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Red Rock Vortexes

Sedona could easily be regarded as the prize gem in Arizona's scenic treasure box. Spires, cliffs and mesas as tall as 1,000 feet overpower the landscape, their bright, warm hues and sheer size mesmerizing onlookers. While there may be larger formations in the state, few are as awe-inspiring, especially at sunset.

But there's more to these sedimentary sentinels than their beauty. As well as being some of the most visually powerful creations on Earth, Sedona's Red Rocks are also considered to be some of the most spiritually charged.

Native Americans have been drawn to them for thousands of years and people continue to flock here even today, though most are of the New Age persuasion.

Since the "Harmonic Convergence" in 1987––a gathering of spiritualists intended to ring in an era of universal peace––Sedona has been the destination, and increasingly the home, of metaphysical believers. It's the location's power they come to experience, considered to be in high concentration due to the site's mystifying "vortexes." Described as whirling masses of energy, the vortexes purportedly affect anyone who comes within a quarter mile of them.

The energy contained in a vortex, it's said, is similar to that inside every human being. Coming in contact with one causes a resonance that visitors often describe as a faint vibration or a sudden "whoosh." Those who experience the phenomenon report being overcome with tranquility or rejuvenation, as if they've had their batteries recharged. Skeptics, or even those who've never heard of the vortexes, come back from Sedona's hiking trails with stories of emotional outbursts, or at the very least, a subtle, yet bizarre feeling they find too puzzling to explain. Some very confused backpackers have walked into an area and spontaneously erupted into laughter or tears with no explanation, sometimes experiencing the same effect years later before realizing they've stumbled into the same spot as before.

Visitors also report other, more tangible effects. Strange lights often materialize in the area, and sounds, like that of bells or muted thunder, emanate from the rocks. The vortexes appear to influence the natural environment, as well. Local juniper trees frequently develop a warped, spiral formation, their branches and growth lines twisting and curling.

So far, the vortexes elude scientific explanation. Authorities on the subject habitually describe them as "electrical" or "electromagnetic," but tests have revealed nothing conclusive in that regard. Interestingly, however, researchers report that Earth's intrinsic electromagnetism normally resonates between 3 and 6 hertz, which falls in the range of the human brain's delta waves.

When a test subject's brain is stimulated at these frequencies, hallucinations can result, meaning that any EM field present at the Red Rocks could feasibly have an effect on visitors' psyche.

Some proponents theorize that the area's geology might amplify this effect. They say the iron and silicon in the Red Rocks act as an induction coil that focuses the energy, possibly harmonizing with the same minerals naturally present in the human body. A number of researchers dismiss the geological aspect, however, as Sedona isn't the only location on earth known to produce this effect. Stonehenge in England, the pyramids in Egypt, Machu Picchu in Peru and Easter Island are also considered power points. These sites all purportedly lie at intersections between "ley lines," a grid of energy meridians said to crisscross the planet. Ancient civilizations, evidently more in tune with the Earth, evidently felt drawn to these spots just as metaphysically "sensitive" groups are drawn to Sedona today.

Of course, if these hypotheses don't stroke your aura, there are plenty of other vortex-related notions to ponder. For example, there are those who once believed, and some who probably still do, that Bell Rock is hiding a giant crystal and will someday open up to reveal a spacecraft. Then there are those who feel pretty certain the vortexes can be used to travel to alternate dimensions, if only your psychic centers can resonate at the correct frequency. According to the entity Zoosh, as channeled through Robert Shapiro in Feeling Sedona's ET Energies, the vortexes' effect is merely caused by equipment left behind by visiting aliens in the 1960s.

Vortexperts disagree just exactly how many vortexes exist in Sedona, citing as few as five or as many as 20, but four sites invariably make the list. Bell Rock is known as a site of intensely revitalizing energy, as well as frequent UFO sighting. Cathedral Rock is a site for lovers and the perfect place for stress reduction. Airport Mesa is considered the hub of the vortex sites and a good place for opening one's chakras or just admiring the view. Lastly, Boynton Canyon, often considered the most powerful site, is filled with numerous vortexes that aid in renewing one's motivation. (Guides warn, however, that Boynton Canyon is the focus of the Yavapai creation story and one must pay respect to both Kachina Man and Kachina Woman when visiting to avoid an unpleasant experience.) Other sites typically include Schnebly Hill, Courthouse Butte and the popular Chapel of the Holy Cross. To get the full experience, though, you should sign up to take a tour with any number of vortex guides or "shamans" who have set up shop in Sedona. Just be prepared to be … open-minded.

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