Young adults in transition programs share a common experience of reaching a point in which they recognize that they need to change their life. Often asking themselves the bigger questions of their purpose in life, how to connect with others, and making the often tumultuous leap from adolescence into adulthood. These young people are often more prepared to undertake a Rite of Passage to navigate and affirm their major life transition than their same-aged peers that haven’t been to programs and done the requisite work to develop the insight and courage to take this next step. In June 2016 Dragonfly Transitions and Cascade Crest Transitions collaborated to bring an inter-program Vision Quest for the students of these programs that were ready to undertake this journey towards their individuation. The following narrative is from Cece, an experienced and courageous participant from this program.
“As a young cynic, I stopped believing in magic at an early age. Then came adolescence- depression, anxiety, inner turmoil- and I stopped feeling wonder, awe, and curiosity. Treatment helped; 3 months at Pacific Quest, and over a year at Dragonfly. But still, I felt something was missing. Then I encountered my first Vision Fast. I had never been so tested and so challenged, so intensely! It was just what I needed; it was wondrous, awesome, intriguing, and even- dare I say- a little bit magical.
It’s hard to put words to such an other-worldly, surreal experience, but I’ll do my best. When you’re all alone, shivering in the cold, huddling in your sleeping bag for warmth; or whether you’re traipsing around (if you brought the right gear) the sacred Earth Teach grounds, you’re really forced to face yourself and come to terms with what you see. The Vision Fast brings you beyond the distractions of day-to-day life, be they “good” or “bad”. The solitude of the Vision Fast allows for the mind’s inner chatter to die down, or intensify, depending upon what is needed for the individual. Mental rehearsals and precognitions we often suffer through come to a halt, allowing for a deeper level of introspection and self-realization.
Before we go out “into the spirit world”, as we call it, we do a few days’ worth of prep work back up at base camp. We go through a teaching called “The Four Shields of Human Nature”, which incorporates different elements of nature with different stages of human growth and perseverance. Then we hold an intent council for each other, and we hash out what it is exactly that we want to work on embodying. We also have councils on ceremonies that we can hold for ourselves while we’re out there, and on safety, which includes the flora and fauna of the area. Each council that we hold in base camp is special and ceremonial in its own right, and we were all encouraged to share poetry and anything else that we felt inspired by. We hold councils after the fast, too; we all go around and share our stories of our time out there in the spirit world. We also talk about the incorporation teaching- learning how to bring what we learned on the fast back into our lives and into our communities. The whole process, base camp to the fast to base camp again, is a beautiful journey marked by intention, awareness, and purpose.
As for the fast itself? It’s different for each person. I won’t elaborate too much on mine. But I will say that I have done two this past year, with many more to come. You’ll just have to go out there and try it yourself”. -Cece
10/29 Family Workshop (virtual)
11/11 Parent Cohort Virtual