Tag Archives: vision quest


Stone Circle DB243Stone circles. Dozens, possibly more than a hundred.

Most of them consist of a single course of unworked rocks in a ring five or six feet across, usually on a high place.  Because they are clearly ancient and the stones have been scattered it’s hard to say for sure, but most seem to have a gap that faces a distant landmark: a mountain, a volcanic plug. They’re too small to be hogan or teepee rings. A visiting archaeologist friend took one look and said, “Did they do vision quests in these parts?”

Quite possibly. The circles’ size, placement and ephemeral quality—ephemeral for stone—seem right for solitude, fasting, and waiting upon silence. I am deliberately vague about their location lest there be an influx of Native-wannabe vision questers; those who have a right to know where they are no doubt already do.

One ring was more horseshoe-shaped, built higher at the curve and sloping to an opening that may have faced the winter sunrise. Another was built on top of a seven-foot-tall yellow sandstone hoodoo just the right size for it. Its rocks were bright red.


CabezonFrom the western ridge of the syncline a pass looks out over Cabezón, shadowy and shadow-washed. Many ancient, rudimentary stone circles scatter their boulders on high points. Each may be the site of a vision quest; we can think of no other explanation. Below lie mineral springs. One is raised on its deposits, a breast whose nipple is a pool, perfectly round, green as an old penny.

As we walked back along the ridge, some small creature far down among the split rocks screamed at us: Squee! Squee! Squee! An ear-splitting insult that never stopped until we went away.