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wilderness vigil

Image by Jeffrey Riley

Across time and in a myriad of ways, our ancestors of all cultures have gone into the wild to retune their ear to the many-voiced landscape and living earth; to seek guidance in times of doubt and uncertainty, to mark life transitions and revive an intimate closeness with That-Which-Animates-All. 


The Vision Quest or Wilderness Vigil is something immeasurably ancient and our ancestors knew the importance of these practices for nurturing and growing individuals and community, for cultivating deep knowledge of belonging, and honouring our connection with an enduring wild spirit and the dependable rhythms of the earth.

During this ceremony we allow ourselves to be re-calibrated, like a tuning fork, to a wider reality of not-just-human life. We revive an age-old reciprocity with a many-voiced world (Abram). The teachings that happen here are not from the human realm. Here it is the the bones of a mountain that may share an insight with you, the wizened silence of an old tree, a bee overhead as a guide... This wilderness ceremony is known by many names and is common to all cultures in its diverse forms and is a powerful way to find ourselves once again on speaking terms with the living earth.

It needs to be said, sometimes in these there has been a tad too much emphasis on transcendence and heady individual ambitions, where wilderness is simply an encouraging backdrop for people to work through issues.

The way that I, and those I facilitate with, have chosen to approach the wilderness fasts we offer is with the intention of creating "a community of wild ethics" (Abram). We see these passages into the bush as a dialogue with a non-human world and as Martin Shaw says, "we are out there to hear more than the whirring cogs of our own drama. This is the journey from dreaming to getting dreamt, getting claimed by a place. It’s usually a slow, sometimes difficult and often mysterious process. Without a long term commitment to stewarding the experience afterwards, it can be hard to grasp quite what transpired. Friends, that’s where the work begins. Don’t come looking for honey if you don’t want to become a bee".  

Such experiences as these need attuned handling and part of what makes this time so nourishing is the holding and professional support. The telling of your story to trained guides who have themselves both fasted many times can aid you greatly in understanding the deeper story of what transpired out there on the mountain. 

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R21 600 per person. 

INCLUDED in the cost: 

all meals, access permits, simple rustic accommodation, risk management, facilitation, follow up. 


Transport to Anysberg accommodation before and after the Wilderness Vigil, personal equipment. 

"...On our own for 4 days.

For me this was heaven.

Although I found it physically challenging, I also found it a time of true self-love, with space for processing old traumas, listening for messages regarding what next with my life, connecting with Nature and God/Spirit, ceremonies and prayers. 

The depth of it really is private

and individual, so I won’t write

much more on it as

your journey will be your journey.

Personally I didn’t want to leave"

Jolene Cartmill

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