Much of our world is said to be shaped because of what happened in a desert in a distant past. We carry the knowledge of our ancestors of that distant past within. Those who set out for a quest into the inner realm have to learn its laws and its dangers or they might wander off the short and narrow in this perilous journey. But those who do find their way, those who travel like pilgrims through meadows, deserts and perpetual forests, they evolve, they change and encounter something extraordinary at the heart of their inner world. A well-kept secret which has surfaced in the writings of alchemists and seers throughout the ages.
Vision Quest revives a traditional method of inner alchemy that complements the endeavors of alchemists in the laboratory. This article is intended as a beacon for those who seek this path as well as an introduction on the guiding mechanism and philosophy that underlies the practice.
You are a song, a wished for song.
Go through the ear to the center,
where sky is, where wind,
where silent knowing.
Put seeds and cover them.
Blades will sprout
where you do your work...!
- Rumi -
Inner Garden’s Vision Quest brings the initiate — the journeyman — into contact with the powerful and ancient teachings that give practitioners a chance to travel that path on the inner plane that alchemists, shamans and magicians forever have sought to find. It is a mode of initiation that applies the spagyric method of the alchemists to the workings of the mind, with the aim of quickening one’s development. The blue or the red pill ... the initiate has to choose. And once the red pill is taken, there is no going back.
It is dark now, the stars fill the sky more than I have ever seen, so beautiful, the sable night is inviting, not frightening. The moon is rising, full pregnant, it casts a silvery light onto the meadow, the grass looks different, other worldly. I want to step into this light...
After the travail of the tunnel it is beautiful. I stand and just take it in. I can see the central Linden Tree the thing is huge, towering, wide, majestic. To my right I can see grass, roses in an arbor, weeds, and herbs, and of course the shed. To my left the more flowers, high grass, and the fountain. I walk towards the tree to look at it. I notice the T path is made of white stones, like a marble or quartz. Not rough on my feet, actually quite comfortable to walk on. I want to touch the tree, but I decide to scan it first.
Aside from learning the inner terrain and its laws, the initiate will learn the Lingua Verdi (the Green Language) which is the symbolic language of the unconscious mind. It is the programming language of your internal operating system, so to say. Through this form of inner alchemy you will learn its code and will be able to hack into the system.
During the First Work, a threshold needs to be crossed and an encounter with a Guardian may follow. The inner world is in a state of duality. This is when the apprentice becomes a journeyman and starts to actively work with that which he or she has learned. Vision Quest hands the practitioner a tool for psychoanalysis and communication with an inner voice that is very direct and potentially rewarding.
The work it is not without danger. Journeymen learn to understand and work with the very mechanism of what shapes the canvas of our reality as they enter the dark unknown depths of the subconscious. This is the place where dreams and imagination merge. Those who enter VQ will soon find the world of dreams overflowing into reality and reality overflowing into their dreams. The journeyman immerses the conscious mind into the unconscious, and the unconscious surfaces in the conscious. A deep and nourishing form of communication within will ensue. It has been called trance-work, trance-formation, creative visualization, meditation, dream work and a vision quest. The modus operandi involves the induction of a state that bridges the conscious and the unconscious. Since the subconscious communicates most often by symbols, the work is called Vision Quest.
Not all is sunshine and rose scented. The inner realm has its shadow side too, and bringing this to light can be a painful and often scary experience. Discomfort, resistance, anxiety, stress, physical pains, disturbances in our surroundings, intrusions in sessions, computers crashing, appearances, sleep paralysis, paranoia, ... the list goes on ... are just some of the stumbling blocks that may materialize to deter the initiate from further progress. There are powerful forces both within and outside of us that do not wish us to evolve at the speed Vision Quest drives us to.
I begin going into trance and the craziest things start to happen. The dogs upstairs are just barking and going crazy, then they settle down and I think ok proceed. Then my ex-wife gets up and is thumping around; I tell myself ok, let’s do this later, and I remember your words ‘push forward’. So I decided to give it another go.
Putrefaction and purification are essential processes in the laboratory of the alchemist and these processes have their parallels in the inner realm. The alchemist must go through a phase of darkness and confusion, and a process of purging gross and redundant elements, to come to a more harmonious state of being.
I begin to feel a presence in the room with me; a sort of dread and fear creep in. The wind outside begins to pick up and I can hear thunder and lightning, the room becomes very hot [...] I can feel all sorts of stuff wanting to bubble up. I am starting to get worried about my sanity, especially having to face denizens of my deep. Just when I think I am going to break I hear the voice of the Solar Intelligence. “You are in charge here”! At that very moment the wind quiets down outside and the room is filled with a cool refreshing breeze. I am no longer afraid, and a certain resoluteness has entered me, “all is mind I think.
I breathed a sigh and still that expansive feeling was in me. I felt very different. I sat on the bench around the Linden Tree, and thought about what had transpired. It was all so unexpected. I had felt the pain of those encounters and even felt the tears in my physical eyes, but the forgiveness thing was not expected, not at all. Nor was this feeling that I had. I swear I felt at the time of the session as if some greater force, or being, an absolute benevolence was within me, expanding from the inside out. I had the distinct feeling of a higher me being there. I felt behind me the presence of the Chiah and I turned to find him sitting on the bench beside me.
The core of Vision Quest counts 10 Stages in which the initiate moves through progressively more challenging and powerful processes. Few journeymen will be able to accomplish the full 10 stages. However, even when only stage 3 or 4 is achieved, it may have been a worthwhile experience. When setting out on the journey of Vision Quest, it is essential to have the assistance of a Guide – someone who monitors your journey from the outside, who has travelled the road before and who can notify you if you are heading for a cliff.
The inner landscape of each initiate represents, functions, and is maintained, most faithfully, by a multitude of intelligences which are all part of you. In modern terms we would call these intelligences, ‘software programs’. These software programs run under your central ‘operating system’. When we encounter these intelligences, one must be cautious because they’re programmed to carry out, at all cost, their tasks. In most cases, furthermore, they are programmed to keep the status quo alive. It is the task of the initiate to uncover these programs by interrogating wisely and shifting the energy of these programs from dysfunctional to alignment in serving the Higher Purpose of the initiate. In a nutshell, that’s the undertaking of VQ initially.
A Guide not only understands that correcting and facing these dysfunctional intelligences during VQ can be a threatening, fearful and paralyzing encounter, but also that these encounters can and do bleed into daily experiences outside the realm and world of VQ. Therefore, to ensure safety for the initiate, assistance from a Guide who has travelled this road before, is paramount.
One of Inner Garden’s Supervising Guides who offers support has a traditional training from a reputable University and has been employed in the profession of psychology, specifically in counseling, for over the past 15 years. He has a master’s degree level training in psychotherapy as well as graduate work in hypnosis, mental health, and addictions.
|1||You probably do not know yourself as well as you think you do;|
|2||You, or the part of you that thinks of you as “I”, is not necessarily the most powerful intelligence in the inner world;|
|3||Treat any intelligences you might meet with due respect. Avoid contact (touching or being touched in any way) and communication with intelligences. Stage 4 will go into the details of how to safely establish contact;|
|4||Do not neglect emotions and feelings in favor of reason or vice versa and do not rationally intervene with the natural flow of the vision;|
|5||Do not dismiss any detail as insignificant. This goes for both your preparation in reading these lessons as well as noting the experiences during trance. Do not edit or censor visions as they arise. Self-knowledge is crucial in deducing and regulating our thoughts, feelings, and behaviors; but self-knowledge does not come to us in a final form, neatly wrapped with a ribbon and bow. Instead the label warns: “some assembly required”;|
|6||Be absolutely honest with yourself and with your Guide. It is better to say nothing than to start altering or editing the facts;|
|7||Respect the instruction and the environment you are operating in. Do not underestimate the potential of what you are doing through Vision Quest.|
|1||Initiate reads carefully each lesson provided and/or any comments given by his/her Guide, three times;|
|2||Initiate will have seven days to ask questions and/or paraphrase readings provided to demonstrate that they have grasped the readings and comments. Blindness to rules, or overconfidence, can and does result in the loss of potentially great opportunities (during a session) that may never again present themselves. Ask questions regularly|
|3||Once the Guide sees that the initiate has comprehended the written lesson, the Guide’s feedback and any other techniques provided, the initiate will be given the ‘green light’ to undertake journey. In no way before such time should the initiate begin the journey. Guides will make every effort to respond within four days of receiving questions;|
|4||Initiate agrees on a specific day or days of the week when sessions are to be carried out; somewhat analogously to the term ‘religiously’, and prior to the start of VQ. Keeping the exact day of the week when session(s) are carried out and sending in reports within seven days creates energetic momentum and begins to accelerate the evolution of the initiate;|
|5||Initiate will make every effort to commit sessions to paper as faithfully as possible. It is strongly recommended that immediatley after each session is closed, the initiate undertakes the task of scribing. It is not uncommon for initiates to colour, emit, and even drastically change the content of the session if too many hours or days have passed between a session and scribing it;|
|6||Initiate is strongly encouraged to provide personal reflection on each session, after scribing the session, under the label of ‘Reflection’. Since VQ deals with the underlying mechanisms of the psyche, it may also be wise and relevant to describe any significant events and situations that resurface during daily life under this section label of ‘Reflection’;|
|7||It has been our experience that the best attitude of a successful initiate is: “Assume absolutely no thing”. If one has already attained illumination in this journey, one wouldn’t be undertaking it now ... so please do allow, and communicate respectfully, for a good and helpful relationship to develop between you and your Guide;|
|8||All transcribed sessions are private. On some occasions however, to provide better guidance and/or more effective interventions, your Guide may seek out consultation(s) with other Guides and anonimized parts may be copied to the forum for Guides;|
|9||No initiate or journeyman is allowed to be a Guide (to another initiate) until they have been either assigned by Inner Garden or thus deemed appropriate for such an undertaking;|
|10||If the Guide sees that the initiate is unable to safely follow these basic guidelines, is deaf to the Guide’s constructive feedback, and/or recklessly undertakes sessions, then termination of VQ is imminent. A general level of healthy approach, not unlike in other fields of endeavour, is paramount to success. We know this from experience.|
It is impossible to give a comprehensive explanation of the work of VQ in an article or even in a thick book. It has to be experienced. To give somewhat of a taste of the work, here are a few comments from a dedicated student (Br. JML) who was also quoted above:
My current struggle is in trusting the communication that I get from the inside. The tenor of the conversation is like stuff that I have read or even thought before, but it is different somehow. And it has a more profound effect. Take for instance my first session in the garden. Even though I had the directions all wrong, the color of the flags was correct. This amazed me, especially sense my intent in seeing the colors was to allow it to come from sub consciousness or the pool of wisdom. I knew I could not figure it out myself, and indeed I was able to tap into something that knew more than my (conscious mind) knew. So yes trusting in the process, in the communication.
It should be noted that all experiences are unique to the particular individual. The above mentioned “colours of flags”, for example, are part of a unique set of symbols that is of relevance for Br. JML but which are not commonly encountered by other students.
It is hard to say where it will take me, as everything I have experienced is nothing that I would have expected. It is hard to convey in words the astonishment I feel about how acute and palpable my inner sensorium has become. To say the place is real, just does not do the experience justice. So if as a baby I am amazed at all the lights, colors, sounds, feelings, smells, taste, etc. How much more will I be amazed when I go into kindergarten, elementary school, high school, and university? I only know that I am being lead to a new awareness of life, myself, and manipulation of matter. Just where this will end, is beyond me at the moment, I just know, feel that it is to a wonderful new place of understanding, knowledge.
|1||It is prohibited to touch and merge with intelligences encountered in the esopshere prior to investigation (scanning) of their Gender, Age, Form: what do they present as, how do they smell, how do they sound, how are they energetically portrayed? Intuit: does their presentation intuitively match? Are they who they say they are? Does their inner energy match that of what they attempt to portray to you? Oftentimes, a word (or several words) will pop up, press outward or reveal itself upon scanning.|
|2||It is the purpose of each session to uncover the functions of the inner landscape, or esosphere. It is advised never to banish intelligences before attempting to interrogate their purpose firstly. Only when they compromise the task of the session, the integrity of gaining insight, should they be banished. Then, consequent session(s) can attend to ‘calling up’ safely these intelligences to learn more.|
|3||Above all else do not assume that you know what you see in any given session. Failure to carry out the proper scanning of an intelligence(s) can result in compromising illuminated insight which can result in psychological turmoil, confusion, and opportunity lost due to reckless eagerness. Are you in the habit of jumping out of an airplane at 20,000 feet above ground? Assuming you have a parachute, it has been checked and double checked to ensure that it safely opens if/when needed.|
|4||Do not figure out or attempt to analyze what happened in the session, until it is scribed. Then, it has become an authentic, living document. We’re not entirely interested, per say, in what you rationalize to be; for if that was all-important, then why undertake VQ? VQ, if carried out rigorously, will not only provide an accurate picture of what’s what but it will also bypass the intercepting tendency and manipulation of any given ego. Commit to memory the opening and closing protocols of VQ. Once this habit is formed and exercised as second nature, the potential for failure is minimized.|
This work is worth more than my time. I now look forward to these sessions and to enter the garden. The control I am learning over my thoughts, and the ability to not allow fear, doubt, and now contention to take over my mind is just magnificent. It is something that I think should be ventured into by everyone.
Students with esoteric experience often experience VQ as a very direct and powerful method. The method is deemed to be too radical for those without previous esoteric experience. Generally we recommend some prior experience in lab-alchemy as well since learning through the hands is grounding and provides a good basis from which to depart on this inner adventure. Other than that, the entrance is open ...
Do not seek to follow
in the footsteps of those of old
seek what they sought.
- Matsuo Basho -
Those who feel ready to depart on this Quest can fill out their application here
... words just are incapable of imparting the actual experience, in fact the words seem to obfuscate it in some manner.