Friday, April 12, 2013

SpiritQuest for Families


When the spirits brought me the vision of SpiritQuest, I was shown that it was a ceremonial space for families. This surprised me because Quest is often an individual experience done with just your elder and perhaps one or two assistants

But this vision quest was different. In my visions, I was shown a community of people holding space in camp for their questers. In return, the quester’s prayers and sacrifices, through fasting and being in silence, deeply benefit the members of the camp. There is a profound spiritual exchange that occurs, and though natural, it is something very few of us have ever experienced.

Learning how to do this became a wonderful and unique challenge.

At SpiritQuest, everyone in the family is welcome to participate. We have had three-year olds that came to Quest and played a significant role in the sacred space we created. And they were part of the family that the questers came home to when they completed their quests.

Troubled teenagers have come to Quest, and to their surprise, discovered their spiritual strengths. They developed a deep sense of self-respect and recognized their true value in community. The stories of our youth have been part of the spiritual fabric we were weaving together, as we learned what it meant to be a true spiritual family.

Because our community focus is on our questers, who are sitting alone with Spirit for several days away from the community, we learn what it means to place another’s needs before our own for a few days, while still managing to meet our own needs. This is significant because during this time our questers are the most vulnerable members of our community.
At Quest, we have discovered it is possible to hold the vulnerability and spiritual needs of another with great care and respect, while never losing sight of our own.

This requires great cooperation together. In the Native ceremonies I have been privileged to participate in throughout the years, parents understand this delicate balance. They bring their children, knowing they are fully responsible for them throughout the ceremonial period. Children are welcome in the ceremonies (in our case at the Sacred Fire) as they are able to participate respectfully.

Until that time, one or more of their parents or guardians tend to the children so that they can play, while also ensuring the children respect the sacred space the community is creating together.

In turn, elders or the ceremonial facilitator often finds a way to help the children have their own special experiences. At Quest our children have attended a special round in sweat lodge, created just for them. They have received their sacred names, been taken on their own nature walks, taught their own ceremonial songs, shared in talking circle with the adults, and participated in our morning circle at sacred fire with traditional songs and dances.

Over the years, we have watched children blossom as their spiritual gifts are recognized, they are honored for helping in camp, and know that they are valued as members of sacred community.

If you have children, they are welcome to come to SpiritQuest with you. We only ask that you honor the traditional and respectful ways, by making sure that someone is responsible for them at all times. If you are a single parent and want to participate in the Women’s Ceremony or help tend at Sacred Fire, please bring another adult with you so that someone you know and trust is always available for your children.