Welcome to the BearHeart Vision Quest page, which has information on vision quests in BearHeart’s tradition. Marcellus BearHeart Williams passed in 2008 at age 90, but his Spirit lives on in those that knew him, and those that have read his book, The Wind Is My Mother. This is what BearHart said in his book:
“And in turn, now I can sit on the side and watch the fruits of my labor, what I have invested in those I have taught. They’re carrying on now while I’m still living here and can be a recipient of the love and prayers that they make for me. Those are some of the things that give me encouragement to keep going on regardless of how tired I may get or the obstacles I face.”
That love and prayers continue on even after he is gone.
His website is:
Hi, my name is Mike Three Bears Andrews. I met BearHeart in 1995, and was authorized to Sponsor and Lead vision quests in his tradition starting in 2004. A total of over 120 people have vision quested since then in BearHeart Vision Quests. BearHeart developed a process where anyone can vision quest, and we have had people of all ages attend, from teenagers to those in their 70’s, and from 11 foreign countries since his book has been translated into 13 foreign languages. Many vision quest traditions require a year of training before questing, with a 4-5 year commitment to continue questing, but BearHeart Vision Quests require only a one year commitment, although some people have quested four or more times, then supported as a way to give back to the process (more on supporting and questing below).
What is a vision quest and why should you do it? A vision quest is an experiential activity where you sit in Nature by yourself and BE. It is under the auspices of a leader (me) who has been trained and has prepared you for being alone, with no food, no water, no fire, no tent, no cell phone (Oh no!) for one to four days, and is praying for you. Fasting by going without food or water is NOT the source of the visions, but deepens the experience. If you have medical issues (such as diabetes or are taking prescription medications), please tell Three Bears so special arrangement can be made to accommodate you.The vision quest is a way of setting aside the daily aspects of life in order to seek communication with a Higher Being. On a quest, you are searching for something; you may or may not know what that something is. You might have specific questions, or you may just know that you need to pay attention to who you are and why you are here. Perhaps you are at a crossroad in life and are asking for guidance. You may just be curious about what a vision quest is and what you will experience during it.
The next-to-the-last chapter in BearHeart’s book is entitled “Becoming A Vessel—The Vision Quest”, and I encourage you to read it. A few key excerpts:
“To be replenished, we need to keep emptying ourselves to receive more.”
“Sit down and notice the world around you.”
“If we really want to know ourselves, at some point in life we’re going to have to surrender to a Higher Power who knows all about us—our weaknesses, our mistakes, and our potentials. Many Native American tribes do that through our meditation known as “vision quest”—the setting aside of a time and place , alone out in nature, to communicate with a Higher Being and explore that which is within. Somewhere in that space of time as we are questing, answers come. It is an opportunity to know more about ourselves and some of the options that we have to choose from in life.”
When you come back in after completing your quest, we will discuss your experiences: what you saw, heard, felt, or dreamed during this time. We say someone’s vision quest starts the moment they commit to attending, which may be one or more months before being “on the mountain”, so that also will be addressed. I will help interpret your experiences and you may receive answers to some of your questions. I will then give you a medicine name based on your experiences.
What does it mean to “Support” at the vision quest? Some people at the vision quest that are supporters may have supported in the past, while others may have quested, so they have a good understanding of what it means to support. However, anyone can support, perhaps to better understand the vision quest and see if they want to quest themselves sometime. Others may support a particular quester because they are a friend or relative.
Supporting is a form of quest in itself, as supporters will have time for reflection and meditation, like the questers, but they may not be fasting like the questers. The main responsibility of a supporter is praying for the questers. The supporters also will participate in keeping the “Sacred Fire” burning until all the questers have returned. The all night vigil with the Fire is shared in shifts.
The BearHeart Vision Quest Camp is a “closed Camp”, where everyone in Camp MUST be a Quester or Supporter, with no guests. Everyone must arrive before the start of the vision quest and remain until the last quester returns. If someone quests one or two nights, with everyone going out starting Wednesday afternoon, then they will remain in Camp until those out three nights return on Sunday morning.
The vision quest starts Tuesday evening, so people must arrive before Noon in order to set up their tents. You will need camping gear, such as tents and sleeping bags, for the time before questing, but you can take a sleeping bag and tarp while questing. A limited number of tents and sleeping bags are available for loan if reserved in advance; there will be a nominal cleaning fee for loaned camping gear. Questers will be provided detailed information on the vision quest process, and on what they might want to have while questing, although some may choose to take only a wool blanket for their quest. There will be a Camp Kitchen and meals will be provided, and we will try to accommodate special dietary requirements if you send your special dietary requirements before the vision quest, preferably in your Letter of Intent.
The BearHeart Vision Quest is held in south-central New Mexico, in the Lincoln National Forest near Cloudcroft, NM. It is in a heavily timbered area of the mountains, at an elevation of 9,100 feet, and held starting the first Tuesday in August. This is during New Mexico’s monsoon season, so it can be rainy and cool because of the elevation. I have been doing Ceremonies at this location for over 25 years, so I can help you prepare for the vision quest and answer your questions.
There is never a charge for Ceremonies. Donations are according to your lifestyle and no one will be turned away for monetary reasons. You may work out a payment plan with Mike Three Bears. The requested donations support the physical requirements of the BearHeart Vision Quest. The donations are used to purchase food since meals are provided, rental of porta-potties, travel expenses for Two Bears, and purchase of firewood.
In the past, this website had a lot of information about the BearHeart Vision Quest. If you are interested in finding out more about it, please contact me and I will provide more, or MUCH more, information. Those that register for the vision quest will be provided detailed information to prepare you for your time on the mountain, which will be memorable and a true blessing. It is impossible for someone who hasn’t gone through the vision quest process to understand how important it is. People might think a quester coming in after being out three nights with no food or water would be tired and dragging, but they invariably are energized and glowing like a Coleman lantern.
It is important that you register for the vision quest as early as possible so that I can plan accordingly. To register, go to the RSVP link listed below. Questers will need to send to me a deposit of $100 (non refundable, but it can be applied to any future BearHeart Vision Quest), a Letter of Intent, and an unopened package of tobacco. The tobacco is very important because with it you are asking me to place you out on your vision quest and, when I accept it, I am agreeing to do so. This then becomes a formal contract between us. Your final payment of the rest of your donation should be completed at least a month before the start of the vision quest. Of course, we usually have some last minute registrations and have always been able to accommodate them.