- Giles: “Do you think they appreciate the gravity of what we’re undertaking? It’s frightening, and it’s difficult. And then, apparently, someone told them that the Vision Quest consists of me driving them to the desert, doing the hokey pokey until a spooky Rasta-mama Slayer arrives and speaks to them in riddles.”
- Buffy: “That’s not exactly how I put it...”
- — Rupert Giles and Buffy Summers[src]
The Vision Quest was a rite undergone by certain Slayers to regain focus and learn more about their roles and powers. The Quest involved the Watcher taking the Slayer to a sacred location, and performing a ritual that temporarily turned over his/her guardianship of the Slayer over to the Guide, a spirit which took a certain form to lead the Slayer to the exact location for her to undergo the Vision.
- “... that which I am pledged to guard and guide, I hand over to you. Lead her to a place of safety and learning. Give her that which she needs. Show her the path...”
- ―Translation of the Swahili chant to summon the Guide[src]
To summon the Guide, the Watcher had jump in and out of a sacred circle, shake a gourd and then chant a Swahili incantation to summon the Guide. The Guide would then appear before the Slayer and take her to the exact location of the Quest. Buffy considered it the Watchers' version of the 'Hokey-Pokey'.
Buffy Summers' Vision Quest
- Buffy: “A quest. Like find a grail or something?”
- Giles: “Not a grail. Maybe some answers. It would take a day, perhaps two.”
- — Buffy and Giles[src]
In 2001, Rupert Giles took Buffy Summers to undergo the Vision Quest to a desert close to Sunnydale. Within the desert was a sacred location that "balanced" the unholy power of the Hellmouth and served as a manifestation spot for the Guide.
After Giles performed to ritual to pass over his guardianship, the Guide appeared to Buffy in the form of a mountain lion and took her to the sacred place, which Buffy recognized, as she had already seen it in dreams when the spirit of the First Slayer had attempted to assassinate her. The Guide disappeared, leaving Buffy alone for several hours until she fell asleep.
Buffy woke up to see a bonfire and at the other side the Guide, which had taken the form of the First Slayer herself. During their conversation, the Guide revealed to her that through love, by risking love and suffering, Buffy would come to her gift: Death. Initially Buffy would think that by "death" the Guide meant killing, but several weeks later Buffy would finally understand that her gift was the sacrifice she would perform to save her sister and the world with her.
Potential Slayers' Vision Quest
- “The girls need this trip to understand the source of their power. And to know how to use it right.”
- ―Buffy Summers[src]
Two years later, as part of the training of the Potential Slayers under Buffy's care, Giles took Molly, Chloe, Amanda, Vi and Rona to undergo their own Vision Quest. Kennedy pretended to be sick to avoid going.