Retreats are deep journeys within, where we disconnect from our daily routines to listen to the language of our soul. Through breath, movement, nature and ceremony we are able to receive.
A vortex is the funnel shape created by a whirling fluid or by the motion of spiraling energy. Familiar examples of vortex shapes are whirlwinds, tornadoes, and water going down a drain. A vortex can be made up of anything that flows, such as wind, water, or electricity. Sedona has long been known as a spiritual power center because of the vortexes of subtle energy located in the area. These vortexes are swirling centers of subtle energy coming out from the surface of the earth. This energy is not exactly electricity or magnetism, although it does leave a slight measurable residual magnetism in the places where it is strongest.
There are many energy vortexes in and around Sedona and other places like Joshua Tree, California. The subtle energy that exists at these locations interacts with whom a person is inside. It resonates with and strengthens the Inner Being of each person that comes within about a quarter to a half mile of it. This resonance occurs because the vortex energy is very similar to the subtle energy operating in the energy centers inside each person. If someone is at all a sensitive person, it is easy to feel the energy at these vortexes, and it can be an uplifting experience. The energy absorbed in this way can have a positive effect for days afterwards. People come from all over the world to experience this. The vortexes are all easily accessible, and no strenuous hiking is required to get to any of them.
“Your life is a sacred journey. And it is about change, growth, discovery, movement, transformation, continuously expanding your vision of what is possible, stretching your soul, learning to see clearly and deeply, listening to your intuition, taking courageous challenges at every step along the way. You are on the path… exactly where you are meant to be right now… And from here, you can only go forward, shaping your life story into a magnificent tale of triumph, of healing, of courage, of beauty, of wisdom, of power, of dignity, and of love.” – Caroline Adams
We are all on the path… exactly where we need to be. The labyrinth is a model of that path.
A labyrinth is an ancient symbol that relates to wholeness. It combines the imagery of the circle and the spiral into a meandering but purposeful path. The Labyrinth represents a journey to our own center and back again out into the world. Labyrinths have long been used as meditation and prayer tools.
A labyrinth is an archetype with which we can have a direct experience. We can walk it. It is a metaphor for life’s journey. It is a symbol that creates a sacred space and place and takes us out of our ego to “That Which Is Within.”
Labyrinths and mazes have often been confused. When most people hear of a labyrinth they think of a maze. A labyrinth is not a maze. A maze is like a puzzle to be solved. It has twists, turns, and blind alleys. It is a left-brain task that requires logical, sequential, analytical activity to find the correct path into the maze and out.
A labyrinth has only one path. It is universal. The way in is the way out. There are no blind alleys. The path leads you on a circuitous path to the center and out again.
A labyrinth is a right brain task. It involves intuition, creativity, and imagery. With a maze many choices must be made and an active mind is needed to solve the problem of finding the center. With a labyrinth there is only one choice to be made. The choice is to enter or not. A more passive, receptive mindset is needed. The choice is whether or not to walk a spiritual path.
At its most basic level the labyrinth is a metaphor for the journey to the center of your deepest self and back out into the world with a broadened understanding of who you are.
The medicine wheel is a symbol for the wheel of life, which is forever evolving and bringing new lessons and truths to the walking of the path. The Earth walk is based on the understanding that each one of us must stand on every spoke, on the great wheel of life many times, and that every direction is to be honored. Until you have walked in others’ moccasins, or stood on their spokes of the wheel, you will never truly know their hearts.
The medicine wheel teaches us that all lessons are equal, as are all talents and abilities. Every living creature will one day see and experience each spoke of the wheel, and know those truths. It is a pathway to truth, peace and harmony. The circle is never ending, life without end.
In experiencing the Good Red Road, one learns the lessons of physical life, or of being human. This road runs south to North in the circle of the medicine wheel. After the graduation experience of death, one enters the Blue or Black Road, which is the world of the grandfathers and grandmothers. In spirit, one will continue to learn by counseling those remaining on the Good Red Road. The Blue Road of the spirit runs east to West. The medicine wheel is life, afterlife, rebirth and the honoring of each step along the way.
In the 1960’s and 1970’s Larry studied Zen and Buddhism while living in the mountains of Wood Stock, New York. Believing in the connection of everything, he has walked the path of the ancient ones, returning back to the circles of creation to the mystical lore of the land. “Life is not a problem to be solved, but a mystery to be lived.”
Larry is a medicine wheel facilitator trained in native teaching and eastern philosophy. He gives guided tours to the Vortex and sacred lands of Sedona, Arizona. Larry has been featured in the New York Times and many other publications through the years. He is and has been leading tours in Sedona for over 15 years. His tours are enlightening, informative and personally transformational.
Intentional Fire Ceremonies
The sacred bonfire ceremony is a tradition in many cultures, especially in Native American sacred rituals. It is symbolic of new beginnings -personal and planetary rites of passage. It is customary for each participant to bring something to the bonfire ceremony to burn, something which is symbolic of a “releasing” or “surrendering” of that which no longer serves the highest good of the individual (you).
We will be providing each participant with “wish papers” to be used in the bonfire ritual. As the intention to release or surrender is infused in the sacred wish paper and tossed into the flames, the smoke releases the wishes, desires, thoughts and feelings into the Spirit realm or the path of progression, perfect for the individual.
You may also choose to bring/prepare pictures or drawings, or intentions written on a piece of paper which represent the past, and you may also choose to bring/prepare pictures or drawings or intentions which represent the newness. After an item representing the past has been burned and released, you will have something prepared that is written down on a clean sheet of paper which represents something new that you might be choosing to create.
At the beginning of the ceremony a circle is formed around the fire and one by one we call in support from the Creator of all that is, the Mother-Father God-Goddess I AM that comprises the “All” that gives each of us inner peace. We start with a sacred intention and end with our intentions of gratitude that our thoughts, prayers and declarations have been heard and have already manifested into the physical world in which we reside. As we continue to walk our path here, or as the Native Americans refer to as walking the “Good Red Road”, we walk it with lightness, a knowing that that road has been illuminated for us.
It is important to note that this is an individual as well as a group experience and no one is obligated to speak during a Fire Ceremony. Anyone can participate without stating what they are releasing or calling forth. The things we address from our past or call into our future can be shared with the group or kept to ourselves as we go through the Fire Ceremony.
The Fire Ceremony has housed many, many sacred ceremonies over hundreds of years and, as such, is infused with the Spirit of those that have walked this path before us. It is a powerful and very beautiful form of expression to mark this point in our own personal and planetary evolution.
Kirtan, also known as sankirtan, is the call-and-response chanting inspired and popularized by the great saint Sri Krishna Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. The roots of kirtan go back over 500 years to Renaissance India. During this period the influence and style of kirtan became the focal point for the upsurge in religious expression in Bengal led by Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. This joyful mood quickly spread throughout India, where today kirtan is accepted as one of the surest paths to enlightenment. The singing is accompanied by the ancient musical raga musical tradition with a rhythmic drumming style that transports the chanters to profound spiritual realms. In its religious fervor, it has been likened to modern American Gospel music, and in its heartfelt expression it compares to profound states of deep meditation.
Unleashing Your Creativity
Creative expression is within us all. We are each sparks of the One creative flame.
As we navigate through our daily lives, we often don’t find or make time to nurture the creative flame within. This group activity will help each participant connect to and rekindle the flame of creative expression within us all. We begin with a sacred circle and group meditation to align the energies by creating our own safe and secure creative vortex of energy. This is followed by a Chakra meditation to align each of the energy meridians, which allows the individual and group energies to flow freely within the circle. Placed within the circle is our group canvas or long blank paper upon which we will each be placing our own form of expression utilizing a variety of mediums that we will provide for the activity.
The result will be as unique and beautiful as the group assembled to create it! The most important thing to remember is that this is a FUN (Freedom-Union-Now!) activity and is certainly NOT a test of anyone’s artistic talents! We will also be taking time to pass out the Wish papers for the bonfire ceremony and taking some time for individual intentions and reflections.
Art created from a previous group: