The Allure of Sedona's Vortex Sites

Many people visit Sedona to explore its metaphysical dimensions, especially its vortexes. Page Bryant coined the name "vortex" in 1980 for areas in Sedona that have highly concentrated energies conducive to prayer, meditation and healing. Although the idea of a vortex in Sedona is relatively new, Sedona has been known as a sacred place long before that time. For hundreds of years, Native Americans have performed ceremony in Sedona, and some tribes continue to this day. "Sedona as a whole is a vortex, with the energy spread throughout it like a bowl," says adventure guide and author Dennis Andres in his book What Is a Vortex. Nonetheless, the term "vortex" has taken hold because it helps to explain people's experiences of well being at the sites that Bryant identified. Some scientists, such as Pete Sanders, Jr., believe that scientific string theory can help explain what happens at vortexes in dimensions beyond ordinary perception. In his book Scientific Vortex Information he says, "Even though we cannot measure those dimensions yet, you can still experience them because you exist in them. ...and so do the vortex sites. What is happening at the vortex sites is energy flow in those deeper dimensions. You have the inner ability to measure, feel, find and tap that energy."

What is the definition of "vortex"?

The term vortex refers to its less common definition: "A place or situation regarded as drawing into its center all that surrounds it." In other words, a vortex is a site where the energy of an area is concentrated. Because Sedona as a whole is known to be a spiritual power spot, a vortex site in Sedona is a place where one can feel Sedona's spiritual energy most strongly. Page Bryant, a medium, came up with the term while investigating sacred locations in the area.

What are the commonly identified vortexes in Sedona?

The commonly identified vortex areas are
Airport Mesa. Closest to the Uptown area of Sedona, it offers panoramic views. Bell Rock. Adjoining the Village of Oak Creek, it has an easily identifiable bell- shape formation.Boynton Canyon. Still a site for annual Native American ceremonies, this vortex is off Dry Creek Road in West Sedona and offers the longest hike of the four main vortex sites--up to three hours round trip.Cathedral Rock. Located on Lower Red Rock Loop Road, it is the most photographed site in Sedona. The cathedral-like structure rises above Oak Creek. "We consider these four areas just a fraction of the energy sources and sites that you can tap in Sedona," says Sanders. Other special places to connect with the sacred energy of Sedona include The Chapel of the Holy Cross, Schnebly Hill, West Fork and the Amitabha Stupa.

Are all vortexes the same?

Opinions differ. Some people say that all vortexes are equal in their ability to amplify energies; others will tell you that there are different qualities at different sites. Pete Sanders identifies some sites as upflow vortexes (where energy rises out of the earth); others as inflow vortexes (where energy flows into the earth). Upflow vortexes, such as mountains, mesas and pyramidal-type topography, are useful when one wishes to view life from a higher plane, to develop a more universal perspective or to send a prayer or affirmation out into the world. According to Sanders, upflow vortex sites make people feel positive, exhilarated and rejuvenated. "They literally unwind you and help you tap that universal oneness and harmony," he says. Bell Rock is an example of an upflow vortex. Inflow vortexes, such as valleys, canyons and caves, are good for introspection and spiritual problem solving. "If you want to understand and/or heal something from your past or go inward for past-life memory, those skills will be enhanced in an inflow vortex," says Sanders. Boynton Canyon is an example of an inflow vortex. According to Sanders, most of Sedona (excluding cliffs and mesas) is a huge inflow area because it lies in a valley cut by Oak Creek.

How do I find the vortex spot when I get to the site?

There is no "x" that marks the spot. The entire area is considered to be a vortex. This makes it much more accessible. A visitor can decide to linger at the base, take a gentle walk or climb to the apex. How will I experience a vortex? Each person will experience a vortex differently. Possibilities include new insights, intense feelings of joy or release, sense of wellbeing, a physical healingnew or heightened spiritual awareness. After working with nearly 5,000 people, Andres has observed that Sedona encourages all kinds of shifts and that vortexes are real. "But unless you trust your own ability to sense," says Andres, "it may be difficult to tell what, if anything, is really happening."

Why doesn't everyone feel the same effect?

Everyone is different and so are their experiences. While one person might see colors or energetic swirls, another might simply feel more supported and uplifted.

What can I do at a vortex?

Sitting quietly and experiencing what the site has to offer is the simplest and most direct way to interact with a vortex. Meditations, breathing exercises, ceremonies and visualizations are additional ways to experience Sedona's vortexes. In their books Andres and Sanders offer suggestions that have helped people explore the vortexes' unfamiliar energies.