Encyclopedia of Psychology and Religion

2020 Edition
| Editors: David A. Leeming

Vision Quest

  • Richard W. VossEmail author
  • Robert Prue
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-24348-7_731

Ate wiohpeyata Father, to the West

nawwajin yelo. I am standing.

Waayanka yo! Behold me!

Ite Otateya nawajin yelo The wind blowing in my face.

I am standing.

Vision Quest Song (Lakota Ceremonial Songs 1983).


The term “vision quest” describes a psychological metaphor based upon or inspired by the spiritual practice among Native American Indians. As a psychological metaphor, the “vision quest” has been used by some clinicians to illustrate the journey of understanding one’s dreams and experiences in terms of archetypical symbols related to self-understanding and individuation (see Temagami Vision Quest Program, http://www.langskib.com/outdoor-programs-for-adults). However, as the indigenous, American Indian practice, “vision quest” is what the traditional Lakota call the Hanbleceya or “crying for a vision” ceremony (see Black Elk 1953; Lame Deer (Fire) 1972; Lame Deer (Fire) 1992). Elsewhere, this ceremony is also called a “pipe fast” since the individual faster seeking to...

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Undergraduate Social WorkWest Chester University of PennsylvaniaWest ChesterUSA
  2. 2.School of Social Welfare, College of Arts and SciencesUniversity of Missouri – Kansas CityKansas CityUSA