There are many reasons that you may consider undertaking a vision fast. These may include:
- Acknowledging the movement from one stage of your life to another, such as from adolescence to adulthood, marriage, having children, children leaving home, ageing or infirmity, and ultimately your death.
- The celebration of life or a way of being, consciously being grateful for your life and its lessons.
- Marking the death of a loved one, a way of being or an attitude that no longer serves you.
- Moving through a transition or change of something significant in your life, such as work, home, relationships, spiritual beliefs or attitudes.
- Claiming an aspect of yourself that may have been hidden away, forgotten or denied for too long.
- Giving yourself the gift of time, minus technology, to be totally alone and to re-engage with the elements of wind, sun, rain, earth and your own natural rhythms. Becoming more aware of how nature reflects back aspects of your own inner being.
A vision fast has traditionally been a way for an individual to consciously take time out and to mark or acknowledge their movement through a particular stage of life. This is known as a rite of passage, and all human beings are engaged in this process, whether it is a conscious or unconscious act. It is part of what makes us human. The growing invasiveness of our technological world and the disconnection we increasingly experience with nature have strong impacts upon us. One result is that these ceremonies that were originally conscious, transformative practices have been drowned out, disappearing from view or being lost completely as they sadly slip into the unconscious world.
The solo aspect of a vision fast, with its immersion in solitude and silence, offers a challenge that will allow you to claim the truth that has been growing inside. Such a ceremony doesn’t mark what we wish were true, it marks what is true in our deepest nature.
Fear and anxiety are intrinsic elements of the journey, and while they may seem overwhelming, when we have the courage to face them they become the doorways we walk through to claim the uniqueness of who we are.
Important items for a day walk are hiking boots or sturdy shoes, a small backpack, water bottles, sun hat, sunscreen, personal emergency kit and a journal. Essential equipment needs for the vision fast are more complex, and include a warm sleeping bag, sleeping mat, ground sheet, tarp, rope, water, with a tent recommended when at base camp.
Written information on complete equipment requirements for both programs will be provided to participants. Remember, you may be able to borrow some items from a friend instead of buying it all.
A reasonable degree of fitness is a requirement for each of the programs. As a way of measuring this, observe if you’re short of breath or noticeably tired by walking a couple of kilometers on flat ground. If so, try walking regularly for a few weeks prior to either of the program’s commencement dates. All health conditions are noted in the BTT documentation and your guides will consult with you and your health provider about any serious health issues.
Is wilderness or camping experience necessary to participate in a Beyond the Threshold day walk or vision fast?
The short answer is no. Time is spent in nature on both of our programs, and the different levels of challenge for each are managed by you and the guides. People have come out with us who have never slept outdoors or walked in the bush in a group or by themselves and all returned safely
Numerous cultures adopt fasting as a means of marking a transition from our day-to-day mindset to one of ‘otherness’. Simply, it is a separating mechanism. Generally adults in reasonable health can safely engage in fasting over a four-day period. However, if you are anxious about fasting for medical reasons, we will work with you and your health provider to ensure your safety. Sometimes people have needed to have some form of sustenance, which has not detracted from their overall experience.
Rites of passage have always been important for individuals and the health of the society to which they belong. They generally follow a three-fold pattern:
- A completion or separation from an old way (leaving)
- A moving through or stepping across the threshold (challenge)
- A return into the world anew (incorporation)
Throughout the passage rite – but particularly during the threshold time – individuals investigate the meaning associated with their current relationship with the world. They are free to dance, sing, shout, laugh, or be still; to respond creatively to those precious aspects of their lives they wish to explore.
This marking of significant elements in a person’s life, be it through an act of celebration, honouring or grieving, makes conscious what is necessary for that person to move forward. The intention is to give a new sense of purpose and meaning; a way to bring completion to the old and the freedom to embrace the new. In this way a rite of passage – such as that represented by a vision fast – contributes to a person’s ability to move fully through life’s natural cycles of decay and renewal.