A Mystical Moment in Sedona

On the map I received from the Chamber of Commerce, it highlighted a church to visit. I was not in Sedona to visit churches however on my second day I felt drawn to follow a sign which led up into the red hills. My first glimpse of the church was this startling cross which appeared etched into the red rock of the cliff side. It stretched the whole length of the church but somehow this ancient symbol of pain and death seemed oddly peaceful. I drove up further to visit the interior of the chapel and found the drama of the exterior was strangely off set by the simplicity of the interior. I sat and mediated for a while enjoying a peaceful and calming moment. The chorus of sacred chants was uplifting and I notice a moment where my heart engaged in a way I had not felt at the vortex I had just visited.
The Chapel of the Holy Cross was designed by architect and sculptor Marguerite Brunswig Staude, a student of Frank Lloyd Wright. The chapel is built on Coconino National Forest land and it required a special act of Congress to get it built. The inscription outside the church suggests that the late Senator Barry Goldwater was instrumental in arranging the special use permit on public land.  Wikipedia states that the American Institute of Architects gave the Chapel its Award of Honor in 1957. In the sculptor’s words, “Though Catholic in faith, as a work of art the Chapel has a universal appeal. Its doors will ever be open to one and all, regardless of creed, that God may come to life in the souls of all men and be a living reality.”
As I was leaving I noticed an unusual statue of St. Francis and snapped a memento however later that evening I realized that I had cropped off his head. The next day I decided to visit the chapel once again to correct my error. I climbed once more to the beautiful space and felt drawn again to meditate. Once again I had a powerful reaction, It is hard to explain the ineffable nature of a moment where peace, joy and sadness merge together and the heart opens bringing tears. It struck me as bizarre that my most powerful spiritual experience in Sedona is in a catholic church. A friend’s name emerged into my consciousness. “Michelle” I sat reflecting on her journey, which has been somewhat challenged of late and I realized I wanted to light a candle for her and her son. I said a brief prayer, lit my candle and left but not without thanking St. Francis for being instrumental in this moment of beauty and compassion.
Upon my return to Vancouver I e-mailed my friend to tell her that I had lit a candle for her. Her response was immediate and intriguing. “So Sunday walking at Port Townsend I thought, “I really must go to Sedona.” In fact I thought about it for quite a while, dreaming of red rock and the intense rarified atmosphere of that blue, blue sky, nightfall cool air, incredible stars…… So obviously, I received your message ” She had also been told by a psychic friend in February “I see you sitting there, that wise old native American woman on the rock in Sedona.”  What strange connections exist between us. At times we believe we are acting entirely independently but then it all seems to be part of a greater whole.
So I was not surprised to read that in fact the chapel itself is considered to sit on a vortex. In fact one web site I connected to suggested that it was one of the most easily experienced in Sedona. It suggests “The feeling within the walls of the chapel is one of inspiration and joy. The energy of this vortex site also includes love, harmony, unity and oneness with all that is.” I’ll second that opinion.


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