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Haŋblečeya - Crying for a Vision

Crying for a Vision

Crying for a Vision
1979 Vera Louise Drysdale

A Native American person usually undertakes a vision quest in an isolated area, generally without food or water.

The "seeker" remains isolated as long as it takes to achieve the desired goal; the quest may last up to three or four days.

Quest design varies according to the tribe's culture and the purpose for seeking a vision. A successful vision quest will produce contact with a spirit helper or guide.

This guides presence is often signaled by a visionary experience or contact with an animal.

All men and women can "cry for a vision" or what Black Elk calls "lament," but only the worthy will receive one. To undertake a Vision Quest in the proper way, a Wičasa Wakan - Holy Man - should advise the seeker and interpret the vision.

The most important reason for the Vision Quest is so a person can understand better his/her oneness with all things and gain knowledge of the Great Spirit.

A person undertaking a Vision Quest first goes with a filled pipe to the holy man. He enters and ask that the holy man be his guide and pray for him.

Purification Rite

Purification Rite
1979 Vera Louise Drysdale

Everyone present smokes the Pipe. The Inipi ceremony is conducted to purify them. Traditionally, the seeker builds the sweat lodge by himself.

The seeker then takes his pipe and some tobacco and goes to his isolated place, often on a high mountain or bluff. Helpers go ahead to prepare the sacred place. The seeker stays at the sacred place and prays for a vision. Visions often come to the seeker in the form of an animal, and dreams carry the most powerful visions.

At the end of the Vision Quest, the helpers return and take the seeker back to the sweat lodge. The seeker tells all he has seen and heard to the Wičasa Wakan who interprets the vision.

Sources:
The Sacred Pipe: Black Elk's Account of the Seven Rites of the Oglala Sioux. Recorded and Edited by Joseph Epes Brown. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1953.

The Gift of the Sacred Pipe, Based on Black’s Account of the Seven Rites of the Oglala Sioux, recorded and edited by Joseph Epes Brown. Edited and Illustrated by Vera Louise Drysdale.

 

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