© Atala Dorothy Toy
Tucked in an out-of-the way area of the Garden of the Gods national park in Colorado is a stark, solitary outcropping of rocks, used in ancient times by Native Americans for vision quests. This rock guardian does not show itself on the way in, but as the quester leaves, his image comes forward. He has a somber demeanor, high cheekbones, prominent nose and, in the top of his head, a baptismal basin with holy water, blessed by nature, to end the seeker’s fast.
Once inside a protected vision quest site, and you are looking out, the scene changes. The portal guardian makes his presence known. He is a more serious, high-cheek-boned being who protects the quester from outside view and sequesters the person for introspective work. At times, a small bowl on the top of the being’s head is filled with water which was available to the quester. On many occasions, on my visits, there would be water in the bowl – in the Baptismal Font where the quester could celebrate the successful end of his/her ritual observances.
The Shadow Self
On my most recent visit to the site, spirit asked me to sit quietly and observe the journey of the Shadow Self (e.g. the shadow side of our own existence). When it registered with me how significant the march was, which occurred as the shadow reached the guardian’s third eye, I shifted from simply enjoying to visually recording. The shadow being continued its steady move and finally traveled up the cliff, absorbed and transformed into the light of a sunlit smiling face. (See below.) Yet another aspect of the Vision Quest.
CLICK HERE to read more about this vision quest site.