For readers who have not been keeping up with my day to day affairs, I’ve been spending the last few months in Sedona, Arizona, house sitting for an old (and generous) friend. I’ve taken frequent hikes along the trails through the Red Rock Mountains for which the town is famous. The Sedona area is also famous as a center for New Age activity, due in great part to the fact that the scenery lends itself to a sense of awe – awe being defined as “there’s something a whole lot bigger than me going on here”. Psychics, Astrologers, Alternative Healing Practitioners, and Spiritual Centers abound, as well as tours to several local sites described as “vortexes”.
What a vortex is is somewhat ambiguous, though the broadest definition is “a swirling center of energy that is conducive to healing, meditation and self-exploration”. Some go a bit further and suggest that a vortex represents a gateway to other dimensions, but that’s another discussion.
At any rate, it occurred to me the other day that I had been hiking around the trails for weeks but had never checked out any of the vortexes. As a lifelong student of philosophy and religion, this felt like an oversight. My basic position on such things is that they manifest the human need to believe. The Red Rock mountains were formed millions of years ago by massive geologic forces. Reportedly the entire region was once under an inland sea – hence the mountains’ resemblance to giant coral reefs. But there’s something about the austere beauty of it all that suggests to many that some other force is at work, some center of energy that an open heart and mind can tap into. The similarity to kneeling in a candle-lit church is inescapable (been there, done that - a lot).
With that similarity in mind, I set off early this morning to climb the trail to Cathedral Rock, a reported vortex site which looms like a …well… Cathedral over route 179 just Southwest of Sedona Center. Getting to the rock involved a steep and sometimes tricky climb up 500 feet of ascending boulders and red gravel. I wasn’t alone. The Rock is a well known local attraction and there were several climbing groups and a couple of young families joining me on my trek. The kids had an easier time in some of the tight spots.
When I finally got to the spot marked “end of trail” I found myself very high in the air, with the Cathedral walls on my right and a smaller pinnacle on my left. The view of the surrounding hills, valleys and mountains were worth the sweat and effort, not to mention the serious contribution to my weight loss program. After a few minutes to catch my breath and some necessary hydration, I decided to check out the Rock up close. So far, aside from relief at having made it to the top, I hadn’t noticed any special “vibes” or feelings at the site. But since I’d been drinking Gatorade instead of meditating, I thought a closer inspection was in order. So I went right up to the rock face, leaned forward and put both palms flat against it. Surprise time.
When I put my palms to the rock, I could feel a deep, quiet vibration that reverberated down to my elbows – the "felt" equivalent of a low hum but with no sound. It was constant, with no change or variations. I took my hands off the rock and it stopped. Nothing had changed around me. After a few seconds of “What the hell was that?”, I put my palms on the rock again. Vibration is back. I held my position for a few minutes but nothing changed, no increase or decrease. I went back to my pack for another hit of Gatorade. My mind was distracted by some of the climbing challenges I expected on the way down and the day was getting hotter by the minute, so I didn’t stay around long. I mentioned the “vibe” to a few of my fellow climbers at the top and they gave the Rock a try. The vibes were still there (probably have been for a million years or so). They weren’t as surprised as I was. They’d hauled themselves up the side of a cliff to see a vortex and they got their money’s worth.
So – I made it down the cliff in one piece. No mood changes or visions yet, but I’ll let you know. It wasn’t a great big occurrence, no burning bush or anything, but since I was expecting nothing a vibrating wall rock that looks like a Cathedral is worth reporting.
And my New Age friends can have their “I told you so” laugh.