Visiting the Vortexes of Sedona

October 16, 2008

So what is a vortex? Well the dictionary suggests that a vortex is a whirling mass of water, energy, air or fire. In the case of Sedona the vortexes are believed to be different kinds of energy – magnetic (masculine), electrical (feminine), and balanced. I didn’t really know much about vortexes other than they are supposed to be energy centres and one of my friends had a bizarre unnatural energetic reaction when she was in Sedona. I went with an open mind but also not so open that my brains would fall out. I entertained various possibilities that I may see something, feel something or hear something. The map that they give out at the Tourism office shows little spirals where the vortexes are supposed to be but when you get there are no arrows or anything pointing the way. I set off on my quest first to Airport mesa vortex. I found a couple of people sitting cross legged and sat near them and meditated for a while. The views are so beautiful of the red desert that it is easy to be overwhelmed however in all honesty I could not hear. feel or see anything unusual energetically. I suspected that I just wasn’t suitably evolved or perhaps I wasn’t sufficiently susceptible. I spoke to a couple of women about their experience but I sensed they were as uncertain as me. My primary experience at this vortex was to be stabbed twice by beastly prickly pear cactus when I stepped too close to the edge of the trail. Smarting from the numerous spines still evident in my elbow I set off for the second vortex at Boynton Canyon, stopping at Safeway for a pair of tweezers to extract the invading needles from my arm.
Boynton Canyon is a delightful hike. Relatively flat and with a limited vertical climb it did however seem longer than the 2.4 miles they suggested in the guidebook as it took me an hour and twenty minutes to get to what I presume was my destination. It follows a dry path around an extremely exclusive resort with large signs that promise wayward hikers they will be prosecuted if they dare trespass. Initially the trail passes through the stunning red desert with dramatic canyon cliffs and mesas on all sides. Then it moves into the shade of the pine forest and actually became quite cool. The final scramble up some rocks took me to a small clearing of solid rock which I took to be the vortex due to the beautiful lady meditating on a rock and the small cairns scattered around. I took my place, stilled my mind and sat breathing and noticing. This vortex supposedly “encompasses both masculine and feminine energies and are ideal for balancing these energies within oneself and for harmonizing relationships with others.” This time I did notice a strange harmonic sound like ringing in my ears but saw and felt nothing else other than having my meditation disrupted by a  fly that insisted on sharing my space. As I walked down I took a picture of the beautiful woman and asked her what she felt. I loved her response that she just gazed at the surrounding rocks and saw the spirits of the many beings encoded there. This seemed like a lovely way to experience a vortex so with that possibility to inspire me I wended my way down to the parking lot.
My trip down was somewhat eventful and contained one of those timeless moments that occasionally break through the order of one’s normal consciousness. As I strolled down the trail my ears noticed something out of the ordinary. The next microsecond still seems frozen in time. Time expanded and the moment seemed endless as my brain processed the sound, my eyes registered the interloper, and my body reacted as the sympathetic nervous system responded with no apparent prompting from me. At first I thought I heard a hiss then I thought perhaps it was a rattle then my eyes scanned the trail and observed the greenish/brown coils of a serpent about six inches from my right foot and the word “rattlesnake” erupted like a mine as a conscious thought. I found myself taking this enormous stride with my left foot to safety before running ten more before I could actually fully embrace what had happened. After I stopped I decided that it would make a wonderful picture but I think I had descended further than I had realized because although I crept slowly back up the trail there was no obvious sign of the snake and I was not going looking for it.
The third vortex was Bell Rock and I tackled this the following day. It could be accessed by what was described as an easy bike trail. So I parked my van at the edge of Sedona and cycled up the brand new bike lane for about three miles to the parking lot and start of the trail. This is an exquisite locale. The vistas are dramatic sculptured red sand mesas – some rounded, some square and massive. I visited Bell Rock twice; once by bike and once by foot. The second time I climbed higher on the rock itself which was quite steep and slightly beyond my comfort zone. Why is it so much easier to go up than to come down? I meditated in two different places one at the base and the other higher. Each time I felt the strange aural phenomenon but nothing more. I say nothing more but in reality the view was so spectacular that in itself the dramatic panorama was a spiritual experience. My final vortex was Cathedral Rock where I again climbed beyond my comfort zone before my meditation led to the same response. I have never visited anywhere quite as visually stimulating as Sedona but energetically I did not notice anything extraordinary.
Funnily enough my most powerful experience was not one of the four supposed vortexes. It was at the Chapel of the Holy Cross perched up high above the town on the red cliffs. What is it about this little chapel that so impressed me? Well that deserves a story all of its own.