Gathering Of Circles
2005
Updated 06/02/2011

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BEAR HEART VISION QUESTS
Wednesday 7:00 PM, October 26 thru Sunday Noon, October 30, 2005
Pipe Creek, Texas
There is never a charge for ceremony !!
(According to your life style, no one will be turned away for monetary reasons)

Bear Heart's web site: www.BearHeart.info

Questor Information   -    Supporter Information   - Who is Coming ?  RSVP Here  Directions

This information is for the men and women who will be participating as Questers and Supporters for the Vision Quest that will take place near Pipe Creek, TX from 7:00 PM Wednesday, October 26 thru Sunday, Noon, October 30, 2005. Bear Heart will be assisted by Mike Eagle Eye Andrews, who has been authorized to sponsor and lead Vision Quests in Bear Heart's tradition.

The limit for the number of questers is 12. There will be a four-door Going-Out Sweat before the Questers go out, a Sweat for the Supporters during the Quest, and a one-door Sweat for the Questers after all Questers have returned.

About the Sponsor:   Marcelius Bear Heart Williams is a full-blooded Muskogee Creek Elder born in Oklahoma 87 years ago. He is one of the few remaining traditionally trained Medicine Men and carries the Sacred Pipe in the Lakota and Cheyenne traditions.  His fields of study include Psychology, Cultural Anthropology, Sociology and Theology, majoring in Biblical Greek and Comparative Religion.  He received an Honorary Doctorate in Humanities from St. Johnís University.  Bear Heart conducts Vision Quests, Sweat Lodges, Teepee Meetings and has a counseling and traditional healing practice (see his web-site for more information on these activities).

   www.BearHeart.info 

 

DONATIONS:  For Questers the suggested donation is $300 per person.  You may contribute more or less.  Each of you should listen to your own heart and consider your own financial circumstance as well as the work that Bear Heart performs for you while you are ďon the hill.Ē  Men and women supporting the Quest but not actually fasting will participate in prayer and ceremony with Bear Heart and help maintain the vigil for the Questers.  The suggested donation for these supporters is $150 per person. You may work out a payment plan with Bear Heart if desired. No one will be turned away for monetary reasons. All donations should be given to Bear Heart before the start of the Going-Out Sweat.

If you are planning to attend, please send a check for $50 (this is your confirmation) made out to Bear Heart (to reserve your spot) along with some tobacco  to:
Regina Waterspirit
PO Box 15281
Rio Rancho, NM 87174 

Also, please include a letter of intent for your vision or e-mail directly to Bear Heart at:
reginaws@yahoo.com You may also negotiate a payment plan with Bear Heart at this address.

Please e-mail Cliff Buchanan at Cliff@ISISoftware.net so that you can be added to the proper category of either Quester or Supporter. Remember we have a limit of 12 Questers. There is no limit on the number of Supporters.

 

The following is adapted from Bear Heartís notes on Vision Questing
 

VISION QUESTING

Why you might consider a Vision Quest:

If you feel that you are at a crossroads in your life or if you have questions about the intent and purpose for your life then you may benefit from a Vision Quest.  What is my life purpose?  What is my gift?  How can I manifest my special talents?  What are my special talents? What am I supposed to be bringing to the world to make it better?  These are some questions that a Vision Quest can help answer.

How to prepare:

Your Vision Quest begins once you have made a commitment to Quest. It is suggested that you take some time each day to reflect on your purpose for Questing.  You may keep a journal during this time to record any insights you may have.  Think about what you want in life: How can I best serve?  What is the path?  What role will I play?  What am I here to fulfill?  Have I felt it?  Have I sensed it?  If not, these are things to strive for. 

How to prepare physically:

Continue with your regular exercise program.
Set aside regular periods for meditation and reflecting on the purpose of your Quest.
Learn to eat lightly.  Eat until you are almost full and then leave the table.
The month before your Quest attempt to eliminate meat, dairy and all animal products from your diet.
Gradually over the month eliminate caffeine and tobacco. This will decrease cravings and the side effects of caffeine and nicotine withdrawal during your Quest.
The week before the Quest attempt to eliminate sugar and sweets from your diet.
Attempt to drink at least eight glasses of water daily as this will help remove toxins from your body.

WHAT TO BRING

VISION QUEST

A prayer stick or power stick. (You may make this from a one or two-foot long stick with objects that have meaning to you.)

A tobacco offering for Bear Heart and your Supporter.

A tarp, ropes, and tent stakes to make a lean-to for inclement weather, but it is important that you be open to the sky day and night as much as possible. No tents will be allowed inside the Quester's circle, but they may be used in camp before going out on the Vision Quest and after returning from the Vision Quest.

Comfortable clothes for the Quest itself.  Layered clothing with cold and rain protection (such as a Gore-Tex parka and rain pants or a poncho) is best because we will be in the mountains and the weather can be warm and mild or cool and raining. You will be sitting down, so you might need more insulation and you will not have food as fuel to heat you. Wool or synthetics are better than cotton in case it rains. We recommend you have one or two more layers than you think you will need. A hat with a wide brim is advised for the sun and a stocking cap for warmth or use as a night cap.

A sleeping bag (warm, preferably with a synthetic fill instead of down in case it gets wet) and ground pad (it is nice to have a pad that also can be used to sit on when it is rolled up).

A blanket or pad to sit on.

A flashlight with an extra set of batteries.

Glasses and sunglasses.

Insect repellent since there may be some flies and mosquitoes if the days are warm.

Sunscreen.

Any required medications and other frequently used personal items, such as aspirin, eye drops, and chap stick.

Some sage to bless and smudge your Vision Quest circle.

Any sacred objects you want to have with you (can be meditation aids, fetishes, or anything that will be blessed by being there with you and that will remind you of your Vision Quest after you get back home).

A drum is optional.

    A trowel to dig a latrine away from your circle, toilet paper, and wet-wipes.

    A note-pad and pen to record your experiences, visions, and reflections.

    Something to carry everything in when you go to your selected Vision Quest site, such as a backpack or duffel bag.
     

    FOR THE SWEAT LODGES BEFORE AND AFTER THE VISION QUEST

    Two complete sets of sweat lodge clothing (gym shorts, bathing suit, towels, etc) for two Sweat Lodges: a Going-Out Lodge and a Lodge at the end after all Questers have returned.

    Tobacco offerings for Bear Heart and the fire tender.

    Rest of donation for Bear Heart (give it to him before the Going-Out Lodge).

    For the nights you aren't actually "on the hill" Questing, you should bring camping gear with food, water, and clean clothes. If you get your vision the first day, then you will need to have food and water for the remaining three days since all Questers and Supporters must stay in camp until the last Quester has returned and they have completed the final Sweat Lodge. You will be asked to commit to how many nights you will be out as you are leaving the Going-Out Sweat Lodge.
     

    FOR CAMP BEFORE YOU GO OUT ON YOUR VISION QUEST AND AFTER YOU RETURN

    A Give-away item. This is an object, keepsake or possession of yours that may or may not have some intrinsic value that has some special meaning for you.  The idea is to give away this item and any attachments you may have with it in this ceremony.  This is done as a way to let go of the past and release any attachments to it.

    A food item to share in a light feast following the Quest.

    A gift for your Supporter, where an appropriate gift might be paying for the Supporter's donation, a Pendleton wool blanket, or something comparable since the Supporter will be staying in camp praying for you and checking on you during your Vision Quest.

    Gifts for people you meet in camp during the vision Quest (if you are so moved).
     

    SCHEDULE

    All participants (Questers and Supporters) must arrive Wednesday afternoon before 3:00 PM the first day in order to participate in the evening campfire circle discussion of Vision Questing. The organizers of this Vision Quest (Cliff Buchanan and Mike Andrews) will arrive at the Vision Quest site at least two days before the start of the Vision Quest to set up camp and build the sweat lodge and all Questers and Supporters are encouraged to arrive early and participate in these activities. We will try to finish by noon on the last day.
     

QUESTIONS

If you have any questions, please contact us:

Regina WaterSpirit - Albuquerque NM - reginaws@yahoo.com H (505) 891-1339 - C (505) 620-4509
Cliff Buchanan - Odessa TX - Cliff@isisoftware.net (432) 550-3302

Mike Andrews - Arroyo Seco NM - 7laughs@newmex.com  H (505) 776-0001 - C (505) 770-4321

Directions to Pipe Creek:
Pipe Creek is between Bourne, TX and Bandera, TX, about 40 miles northwest of San Antonio, TX. Coming from North on I 35 get on Loop 1604 West. Exit 1604 onto Highway 16 (Bandera Road). Go North on Hwy 16. You will go through Helotes and San Geronimo. It is approximately 24 miles from 1604 to Pipe Creek. Go through Pipe Creek towards Bandera. Approximately 4 miles past Pipe Creek you will see a Carpool area on the left and Bear Creek Road on the right. Turn right on Bear Creek Road. Stay on Bear Creek Road for approximately 4 miles. On the right is Hawk's Country Store and the VFD. Turn right onto South Goat Ridge. After 1 mile turn left onto Antler Run ( this is the second left turn possible on South Goat Ridge). My driveway is the 3rd driveway on the right. There is a sign that says WindHaven. 

Coming from 1-10 take the Boerne Hwy 46 exit. Go west on Hwy 46 approximately 12 miles. Go North on Hwy 16. Then follow the above directions.

If anyone needs directions from a different place they can call or e-mail.

Petra Reynolds
430 Antler Run
Pipe Creek, TX 78063  
artemisusa@hotmail.com
  
(830) 510-2107 Home
(210) 274-8862 Cell

 

Questers:
 * Susanne Ambuhl - New Braunfels TX - sfca@gvtc.com  - H (210) 669-3904
Patricia Buie - Tulsa OK - buietulsa@yahoo.com - H (918) 794-5577
Kathyrn Caraway - Berkeley CA - C (510) 467-4285
Crystal Duque - San Antonio TX - ladyluna138@yahoo.com  - H (210) 599-2484 - C (210) 323-7980
* June Davis - Buffalo Gap TX - juned521@earthlink.net   H (325) 691-1126 C (325) 829-3136
* Felipe Gonzalez - Panama - epilef49@hotmail.com  H (507) 214-3384  
* Stefanie Helms - Austin TX - SHgypsy333@yahoo.com - C (972) 571-4618
Lisa Henry-Hodell - Olympia WA - beherenowcabbage@aol.com  - H (360) 456-7654 - C (916) 205-7738
* Lisa Lopez - Austin TX - llopez@jenkens.com  - C (512) 923-8525
* Gary Rose -
Abilene TX - H (325) 676-8661 - C (325) 829-0211

* indicates Quester has been confirmed by Bear Heart

 

Supporters:
Mike Andrews - Arroyo Seco NM 7laughs@newmex.com H (505) 776-0001 - C (505) 770-4321
Michael Broyles - Arroyo Hondo, NM - onewinterhawk2003@yahoo.com   - H (505) 776-2015
Cliff Buchanan - Odessa TX - Cliff@isisoftware.net (432) 550-3302

Alley Duque - San Antonio TX - H (210) 599-2484 - C (210) 323-7980
Margaret Kallsen - Houston TX - mkallsen@yahoo.com  - H (713) 869-0820
Patrick King - Cibolo TX - paderic@excite.com  - H (830) 609-0129 - C (210) 452-0783
Petra Reynolds - Pipe Creek TX - artemisusa@hotmail.com  - H (830) 510-2107 - C (210) 274-8862
Marion (Aju) Russell - Cedar Park, TX - marirus@msn.com - H (512) 401-9328
Shawna Mitchell - Abilene TX - sierras33@aol.com   - H (325) 692-2126 - C (325) 668-2563
BJ (Betty Jane) Stewart - Austin TX - bjstewart05@yahoo.com  - H (512) 719-4376 
Regina WaterSpirit - Rio Ranch NM - reginaws@yahoo.com H (505) 891-1339 - C (505) 620-4509

Sponsor:
Bear Heart - Rio Ranch NM - reginaws@yahoo.com H (505) 891-1339 - C (505) 620-4507

 

QUESTING AT THE VISION QUEST

Comments from Cliff and Mike:
You will go out the first day around noon and select your spot in the forest. Use a stick to scratch a circle in the earth of your perimeter and stay inside your circle until you have your vision; or until the last day around noon; or until you decide its time to come back. There will be a Sweat Lodge before you go out and again when you return. Supporters will be awake all the time you are out and take turns "keeping the fire". The task is to be by yourself during the Quest in order to get to know yourself. The Supporters will "check" on you from time to time. The elements are the easy part. Being without TV, phones, and conversation will be the hard part.

You also might want to read (or re-read) the next-to-the-last chapter of Bear Heart's book, The Wind Is My Mother, since it covers the Vision Quest. It also provides some assurances on the way he works to protect you while you are out on your Vision Quest. By fasting and going without water (and possibly without sleep if you so choose), you are stressing your body so that the normal mental responses are short-circuited and you are more open to a vision. In Bear Heart's tradition, you will be asked to go without food and water, unless you have special medical requirements, which should be discussed individually with Bear Heart before the Vision Quest. The Vision Quest is a VERY powerful experience and one that you will remember for a long time.

You may take a tarp to get under in case it rains and to use as a sun shade. Some people might choose to go out with only a wool blanket, while others may choose to take more on the mountain.

You will also get instruction directly from the Sponsor immediately before going out.


SUPPORTING AT THE VISION QUEST

What does it mean to "Support" at the Vision Quest? Some  people attending the Vision Quest as Supporters may have been Supporters in past Vision Quests, and some may have been past Questers on a Vision Quest, so they all have a pretty good idea of what it means to support at a Vision Quest.  For those that have no direct experience attending a Vision Quest, this will introduce you to the responsibilities and benefits of being a Supporter at the Vision Quest.

Ideally there will be at least as many Supporters as Questers since each Quester can have a specific Supporter that places them on the Questers spot on the mountain, prays for the Quester, and can check on the Quester (without disturbing the Quester) during the time that the Quester is out on the mountain. In addition, the Supporters will help support the Sponsor.

We are asking that Supporters arrive before the start of the Vision Quest and stay until after all Questers have returned and gone through the closing sweat lodge. We feel an important part of the Support process is creating a community focused on supporting the Questers and the Sponsor. It is important to close the circle with all those that opened it. Others who would like to support the Vision Quest process may attend whatever time they can, but they will not be Supporters.

Supporting is a form of Quest in itself. Those that are Supporters will have a time for reflection and meditation like the Questers, but they will not necessarily be fasting like those that are the Questers. The Supporters can look for insights in the company of the other Supporters. In addition, you will have daily interaction with Bear Heart and will participate in a sweat lodge for the Supporters.

The Supporters also will participate in keeping the fire burning until all the Questers have returned. This is an excellent time to meet and get to know the other Supporters. Usually the all night vigil with the fire is shared among the Supporters in shifts. The Supporters also will assist in the communal kitchen in preparing meals (including bringing food donations for some meals for the camp) and in cleanup/ doing dishes.

One significant benefit to being a Supporter is that you will have first-hand experience of a Vision Quest and it may help you eliminate some of the fears you  might have about the question "Can I do a Vision Quest?" Seeing the Questers coming back from the mountain with their visions and all the benefits of their visions might encourage you to "sit on the mountain" in the future.


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