Have you ever heard of an energy vortex? I hadn’t. Sedona has 4 of them.
When I was looking into taking a few days in Arizona and was deciding on a route, I read just a few sentences on what Sedona was all about and I knew right away that I had to make it a part of my itinerary. Sedona is a New Age utopia. Everyone is talking openly about energy and vibrating on different frequencies – from the waiter at the roadside diner to the cashier at a souvenir shop who told me that I shouldn’t hold back my feelings because it’s bad for my soul during our two minute interaction. Yoga centers, psychics and intuitive healers are everywhere. You have your choice of aura photographers and healing crystal shops. A tibetan prayer bowl is pretty much a standard souvenir. It’s fantastic, and everything I’d been looking for in a destination at this crossroads of my life. I learned during my stay there that Sedona is thought of as a spiritual Disneyland. I can certainly understand why.
On the drive up from Phoenix to Sedona, at first you’re surrounded on all sides by desert and a plethora of cacti for 99% of the trip. It feels like a Western movie. You’re half waiting for Clint Eastwood to pop out from behind a cactus and give you some lip. Unfortunately, that didn’t materialize for me. But just as you start to get used to the grayish-green desert landscape, seemingly out of nowhere you see a glint of red in the distance, and it almost looks out of place. Then you round the curve of a mountain and come around the other side to your first full view of the magnificence that is Red Rock Country, spread out like platter in front of your eyes.
It’s an other-worldly scene. Literally. You can basically compare a panorama from Sedona side by side with footage from the Mars Rover, and easily confuse the two. But that’s something that should be addressed in an entirely different conversation.
Then there’s the energy that surrounds you during your entire stay. It’s hard to describe, really. But it just makes you feel lighter overall and your thoughts come more clearly. It’s an easy place to contemplate a decision.
Sedona’s aforementioned energy vortexes are located at Cathedral Rock, Boynton Canyon, Airport Mesa (which is a lookout point) and Bell Rock. There are different sorts of energies located at each, and therefore different reasons for visiting:
- Cathedral Rock is said to benefit the feminine side. Associations with the feminine side include kindness, compassion, a big heart, patience, and the ability to sense what the outcome of your actions will be. Cathedral Rock is probably the most photographed. *Please note that Cathedral Rock is recommended for a more experienced hiker/climber.
- Airport Mesa is said to benefit the masculine side. This includes the ability to take bigger risks, make decisions, stand up for one’s beliefs, reasoning skills, and more focus. I was told this is one of the best places to watch the sunset in Sedona, but unfortunately wasn’t able to see it for myself.
- Boynton Canyon’s energy vortex helps with the balance between the masculine and feminine. Boynton Canyon has an amazing hiking trail. The native tribes of the area still hold sacred rituals in this area, although out of view.
- Bell Rock is the most renowned of the energy vortexes in Sedona, and is said to have the strongest energy flow. It can benefit both masculine & feminine sides, as well as the balance between the two making it a spiritual “one stop shop”. Envisioning your future clearly, uncovering your life’s purpose, stimulating new thoughts and ideas , and experiencing new levels of consciousness have all been described at Bell Rock.
Some visitors to Sedona visit all 4 vortexes. Some don’t visit any at all. I made it to 2 of them: Bell Rock and Boynton Canyon. I have to say that before I knew that Bell Rock was in fact Bell Rock I kept driving by this beautiful formation and was especially intrigued by it. Then when I did learn of the “powers” of Bell Rock, I completely understood why I kept feeling drawn to it. It has the air of mystery to it, and there’s just something else there you can’t pinpoint exactly.
Boynton Canyon had an entirely different (but equally strong) feeling for me. Beyond the main vortex area of the knoll/Kachina Woman of Boynton Canyon, there’s an extensive hike that takes you around the side of a cliff. As I don’t have the best track record with stability and have been known to fall down stairs seemingly for no reason, this hike became a walking meditation for me as I had to pay VERY close attention to each step I took. Stepping stones are placed strategically in a Japanese Garden for the same reason – it’s said to bring your mind to the present moment and out of the clouds because you have to pay mind to where you’re stepping so you don’t slip. I personally think this sort of moving and present solitude can do wonders for the psyche. I can’t speak on the energies at Cathedral Rock or Airport Mesa since I didn’t have a chance to experience either, but Boynton Canyon felt more snug to me than Bell Rock. Being there felt like a hug from the Earth.
The Chapel of the Holy Cross is another must-see on the Sedona checklist. You’ll have jaw-dropping views of both Bell Rock and Cathedral Rock from the lookout there, presenting you with a spectacular photo opportunity. The concept (put into fruition by a student of Frank Lloyd Wright’s) of the Chapel is interesting as well. As it’s built right into the side of a mountain, as you enter the floor-to-ceiling windows will provide an uninhibited connection to nature. A concept I’d touched on while in Kyoto: you are literally bowing and praying to this most amazing Earth while inside of this Chapel. You don’t need to be Catholic to enjoy this space either. As the sign outside proclaims, “the chapel is a shrine that provides peace to all who enter”.
Heavenly view from the Chapel of the Holy Cross…if you’re into that kinda thing ;)
A really cool external feature you can also find in all the vortex sites in Sedona are the twisted Juniper trees in and around the area. Apparently, the strong energy swirling around these sites confuses the trees’ growth, and the result is a twisted pattern looking like this:
I’d compare my time in Sedona to a second “womb”. You leave with the feeling of a having hit the reset button. I felt like I had a internal excavation of sorts and could breathe more easily. I’d recommend Sedona highly to anyone who is going through a significant change in their life, or someone just looking for some peace. Personally, Sedona will hold a paramount place in my heart and I look forward to returning sooner rather than later.
Even if you think that energy vortexes and it’s principles are phooey (and if that’s the case I applaud you for making it to the end of this post!), Sedona remains one of the most bewitching landscapes in the world, and is worth traveling to if only to take in the truly incredible vistas. There’s so much I left out since I only had a few days there and can only write about my personal experiences, but I still don’t want to sell Sedona short. It’s a renowned destination for activities like mountain biking, hiking, camping, etc. If you do find yourself in Sedona for more sporty reasons, though, I urge you to try out a healing massage or meditating (even if only for a moment) on the Red Rocks. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed ;-)