Native American Tales

The Vision Quest

The Vision QuestThe Vision Quest

Brule Sioux

There was once a young man who wanted a vision about becoming a medicine man. He wanted to be important. He prepared for his quest and others helped him. He went off into the hills for four days without food or water.

The first night, he stayed up praying to receive a vision. In the morning the mists spoke to him. They asked him why he was on this particular hillside. There were other places he could have gone to. He had even kept the trees awake with all his noise.

The second night, the young man was terrified. A boulder rolled straight down the hill at him. The boulder smashed his vision pit and even jumped over him and embedded itself into the ground. The young man was chased back to the village, but he told others he had seen nor learned anything and went back to the hillside.

The young man endured more with hunger and thirst. He wanted to stay the whole four days. On the fourth day there was a crack of lightning and the boulder came rolling down the hill again. The boy did stay and this two uncles told him that he may not have had a vision, but he did learn that the spirits did not owe him one.


Vision quests are an actual thing in Native American culture. The idea is to deprive oneself of some Earthly pleasures and wait for something to take form out of thoughts. It’s not something that is necessarily restricted just to Native Americans. In some Christian religions, there is the observance of fasting. You give up food for a period of time and pray about something. This idea is really no different from the vision quest of the Native Americans, although, it’s generally not a thing to go out in the woods while fasting and live in a hole in the ground.


This young man learned that spiritual impression comes with humility not pride. He thought he deserved a vision. The scriptures do say something like, “with a broken heart and contrite spirit.” That means you’re supposed to approach god(s) with humility and offer up yourself free of any pride or deserving attitude. The basic idea of the story is not to think that God owes you something, you owe God, and if you think that God owes you a Ferrari, you’re probably wrong.


Boulders do not like this guy.

Weigh In

If you went out the have a vision quest, what would it be for?

Do you think people too often think God owes them something?


3 thoughts on “The Vision Quest”

  1. In a vision quest one risks their life for faith and communication with the divine. No food or water in the desert is a bit more dangerous than fasting for a day with a refrigerator and faucet at hand. Sorry to disagree with you, but they are VERY different.

    1. You get me again, Jonna! 🙂 I definitely agree that it’s more dangerous. The ideas are the same in the fact that someone is depriving themselves in order to get a divine message, but a vision quest is definitely more extreme than someone just fasting for a day or so. Like I said, a fastee usually doesn’t go out into the desert or forest while they fast.

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