Shamanic Vision: Living Life through the Eyes of the Heart Issue #5: September, 2017 - Page 8

Types of Quests...The Pilgrimage, the Night Vigil and the Vision Quest There is an old story told about a proper English anthropologist who was traveling through a distant land interviewing and studying native people. One night while camped between villages, he heard drumming deep in the woods. Intrigued, he set down his cup of tea and headed in the direction of the drum. He came upon a clearing where a man was drumming and dancing around a fire. The man chanted and sang, put down the drum, picked up rattles, and continued his ecstatic movements around the fire. After about an hour of continuous dancing, drumming, and rattling, the man sat down to rest. The anthropologist approached and said politely, “Sir, I have been admiring your ritual. You must tell me what it’s all about. Why are you here all alone, dancing, drumming, rattling, chanting? What does it all mean?” The native looked at him, puzzled, and asked, “What do you mean ‘all alone’?” Back to square one for the Englishman; he lacked the perspective of indigenous people, such as the Dakota Sioux, who teach their children that there is no such thing as complete solitude. Wherever we go we are surrounded by life—conscious, responsive, and communicative.