‘Vision Quest’

The Nada Chronicles, Volume 9

©  Hans Brockhuis - 2002

Cold, hungry and lonely he was hiding from the torrential rains under his little shelter. It was a rain that seemed endless and in spite of it being summer, whined downward and drenched the earth with a dampness that was unparalleled. This year would undoubtedly be remembered forever as 'The Year of the Soaked Summer.'

He was now on the eve of his initiation as a brave, to search for his man name. Before that he had been exposed to the usual trials that had the function to prove that he would be able to contain himself and not get exposed to the scorn of his fellow tribe members like a frightened hare. But he had endured everything, and was hungry now because of two days of fasting. Clad only in a loincloth, he had been sent into the prairie to search for the vision quest that would confirm at last he was a man.

By means of the few berries that were not decayed, he had been able to eat a bit. Yet because of the rain that kept pouring down, which coated the big plain in a shroud of expecting atmosphere, nothing had come of his quest thus far. The weather was doglike and even the coyotes were not visible. Only now and then a mouse or a squirrel appeared, but he had not succeeded in catching one so far. He would have had to eat it raw, though, because he wasn't allowed to make fire during the journey. If there would be fire, it would find him and not the other way around, the Elders had said.

It was afternoon, which he could tell because of a spot where the heaven appeared slightly brighter than everywhere else. In order not to die of the cold, he decided to run in the direction of the light and see what was going to happen.

For hours he jogged, always following the sun. When it became dark he was branched off in a large curve to the west. He had not seen a living soul. Even the birds seemed to have disappeared. Only he was there, on this plain prairie, attired only with his boys name Pride. Nevertheless he felt a bit warmer. Soon he found the ground went down toward a shallow valley where a small river sought its way downward, meandering through small thickets. Here would be enough space for him to build a shelter for the night.

He prayed to the Great Spirit and dreamed of roasted buffalo meat and of Spring Blossom, the attractive daughter of the great Chief. At first light he awoke shivering and realized that today was the day, because something had to happen and he certainly would not want to go back to the tribe empty handed. That would be a disgrace that he did not want to bestow upon himself.

Again it started to rain and far away he heard thunder. For a few minutes it hailed stones, and he could clearly see that the thunderstorm was on its way to him. Slowly he walked downstream in the rain, sheltering himself from time to time under a large tree. He walked on because he knew that if he were to stay in one spot, nothing would come out of his quest.

All at once he experienced a huge lightning and almost immediately he heard the thundering noise of the natural forces. It was very close to him and unexpectedly he saw that a blackberry bush, less than a hundred yards away, was aflame. Then he saw a shadow that took to it's heels out of the danger. It was a red fox that chose to run away. Passion and power were the positive qualities of this appearance, while anger, aggression and impulsivity were the negative aspects, he knew. Above all, while it was only one animal, it could be explained (through the spiritual belief system he was taught), as a sign of originality and leadership.
Above all, while it was only one animal, it could be explained as originality and leadership. Things like this he had learned from his father, the Shaman and while he possessed a huge interest in things like these pieces of wisdom; he was able to, as soon as these things happened, to remember them.

He ran after the fox, considering that the fire indeed did arrive despite the many waters of the rains. Water and Fire. Two extremes, but both of them indispensable for the well being of his people. Could this fox be his totem animal, he wondered? Would he in the future be known as Running Fox? This chance meeting was not enough, he realized. He had to come up with something better.

Again a streak of light in the heavens as the lightning struck simultaneously with the thunder into the tree he was just passing by. He was struck down and passed out immediately.

"Pride, Pride, wake up!" Slowly he opened his eyes and looked into the worried face of Morning Thaw, his mother. He shook his head to rid his foggy sight and gather his wits. On and on it became a bit clearer. He saw a circle of faces around him. Prominently there was the tall figure of Grey Eagle, his father and shaman of the tribe, who stood there considering the situation with an inscrutable face and crossed arms.

"My name is not Pride any more, father. I will be called 'Running Fox' now." Pride heard himself say proudly. "You will have to tell your story to the Council of Elders, son. Get up." With some effort and supported by his mother, he was brought to the Grand Standing Stone where the Council always met.

While walking he felt his left side burning, and he discovered that that part of his body was blackened. Furthermore he still felt a bit shaky on his legs, and the fingers of his left hand were quite tingly. All in all one could say that he had endured his meeting with the Ghosts of Thunder remarkably well.

Standing before the Council of Elders he told the story that was given to him while unconscious. Following his narration about his dash behind the fox in the hope that he could find his fate in that way, he told about the dreams he had dreamt before his mother awakened him.

"The first thing I saw was a tall young woman, who was clad in an off-white long dress with light blue flowers. She had a light skin and wore long waving peculiarly colored yellow like hair with dark eyebrows. The color of her almond shaped eyes were light blue, like the flowers on her garb. She radiated love and happiness and peace and although she did not say anything, I knew that she was happy with this brief meeting.

"A few moments later the vision disappeared but the powerful joyful and warm feelings stayed with me for a long time. I was happy and I realized that the fox had brought me to a place of Love, Joy and Abundance. But the feelings disappeared gradually and again I felt cold, hungry and lonely.

"Again an apparition materialized. Now it was a squirrel that hopped joyfully to me. Right in front of me he buried a few nuts. At last he looked up to me and said: 'You are never alone. Your Guidance is so much a part of you that they could never leave you if you wanted them to. You speak with Spirit regularly. And yet, you quite often look outside of yourself for the answers. Trust yourself. You are completely whole within yourself. Think about the running fox that brought you here and consider that Spirit once asked you to honour the Divine Spark within yourself and to go on to the fulfilment of that which is really important for the advancement of your soul.'

"I was so happy with this statement, but everything seemed a bit puzzling and I felt light in the head. When all that subsided eventually I still felt alone and I fiery wished for warmth. I knew that Mother Earth sheltered me and that the Spirits of the Heavens gave me air, but I new that my search had not yet come to an end.

"Yet again an image appeared. This time it was a grey eagle who talked to me solemnly." (His People worshipped the grey eagle. Not for nothing had his father, the medicine man, taken on the name of Grey Eagle. The eagle represented the symbols of the soul that taught the tribe to reach for a new level of consciousness).

"'Welcome home, Running Fox,' the eagle said. 'This is a story about peace within yourself, through which it will become possible to come to peace with others. During your young life you often have been in discord with yourself and others. You did not realize that your life has been and will be a learning process to become equipped for a day like today. Often you have taken yourself, and others, much too serious and then you did not realize that life is a game. You also watched the warfare between your tribe and the 'others'. And you were hoping that when you would have come of age, to go with them and battle. But you did not realize that these wars have had their function. It created a chance for all to learn to listen with their heart and thus attain inner peace and be able to grow toward Love towards one another. Because Love is the keyword for all.

"Because this is also about Love, Wisdom and Forgiveness. It is about the Bond between the here and now and about communion with the Great Spirit. There is a golden pillar of light beaming out of your crown, far away into the universe, where it can be caught by many souls. The seeds of courage, power, trust and love that you are conveying can be felt from great distances in the universe. The running fox has been the herald that you will be, and be called. In a few moments your mother will find you and then you will tell your tribe about your meeting with the three of us, and then it will be time for you to voice your own tale. Within the tribe first, and later on to others and to the strange white coloured people that will enter your world very soon.
"'But always remember to keep the peace and the love within your heart, because you and they are one. And despite the fact that those others seem to think differently about this, you, Running Fox, will be capable to propagate this message of peace, sowing seeds everywhere that will bide their time to germinate. I wish you Good Luck, Running Fox, and I know that you will be worthy of this task…"