I’m not crazy. My reality is just different from yours.
– Cheshire Cat
So this isn’t going to be a piece on how to attain personal enlightenment. Nor am I going to give you directions to a secret cave where you can meditate and realize nirvana. So much has already been written about the Sedona Vortices that I don’t wish to attempt to reinvent that wheel. However, I am going to throw in my two cents regarding this phenomenon as I’ve made a few observations during my some one hundred trips there last year.
It has been said that no two people ever visit the same city. For each person will have his or her own experiences and describe two very different places. I recall once having a conversation with a gentleman on a departing flight from New Zealand. During our conversation, he said he’d stayed in a very nice hotel in Auckland, visited the local tourists’ attractions and chartered a fishing boat to do some deep sea fishing. I, on the other hand, had hitchhiked across the north island, hiked through the Kauri Forest, slept on beaches, fished the Tasman Sea through a typhoon and drank with Maoris while listening to their stories of ancient times on the island. We may as well have visited two different countries.
I never forgot this conversation and since then have always thought back to it when asking anyone of their travels. I imagine this is true everywhere but it seems especially so for Sedona. When guiding in Sedona I find that even people on the same tour have different experiences, and most of that is due to their preconceived ideas and expectations they brought with them.
Sedona, known for its red rocks and vortice is a desert paradise at the foot of the Colorado Plateau. One of Arizona’s top tourist destinations, the natural living lifestyle and outdoor recreation attract people from all over the world as many to come and enjoy the trails, rocks, and scenery. Luxury hotels and spas flank the town on all sides while edging their way into the canyons. Art galleries and souvenir shops line the streets from one end of town to the other and endless parades of jeeps and Hummers transport tourists off the blacktop and onto the canyons to get an up-close look at what Sedona is known for. Here they have an opportunity to experience the high desert red rocks, which for many is an alien landscape compared to the concrete jungles they call home.
But there is another side to this high desert wonderland. A side not necessarily hidden, but elusive still. To say that there is an esoteric or new age current running through this town is an understatement and like the crystals sold inside them, metaphysical shops seem to grow right out of the red rock itself. These metaphysical bookstores can not only be found up and down the main drag but on just about every side street, and alley as well. Inside, one can purchase nearly any crystal, or mineral imaginable, as well as herbs, smudges, divination pendants, jewelry, literature, candles, incense, you get the point. Many offer physic readings, chakra balancing, aura photography, astrological readings, and nutritional workshops as well. Some of these shops lean towards Native American beliefs while others cater to the UFO community. Some are superficial tourist traps selling mass quantities of cheap low-grade crystals next to imported Chinese junk while others cater to professional healers and the affluent, specializing in high end, rare crystal specimens.
So how did all this begin?
But how and when did this era of new age begin? Sedona wasn’t always a metaphysical destination (At least not outwardly.) Up until the late 1970’s, it was a semi-rural, artistic, tourist/ranching community, and not long before that it was just the town at the base of Oak Creek Canyon where one could load up on groceries and fuel before heading into the canyon or continuing onto the high country. Of course Hollywood had done its part to promote Sedona by shooting many classic western movies there and no doubt some high-end private residences dotted the area, but nothing like today. My grandfather moved to Phoenix in 1947, he was a master carpenter and told me stories of installing custom cabinets in some “pretty swanky homes” around Sedona. At that time there certainly was no “overt” new age vibe or metaphysical connection with Sedona.
A local perspective
As relayed to me by a Sedona born native, all this began with a woman named Paige Bryant. A California native who transplanted to Sedona, Paige was drawn to the red rock area by what she felt was natural energy. She worked for one of the local tour companies which took tourists into the backcountry. Since she was already involved in the world of metaphysics and quite familiar with natural energy theory, she was fond of incorporating this aspect into her tours. It seemed the perfect place to profess her theories and belief system. The incredibly beautiful red rocks, clean crisp air, and heavenly contrast of canyons and sky can only inspire a belief in something beyond our immediate perception. Apparently due to a difference of perspective Paige and her employer soon parted ways and Paige promptly opened up her own tour company. (Go entrepreneurism.) Paige’s metaphysical, “vortex” based tours caught fire and she had no problem filling seats. The tour consisted of taking people to locations where energy generated by our planet naturally concentrated and emerged from the earth. There, one could harness said energy via their mind, crystals, ritual, sound, or any number of other subjective personal belief systems and put that energy to beneficial use in one’s own life. This theory, by the way, is the default energy vortex belief that is still alive and well in Sedona today. One can visit any so-called vortex site and see people from all walks of life performing any number of activities. One can also hop on the inter-web and find numerous Sedona based tour companies which cater to this niche. Only this niche isn’t such a niche anymore but rather a mainstream industry. Even the largest corporate tour companies in town offer a politically correct version of the tour. Being careful not to cross the line into religion or personal belief systems they will take you to the vortex sites and give you a generic perspective of the phenomenon.
My Sedona contact went on to say. All of these energy vortex sites which Paige used on her tours were and still are located no more than 50 yards from a parking area easily accessible via a well-maintained road. Now it may just be a coincidence that all these“vortices” just happened to be this conveniently located, but some locals who actually knew Paige say it may have more to do with the fact that Paige was overweight and chain smoked. It is rather strange that none of these sites are located deep within the rugged nearby canyons. It could also be that maybe there are other vortice out there are and these are just the ones we know about as they are readily accessible.
I knew who I was this morning, but I’ve changed a few times since then.
Sedona’s new age roots
This story intrigued me so I dug deeper, and in doing so I discovered that although Paige Bryant was indeed quite responsible for promoting the new age movement in Sedona, she was far from the first to do so and the validity of the vortices being real most definitely does not lie with her. Although there were many new age pioneers, it was Mary Lou Keller who put Sedona on the metaphysical radar long before Paige entered the stage.
It was Mary who in 1957 first “felt” and then launched the Sedona new age movement. She lived in a large house on route 179 where today the hillside shops stand. Mary was a magnet for anything alternative or new age and people did come, Manly Hall even showed up for a lecture shortly before his death.
Dick Sutphen was another new age pioneer, who in 1978 wrote Past Lives, Future Loves. In this book, he put forth the idea that there were several locations on earth were magnetic fields occurred naturally and that Sedona was one of them. He wrote that an Indian legend spoke of four sacred sites which were known as “power spots” two positive and two negative. He stated that the two positive locations were Kauai (one of the islands of Hawaii) and Sedona, (both red rock country.) Sutphen began his work in the Sedona in the late sixties and continues there to this day. Other early metaphysical pioneers include Christopher Jelm and Pete Sanders. The strange thing is that even though all this metaphysical work was being done in the Sedona area it was kept relatively quiet and on the down low. Or perhaps it just wasn’t commercialized yet.
Now I am not one to bad mouth another person’s belief system as I myself have seen many strange things in my time, things I still cannot fully explain, and like everyone else I attempt to fit these experiences into my own personal reality construct. Besides, how can one begin to tell another that what they feel standing on top of a particular rock isn’t real? But I am a realist as well. I believe that spirituality and science are not mutually exclusive but rather an attempt to explain the same thing from different ends of the spectrum, or like we say out west (two cowboys catchin’ the horns of the same bull.) I also believe that in order for a path of free will to bear true fruit, that path requires full disclosure. Free will is well and good but left ignorant it leaves the door open to those who would deceive and dilute another’s time and resources for their own personal gain. I guess the message here is the necessity for personal responsibility in one’s spiritual path.
The Sedona Vortice
The locations of the Sedona Vortice have been long established and agreed upon. The main locations are
- Airport Mesa Vortex
- Red Rock Crossing/Cathedral Rock Vortex
- Boynton Canyon Vortex
- Bell Rock Vortex
Other locations include
- Spaceship Rock
- Munds Trail/Schnebly Hill Rd.
Alice: How long is forever?
White Rabbit: Sometimes just one second
-Through the Looking Glass
The science behind the Sedona Vortexes
Depending on who one listens to or what particular brand of religion, science, or pseudo-science one exposes themselves to, one can adopt any number of understandings of the Sedona Vortexes (Vortices).
Sifting through the endless amounts of material I have encountered regarding energy/spiritualism in Sedona, these are among the most popular and give a basic understanding/belief as to how the Sedona Vortices work.
- The Iron in the surrounding area, (the stuff that makes the rocks red) is naturally magnetic and it is this magnetic force which has an effect on individuals. These magnetic fields affect our biology on a positive level, facilitating (fill in the blank.)
- Sedona is located in a unique spot where lay lines (Earths natural energy grid system) meet and produce phenomenon beneficial to humans.
- The fault line that runs along the valley floor exposes quartz crystals in the earth’s crust. This massive deposit of aligned quartz magnifies Earth’s natural lay lines.
- The fault line that runs along the valley floor is a natural vent for energies born deep within the earth. These energies make their way up (think lava) and become concentrated at certain points as they emerge from the earth. Certain shapes and magnetic properties of the surrounding rock formations harness and concentrate this natural energy and it’s these sites which become known as vortices.
- The earth’s crust is thinnest in the American Southwest, and this is the reason extraterrestrials have chosen to construct underground bases and operate here. It makes for far less earth to have to travel through coming in and out of their subterranean systems. The magnetic properties of the red rocks due to the iron oxides found therein become a natural energy field and the ship’s power and recharge themselves by flying around the Sedona area. Here they communicate with humans telepathically giving wisdom, love, and insight into our universe in an ever moving “pay if forward” core belief system which we ourselves will engage in some day upon attaining their level of enlightenment and technology.
- Native Americans have used the area for thousands of years for ceremonial purposes and it is this energetic residue which gives the area power. Or, native peoples realized the power of the area and simply utilized it for personal benefit.
- Due to any of the aforementioned beliefs, the Sedona area is the location of a rip or tear in the fabric of our world/dimension where entities and energies pass through and interact with humans here. These entities attempt to transfer to us love, peace, understanding, and all things good, as they are light years more advanced than us and obviously further along in their spiritual development.
- Sedona is an opening from the pit of hell. Seductive, beautiful, and tempting. The energies here are of the devil and can only serve to corrupt humans as this energy is not spoken of or explained in the bible. The entities contacted from the other side are demons and only mean to deceive us and lead us away from the lord so that we may spend eternity in hell.
- God created for us the Sedona area in all its beauty, wonder, and majesty as a testament to his ability and love for mankind. The natural healing energies emanating from this area are a gift from our all-loving creator and is to be taught, shared, and used for all things good.
I shall stop here. As you can see, it’s pretty much anything you want it to be or nothing at all. And any of the believers of any of these belief systems will be able to pull from their personal libraries reams of literature, proof, and testimony to back up their personal belief system. Is this coming off as cynical? I apologize, allow me to explain. In my 100 or so trips to Sedona this year I have witnessed many would be gurus take advantage of people who are seriously looking for spiritual enlightenment. I see them in the crystal shops, getting physic readings, their auras photographed, or having their chakras balances with drums or an Australian didgeridoo (Just like the native Americans used to do it.) Ha. I see desperate and sometimes sick people looking for some talisman, cure, or belief system, throwing their money at those who would sell them a bridge. I’m sure there are those who truly believe in what they are doing, to them I would say “right on.” I’m sure there are those who are finding their own way in the world and attempting to finance themselves along the way, and to them, I would say, “be careful, you could do serious damage along the way.” But I’m fairly certain that there are just as many charlatans selling spiritual snake oil among them, fully aware of what they are doing. Just remember, a real medicine man/woman will never charge for services or advice. However it is understood that something should be traded or exchange, so that he/she can go on and continue doing the work of the creator. I guess my point once again is “buyer beware.”
She generally gave herself very good advise, though she very seldom followed it.
-Through the Looking Glass
That being said. Why is it that the wealthy choose to live here? It is a fact that if you work in Sedona you seldom live there, and most often commute from Cottonwood, Camp Verde, or Flagstaff, as “normal” jobs don’t pay anywhere near enough to afford the real estate or a house there. And if you live in Sedona you seldom work there, as any job to be had cannot begin to approach a livable Sedona wage. So most of the people who own property here are from elsewhere and these homes mostly represent winter retreats for the wealthy. There are the locals who have inherited land here or bought before the boom and they are pretty much rooted in, but even this is changing as it always does with increased property taxes and cost of living increases. Still, the wealthy always seem to put their money where the good stuff is to be had. Is it simply the aesthetics and beauty of the area, or is there something more? We know that secret societies and wealth go hand in hand, and we know that they convey knowledge to one another in order to harness and maintain power within families, and organizations. Could there be something else going on here? Not a secret evil plan but rather a natural migration and settling of classes of people based on economic laws which intrinsically dictate societal evolution.
Thunder Mountain (The story that just won’t die)
So, for starters. Thunder Mountain’s true name isn’t Thunder mountain. It’s real name, as listed on official maps is Grayback Mountain. But since we are talking about it I’ll refer to it as Thunder Mt. for this portion of the article.
Thunder Mountain dominates the backdrop of Sedona West. It sits just north of the city and contrasts nicely with the red rocks as Thunder Mt. is gray or off-white in color.
The mountain has countless stories and legends associated with it and people (guides included) are apt to share many of them with you, but how many of these stories are true is any one’s guess.
My first week in Sedona I got three different stories that were similar enough but told differently and colored with personal flair. The big story people like to share is that Thunder Mt. got its name because it is always being struck by lightning, as it is the tallest mountain in the area, and because of the high iron content in the soil it naturally attracts lightning. This fact is flat on its face as Wilson mt is close by and is actually about 1 thousand feet taller than Thunder mountain’s 6315-foot peak. It is also widely told that the Yavapai (a local Native American tribe) feared and had great respect for this mountain. As it was told to me they wouldn’t even climb upon it as they believed that little people lived within the mountain and were responsible for the lightning that often shot from the sides of it and the thunder which followed. This story definitely fits into the high strangeness category. Locals today don’t witness this spectacle however they do see lightning strikes there often.
Then there is the story of Walt Disney. This one infuriates many guides as there is no basis for it. This story has been around so long and has maintained so much staying power that veteran outdoor guides at one point officially pooled together and tracked down land records, dates, and anything they could find to put this story to rest. In short, they found nothing to substantiate this story, yet if you go to Sedona tomorrow and ask 5 people about Thunder Mt. someone will tell you this story. One version goes like this.
Walt Disney was traveling around the southwest looking for business opportunities and ended up buying a piece of property and building a house in Sedona. The story goes that he lived here for a couple years before selling and moving on, however, he was so captivated by Grayback Mt. that he designed a ride after it at Disneyland. Thunder Mountain.
Now that’s the story. A story for which no evidence has ever been found. But allow me to throw in my two cents at this point as I have a different take on old Walt.
Walt Disney was, in my opinion, searching for “power” as well as business opportunity. There are stories of him visiting the Grand Canyon and other nearby areas as well. Many people are unaware that Walt Disney was, in fact, a high ranking Freemason (this is true) and in part is what makes the story halfway believable. For those of you who don’t know, old Walt was more than just a cartoonist. He was BIG into the occult in a time in America and Europe when occult interest was at its highest. Before joining the Freemasons he was a DeMolay, and when he came of age he joined the secret society. Walt Disney was an occultist and a lifelong practitioner of ceremonial magick. If you’ve never heard it before it may sound unbelievable but if you do the footwork you’ll discover it for yourself. Many people believe that Walt was interested in cartoons because it was a path to children, and children are where pedophiles naturally gravitate. There is much evidence for this today as Disney is a scandalous role model for children which sexualizes them at an ever increasing younger rate. The Disney corporation has blossomed into an international technocratic monster. A machine which cranks out material of an ever increasingly occultic nature every year. The symbolism in and Disney film these days is over the top and in your face. It is for this reason many parents do not allow their children to consume their material. But this isn’t new to the Disney brand.
But, I nearly forgot. You must close your eyes. Otherwise….. You won’t see a thing.
All of Walt’s early black and white cartoons are littered with occult symbolism. From the number 32 and 33 written on walls to pyramids with all-seeing eyes drawn in as desk paperweights. He was an open anti-Semite as well. His cartoon was far from innocent and we can see in the early wartime propaganda cartoons he drew where Donald and Mickey were in the Navy and fighting in a war scenario. Fantasia even takes on a different meaning when you know the truth about Walt.
I encourage you to dive into this topic for yourself as it is quite eye-opening. But for our purposes here I’ll get back to Sedona. Do I believe that Walt Disney came through Sedona? I do, and the most likely heard about it from other occultists. If Manly Hall was speaking in Sedona, I can guarantee you that every occultist, Freemason, and practitioner of magick worldwide was well aware of the believed energies to be had in Sedona.
So whereas there are no land records directly linking Walt Disney to ever living in Sedona I don’t doubt for a minute that he at least traveled through, and maybe this is where this story of Thunder Mt started. To what extent Walt influenced or was influenced by Sedona who knows, but I bet there is a piece to this story which simply hasn’t been found yet, and when it is it may just shed some light on the legend of Thunder Mountain.
Sometimes I have believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.
It is a fact that it is illegal to build a school underneath high voltage power lines in the United States. Even though the science isn’t definitive and still argued, it is believed that living under a power line causes cancer. It is the EMF emanating from the lines that are believed to be the culprit. The constant bombardment of electrons coming off the power lines causes cells in the human body to mutate upon division and boom, cancer. Mutated cells obviously equal cancer; but this begs the question. If it is possible to mutate a cell and cause cancer, is it possible to add to cell memory and even reconstruct it to a point where it becomes healthier/younger than before? Or at the very least perhaps slow down the rate of entropy in the ongoing cellular regeneration process, hence prolonging life? From a theoretical standpoint, I don’t see why not. In fact, this is exactly what life-extending scientists work on every day.
So here is my question. Is it possible that there is, or could be, a natural formation or “engine” if you will that when correctly constructed, tweaked or harnessed emits a force which is beneficial to humans at a cellular level? A force which may extend cell memory, cell life, and slow down the rate of aging. Uranium is a naturally occurring agent that when placed in the vicinity of humans breaks down and mutates cells causing all sorts of problems and death. Sometimes this radiation destroys the DNA coding and the effects aren’t realized until the next generation. Could there be a force which acts the other way? Perhaps an energy which is operating on such a subtle scale that it is barely perceivable. Such a scale that any benefits can only be realized from a lifetime of living there, or generationally even. Perhaps one needs to grow up with it in order to have it “program” him/her on a cellular level to begin with. Of course, I’m just theorizing here, but this is what comes to mind when I think of these things.
Perhaps Sedona is such an “engine”. Did Paige Bryant and the others interest in energy work lead them on a path to Sedona? Aside from what the naysayers have said, did they rediscover early on a true energetic wonderland and spearhead a movement which has not only lasted but thrived to this day?
To sum it up, Sedona is indeed a special place. I myself feel a sense of peace whenever I am there, and any resident will tell you that they never get tired of living among the red rocks. People seem a little healthier in Sedona, a little happier, and walk with an extra bit of purpose in their step. There just doesn’t seem to be as many problems there. Over the past two decades it has morphed into a strange amalgamation of tourists, hippies, gurus, adventures, action sports enthusiasts, treasure hunters, healers, artists, cowboys and UFO hunters; and somehow it works. In fact, it works beautifully.
So if you’ve yet to visit this little gem of Arizona you may want to include it into your next trip out here. Do some hiking, take a tour, find one of the alleged vortice and discover for yourself if there is something to all this. If you find something that works for you, roll with it. If all you find are the great hotels and restaurants there is nothing wrong with that either, for Sedona is one of those places where people always seem experience what they need to.
Curiouser and curiouser
In writing this article I’m certain that I have misrepresented at least a dozen different belief systems and their respective sub-religions and so forth. If I have offended yours please don’t take it personally as there are just too many out there to keep straight and I don’t believe Sedona would be the same without each and every one of you.
There is a place like no place on earth.
A land full or wonder, mystery, and danger!
Some say, to survive it, you need to be as mad as a hatter.
Which, luckily, I am.
-The Mad Hatter