Psychics Feel Natural Spirit of Arizona Town


When she moved to this desert community rimmed by spectacular red-rock formations a decade ago, Anita Dalton was the only psychic on the block. Nobody could have foretold what’s happened since then.

Nowadays, the 4 million tourists who visit Sedona each year can consult dozens of resident psychics, Tarot card and palm readers, astrologers, channelers, massage therapists, healers and other spiritual advisors offering out-of-this-world services--Visa and MasterCard accepted.

One woman offers both clairvoyant readings and massages. (No chance of her rubbing a customer the wrong way.)


All this because thousands of people believe intense natural energy centers known as “vortexes” exist in and around the village of 9,000 people about 100 miles north of Phoenix.

“My personal experience is that the energy is just more intense,” Dalton said. “I was psychic when I lived in San Diego, but now that I live here I’m really psychic.”

New Age adherents make pilgrimages to Sedona to commune with ancient Indian spirits, consult psychics and purify their auras with crystals. Back-country Jeep tours take people to the vortex centers, and visitors browse in shops selling runes, New Age books and music and other mystical wares. Deep thinkers attend conferences and seminars in Sedona.

Not everyone believes Sedona is built upon grids of natural power.

“The only thing I’ve gotten from all these rocks is tired” walking among them, wisecracked Evelyn Baldwin, a Sedona resident for 40 years. “This New Age stuff, I don’t believe a damn word about it.”

Ken Feder, an archeology professor at Central Connecticut State University, visited Sedona for his book “Frauds, Myths and Mysteries: Science and Pseudo-Science in Archeology.”

“Yes, absolutely, Sedona is a magical place,” he said. “I wouldn’t argue with anyone who says it is. There’s magic in the blue sky and the geology that produced those beautiful red-rock canyons.”

But as far as a mysterious energy emanating from those rocks?

“I guess I would just beg to differ that there is magic in Sedona on an occult or mystical level,” Feder said.

Regardless, the mind-body travelers mean big bucks for Sedona’s motels, shops and restaurants.

In 1987, about 10,000 New Agers descended on Sedona for what was known as the Harmonic Convergence, chanting, humming and meditating atop Bell Rock to awaken and balance the energies of Earth.

The Earth didn’t move, “but it was good for the economy,” said Mayor Ivan Finley. Finley himself doesn’t feel any special energy around Sedona, but doesn’t quarrel with those who do.

Nancy Lieblick of Lahaina, Hawaii, visited while on business in Phoenix. After a massage, she watched a sunset at a vortex site. She’s willing to believe there’s some kind of other-worldly healing energy in Sedona.

“I was only there a couple days,” she said, “but I really felt restored when I got back.”