Spring Vision Quest Victoria
A contemporary wilderness rite-of-passage
Nov 22 - Dec 3
Do not try to save the whole world or do anything grandiose.
Instead, create a clearing in the dense forest of your life
and wait there patiently,
until the song that is your life
falls into your own cupped hands
and you recognize and greet it.
Only then will you know how to give yourself
to this world
so worth of rescue.
What is a Vision Quest
We used to ‘know’ our belonging in our bones. As a culture we have grown away from intimacy with the more-than-human world, yet it waits for us. This initiatory journey is an invitation to remember what we deeply belong to, what we have always belonged to.
For much of our story as a people the wider natural word has long been respected as a necessary partner in initiatory journeys or rites-of-passage. The land offers itself as mirror, as ally, as fertile container in which to draw close to the roots of our life, to what is important and what so easily can be forgotten in the fullness of contemporary life.
Since earliest times, people have received profound insight about themselves and their world by means of a vision fast – a multi-day solo fast within nature, seeking personal truth, emotional release and spiritual knowledge.
Stepping into your vision quest circle, you step out of your everyday reality and into the vast unknown. By doing so, you offer a clear invitation to the mysteries of life – yours, and the greater life of we are a part – to greet you.
The Vision Quest is an 11 day program, which includes four days and four nights immersed in nature on a solo ceremony. This journey will be divided into the three classic phases of a passage rite: Preparation, Threshold and Incorporation.
The first days serve as our preparation as we come together as a community to clarify our intentions. Here we listen to each other’s stories of where we find ourselves in life and what brings us here. Specifically we explore in some depth our intention for this passage rite, what is it in our life that is asking to be honoured or marked through an initiatory journey?
The threshold phase will be a traditional four day and night fast. Each person goes alone into the wilderness (with the support of guides at base camp), without food and minimal external trappings. The threshold time allows for one’s intention to be revealed and to be unfolded in the mirror of nature. It is a time for self-generated ceremony, for becoming intimately receptive to one’s life and for experiencing both the challenge and the beauty of taking our place amongst our relations as a simple human animal on this Earth.
The final days are devoted to incorporation. We share the stories of our threshold time and explore its gifts and implications for the life we return to. We sit in ‘story council’, sharing our stories and having them mirrored back to us by the community, offering the opportunity to see our individual narrative in a wider context. This can be one of the most touching and heartening parts of our time together: being witnessed and affirmed by those who have come to participate and create this ceremony.
Other elements we will explore in support of our time together will include:
The practice of ‘Council’
Shaping and honing of Intent as a foundation for threshold experiences
Exploring the role of contemporary wilderness rites-of-passage or initiatory journeys in our times including the challenges to this.
The Four Shields of Human Nature – An ecocentric model of human development.
The nature of self-generated ceremony and the role of threshold crossing.
Nature as mirror
The role and art of Mirroring for empowerment and community witnessing.
Physical safety during the Threshold time
Claire Dunn is passionate about connection - to earth, self, and other - and believes that a rewilding of our inner world is the key to rewilding our planet. For the last 15 years, Claire has been facilitating groups and individuals to dive deeply into their soul, through the pathways of traditional earth skills, deep ecology, dance, meditation, and contemporary wilderness rites of passage. Claire currently lives in Melbourne where she writes, facilitates rewilding workshops, offers personal mentoring, and lovingly tends her garden. Claire is the author of memoir My Year Without Matches: Escaping the City in Search of the Wild. Claire has received Vision Quest Protector Training through the Earth Heart Institute of Vision and Healing in the USA. This traditional sacred ceremony has been passed down through Tom Brown Jr from his mentor, a Southern Lipan Apache called Stalking Wolf. Claire is trained as a Quest Protector Trainer.
Rupert Marques has worked within the field of experiential environmental education for the past fifteen years with an emphasis in outdoor education. He trained extensively and subsequently worked as a guide with the School of Lost borders in the U.S. offering contemporary wilderness rites of passage. A practitioner in the Insight meditation tradition for over 20 years, he is interested in how experiences in wild places can serve to open the mind and remind us of what we belong to. For the past three years he has lived and worked for the at ecodhamra, a land-based community in the Spanish Pyrenees exploring the mutuality of inner work with the movements for social justice and ecological sustainability.
We both have extensive experience in our own vision fasts and will be able to offer you safe and supportive counsel during this sacred and powerful time.
"The Vision Quest far exceeded my expectations. The program was delivered with love, integrity, honour, passion and a deep respect that can only come from those who have walked this sacred path many times themselves. With gentle encouragement, I felt safe enough to challenge my beliefs about the boundaries of my own comfort zone, which led me to an awakening and insight that I could never have gotten otherwise. My Vision Quest experience enabled me to get right down to my barest bones, stripping away layers of programming to discover the root of my true essence. This is exactly what I needed. I felt completely held and supported by the team throughout - from the time I applied to long after the quest was over. My boundless gratitude goes out to these amazing facilitators, and to the lineage of teachers - past, present and future." Rachel Tabone
“I knew nothing about Vision Quest when I signed up. It is not something that is widely known about in my circles and I only knew Claire through her book. However, I had a strong sense that it was going to be very beneficial to me. I somehow ignored the voices telling me why I shouldn’t go (namely finding the time away from family obligations) and committed to investing the time in myself. I had high expectations and they were not disappointed. I found the Quest itself to have shifted me in ways that I am still discovering and the other days spent in camp quite blissful. I feel extremely grateful to the Nature’s Apprentice team for their knowledge, care and energy that was shared so generously throughout my time with them. The love and consideration that went into all aspects of planning were obvious. Throughout the process I felt tightly held and nurtured. If reading about Vision Quest has ignited a sense of curiosity in your gut, I would strongly recommend honouring that feeling and learning more.” Kate Crawshaw
“The night before my vision quest, I whispered to the sky - 'please give me the experience of a lifetime.' Driving away from the site on the last day, I thought - 'yep, she delivered!' The vision quest offered me a rare opportunity to enter into and explore deep connection with nature and self in a way that felt completely held, safe and supported. Claire & Ostii truly gave all of themselves in preparing us for questing, protecting us during the journey and guiding our landing and reintegration afterwards. The atmosphere they created felt unique, intentional and true to the tradition but with a lightness and flexibility that felt welcoming and reassuring. My personal journey on the quest was utterly profound and continues to unfold daily. I thank my human and non-human communities for such gifts - gold that I will carry with me forever and that will guide my path for years to come. I highly recommend the vision quest for anyone wishing to reap the abundant fruits of deep listening in nature on the continual journey to 'knowing thyself'.” Dr Yael Appelboom
"The Vision Quest experience - being alone in the bush fasting for 3 days and 3 nights - was a deeply powerful one that I’m only really beginning to understand the impacts of. I’ve never experienced anything like it. I’d thought it might be similar to a meditation retreat or times I’d spent alone in nature and there are elements of these experiences in it but it is also truly radically unique. The ritual and ceremony infused in it give it the quality of an invitation, a rite-of-passage, a marker point in one’s life. Perhaps it was so unique for me because I’ve found our culture’s rituals and ceremonies generally hollow and bereft of meaning, depth, guidance for life’s big questions. Claire and Ostii created something truly profound and transformative and work together in a beautiful, complimentary way. We were guided through each stage of the quest, step by step with help and support when needed but also a clear responsibility for our own quest. Thank you both for this truly special gift. I can’t recommend doing a vision quest with Nature's Apprentice enough." Emma Swann
The Vision Quest program will be held on wild land within 3 hours of Melbourne. It may involve hiking so a reasonable level of fitness is required. Accommodation is tent camping. Previous experience with spiritual retreats and camping is not essential. A beautiful selection of whole food and mostly organic meals will be served during preparation and incorporation. An essential element to questing is both the physical and spiritual preparation, so if you feel the call to Quest, please be in touch as soon as possible to complete the application process, although late registrations are also accepted upon application. The program is limited to a maximum of 12 participants.
Cost: The full cost of the 11 day program includes food, preparation phone call, and follow-up gathering in Melbourne.
Sliding scale: $1400/$1300/$1150. Deposit $300.
Please be in touch with any questions: firstname.lastname@example.org
In the event of cancellation deposits will be refunded outside 60 days of course commencement minus a $50 administration fee. Within 45 days of course commencement deposits are non-refundable. No monies will be refundable within fourteen days of course commencement.