I had heard of Sedona and certainly it was a place I wanted to see, but it had not been on my current travel agenda. I took my time driving down. On the fifth day, I drove through old historic Jerome, AZ. and finally, as the sun was setting arrived in Cottonwood, AZ. I had rented a room with bath for my stay. The drive had been full of beautiful, varied scenery and I had taken my time and enjoyed it. So far, Cottonwood looked much the same as the desert scenery along the way.
Waking up in a strange room with the sun streaming brightly through the slits in the blinds, I glanced at the clock and it was just after 6:30 am. That was early for me, but I was excited to start my day. After arriving early the prior evening, doing some laundry, getting acquainted with my Airbnb host and going out to eat at a local gourmet pizzeria; I had gone to bed fairly early. I hurried to get ready and stopped by the kitchen to grab my water bottle and a juice. Out the back window, I was surprised to see a gorgeous view of Mingus Mountain. It was a 16 mile drive to Sedona. I wasn’t sure what to expect. It looked like a direct route, once I got onto 89A going east. The highway the entire way was surrounded by red rock peaks rising up in the distance on both sides of the road. With the spectacular scenery the trip went quickly.
There are places in our world that hold particular meaning because of their beauty, opportunity or uniqueness. It can be related to climate, terrain, recreation, isolation, astonishing vistas, wildlife, culture, history, architecture, entertainment, food, people, memories or something quite undefined. It is undeniable though, that some places seem unlike any other, even mystical! For each of us, it may be something different that gives a place that fascination, but on occasion there is just an essence about a place that feels like “magic” to us all. I think Sedona is one of those places. Though it has all the attributes I mentioned above to its credit, its special charm comes from something very hard to define.
There is a vibe about Sedona that calms and excites at the same time. Much of the time I felt an inward discomfort that often comes with change. At the same time, I slept more soundly and felt an extreme calmness. Solutions and new ideas seemed to come to me easily and I felt very connected to something greater than myself, an increased awareness or aliveness. I pushed myself to do things I had not planned and I learned and became aware of things I never expected. A lot of it, I have to attribute to being in Sedona and its powerful energies!
Sedona is a small town with less than 15,000 full-time residents. It is unique for a small town though, as it attracts 4,000,000 visitors annually, second only to the Grand Canyon. It is high desert located 4,500 feet above sea level with a more moderate climate than most of Arizona. It is a mix of old and new with ancient Indian ruins and many miles of protected park lands surrounding it. The town area is about 19 miles total and in the middle of the old and rustic are some of the most upscale resorts, restaurants and art galleries you will find anywhere. There is a unique and interesting culture in Sedona drawing a large number of artists, musicians and writers, as well as, those with a mystic or spiritual inclination from all over the world. Sedona is considered a niche for all things metaphysical. It is a place where Native American, Buddhist, New Age, Christian and other forms of sacred belief meet and mix with amazing comfort. Cowboys, hippies, gypsies and psychics mix with intellectuals, artists, educators and some of the most conservative folks you’ll ever meet. With all of this, there is a peacefulness about Sedona. This vibration is often attributed to its distinct geography and what are referred to as its “energy vortexes”.
Sedona has a number of other attractions with special spiritual significance. There is Amitabha Stupa & Peace Park located off Thunder Mountain Trail. It is a majestic Tibetan Buddhist temple built on the mountainside and maintained by volunteers. They do meditations and many traditional ceremonies there. It is a truly peaceful and uplifting place.
There are numerous sacred labyrinths in and around Sedona. A labyrinth is an ancient symbol that relates to spiritual wholeness. It combines circular and spiral shapes into a purposeful prayer path. It represents the journey of inward growth and manifestation back into our outer world. Labyrinths have long been used for connection to the spiritual world and as meditation and prayer sanctuaries. I found it to be a peaceful place for thought and meditation and did find a few personal answers there. You can visit ancient Indian ruins in Sedona or find many handcrafted works of art or Native American healing symbols. Crystal shops abound and any other purveyors of healing in almost any form you can imagine. Visiting a psychic or medium depending on what you would like to find out is probably a must, whether you believe in them or not. Some of the world’s best and most gifted healers make their home in Sedona. I visited one while I was there and she told me some interesting tidbits. Some turned out to be right on target, though I have not yet met that adventurous, handsome man she saw in my future. If you have not experienced a Reiki Energy healing session, Sedona is an excellent place to do so. You can go to the Reiki Center in downtown East Sedona or one of the many other practitioners located in the area. The healing power of Reiki was definitely a surprise discovery for me. I was a definite skeptic, but when my headache disappeared in about 10 minutes with a reiki healing after failing to respond to Excedrin, I had to give it consideration. Since, I am now a Reiki Master my attitude has turned around completely. The whole vibe of Sedona is a convergence of spiritual beliefs from around the world. The Chapel of the Holy Cross is a Catholic Church that was constructed right among the Red Rocks and with its tall spiral windows with views of Bell Rock and Cathedral Rock it is beautiful and breathtaking. The chapel is both inspiring and incredibly peaceful. It draws people of all faiths who make gift offerings, pray and gather with peaceful intention. They still provide church services, as well as, special ceremonies. When I visited, I saw a group of Buddhist monks, Muslim families, Christians of all denominations and there were nuns operating the gift shop and information desk. It was such a beautiful feeling. I doubt that it is possible to visit Sedona without feeling some sort of spiritual connection, no matter what your beliefs may be. That is the wonderful thing though; Sedona leaves you to interpret the majesty of an energy greater than and beyond ourselves on your own terms, while leaving you certain that you have made that connection with spirit.