I Tried to Have a Spiritual Experience in the Desert
But I think I just got ripped off by hippies.
Sedona, Arizona is believed by many to be the "energy capital of the United States," as it is surrounded by several energy vortexes.
For the uneducated, "energy vortexes" are swirling centers of mystical energy that come from the center of the Earth (duh). Because of this, Sedona has a booming new age tourist industry (pictured above).
I'm not a very spiritual person, and am frequently jealous of those who are, so I decided to head to the desert to explore these vortexes and try to have a spiritual awakening. Luckily for me, there are multiple companies in Sedona willing to take your money in exchange for guiding you on a vision quest.
I went with a company called Red Rock Tours, because they were the first thing that came up when I googled "vortex tour". For just $105 (+ tax), they will take you for a three hour tour of Sedona's most sacred mystical spots.
This is my tour guide, Mark, who is trained in both matrix energetics AND reconnection therapy. I don't know what either of those things are, but they definitely sound pretty cool.
As we drove to our first location, Mark gave us a little bit of history on Sedona and the vortexes. Which was pretty TLDR, but the gist of it is: the Earth is covered in these things called "ley lines", which are lines that energy moves in. When two lines cross each other, they create an "energy center", which in the case of Sedona, manifests itself as a series of swirling "vortexes".
Mark drove us out to the first vortex on our agenda, which was located by Sedona's airport. He warned us, "you've gotta promise me you won't do any levitating! The pilots really don't like that." Which was promising.
He told us that a minor miracle once happened here. He was taking a tour group that included a man from Texas whose arm had been crippled for seven years due to a stroke. (That's Mark showing you what a crippled hand looks like. Just in case you were unsure.) After just a few minutes at the vortex site, the man was able to feel his arm tingling. A couple of hours later, he was able to raise it all the way above his head. Mark thinks it was DEFINITELY because of the energy, "I do not believe in coincidence at all. In no way," he told us.
Can you imagine how weird life must be if you don't believe in coincidences, BTW? Like, a couple of days ago, I was walking in LA with my iPod on random, and the song "Stay" by Lisa Loeb came on, which was featured on the Reality Bites soundtrack, and I thought to myself, huh, I wonder what Janeane Garofalo is up to these days? at which point I realised I was standing directly outside the building where they filmed the opening of Romi and Michele's High School Reunion, and I was like "woooooah," because Janeane Garofalo is also in that movie. AND THEN, when I got home, I looked on the Daily Mail website, and there was a story about Garofalo, right there on the homepage. I don't hear anything about JG for ten years, and then she's there three times in one day. I guess what I'm trying to say is, if I were Mark, what the fuck would I think that meant?
Anyway. This is where the vortex is. Which was super nice. It looked like a desktop background, but IRL.
We were told that a lot of people feel a tingling when they're there, or the hair stands up on the back of their neck.
I felt nothing, but Mark told us to go off and take some time by ourselves to try and connect with the energy. He told us, "It's really about opening your chakras and being present and getting out of your left brain. Breathe and be in the moment."
This is me breathing in the moment, trying super hard to get out of my left-brain. Turned out to be pretty tough. Mainly because I couldn't remember which one was the right brain and which was the left brain. Based on the general hippie vibes, I guessed that it was the non-arsty one. So I tried to get way outta there.
I wasn't feeling anything. So I climbed a hill in the hopes of finding some energy flow there. Nothing.
Also, looking at this picture, I just realised that I accidentally dressed in Star Trek cosplay. Whoops.
Dotted around the vortex sites are a bunch of trees that have grown in spirals. I decided to try meditating by one of those for a while, as it seemed like a spot where energy was most def' gonna be hanging out.
Mark explained to us that, at the vortex spots, the energy travels in spirals, which causes the trees there to grow twisted. Not because of a combination of wind, the Earth's rotation and sunlight, like how stupid old science thinks.
But still, I felt no energy.
Though I did find this huge, spirally clump of what appears to be human hair. Which was definitely there as the result of something X Files-y.
Next, we headed to the second vortex site. Which was way, WAY out in the middle of nowhere. The nearest person to me on Growlr was over 50 miles away. I didn't even realise that was possible in the first world.
When we got there, Mark walked up and down holding divining rods. "As you can see, when I cross the ley line, the divining rods open. So it's not wind or water – it's the energy."
He did have a point. I can't think of anything else that might be able to control two rods being held between his fingers.
Next, he took out his energy wand. Which is a special wand infused with magic crystals and magnetic fields (and definitely not just a regular pen that someone charged him $300 for).
He got me to upturn my hand while he waved the wand over it, and asked if I could feel its power. And, amazingly, I actually could! For like, two or three seconds, I had a tingling sensation in my fingers. Then Mark got to inspecting my chakra.
After explaining to me what a chakra is (I still don't really know. Google it), and what colours were in mine, he asked if I had any chronic pain, and I told him I get chronic migraines. He then used the energy wand to draw a bunch of circles around the back of my head and some around my stomach (and crotch, too, which seemed sort of weird).
Other than mild embarrassment, I didn't really feel anything :( Still, the finger-tingles were pretttty crazzzzy though!
After another ride, Mark led us down a trail to our third vortex.
Which, oddly, was located in the middle of a golf course. Unfortunately, this stripped it of some of the new age mystical feeling the other two locations had. There was more standing around meditating. More talking about Native American spirits, and more me-not-really-feeling-anything.
And then it was off to the fourth vortex, which I had no idea we would be visiting. My friend snapped this picture of me right when Mark told us we were going. As you can see from my face, I was pretty psyched.
That thing that those tourists are posing on for a photo is the final vortex. It's a sacred site because blah blah the Native Americans blah believed sacred ceremony blah blah marital difficulties blah would visit the rock blah blah and the vortex blah (I'd kinda zoned out by this point...).
Then Mark told me that the energy runs in lines straight down from those rocks in the background and along the river. So, if you have a problem, you could just stand on the rock, thank your problem for the lessons it's taught you say goodbye, and let the energy take it down the stream.
I sat on the rock and thought long and hard about what was bothering me. My main issue, at the time, was that I had just paid 100 bucks for a tour of some vortexes that I'm fairly sure don't exist. So I concentrated really hard on that, thanked it for the lesson it taught me (to not spend money on things that I think are a scam) and tried to let the river take it away. Amazingly, it didn't work. I am still annoyed that I spent money on it.
Also, I have a headache while I'm typing this. So I guess the healing didn't work, either. Bummer. Though there was the miracle of the finger-tingling... And I just held my hand upturned for a minute, and my fingers are tingling again. Perhaps the vortexes unlocked some kind of power within me and I'm an X-Men now? If that's the case, and I am now able to summon the ability of finger-tingle whenever I want just by holding my hand upside-down for a minute, I guess my spirit quest was a success.
Follow Jamie on Twitter - @JLCT
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