In the most recent episode of “Yellowstone,” Kayce Dutton took part in a sacred ritual to get answers about the wolf that had been seen around his property. Mo told him the wolf was inside him, his spirit animal. Kayce had gone to Thomas Rainwater and Mo to explain what was going on; they then told him he needed to perform a sacred ceremony if he wanted answers.
“Hanbleceya,” Mo tells Kayce, naming the ceremony. “Cry for a vision.”
In a Behind the Story look from “Yellowstone,” Gil Birmingham and Mo Brings Plenty talk about the experience of reenacting a sacred ceremony.
.@TheJenLandon had an interesting approach to the latest bunkhouse scene: “I threw every dirty word that I knew at [Finn Little] with the intention of shocking him and horrifying his mother who was just off camera.” #YellowstoneTV pic.twitter.com/zbqzTxlmYx— Yellowstone (@Yellowstone) December 27, 2021
“It’s one of the most arduous and challenging journeys that somebody can take,” said Birmingham. “But there’s a purifying and a cleansing of stripping all your thoughts to be distilled down to the simplest form of who you actually are, who you really are, and that discovery can change your life.”
Mo Brings Plenty is so connected to the spiritual traditions of his culture in real life; because of this, the cast and crew knew they were going into the scene correctly and respectfully. He spoke about his experience going to the sacred place for the ceremony, and how it affected him personally.
“On that ride there for me emotionally, I was really going to that, what we consider a sacred place,” said Mo. “It’s spot on. There’s a true battle that goes on within us. That place is where we begin to find ourselves.”
‘Yellowstone’: What Did Kayce Go Through in the Ceremony Scene?
The Vision Quest ceremony, called Hanbleceya, that Kayce went through typically lasts 3 to 4 days in a secluded place. Seekers usually perform the ceremony without food or water, according to the Akta Lakota Museum. Rainwater tells Kayce that his answers will depend on “how hard you pray, and how much you suffer.”
First, whoever is looking to perform the ceremony goes to a Holy Man – a Wičasa Wakan. Mo represents this aspect, by directing Kayce in performing the ceremony. Rainwater assists, but he’s not as versed in the traditional practices as Mo is, who grew up surrounded by his culture. Rainwater didn’t grow up on the Reservation, and thought he was of Mexican descent until he was 18; he has more of a link to his culture than when he was younger, but not as much as Mo has.
A successful Vision Quest will result in contact with a “spirit helper or guide.” The point of the ceremony is to “better understand […] oneness with all things and gain knowledge of the Great Spirit,” according to the museum.
Kayce is trying to understand the spirit within himself; he has part of the wolf inside him, according to Rainwater and Mo, and he carries that burden. As Gil Birmingham says, Kayce knows enough to know the wolf is significant, but he doesn’t quite know what it means. Hopefully, he found his answers through the ceremony.