• Shreyas Prakash

Vision Fasting

I ran into Bill Plotkin's ideas after coming across this book —The Journey of Soul Initiation. The title motivated me enough to give this book a try.

Bill Plotkin — The Journey of Soul Initiation

Bill Plotkin talks about the importance of rite-of-passage rituals. Traditionally, every culture has had their own share of rite of passage ceremonies. For tamilians, you had the ear piercing ceremony when the baby attains one year of birth. There are also various puberty rituals practised in India such as Ritu Kaala Samskaram, celebrating the coming of age of girls after their first menstruation. For the boys of Malawi, they pass through initiation rituals which indicate their transformation from being a boy to a man. The Hamar tribes in South Ethiopia have the custom of 'bull jumping' for the transformation to manhood. Annaprashana is another such rite of passage which marks the infant's first intake of food other than milk.

Ritu Kaala Samskaram

Anna prashanna

Similarly, we have many such of moments that are marked by the rite-of-passage. The transition from childhood to adulthood, from adulthood to eldership, the transition into parenthood, the confirmation of new roles in a community, and even resignation of existing roles. All these are important moments of change and transformation that are to be celebrated.

According to Bill Plotkin, the lack of real and meaningful rituals in today's culture has led to various other second order effects such as binge drinking, drug abuse and social media addiction. As we are losing contact with nature, we are losing contact with ourselves. Plotkin advocates for a more contemporary, pan-cultural adaptation of such initial rituals. One such ritual being that of a 'vision fast'.

Vision fasts usually comprise of a 24-hour solo or a 4-day night vision fast in the wilderness. They could help act as a profound source of insight, guidance, vision and strength.


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