A vision quest is a Native American rite of passage for young adolescent males. Although the many tribes comprising the Native American communities in the United States all have their own versions of a quest, this site gives an explanation of the purpose of quests according to the tribes of the Great Plains.
“A Vision Quest is an attempt to achieve a vision of a future guardian spirit often through the process of fasting, isolation and meditation. A vision quest is a rite of passage traditionally undertaken at puberty by young boys of the Great Plains Indian tribes. A Vision Quest or spiritual journey was sometimes accompanied by the inducement of a trance state [described as being associated with meditation, magic, hypnosis and prayer and is also related to altered states of consciousness] for the purpose of attaining guidance or knowledge from supernatural forces or spirits.”
Vision questions are strongly associated with the Native American Indian belief in animism, which is founded upon a belief that all of creation has a soul or spirit – including animals and plants.
The New Age movement has built a cottage industry around the business of vision quests, offering a distorted version of them for anywhere from $200 to $2000+ . They encourage people to go on a quest to: cure emotional, physical, spiritual illnesses; discover your mission on earth; commune with nature, your spirit guides or deceased ancestors, and to move beyond your “molded paradigm.”
This mass-marketing of what is considered a sacred ritual by Native Americans has prompted a great deal of backlash from indigenous communities. As documented in my book, The Learn to Discern Compendium, the leaders of the Lakota tribe actually issued a formal declaration of war in 1993 against the “exploiters” of their spirituality.
“ . . . (F)or too long we have suffered the unspeakable indignity of having our most precious Lakota ceremonies and spiritual practices desecrated, mocked and abused by non-Indian ‘wannabes,’ hucksters, cultists, commercial profiteers and self-styled ‘New Age shamans’ and their followers . . .”
The document cites phony sweat lodges and vision-quest programs, the desecration of their precious Sacred Pipe through the sale of pipestone pipes at flea markets and “New Age” retail stores, and the performance of sacrilegious sundances that are “obscene imitations of our sacred Lakota sundance rites.”
However, whether the quest be an authentic Native American ritual, or a New Age distortion, this rite is based in a pagan worldview that is not compatible with Christianity.
If you want to discern your purpose in life, consult with the Creator of your life who will reveal all you need to know at the right time.