Located in the northern Verde Valley region of the state of Arizona, Sedona is arguably one of the most beautiful small towns in the world. Glowing in brilliant orange and red, the quaint western settlement is famous for its stunning array of red sandstone rock formations. The famous red stone of Sedona is formed by a layer known as the Schnebly Hill Formation. It is a thick layer of red- to orange-colored, iron-rich sandstone found only in the Sedona vicinity. Its beauty is unprecedented in the world.
Sedona’s modern history only dates back to nineteenth century, when the first white settler, John J. Thompson, moved to Oak Creek Canyon in 1876. The early settlers were hard-working ranchers and farmers. In 1902, when the Sedona post office was established, there were only fifty-five residents. The first church there was the Assembly of God in 1933.[i] However, most people do not realize the area’s previous Christian history. A local evangelist and author, David Herzog, writes, “In the early 1900s Sedona was a place where Christians from all over the United States gathered to hold large conferences and retreats as God’s glory filled the city—long before it was claimed as a New Age vortex city. God has already designated Sedona as an open portal, a high place over the Southwest.”[ii] While the little town of Sedona grew up and became famous in the twentieth century, the area has ancient roots. The surrounding landscape hosts many petroglyphs and is steeped in Native American lore, with Hopi, Navajo, Apache, and Yavapai reservations a short drive away. It is also well known among fortean researchers that Sedona and its neighboring regions host some of the most intense UFO, paranormal, and spiritual activity in the world. It has one of the highest concentrations of UFO sightings in the United States.[iii] Some say the “aliens” are attracted to the iron-rich, red-rock spires and castle-like summits. Many UFO sightings have been viewed near Sedona’s four major vortex areas—with more than fifty at Bell Rock. Since the 1990s, it is rumored to host one of the most active dimensional doorways in America due to a book Merging Dimensions by former resident Linda Bradshaw and paranormal investigator Tom Dongo. John Keel was an early author who connected interdimensional gateways to the magnetic anomalies data, which provides a means of “seeing through” nonmagnetic rocks and cover such as desert sands, vegetation, and manmade structures to reveal hidden features such as faults, folds, dikes, and underworld portals.
At least theoretically, the magnetic anomalies characteristic of the northern Verde Valley region are consistent with conjectural descriptions of an extradimensional portal. Keel wrote:
If you have been collecting UFO reports in your home state, you will probably find that many of those reports are concentrated in areas where magnetic faults or deviations exist. UFOs seem to congregate above the highest available hills in these window areas. They become visible in these centers and then radiate outward, traveling sometimes 100–200 miles before disappearing again.[iv]
Writing in the 1970s, Keel never mentioned Sedona, so we wondered if his ideas about windows were consistent with Sedona portal lore. Thus, we proposed to test the hypothesis: “If Sedona is really a ‘thin area’ supporting dimensional openings, we should see the same sorts of magnetic anomaly evidence Keel cited.” So we obtained a United States Geological Survey Magnetic Anomaly Map and, indeed, Keel’s hypothesis is consistent with reports from Sedona. As seen in the chart from the USGS North American Magnetic Anomaly website, Sedona and the surrounding area ranks extremely high in magnetic anomalies.
Geomagnetic intensity is indicated by the vertical bar graph, and Sedona is literally off the scale in coloration. The USGS reports concerning Sedona:
As expected, volcanic regions produce distinctive magnetic anomalies, high in amplitude and short in wavelength. These anomalies are particularly evident over much of Lonesome Valley, the Black Hills and the area between Cornville and Sedona. For example, the preexisting regional coverage indicates only a broad magnetic high in the Page Springs area. Virtually all of the individual magnetic anomalies seen in the new high-resolution data are absent in the pre-existing regional coverage. Large magnetic highs are present over the weakly magnetic Paleozoic sedimentary rocks exposed on Big Black Mesa and in the vicinity of Sedona.[v] (emphasis added)
One sentence caught our attention: “Virtually all of the individual magnetic anomalies seen in the new high-resolution data are absent in the pre-existing regional coverage.” Did something or someone cause new anomalies to occur, or did the new technology locate previously missed data? We suggest a supernatural portal was opened by the New Age movement. Comparative religions scholar and Christian apologist Walter Martin once wrote: “The danger of the New Age movement and the occult is their essence: they are what they always have been—evil. If you turn the handle of the unopened door of a forbidden dimension, what will come through is satanic power of enormous proportions.”[vi] We suggest that during the height of the New Age movement when Sedona was crowded with seekers, a demonic portal opened wide enough to keep Oprah Winfrey supplied with guests and books for the next twenty years. The “New Age” is now the baseline, which explains why no one calls it “new” anymore. As the movement faded, vortex energy became a tourist industry goldmine. But, is the vortex lore scientifically viable?
New Agers contend that the sandstone geology of Sedona contains a large amount of crushed quartz crystals averaging from one hundred feet deep up to the surface.[vii] Because quartz can store energy, it is theorized that electrical and magnetic energy is trapped and later released to the surface. Michael Persinger and other scientists have shown that low-level electromagnetic fields can induce altered states of consciousness and even mystical visions and UFOs.[viii] According to a document written by Col. Paul Valley and Maj. Michael Aquino, titled “From PSYOP to Mindwar: The Psychology of Victory,”[ix] the US Army used dark, arcane arts to open a Pandora’s Box of paranormal activity. A practicing Satanist, Lt. Col. Aquino[x] was a psy ops agent specializing in brainwashing and mind control by exposure to electromagnetic fields and inaudible low-frequency radio waves.[xi] While geomagnetic fields might play a role in vortex energy, we reiterate that parapsychologists[xii] and anthropologists[xiii] recognize that these techniques induce an altered state of consciousness. However, according to an occultist, shaman, or Hopi medicine man, they “open a portal.”
This electromagnetic radiation might be responsible for euphoric feelings people get just from being in Sedona. While the local “buzz” comes to a sharp focus at the named vortex sites, who put them on the map? The real answer is deeply rooted in ancient indigenous shamanism and geomancy, but it was popularized by a demon going by the name Albion during the New Age explosion of the 1980s.
The earliest documented mention of a vortex in Sedona was in psychic Dick Sutphen’s1978 book, Past Lives, Future Loves. It described an experience with an energy vortex on Airport Mesa in Sedona. The book was so popular that the vortex meme was born. Soon, “The idea of a vortex that could enhance psychic ability had a life of its own. Interest exploded.”[xiv] Interestingly, there could be something to it, as research by Adrian Ryan suggests that geomagnetism (like that associated with vortex sights) correlates positively with ESP.[xv] The Faustian bargain of psychic enhancement attracts seekers from all walks of life. Even freemasonic scholar and mystic Manly Palmer Hall lectured in Sedona shortly before his death in 1990.[xvi] Now let’s turn back to the one called Albion.
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Of Celtic origin, “Albion” is Old English, related to the Latin albus, meaning “white” in allusion to the white cliffs of Dover. It is probably the oldest known name for the island of Great Britain. More interesting, and we contend most applicable, is the mid-nineteenth-century phrase, “perfidious Albion,” implying diplomatic treachery.[xvii] What an ironic and diabolical choice for a channeled entity that preaches oneism. The demon was deceptively cryptic.
In 1980, trance medium Page Bryant “psychically channeled an ‘entity’ who described several different energy spots in Red Rock Country. Ms. Bryant named them ‘vortexes.’”[xviii] Although Bryant confessed, “I’m not a scientist. I just used symbolic words for what I was feeling at the sites,”[xix] she identified four “power vortexes” that coincide with spectacular rock formations in and around the small town: Bell Rock, Airport Mesa, Cathedral Rock, and Boynton Canyon. Additional sites like the Chapel of the Holy Cross, Courthouse Butte, and Mystic Vista are also considered to be powerful energy spots and have been added to the list. Vortices or not, these are all very beautiful red rock formations that everyone will enjoy.
On the heels of Albion’s information, more than five thousand New Age devotees flocked to Sedona to experience the “Harmonic Convergence”—an alignment of planets (allegedly based on the Mayan calendar) on August 16–17, 1987—as predicted in 1971 by author Tony Shearer in his book, Lord of the Dawn: Quetzalcoatl the Plumed Serpent of Mexico,[xx] and later popularized by New Age guru José Argüelles. Starry-eyed New Agers seem to ignore the fact that the Mayans appeased their serpent gods with human flesh. A thorough case will be made in chapter 4 that the plumed serpents of the Aztecs, Incans, and Mayans are the immortal fallen angels who covet human worship and, more often than not, blood.[xxi]
On the weekend of August 16 and 17, 1987, the great Harmonic Convergence was supposed to take place—at least, that is what José Arguelles told people. He described the event as the world’s first globally synchronized meditation, and made the small cowtown of Sedona into a Mecca for the New Age movement. A great many believed him—not merely prominent New Age leaders like Shirley MacLaine, but millions of adherents worldwide.[xxii] Sedona became legendary, and the energy vortices are an integral part of the local economy and culture.
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Sedona’s Famous Vortex Sights
A vortex is held to be a naturally occurring energy field rotating in a spiral around a central axis. Vortices (or vortexes) are seen throughout nature. For example, if you have ever witnessed a dust devil kick up in the desert, water spiraling down a drain, or a tornado’s funnel, then you have seen a vortex. Represented in spiral petroglyphs by the indigenous tribes, these power sites are believed to be areas of focused “earth energy” spiraling about. It seems that the term “vortex” is a creative way to describe a spiritually charged area:
In Sedona vortexes are created, not by wind or water, but from spiraling spiritual energy. The vortexes of Sedona are named because they are believed to be spiritual locations where the energy is right to facilitate prayer, mediation and healing. Vortex sites are believed to be locations having energy flow that exists on multiple dimensions.[xxiii]
Mental, physical, emotional, or spiritual energy is thought to be amplified by vortex energy. They are also held to facilitate healing.
Pete Sanders, a scientist trained in biomedical chemistry at MIT, offers a more sophisticated explanation than the original channeled information coming from Bryant’s spirit guide. In his 1981 book Scientific Vortex Information, Sanders wrote:
The term “vortex” is more symbolic than literal. Most vortex energy sites do not have a circular energy flow. Rather, they are areas of enhanced linear energy flow. That energy is neither electric nor magnetic. What’s happening in the vortexes are energy flows that exist in dimensions deeper than electricity and magnetism.[xxiv] (emphasis added)
Sanders proposed that subatomic strings of particles that exist in ten dimensions (according to string theory) are responsible for the experienced energy. However, it seems reasonable to keep in mind that these are not the only possible explanations. If this area is a portal to the spirit world, proximity to the gate might intensify high-strangeness. It seems safe to assume we are dealing with more than material science can quantify.
Given the region’s deep shamanic roots, we wondered if there is evidence of similar vortex beliefs in Native American lore. According to author Richard Bullivant, ancient Native American medicine men created three kinds of vortex portals: positive, negative, and mirror. Bullivant continues:
Operating together, the three kinds of vortex portals work to create a natural balance which allows access to other realms, while maintaining a stable environment for “ordinary” people who do not wield the powers of the shaman. It was the shamans who used these portals to communicate with the spirit world, according to Indian tradition.[xxv]
Given the region’s ancient inhabitance by the Anasazi, Apache, and Hopi tribes, it is not surprising that Sedona became the Mecca of the New Age movement.
New Agers are typically monists who hold that the earth is a living being called Gaia. The monist believes that everything is derived from an ultimate and single source. All diversity flows out from a uniform and divine energy. Thus, “God” is all and all is God. Accordingly, the goal is to discover the divine within each person. In this way of thinking, separation from God is actually unawareness of our inner divinity, and the fundamental human problem is not sin against a holy God, but ignorance of our true condition. Norman Geisler offers this rebuttal: “The fact that man ‘comes to realize’ he is God proves that he is not God. If he were God, he would have never passed from a state of unenlightenment to a state of enlightenment as to who he is.”[xxvi] Without the proper Creator/creation distinction, pantheism is inevitable.
Naturally, the leading New Age theory for the alleged vortices is that they represent a geographic area (like Sedona) where the earth is “exceptionally alive and healthy.”[xxvii] They believe the vortices amplify all kinds of energy, even human emotions. Of course, teachers of pantheistic monism flock to Sedona and energy vortex belief has been undergirded with substantial pseudohistory and legend. No matter what, it is a remarkable place for its beauty and, ultimately, portals aside, demons have no claim on God’s creation and the sheer majesty of Sedona reflects the glory of the Creator.
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[ii]David Herzog, Glory Invasion: Walking under an Open Heaven (Shippensburg: Destiny Image, 2007) 68.
[iv] John A. Keel, Why UFOs: Operation Trojan Horse (New York: Manor Books, 1970) 145–146 (pdf).
[vi]Walter Martin, Jill Martin Rische, Kevin Rische, The Kingdom of the Occult (Thomas Nelson, 2008) 222.
[viii]M.A. Persinger, “Transient Geophysical Bases for Ostensible UFO-related Phenomena and Associated Verbal Behavior? Perceptual and Motor Skills (1976) 43, 215–221 on the “Sedona Effect,” see http://sedonanomalies.weebly.com/research-papers.html for a number of scientific papers.
[ix] “From PSYOP to MindWar: The Psychology of Victory,” https://flowofwisdom.files.wordpress.com/2013/07/mindwar-mindwar_co_authored_by_michael-aquino.pdf.
[xi]Michael A. Aquino, Mindwar (CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, 2013) 1.
[xii]Harvey J. Irwin,; Caroline A. Watt, An Introduction to Parapsychology, 5th ed. (McFarland Publishing. Kindle Edition, 2007), Kindle Locations 5025–5026.Also see papers: V. Tandy, “Something in the Cellar,” Journal of the Society for Psychical Research, 64 (2000), 129–140; V. Tandy and T. R. Lawrence, “The Ghost in the Machine,” Journal of the Society for Psychical Research, 62 (1998) 360–364.
[xiii]Lynne Hume, Portals: Opening Doorways to Other Realities through the Senses (Oxford, UK: Berg, 2007) 1.
[xv] Adrian Ryan, “New Insights into the Links between ESP and Geomagnetic Activity,” Journal of Scientiﬁc Exploration, Vol. 22, No. 3 (2008) 335–358.
[xix] Pete A Sanders, Scientific Vortex Information, (Flagstaff, AZ, Graphtec: 2005) 21.
[xx]Tony Shearer, Lord of the Dawn: Quetzalcoatl (Healdsburg, CA: Naturegraph Publishing, 1971) 184.
[xxi]Aztec tale “The Feathered Serpent”; the Mayan myth of “The Rain Goddess and the Egg Child”; the Incan story “How Manco-Capac Made the First People” in Diana Ferguson, Tales of the Plumed Serpent: Aztec, Inca, and Mayan Myths (New York, NY: Collins & Brown, 2000).
[xxiii] Elizabeth R. Rose, “Sedona Arizona Energy Vortexes—What is a Vortex, Vortices, or Vortexes?
The Vortex Energy Mysteries of Sedona,” About.com, http://gosw.about.com/od/sedonaarizona/a/sedonavortex.htm (accessed August 9, 2014).
[xxiv] Pete A. Sanders, Scientific Vortex Information, (Flagstaff, AZ: Graphtec:2005) 13.
[xxv] Richard Bullivant, Beyond Time Travel—Exploring Our Parallel Worlds: Amazing Real Life Stories in the News (Kindle Edition, 2014) Kindle Locations 721–725.
[xxvi] Norman Geisler, Christianity under Attack (Dallas: Quest, 1985) 43.
[xxvii] Dennis Andres, What Is a Vortex: Sedona’s Vortex Sites—A Practical Guide (Sedona, AZ: Meta Adventures, 2000) 12.