Sedona, Arizona is said to be a very spiritual place. Many go on very expensive retreats there. You can visit astrologists and fortune tellers, get your chakras realigned, commune with crystals, meditate, practice yoga, take a reiki tour, look for UFOs, be healed by a shaman, reawaken your spirit, and get an image of your aura. Apparently you can also meet with a Siberian Metashaman, and she’s handicap accessible.
But the most prevalent spiritual activity seems to be visiting the many Sedona “vortexes”. (Vortices is the plural of vortex, but these grammatical rules seem to fly out the window in Sedona, along with so many other things.) There is an entire industry that revolves (sorry) around these vortexes and their supposed ability to reengergize your very soul.
I must admit that I didn’t explore these vortices very thoroughly. I did stumble across one, though, in a patio of a gift shop/gallery called Son Silver West. We had been wandering amongst the delightfully cluttered displays for some time, and all of a sudden we came across a wrought iron bench with a sign hanging above it that said “vortex” with an arrow pointing straight down.
My first thought was, “you’d think the sign would be spinning if this were a vortex.” But I also thought it would feel good to sit down. And it did. I tried to keep an open mind. And I must admit I did get goose bumps, but I think this has more to do with my desire to believe than any type of actual proof.
Here’s the thing about Sedona. It seems that the vast majority of spiritual shop owners and guides and soothsayers and shaman and tarot card readers are of northern European descent. There are lots of blonde shamans out there, more than happy to enlighten you for the right price. And more power to you, I say, if that’s your thing. But I do struggle with all the cultural appropriation for profit.
If Sedona were really such a spiritual mecca, I think the Native Americans wouldn’t be so offended by this appropriation, and they’d in fact be out there trying to enlighten all of us themselves. But you see very little of that in Sedona. What you see, mostly, is a lot of money passing from one white hand to another.
But having said all that, I must admit that Sedona is a special place, not because of the spiritual accessories that it wears, but in spite of it. It is one of the most naturally beautiful places that I’ve been to in my life. The red rocks and the cozy canyons call to me. For that reason alone, I’d love to retire there. The food is also excellent and there is art everywhere you look, so I think it’s a lovely place to be.
I do enjoy being around whimsical and liberal people, too. I adore active imaginations. I try to take the gullibility factor with a grain of salt. I find nothing wrong with people seeking enlightenment. And if you’re planning to do that somewhere, you may as well do it in a gorgeous locale.
So, spiritual, smiritual. Sedona is still one of my favorite places on earth. For that reason, it will always seem magical to me.
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