by Curt Remington
Tuesday, May 26th, 2009
For thousands of years, spiritual seekers have ventured into the wilderness to find their greater purpose, define their goals, gain wisdom, have a spiritual encounter and to connect with what is truly important in life. These seekers include spiritual leaders like Jesus, Buddha, Muhammad, Moses, along with Australian aborigines, Native Americans and countless others people throughout history. Like them, you can go on a walkabout or vision quest and connect more deeply with nature, heal emotional issues, overcome fears along with all the other important things mentioned above.
The term walkabout often refers to the break from routine of an Australian aborigine, as they head into the solitude of the outback on a spiritual quest. Native Americans had a similar rite-of-passage, venturing into the wilderness on a vision quest, in order to meet their totem animal (a spirit guide) and find direction in life.
Although not as common, these practices are still performed today. Outward Bound, and many other organizations, include a vision quest, or solo, in their programs, finding it to have enormous rewards for the participants. Rachel, one of my teenage daughters, crossed the Olympic Mountains on a three-week backpacking trip with Rite of Passage Journeys. Her solo, on a beach in Olympic National Park was the most important and memorable part of her trip.
For some people, their experience is about facing fears and gaining confidence. For others, like the aborigines and Native Americans, it may be an intensely spiritual experience that motivates them to reexamine themselves and decide on a new course in life.
My own spiritual experiences, both in nature and in doing psychic readings, have motivated me to change my course. As my psychic abilities developed, my viewpoint changed. I came to fully grasp that we are eternal souls with a temporary body. Viewing life that way, my priorities also changed. Much of this came about by doing the things you might do on a walkabout: reviewing your life, redefining your goals and developing a deeper spiritual connection. Helping others became more important, while acquiring money and material possessions became less important. Worries and problems seemed less significant, when you look at them in the big, eternal picture. Without the worries, you can set about doing what you want to do or what’s important on your spiritual path. For me that meant writing a blog and a book that will help others find their path.
In doing psychic readings for others, my wife and I hear suggestions regularly from spirit guides, guardian angels and deceased loved ones. If you go on a vision quest looking for direction, the message your totem animal or spirit guide might have for you is likely to be something like:
- Pursue a career that you enjoy and can put your heart into, then it really isn’t work.
- Express your creativity through music, art, dance, writing or whatever your interests are.
- Let go of fears.
- Have fun and enjoy life!
- Help others. Relationships are what we’re here for.
- Forgive others, and let go of grudges.
- Love is the answer. To what? Everything
For many of us, life has become too routine: work, eat, TV then sleep, followed by more of the same the next day. A walkabout or vision quest is a great first step to breaking out of that routine. Maybe your life isn’t routine, but has been deeply shaken by a traumatic event, or maybe you’re a teen, going through all the enormous life changes that age brings about. These are also very appropriate times for examining your life, redefining goals and developing a deeper spiritual connection.
Embarking on a Walkabout
To embark on a walkabout, you don’t have to be a great spiritual leader, live near the Australian Outback or leave for six months. You can do what I did, decide on your goals and improvise. What’s important is that you get out in nature, have a greater purpose and are flexible. You may have a life-changing experience. Many others before you have.
Depending on your situation, your quest could range from a day spent in seclusion at a nearby pond to a summer spent on one of the major hiking trails, the Appalachian, the Continental Divide Trail or the Pacific Crest Trail. I suppose your walkabout could even consist of six months wandering Australia’s Outback.Like others before me, I decided that I would venture into the wilderness. Six months in Australia may have been better, or even three weeks in the Olympics. Unfortunately, I just didn’t have the time or money. I settled for a few days of backpacking in North Cascades National Park (Washington), a few hour drive from home. The time suddenly become available, so I threw gear together the night before, then left mid-morning for the park. For your walkabout, I recommend planning well in advance, packing what you need, eliminating what you don’t need and making a list of your goals.
I managed to forget a few pieces of gear, but I did remember to list my goals anyway, which included reviewing my life and its direction, connecting with nature, healing a relationship and having a spiritual experience. Another of my goals was to get a taste of a walkabout to gather information for my blog, an eventual magazine article and for a chapter in Simple Meditation, the book I’m working on. The accompanying photos are all from the trip, in chronological order. If you’re short on gear, you can check out the link below.
Once I got to the park and left my car behind, I didn’t encounter another person all the way in. My route started in lush rainforest and climbed steadily to jagged snow-covered peaks, near Cascade Pass. The mountains had received 20 inches of new snow in the past few days, causing a few complications, like wet feet. Just before my planned campsite, I found a large set of fresh bear tracks headed straight towards the camp. I suppose that like Yogi, this bear must visit campsites in search for food. After spotting the bear tracks, I also spotted a large stone outhouse. The stone exterior made a great solar collector and even radiated heat to the ground, creating an island of dryness around it. Being flexible, I decided to hang out on that patch of dry ground, instead of pitching my tent in wet snow. Spectacular views surrounded me, including Cascade Pass, Cascade Peak, Johannesburg Mountain and the valley I had just climbed from. Not only did the outhouse provide a very convenient restroom but also a handy bear escape, with a locking door.
Since this was a flexible walkabout, rather than a vision quest, I brought food with me, including my dinner of freeze-dried potatoes and beef chunks. I spent much of the rest of the day meditating, watching the changing sky and listening to the occasional avalanche on the mountains across from me. Other sounds I tuned into throughout the day included a small distant waterfall, the wind blowing through the trees and an almost constant whoop, whoop, whoop, from the woods above me, which I figured out was the mating call of a blue grouse. Be sure to look for the outhouse in the photo below, just to the right of center, near the bottom of the page.
As darkness approached, I organized my pack and rolled out my pad and sleeping bag. The clear sky and high altitude led to a night filled with stars and a temperature that dropped to downright cold, causing me to toss and turn for warmth. The next morning, I awakened from a strange dream about waking up with an anxious client just outside my bedroom door, looking for an appraisal. After he left, I looked in the bathroom mirror and found myself wearing a dark wig and fake eyebrows. The symbolism seemed to indicate that appraisals are still interfering with my real purpose. Until my book sells, they do seem to be helpful for paying the bills.
While on a walkabout or quest, important messages may come to you through your dreams, so wake slowly, replay your dream immediately, then write it down. Through dreams, I’ve received many important messages from the spiritual realm. Often, they were quite literal, or I’ve known what the symbolism meant. If you don’t know immediately, try meditating on it, and the meaning may come to you. During a vision quest, it is very likely for spirit guides, or deceased loved ones, to be contacting you through your dreams.
I warmed up with hot mocha and explored the surroundings woods, to get my blood circulating. Another cold night at that elevation didn’t sound appealing, so I decided to spend the morning working on my goals and spend the afternoon hiking to a lower and warmer elevation. With pen and paper, I situated myself on a dry rock ledge nearby, ready to meditate. To reach a light, meditative trance, I used the grounding and running your energies exercises, which work especially well outdoors, where there is strong energy from the earth and the sky.
In doing a life review, I just looked back to my childhood to see what thoughts or images would come up. I saw myself walking in the woods with my grandpa, at a very young age. This reminded me of my childhood love for forests and my desire for vision quest type experiences, starting from a very young age. When I was four, our Oregon backyard adjoined a creek and woods. I convinced my parents to leave me out in the yard for a night, with only a sleeping bag. In the middle of the night, it started to rain. Not only did I sleep through the rain, but I also slept through being carried into the house by my worried mother. Later in my childhood, and into my teens, I’d camp alone in the Minnesota woods, or on the islands of the St Croix River, spending hours or days practicing survival skills, communing with nature and reading Tarzan books.
While sitting in the mountains, it seemed natural that my early love for wild places would come up, but for you something completely different may come up. You might contemplate what your priorities are. Have you been satisfied with the course of your life? Your relationships? Your job? What would you want to change? Along with my lifelong love for nature, I did also review my career and how it relates to my current plans and goals.
Plans and Goals
If, in reviewing your life, you do have things you want to change, you might start making plans and goals to do just that. My plans and goals related to my book and a career shift towards freelance writing, rather than appraisal writing. Instead, your goals might be related to improving your relationships, your health or maybe your spirituality.
In looking at relationships, the obvious one that I knew I’d like to change is my relationship with one of my teenage daughters. She has been a challenging case of teenage rebellion and apparently thinks that were overly strict parents. I meditated on the situation and psychically looked into her heart. What I saw deeply moved me. She loves her parents much more than she ever lets on. I also saw that she would benefit from more quality time with each of us. At the same time, she puts as much distance between us as she can, and she doesn’t realize how much we love her.
Do you have relationships in your life that also need work? If so, try looking at life from that person’s point of view. What’s motivating them to do what they do? Although I still don’t agree with my daughter’s perspective, it gave me a much better understanding of why she does what she does.
Seeking a vision, and direction in life, is a compelling reason for striking out on such a quest. It’s what inspired countless young natives over thousands of years. As a trained clairvoyant, I seek and experience such visions regularly, but I find my experiences in nature to be even more powerful. Young Native Americans would also venture out in search of a psychic vision, in order to meet their totem or power animal. In doing readings, I’ve found that people do indeed still have totem animals, along with other spirit guides and guardian angels. They have been helping you all your life, usually staying in the background and contacting your subconscious, but they do appreciate it when you become aware of them. It’s easier for them to help, and they’d love to hear from you. Go ahead and talk to them, even if you can’t hear their response.
First conscious contact with your guides can be an incredibly moving experience. One day at home, before I started clairvoyant training, I tried a meditation exercise and asked for a vision. A sparkling light entered my room and flew around. I felt the presence of a loving spirit in the room, then I closed my eyes, and saw a stream of images flashing before my eyes, of people and places that I don’t remember ever seeing before. I felt in awe. Eventually, the images stopped, but I was left knowing that there is much more out there than I could see during my usual daily routine. I wanted to experience more and to be able to communicate with my guides and guardian angels. Shortly after that, I signed up for my first clairvoyant class.
Now, high in the mountains and close to heaven, I felt eager for another spiritual experience. Taking a deep breath of fresh air, I worked on a state of focused calm, closed my eyes, and I called for my totem animal. A gray wolf stopped in the snow in front of me. He let me know that he stays nearby, ready to protect me on the spiritual plane. He watches for dangers on the physical plane as well, sometimes sending a subtle warning of hazards ahead.
Next, I called for Stephanie, another of my guides. She appeared and mentioned the cold, rugged terrain.
“Are you actually cold?” I telepathically asked, wondering if spirits notice the temperature.
“No, not really,” but she added that she felt more at home in the lower-elevation rainforest my hike started from.
I also contacted Chief, a guide whom I’ve spent many past lives with, including one as Native American brothers. He appeared with long dark hair and buckskin pants. My question for him related to what else I should write about regarding this trip. He reminded me to focus on and describe the details of nature. I do tend to get caught up in my thoughts, which distracts me from staying in the moment.
Always appreciative of their help, I thanked them for all they do. I also gave thanks to God, to the spiritual world and to nature for my health, my family, my life and for the fact that there is such a beautiful place only a two hour drive from my house. Not only do those you give thanks to appreciate it, but gratefulness can help change your feelings to positive ones, attracting more positive things into your life.
When seeking your own vision, what you experience might consist of a sign in nature. A deer or bird that acts unusual may be trying to give you a message. It might be that your dreams will hold your message, so pay close attention to them on your quest. It may be that you meditate, ask a question, quiet your thoughts and see what happens. Often, something that seems like a thought pops into your mind. This may actually be a message from the spirit world, rather than your own thought. This is how telepathy works. The messages may be accompanied by an image, like the spirit wolf I saw, or maybe you’ll just sense an answer to your question. The more you practice this technique, the easier it becomes.
During the hike down, I placed each step carefully, trying not to break through the hard frozen snow. As I made my way, I reflected on and reviewed what I had learned during my meditations.
For some people, their vision quest is such an intense experience, that coming back to the normality of civilization is a real adjustment. If so, give yourself time. You may need to rest or to contemplate how what you’ve learned will fit into your life. You may decide that there are changes to be made, in regards to your career, relationships or other aspects of your life.
There are many ways to embark on a walkabout or vision quest. However you do it can be a great experience, including a brief weekend trip to the North Cascades. If you have the time, a longer trip will probably have a greater impact. You may even consider connecting with one of the many organizations that conduct such trips. If you do it on your own, be sure to plan and prepare adequately, with safety in mind. Traveling alone in the wilderness has significant risks. A great option may be to have a friend accompany you to a vision quest spot then check on you regularly, until you’re ready to return home.
The rest of my weekend in the mountains, I spent gathering my thoughts and scribbling notes in a pad, so I could write this blog for you. On the way out of the park, I stopped at a massive tree and contemplated its history, which extends back a very long time. Over the years, many others may have passed by it on their own vision quests.