The History and Legends of the Sedona Vortexes

Sedona Vortex

Nestled in the heart of Arizona, Sedona has become a popular destination for those seeking spiritual rejuvenation and adventure. One of the most intriguing aspects of Sedona is the vortexes, believed to be powerful energy centers that can facilitate healing, transformation, and spiritual growth. 

These vortexes have a rich history and many legends associated with them. From the Native American tribes who first inhabited the area to the New Age enthusiasts who flock to Sedona today, the vortexes have captivated people for centuries. 

Including myself! Coming to the vortex energy of Sedona over 20 years ago changed my life!

Let’s explore the history and legends of the Sedona vortexes, as well as their modern-day significance. Join us on a journey through the mystical world of Sedona and discover the allure of its powerful vortexes.

What Are Sedona Vortexes?

A vortex is a concentrated, swirling center of subtle energy where the Earth’s power lines (also known as ley lines) meet. In these places, energy is believed to enter the earth (downward inward energy) or project out of the earth (upward-flowing energy). Upward-flowing (positive) vortexes help release negative patterns, and downward-inward (negative) vortexes that promote introspection.

Each Sedona energy vortex has its own distinct feel, with some being more intense than others. Visitors may experience sensations such as warmth, coolness, or even emotional shifts at these locations like Cathedral Rock Vortex or Airport Mesa Vortex. In a vortex area like those found in Sedona, individuals might experience heightened intuition or psychic abilities; increased creativity; deepened meditative states; feelings of peace or rejuvenation; emotional release or physical sensations such as tingling. Experiences can vary greatly based on individual sensitivities and openness towards these energies. 

If you’re planning to visit Sedona and wonder what are the Sedona vortexes to visit, consult a Interactive Sedona Vortex map! (get the print version here) Here are the most popular sites where you can experience vortex energy:

  • Cathedral Rock Vortex: This is one of the best places in Sedona to experience vortex energy. Located near the Cathedral Rock formation, the Cathedral Rock Vortex is an upward-flowing vortex of Sedona energy  that helps release negative patterns and emotions. It is incredibly powerful
  • Bell Rock Vortex: Located near the Bell Rock formation, the Bell Rock Vortex is also an upward-flowing vortex. This Sedona energy vortex enhances creativity and promotes inspiration. Bell Rock and Courthouse Butte are two of the best-known sites in Sedona, Arizona. The Bell Rock trail is easily accessible from Highway 179, making the Bell Rock Vortex one of the easiest ways to experience vortex energy.
  • Airport Mesa Vortex: Located near the Sedona airport, the Airport Mesa Vortex is a downward-inward vortex. The Airport Mesa Vortex is said to promote introspection and inner reflection. Airport Mesa is one of the most scenic views at sunrise and sunset and is easy to find with an interactive Sedona vortex map. (get the print version here) We joke that the Airport Mesa Vortex is one where you can “take off”!
  • Boynton Canyon Vortex: Located in Boynton Canyon, the Boynton Canyon Vortex is a combination of both upward and downward energies. Said to promote balance and harmony, it is a popular Sedona energy vortex where you can actually feel the vortex energy if you’ll take the time to do so.

These unique energetic hotspots contribute to what I have affectionately dubbed “The Sedona Effect” and have become popular destinations for visitors seeking personal development and spiritual growth.

Some scientists and skeptics dismiss the idea that Sedona vortexes are energetic phenomena. They claim that the clarity, happiness, and calm that result from “vortex energy” are natural results of being outdoors, in a stunningly beautiful setting, often while meditating. Others claim that “vortex” is a well-coined marketing label for what is simply a meditation site.

Whether you’re a spiritual seeker or just looking for a unique Sedona experience, visiting Sedona’s vortex sites can be a transformative and unforgettable experience.

The History of Sedona Vortexes

If you want to experience the wonders of Sedona and have a vortex experience, you might be interested in the history of the Sedona energy vortexes, such as Bell Rock, or of the Red Rock country in general.

According to archaeologists, the history of Red Rock country dates back approximately 10,000 years, when Native American cave dwellers first inhabited the caves in and around Sedona. Originally inhabited by the Sinagua tribe, who left behind their own unique cultural footprint, Sedona today is populated by the Hopi, Navajo, Tonto Apaches and Yavapai. 

Indigenous peoples have long revered the land surrounding today’s modern Sedona, AZ, vortexes and Red Rock country including Oak Creek. They believed in its spiritual significance and respected its natural beauty. Sedona is home to numerous Native American sacred sites throughout the area. Sedona vortexes such as Bell Rock, Cathedral Rock and Boynton Canyon vortex are believed to be inhabited by powerful spirits.

In 1583, the first Europeans, a Spanish expedition in search of mines – not a Sedona vortex – arrived in Red Rock Country. The first permanent settler, John James Thompson, squatted in Oak Creek Canyon in 1876, marking the beginning of Sedona’s new identity as a small, remote ranching and farming settlement. By the early 1900s, the settlement near Oak Creek was home to two dozen families who created irrigation ditches to plant crops and orchards. During the ensuing decades, trails and cowpaths in the canyon became dirt roads, and this attracted more people. Sedona earned its moniker in 1902, when Theodore Schnebly petitioned for a new postal station, naming the new post office after his wife. What I love is that the original name he submitted was “Schnebly Station”, they denied the application saying  it was too many letters, so he re-submitted “Sedona”. Thank God! It just wouldn’t work to have Schnebly Station Soul Adventures!”

In the late 19th century, new arrivals saw Sedona’s potential for growth and progress. 

Early settler Abraham James is credited with naming many of the notable rock formations that give Sedona vortexes their names, including Bell Rock, Steamboat Rock, Court Rock (now Courthouse Rock) and Church Rock (now Cathedral Rock). Dr. Jesse Walter Fewkes of the Smithsonian Institute named the two largest cliff dwellings in the Sedona area, Palatki and Honanki. In 1895, this forward-thinking archaeologist predicted that the Sedona area would become a tourist mecca.

The emergence of the New Age movement has brought about a significant shift in spiritual and metaphysical beliefs. Nestled amidst the awe-inspiring red rock formations of Arizona, Sedona is one place that has become synonymous with this movement’s popularity. As a result, many people now visit this magical place, seeking the Sedona Effect and personal transformation through powerful vortex energy experiences at sites like Cathedral Rock Vortex, Bell Rock Vortex, and Boynton Canyon Vortex. These Sedona vortexes are swirling centers of energy that can create a palpable sensation, often described as a tingling sensation, in those who visit them.

Its breathtaking natural beauty, said to possess powerful Sedona vortex energy, combined with a rich tapestry of New Age practices such as crystal healing, meditation, and energy work, has turned this beautiful town into a vibrant hub of spiritual exploration and self-discovery. As word of Sedona’s transformative energy and the allure of its New Age offerings spread, it has attracted countless visitors from around the world, cementing its reputation as a sanctuary for those seeking enlightenment and a deeper connection to the universe.

No single individual can be credited with starting Sedona as a popular New Age destination. But there were several key figures and events that contributed to its rise in prominence within the New Age movement. Author and psychic Page Bryant’s book, “The Sedona Vortex Experience,” brought awareness to the concept of Sedona energy vortexes in the 1980s. The Harmonic Convergence, a globally synchronized meditation event, took place in 1987, drawing spiritual seekers to Sedona to partake in the event’s transformative energy. These events, along with the efforts of various spiritual teachers, healers, and artists who settled in Sedona, contributed to its reputation as a popular New Age destination, which of course required the creation of a Sedona vortex map. Over time, Sedona’s natural beauty and the presence of alternative healing and metaphysical practices further solidified its status as a sought-after destination for those on a spiritual journey.

Legends of Sedona Vortexes

The mystique of Red Rock country and Verde Valley is further heightened by the legends of Sedona energy vortexes  like Cathedral Rock, Boynton Canyon, and Bell Rock. Each Sedona location offers unique energies that affect individuals differently, making them ideal spots for personal development and spiritual growth.

Red Rock Crossing, where Oak Creek runs next to Cathedral Rock, is a strong Sedona vortex. Cathedral Rock is a holy place to the local Native Americans that once lived in this high desert paradise.  This Sedona energy vortex is purported to be the home of their gods and the birthplace of the first man and first woman. If you look in the middle of Cathedral Rock, you can see the First Man and First Woman standing back to back. 

The legend of Red Rock Crossing says that the First Man and First Woman argued constantly and could never agree. She said he never helped out around the cave. He claimed she nagged persistently. They finally appealed to the Gods for assistance. The Gods placed them in their positions – back to back but together – so they would be able to have their own views, voice and direction, yet remain together.

The legend of the Boynton Canyon vortex is another captivating tale in Sedona’s rich folklore. Boynton Canyon is a place of spiritual significance and healing for the Yavapai-Apache people.  According to legend, it was in Boynton Canyon that First Woman gave birth to their tribe.

The Bell Rock vortex itself is not recognized as a specific Native American site with historical or cultural significance. Instead, the myths and legends of this popular Sedona spot are other-worldly. Some believe that aliens planted a giant crystal under Bell Rock. Others claim that Bell Rock itself is an alien spaceship or transdimensional portal, hence the reason humans feel an “energy” when visiting.

Modern-Day Perception and Popularity of Sedona Vortexes

Modern-day Sedona vortexes, such as Cathedral Rock Vortex and Boynton Canyon Vortex, are widely recognized as powerful energy sites for personal development and spiritual growth. Many visitors who experience the energy of a vortex report experiencing a palpable sensation, increased energy levels, or even the release of negative patterns while visiting these swirling energy centers. 

The popularity of Sedona vortex tours, Sedona sacred journeys, and other vortex site activities has grown significantly in recent years, particularly among people who are considered to be New Age spiritual seekers. Options range from guided hikes to yoga sessions at key locations like Airport Mesa Vortex, Cathedral Rock, and Bell Rock, 

Despite the undeniable allure of Sedona‘s landscapes, there has been criticism regarding cultural appropriation and capitalism surrounding vortex tourism. White business owners profit from spiritual practices of indigenous peoples, raising ethical concerns. The exploitation of Native American beliefs by non-indigenous individuals can lead to misrepresentation and commodification of sacred traditions. This is one of the reasons why we have never done Native American rituals such as a sweat lodge  at Sedona Soul Adventures, instead we do sessions to connect with and utilize the transformational energy.

Skeptics, too, contend that no scientific evidence supports the Sedona energy vortex phenomenon.

Critics claim that the sensations experienced at vortex sites are purely psychological or due to natural geological formations like magnetic anomalies.

But even some scientists and skeptics will tell you there is “something” about Sedona, even if they can’t explain it.  Even Penn and Teller, the myth-busting comedy team, came to Sedona with their hit show “Bullshit”, with the obvious intention of proving that the Sedona vortex energy is BS. Watch the show all the way to the end and you’ll see that even after all the ridicule they heap on the New Age stuff, they come away with the idea that “something” was here. 

My youngest brother is a medical doctor, Western trained and highly skeptical. While it took me over two years to actually “feel” the vortex energy here in Sedona (I think I was trying too hard to “make it happen”), the very first time he came to visit me in Sedona I took him to Airport Mesa Vortex and we sat down to do a meditation. He immediately said  “this is strange, my hands and feet are tingling”. It took me two years to feel it and he felt it the first time he plopped his butt down on the Sedona earth – the little brat!

Sedona vortexes are unique and powerful energy centers that have been revered by indigenous tribes for centuries. Now, thanks to the movement sparked by Page Bryant, it’s a sacred place for New Age spiritual seekers, too. Each vortex has its own distinct characteristics and legends surrounding it, making them a fascinating destination for those interested in personal development and spiritual growth. While the popularity of organized tours and activities has brought some controversy surrounding capitalism and cultural appropriation, there is still much to be learned from these sacred sites.

For me, coming to Sedona over 20 years ago and doing healing work in this energy changed my life! I came here for the first time in 1999 for  what I thought was going to be three days of quiet. Instead, I received the unmistakable message that I had to change my life and I did. Three years later I moved to Sedona and founded Sedona Soul Adventures

Learn more about Sedona vortexes and their power by reading my blog “What Is a Vortex and Why Should you Care?


Debra Stangl

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below 0 comments

Leave a Reply: