Crying for a Dream
“The Lakota Sioux word for Vision Quest is Hembleciya (ham-blay-che-ya). The word Hembleciya translates to “Crying for a Dream.” This refers to the “Quester” both physically and internally crying for a Vision or Sacred Dream. Sometimes this ceremony is called “going up on the hill,” because people would often go to a nearby mountain or butte to complete their Vision Quest.
Typically the quest is completed deep in nature, far away from civilization. At times it can be done closer to where people live, but located in a pit dug deep into the ground. The person on the Vision Quest either chooses or is told the location for their Quest. They are also instructed in all preparations and on how many days and nights the quest will last by a Medicine Person/Shaman (aka Holy Person). This Medicine Person will guide the Quester in all aspects of the ceremony and provide spiritual support and guidance.
A vision quest is a rite of passage in some Native American cultures. The ceremony of the Vision Quest is one of the most universal and ancient means to find spiritual guidance and purpose. A Vision Quest can provide deep understanding of one’s life purpose.
A traditional Native American Vision Quest consists of a person spending one to four days and nights secluded in nature. This provides time for deep communion with the fundamental forces and spiritual energies of creation and self-identity. During this time of intense spiritual communication a person can receive profound insight into themselves and the world. This insight, typically in the form of a dream of Vision, relates directly to their purpose and destiny in life.
In many Native American groups the vision quest is a turning point in life taken to find oneself and the intended spiritual and life direction. The Vision Quest is often used as a Rite of Passage, marking the transition between childhood and full acceptance into society as an adult. A person’s first Vision Quest is typically done during their transformative teenage years. When an older child is ready, he or she will go on a personal, spiritual quest alone in the wilderness, often in conjunction with a period of fasting.
The vision quest is the learning and initiation process of the apprentice under the guidance of an elder”