Nobody is sure exactly what is keeping people away from Sedona’s four vortexes, swirling energy sources emanating from the earth, but the effects are clear: far fewer crystals are being bought, spiritual tours taken and treatments ordered, from aura cleansings to chakra balancings.
That an earthly power — the economy — is a culprit is not in doubt. But some do not discount the effects of an awful incident from a year ago that put Sedona’s New Age community in a bad light and that, to some degree, still lingers, despite efforts by metaphysical people to cast it away.
Last October, a celebrated New Age practitioner held a sweat lodge ceremony that ran dangerously amok, shattering the tranquillity of a spiritual center hidden in a forested valley here.
Packed into a circular hut on the grounds of Angel Valley were red-hot rocks, seething steam and scores of followers of James A. Ray, a California self-help guru. He encouraged them to finish the final test in his “Spiritual Warrior” retreat, participants told law enforcement officials, even though they might feel as though they were going to die.
Three of them did. Numerous others were rushed to hospitals.
And the lawsuits, naturally continue.