Council daily, and on solo reflection activities. Stripped naked of our everyday identities defined by work or by other people, everyone will have many opportunities to remember their real lost identity and also start to rediscover their forgotten purpose and forgotten passions in life.
Why am I here?
We get to the core of what our personal reasons for being here on Vision Quest are. We peel away the layers of clutter and shut off the multitude of voices that distract, divert, and mislead us in life. What is it we need to wrestle with and make headway with in our life? Getting to the heart of it, before we then take it into the wilderness on our “solo”, and move forward decisively in it with real intention.
We will be given a number of techniques to help us in this process.
3. WILDERNESS SOLO FAST
Having prepared, and mentally “severed” ourselves from Tribe, base camp and daily life, we will “cross the threshold” into the wilderness to go solo for a specified period (including both day time and night time). We’ll enter into our own activities, or “ceremonies”, decision making, intention making, reflecting, and just listening – we make it our own time. We will fast alone there as a great many others have done before us.
Your Leaders will work to maintain a safe perimeter for you, and make sure you have sufficient kit and necessities. Safety is our utmost concern and we will help you to have the preparation, kit, skills and necessities to support your well-being.
After our solo time, we will cross back over the threshold into base camp and we will meet together for breakfast, and regroup as our Tribe.
4. RETURN AND INCORPORATION
We will join together in Tribal Council for examining our stories and experiences during our solo. The Tribe will witness, the Guides will listen and reflect back to you what they are hearing, as you wrestle to understand and move forward, and challenge you to give your vision and experience practical application — to live the intentions that you have rightfully claimed as your own.
When we have all debriefed, all of our stories have been told, intention statements refined and committed to, we will celebrate by going out for a meal all together. This is an important bridging experience back into the world. We will then return to base camp for one more night together.
When it is time to leave camp, our Rites of Passage complete, our Hero Quest, Vision and Intentions found, we will leave and take our new Intentions and decisions firmly back into our lives, our families, our communities, our working lives. Without delay or hesitation.
Like a spear.
Here, Robin explains more…