Field report Vision Quest 2021
«Learning to Die in order to Live!»
Scott Eberle «The Final Crossing. Learning to Die in order to Live.»
This year our Vision Quest in the Bergell Alps started with a death and ended with a death! Death was our companion the whole way long. Just on the first evening one of our participants was confronted with her sister’s death in an accident. Faced with transience and sadness, which would become an essential part of our days together in nature, our group developed an atmosphere of compassion and listening and speaking from the heart. Within a short time there was a spirit of togetherness with a mood of awareness and presence. So from the beginning of our adventure the foundation for authenticity, true encounter and evident harmony was built.
Apart from the power of death these were the main topics of our group: to show, to impose and to reveal oneself completely. Everybody in our group was open about their wounds, early childhood experiences and inner monsters, which very often influence our lives from our sub-conscious. Doesn’t every hero’s journey start with the integration of their own shadow? Do not the dark parts in us long to be illuminated, seen, honoured and accepted? Are not these the things from which becoming grown up results?
«The most important signs of personal heroism are perhaps not some astonishing courage and remarkable action but an authentic self-expression and the devotion and unique call that each of us discovers in themselves.» Joseph Campbell
Even before the participants arrived, I woke up during the night – FEAR! This summer’s devastating floods in many places. Would we be safe up there in the mountains? I surrendered to the enormous thunder in my belly and explored the sensations in my body as I simultaneously listened to the silence of the early morning. The fear changed to worry – UNCERTAINTY has to be integrated again and again!
So finally, after 5 days preparation, we climb up the to the Base Camp (1850 m), from where everybody would start out for 4 days and nights to their respective time-out places (ca. 2000 m) carrying our backpacks with only the most important things to protect us against rain and keep us warm and to have enough drinking water.
„Look, a deer! Don’t you agree, it looks at us like Lulu (our cat)?“ It would turn out later, that this was the last moment (Augenblick) that Lulu would touch our hearts with her very special gaze!
The Great Spirit seemed to be on our side. There were times where it was raining followed by longer dry periods, so that our shoes, clothes and the tents could get dry. Also the sister of the deceased could spend 3 full days and nights of the longed for Vision Quest in order to dwell on the recent years and to come to terms with them, because the funeral of her beloved sister would take place the following day. It was touching to accompany her down to the valley and to say and wave goodbye.
The long shadows of the late afternoon had already reached into the evening when I got on the way back up to spend the last night together with Annett in the Base Camp. The thunderstorm started at 10 p.m. If I had known what was going to happen – the weather forecast was for a quiet and dry night – I would have gone to warn everybody about this devastating natural disaster. None of us will ever forget that night. It has burnt into our bones. We carry it as an initiation scar in our body awareness! A 6 hour firework display began. Earth and cloud lightning from all possible directions and in various forms illuminated and sliced through the night sky followed by terrifying thunder echoing in the mountains.
«If a person doesn’t wish to stand still in a rut they must keep discovering sense and inspiration again and again.» Scott Eberle
Normally, during the last night of the Vision Quest the participants get into the „Bestimmungskreis“ at sunset. Whoever wants to can present their uncertainty from moment to moment to the night sky as a naked and very vulnerable being or can express his inner longing with prayers, songs and unanswered questions. What a scene to perform this ritual! In ”The song of the dark godesss“, fear is described as an essential element of every transition ritual. What an overwhelming power the force of nature is! What a night! In this Tohuwabohu (tumult) nobody could think of sleeping. It it was obvious that we shared this inner and outer tremor with the others out there and that we would hold this common space. Annett and I experienced it as if we were forced by the Great Spirit to perform our inner cleaning thoroughly and completely in order to be able to leave behind everything that prevents us from BEING HERE NOW! Which of our old stories must die, so that our life’s path can lead to the “Street of Decision“? What are we really living for?
In the following night we learned that our 19 year old cat was very ill and because of a tumour in her head had been shaken by numerous minutes long epileptic seizures. We arrived in time at home to say goodbye to our magic creature. She taught me a lot – how touching can become a real contact, what devotion means, how to clean oneself thoroughly and how to become old with dignity. Farewell, you wonderful companion! If love is great then the pain is great too – this is the price. And that’s a good thing!
Enriched I returned from our time in nature. Recharged, strengthened, aligned with new life spirits and with a deep awareness of the enormous battle of human beings with life and death. My heart is widened and it is sad … fragile and vulnerable. It has space for the pain of all the people with whom we were out there and for my troubles too. We drank one or more cups of tea with our inner dragons because we cannot kill them. This time was so massive and also subtle, filled with thunder and with very tender tenderness.
«Und jeder Morgen lockt dich zärtlich, Licht zu sein.»