After our Vision Quest, I became much more interested in North American shamanism. I read books about the traditions and tools and started to work with the medicine wheel. I also became more interested in, and more in tune with nature.
Our youngest daughter’s university arranged for 15 of their students, including Zoe, to spent a semester at the Grand Canyon University in Phoenix, Arizona. We decided to take the opportunity to go and see her and stay for a week on holiday. I hired a Mustang for the week! We enjoyed riding around Phoenix and on one day decided to do the 450 mile round trip to the Grand Canyon with our daughter. We went there. We flew in a light craft over it. It was Grand!
However, one thing stood out for us on that trip. We started from Phoenix early in the morning and after an hour or so we needed a toilet break. We stopped at Sedona high in the mountains but it was so early that nowhere was open, so we drove a short way out to where there were bushes and gave our gifts to nature. Sedona felt different and wonderful. The red rocks were stunning.
The next year two of our friends were offering a 5 day workshop in Sedona, for different teachers and therapists to run a session each. It included guided trips to the energy vortex centres around Sedona. Vortexes are thought to be swirling centres of energy that are conducive to healing, meditation and self-exploration. These are places where the earth seems especially alive with energy. Many people feel inspired, recharged or uplifted after visiting a vortex. We were sold!
We flew to Phoenix and drove to Sedona. `For the first three days we booked into a hotel and then moved into a room at the healing centre where the workshop was being held. Sedona is spread out around one crossroad and a two-mile straight. Its shops have space between them with lots of crystals, spiritual books and healing centres, to offer those who come for the energy. The red rocks all around are wonderful. It is in the mountains, so the difference in temperature between day and night is high and can catch you out.
Our workshop was held in the healing centre we eventually had a bedroom in. Our fellow teachers were a good mix and our sessions dovetailed really well. I ran a session on the medicine wheel, which I was studying at the time.
Our guide to the energy vortexes (they don’t call them vortices) was an Indian. There are five main vortexes but he also took us to a sixth one on private land by a creek. They all felt powerful and different. Susan and I are quite sensitive, she more than me but we had never had such an intense feeling of the energy that is all around us, apart from a sanyasin we passed in a shopping centre. Once past him we turned to each other and said “Wow”.
Three of the vortexes stood out for us. Airport Mesa is an easily climbed rock outcrop on the road to the airport, from where you can look down the valley that contains Sedona. For me the energy felt like family. Susan and I went back later to recommit ourselves to each other. The best time to go is just before dawn. Look down the valley and a small light starts right at the far end of, as the sun starts to ride over the cliff that is behind you. Then the sunlight starts to move towards you, to flood the whole valley until finally you are fully clothed in light.
Red Rock Crossing felt contemplative. You are surrounded by the redness of the rocks. A stream runs through it, which you have to cross from the car park. At one point the stream takes a sharp bend and I felt drawn to sit there and meditate. It felt like the stream was taking all my heavy energy away from me. A few years later we went back there, when our youngest daughter got married at Red Rock Crossing.
The most memorable vortex was Boyton Canyon. The approach is on ground that is sacred to the local Indians, who were not happy with the golf course that was built there. There is a trail you follow to take you to the head of the canyon. The others went off ahead as Susan and I took our time enjoying the walk. At a point in the trail we entered woodland. I was in front. On one step I felt I had moved into a different dimension. The trees were different. The shrubs were different. The energy was changed. I turned to Susan, who had just passed the same spot and she said “Did you feel that?” We were dazed by the shift. The energy amplified what we were feeling inside. We walked a little way forward and Susan suddenly felt strongly that she should go back. We nearly had an argument, because I was happy to go back with her but she thought I would resent missing the head of the canyon. Such was the energy. We turned back and just as we got in the car a tremendous thunderstorm started with torrential rain. The group that had carried on to the end were badly shaken by the violence of the lightening and were soaked!
I felt we were signposted in Sedona. We had never felt earth energy so strongly. When all the other members had left, we stayed for a few days in the healing centre. An Indian who was staying there had heard me talking about the medicine wheel and the energy. He told me that I might like the books of Tom Brown Jr. Before we left Sedona I bought a copy of his first book ‘The Tracker’. It completed something for me. When I was nine my dad brought home a copy of a Scouting magazine. One of the stories was of a little boy, about my age, who got lost in the woods, and how he found what he needed to survive. I was so excited by it, but I never found out the rest of the story. 40 years later I found it in ‘The Tracker’.
As I write this, two things come to mind. First, I am glad I have paid attention to signposts and, secondly reading stories gives you information but it is experiences that create your belief.
To be continued – the Wonderful Gift