quester's lonely hilltop campsite
Takaji My Relatives
I presently find myself on the secluded 20-acre hilltop site of Pittsburgh's Council of Three Rivers American Indian Center for four days and nights. I am performing my responsibilities as guide throughout the course of a young woman's Vision Quest experience.
I have moved many of my books that I normally work with and my Mayan Calendar paraphanelia which is always by my side, as well as my laptop computer into the Indian center's main building so that I can keep busy during the long hours when she is required to be by herself and have no contact with me.
The Caney Circle Vision Quest
experience is a very introspective one. That is the reason that of the four sacred spirits that we normally appeal for aid during our lives in our tradition, it is the spirit of the West, KOROMO the spirit of Introspection, who seems most important during these four days. Introspection has been the keynote element of her quest for the first two days and nights and as she heads into her third day and night it contnues to dominate her experience.
Each day and night of the Caney Vision Quest is actually dedicated to one of the four virtues that we in this tradition aspire to throughout our lives.
On the fisrt day and night we pray to the spirit of the South, ACHIANO,for open mindedness, the ability to be receptive to new spiritusl input, and not allow our own preconceptions and prejudices to get in the way of learning and acquiring insight.
On the second day and night we appeal to the dominant spirit of this particular experience as a whole, KOROMO, the spirit of the West and the spirit of introspection, the spirit that helps us look within our own souls and understand what we see there.
On the third day of the experience (which happens to be today for this particular young woman) we appeal to the spirit of the North, Rakuno, the spirit who provides humanity with the essence of wisdom and experience, the spirit that assists us in the task of learning valuable lessons from the everyday occurrences that we confront during the hours and days of our lives.
On the fourth and last day of the Vision Quest experience we appeal to the spirit of the East, Sobaiko, the spirit of illumination and enlghtenment, the spirit that assists humans to acquire a broad-view, far-seeing, clear perception of issues, especially the important issues that affect our lives.
The Vision Quest experience in the Caney Circle tradition is, for the most part, a lonely one. The quester is required to spend long hours in solitude, all by himself or herself, alone with his or her own thoughts, alone with his or her own preocupations, worries, fears and apprehensions. In the private and solitary presence of Nature and under the influence of the fasting the quester reaches levels of personal endurance and personal experience that are not possible under the influence of the every-day work experience. The isolation and privation combined with the close and sustained contact with the natural environment allows for a whole different perspective and the quester is capable of reaching the desired goal which is to establish a permanent connection with his or her own inner spirit guide.