Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Vortex Surfer

Bell Rock Mountain | Sedona AZ

It seemed rather improbable but locals swear it’s true. Slick rock is a lot safer to traverse than shale or gravel. That’s especially important when one is hiking Bell Rock Mountain or any of the other hiking routes in and around Sedona, Arizona.

A previous hiking injury prevented me from ascending the towering heights that day so I could only envy and photograph those hardy souls scaling old withering heights. I think I got a C minus in my one and only college Geology class. That’s too bad because even a cursory knowledge of rocks would have been helpful as I gazed up at some of God’s truly wondrous creations, Red Rock Country in and around Sedona, Arizona.

Located just two hours north of Phoenix, Sedona boasts some of God’s most colorful creations.
Long before the first human stepped foot in the Verde Valley, ancient winds began to blow rose-colored sand grains into magnificent crimson-colored mesas. Around 8,000 B.C., the Paleo-Indians came to the Sedona area via a natural land bridge that connected North America to Ancient Asia. After them came the Hohokam, the Sinaguan and finally the Anasazi known as the ‘Ancient Ones.’ The quest for gold and silver brought the first white explorers around 1583.

Among the many monikers that Sedona likes to boast about are the breath-taking mountains and the vortexes below. Sedona has painted itself as a magical place where artists of every type are inspired to create their masterpieces or struggle to find their muse. I must admit being struck by the sheer size and beauty of the mountains and buttes all around us. Much like the San Jacinto Mountains in my own backyard, the sun seems to paint these mountains with a different personality by the minute.

I can now understand the publicity shots Sedona loves to share with the world. I’m sure you’ve seen the pictures of individuals sitting on some mountain butte contemplating their navel as the sun is setting. The entire region does have a different feel about it. It’s a setting perfect for contemplation and creative thoughts.
It was only after the first roads were built into the Sedona area in the mid-twenties that growth and prosperity soon began to follow. 

Now there’s a new twist in attracting tourists and the curious. Vortex surfing has become big business.

Some locals claim that Sedona has long been known as a spiritual power center because of vortexes of subtle energy located in the area. “The subtle energy that exists at these locations interacts with who a person is inside. It resonates with and strengthens the inner being of each person that comes within a quarter to a half mile of it” or so the literature says. There are male and female vortexes but that would require too much of a definition and certainly a suspension of belief for a non-believer such as myself.

After perusing books on old time Sedona, I came to the conclusion that the spiritual aspect of this place would have been seen as a strange and even silly phenomena thirty years ago. But today it sells hotel rooms and some folks seem to have bought into it yoga mat and sunsets combined. I suspect for most visitors it’s more a trip inside their head than anyplace else.

The whole New Age, spiritual, metaphysical, mind-tripping moniker got started around the mid-seventies after a journalist came out here and wrote about her spiritual experience on top of some butte. New Age hippies followed and soon there were conferences here just focusing on spiritual healing and vortexes and healing crystals. Now Sedona and most of Red Rock Country seems to have captured a large part of that mysterious market. We were told that artists, writers and seekers from all around the world flock to this Red Rock Country for the spiritual uplifting experiences there.

The Grand Canyon

The Grand Canyon, a scant sixty plus miles north, is another spiritual adventure. I’ve already got a hiking trail to the bottom picked out.

I never did find my own vortex; male or female. Other than a little dust coating my hair and sand stinging my eyes, I just felt the wind swirling around my welcoming body and mind. All the talk of spiritual places and personal vortexes reminded me of some carnival atmosphere but instead of hucksters, I had to listen to hotel desk clerks and tour hawkers.

A closer examination of the criteria for finding a personal vortex can be better explained by one sentence in the local literature…” If someone is at all a sensitive person, it is easy to feel the energy at these vortexes.” I gave it a try…what more can I say.

Northern Arizona provided a wonderful journey back in time and mind. Although the metaphysical spirit never grabbed me, I did feel a certain connection with the land and its past inhabitants. I didn’t have to go looking for my muse since I’ve been chasing that dream for years now. The journey was more a mind-trip than a physical one.

I did find a spiritual place but it was inside my head. It was a journey that filled me with a deeper appreciation for the artistry of nature and renewed hopes for my own imagination running rampant over the keyboard back home.

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