The crew take shore leave on a friendly planet inhabited by people called Nechani. A group become interested in the Nechani's religious sites and take a tour. Kes is put into a coma when, out of curiosity, she touches a natural biogenic field. The Doctor cannot help, in part because the monks will not allow readings to be taken around the field. Neelix investigates and returns with a story of a King and his son. The son was seemingly injured as Kes was and the King went through an initiation in order to awaken him.
Janeway petitions the monks to allow her to perform the same ritual. The Doctor places a probe in her bloodstream, determined to find out the science behind the rituals. Janeway expects the course to consist of tests of physical endurance, mental discipline, and perhaps psychoactive drugs which would change her body chemistry, allowing her to pass through the field.
Janeway goes through the first series of tests; her guide warns that they are meaningless, the point is for Janeway to get in touch with the spirits. She ends up bitten by a creature which is supposed to allow her to contact the spirit world. Her guide seems to say that the spirits find Janeway's inquiries about Kes' plight inconsequential because she already knows how to fix Kes.
The Doctor thinks the venom from the creature might be the cure needed for Kes. It is not. Janeway convinces her command crew to let her go to the ritual site again, convinced that if she takes Kes through the field, it will work. Her guide allows it, indicating that Janeway's desire to go through is all that is needed. Kes is healed of her affliction. The Doctor comes up with a scientific explanation for how Kes was healed. Janeway seemingly expresses doubt that it was science.