Although I’d intended to use my “Thoughtful Thursday” posts to explore the journal I kept during my first vision quest experience, I was compelled to deviate last week in order to share my yoga woes with you. What can I say? The kitty looked so darn cute under the yoga mat, I simply had to rethink my intentions.
But, this week, I’m back in full vision quest mode. In case you’re utterly confused, please check out my four previous posts about the weeklong vision quest that I experienced during the summer before ninth grade, in the woods of southern Mississippi.
My five fellow questers and I spent six days under the tutelage of a long-haired, big-hearted vegetarian named James, who lived on the expansive, wooded property with his wife and two daughters. What I remember most about James was his hearty laugh, his intense eyes, his bushy mustache, his refusal to watch television, his passion for the environment, and his fascination with Native American myths and traditions.
In previous blog posts, I covered most of what happened on Monday, June 25, and Tuesday, June 26. On Wednesday, June 27, it seems that I was in a serious writing mood. I even recapped the initial events of the quest:
The first day was rough. When we got here, we rode to the camp in James’ flatbed. Then Margaret [James’ wife] checked our supplies, and we were on our way. We trekked with all of our heavy things through the woods, up hills, across the creek, to our campsite. After some instruction, we found our areas (now called homes) and set up our “tents” (a tarp over a rope tied between two trees). The rest of the day we just got settled. After dinner, though, Steve, Keith, and James talked to us about "warriors" and the ultimate one, Don Juan... [not the infamous lover but the man featured in Carlos Castaneda’s mind-bending books]
The second day, we cooked our own food and washed our own clothes in our Maytag™ or Kenmore™ (really buckets to scrub our clothes with Octagon™ soap and rinse them twice). I finished mine late at night, missed eating dinner, but got to eat a few eggs instead. I’m going to have to use my pot somehow though – if I want to get the full effect of independence. We had also gone swimming in the creek for the second time. Then we were allowed to clean off (Advice: Use just a little Octagon™ soap – it goes a long way). After that, we planted our stave in the ground that has the medicine wheel colors on it. Then the Three Musketeers [Julia, Antonia, and I] carried two buckets of water uphill from the creek without a mishap. (Daryl fell in yesterday...)
At night, we went to a Council of the Great Spirit. We smoked the pipe twice and James read something about the Great Warrior Chief Seattle, and we passed a rock around (sort of like a conch) and could only speak when given this rock.
James said we’d be different now. It feels more like a family...
The rest of the day’s scribblings focused on the events of the third day, which mostly consisted of listening, learning, and meditating:
Today, he [James] talked about Little Mouse, who was busy working when he heard a roaring. He asked two other mice [about it] who said they hadn’t heard it and kept working. The mouse went back to work, but heard the roar again and went to investigate. He met a raccoon who showed him the roaring river and a green frog on a green lily pad. The frog told him to crouch and jump; the mouse did this and saw mountains and forests; he fell into the river, thinking the frog had tricked him. He was scared, but swam to the bank. The frog reassured him...
Did I mention that much of the vision quest consisted of learning myths? Of course, some made more sense than others. The above one, about Jumping Mouse, illustrates a willingness to leave innocence and security behind. But this next myth still boggles my mind a bit. Perhaps you can shed some light on it:
James read us a story about two fawns whose mother is killed by their aunt, Bear. They know she will kill them, too, so they leave to go to their Grandpa, Lizard. They take all of their baskets except one. When Bear returns, she sees they are missing. She goes after them but hears a whistle (from the last basket) and returns home. This occurs continuously, each time with her getting angrier and angrier. Meanwhile, the fawns cross the river on Daddy-Long-Legs and go to the Lizard, explaining the situation to him. Bear finally gets to the river and Daddy-Long-Legs sticks out a leg, but then tips her over. She proceeds to the house where she is told by Lizard to climb down the smoke hole with her eyes shut and mouth open. She does this and he thrusts hot coals down her throat; she dies...
I must admit, that one leaves me a little clueless. Do you have any thoughts?
4 hours ago