Chief Ayanvli Rick, Cherokee Medicine Elder and Pipe Carrier, and her husband, Lakota-Dakota Medicine Elder and Reverend Joseph Grey Wolf, shared some Native American wisdom as well as a few simple rituals to practice at the Sedona vortexes.

“This is to bring truth to this table in a ceremonial way,” Joseph Grey Wolf explained as he waved a condor and eagle feather over the burning sage, cedar, and sweet grass.  The sweet herbal smoke wafted around us and we breathed in deeply as we sat in the bright Sedona sun, just steps away from their inipi, or sweat lodge.  With the traditional gifts of tobacco having been presented, we were ready to begin.

Since Joseph had just returned from vision quest, Ayanvli gently reminded him of the meeting’s purpose.

“Ah-h,” he said, and nodded solemnly. “So first, the vortexes. One comes to a vortex with a desire to know who they are. The vortex calls you – it’s a spiritual pilgrimage. The physical beauty here allows a feeling of awe, but an epiphany, an intuitive realization, comes when one has a desire to feel the inner spirit.  One has to have balance within to feel what the vortex is sharing with you. It’s important to stop, sit, and just be within the vortex space and let go so we can hear messages. In other words,” and he pointed to the center of his chest, “here is the vortex, and once it intersects with the earth’s vortex, you can experience what is said will happen, but that might not even be what happens.  In other words, we’ve all arrived with a purpose to step out as who we really are –  a spiritual entity to experience the physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual life.”

Opening to Creator

 Joseph stood up to demonstrate the first ritual and held his arms out parallel to the earth. In holding out one’s hands to all “people,” including every form of life, animate or inanimate, one extends oneself and focuses on the desire to connect to all possibilities of how divine power will come through – and to be open to those possibilities.

“Breathe deeply,” he said, “and connect to source. Breathe in and acknowledge the breath of love within your heart with forgiveness and acceptance. Breathe in love and what Creator is sharing.  Now exhale on your hand with the breath of gratitude and let go of whatever applies to you in that moment. Let go of ego and become the eagle. This is the recognition of spirit with love and gratitude. The eagle is the messenger and takes our prayers to Creator. Breathing in love and exhaling gratitude opens our spirit to the possibilities of what Creator has in store.”

 Besides being a planetary power spot, Sedona’s huge underground aquifer, red rocks of iron oxide, and imbedded crystals all contribute to it being a powerful vibrational generator, Joseph said. “This is Creator’s playground. The spirits are playful and reveal themselves according to where and how you are. The energy is very condensed here, not the same as the rest of the planet. On the land here, people are laughing, crying tears of joy, letting go of what’s been holding them back, even laying down on the earth, and healing their connection to who they are.”

Visible Prayer

 Let’s say you’re walking on the land and you feel a stone person calling out to you, that is, you are attracted to a particular stone. Pick up the stone in a prayerful way, put it into your left hand, and express a prayer of gratitude. Now breathe into the stone while praying for whatever you desire. Close your hand, express gratitude as you walk, and send energy into that stone person. Transfer it to your right hand now, and hold purposeful intent of letting go of something or calling in something. The stone will hold the prayer. Then breathe on it with gratitude – and release it to the earth once more.

When letting go, wiggle your fingers and release that energy to the earth.

 Now you see a tree that attracts you. Approach it with love and gratitude and prayers of letting go of pain that is not allowing you to be who you are. Place your hands on the tree or hug it. Now breathe onto it with love and gratitude and with what you are calling in. Now breathe in what the tree has to say. It knows why you are there and will give you a message if you let go.

 “So many people,” Joseph said, “feel so alone and find it hard to let go. Touch a leaf, pick up a stone. Hold something from the earth. You are never alone. Letting go is a process in which you have to be steadfast in love and gratitude. Creator wants us to let go of our stuff and other people’s stuff that we carry and be in love with ourselves. Letting go and acknowledging love and gratitude lights the fire within us.”

Releasing Method

Native Americans use prayer ties, which is part of a complex ritual, so Ayanvli offered in its stead a simple but effective method of release.

On a piece of biodegradable paper (such as rice paper or paper made only with wood pulp and fiber), write down what you’re experiencing or things you wish to release from your life. Place this in a tree, either in a hole in the tree or in a fork of its branches, and leave it there. For a simple fire ceremony, write on any sort of paper and place it, prayerfully and intentionally, into a flaming barbeque or fireplace.

Cathedral Rock (Red Rock Crossing)

 Simple Water Ceremony

“Water is the blood of Grandmother Earth,” Joseph said. Ayanvli added, “It can be used as a rite of passage.”

Let us say you have ended something, even maybe passing the bar – this can serve as a rite of passage, a letting go. Go to running water ( perhaps Red Rock Crossing), and scoop the water onto your face, hands, arms, legs, feet, and the top of your head. Next, wipe the water off your body with prayers of letting go what doesn’t serve you.

“Water transmutes whatever is being let go,” Ayanvli explained.

Prayer to the Seven Directions

 Since the Cherokee and Lakota do this a little differently, it was agreed to demonstrate the Lakota way.

Joseph faced the directions as he explained them. First is West – dreamtime, the color black, the strength of the bear, courage, and healing. Here you call in the strength for receiving the knowing of…the North, the color red, representing the blood of all people and Grandmother Earth connected. Here is the spirit of the buffalo standing against the storm. Be open to spirit and acknowledge the blood of all people to receive the knowledge of….the East, of the color yellow, the sun, the beginning, with the knowledge and messages of the bird people. With this, we receive the knowing of wisdom of….the South, of the color white, the hottest of the hot. Here is coyote, the trickster, representing joy, laughter, and the wisdom of the ancestors to help us to come into who we are.

 The Fifth is all that is above – sun, stars, wind, moon, clouds, sky – and is the color blue. Here we receive that which is above and are open to Creator coming through us. Sixth is all that is below – the land, trees, stones, all life on earth, and the color green. Here we acknowledge all creatures of earth. It is good to place your bare feet or hands on the land.

Seventh represents the heart, soul, the spirit, the third eye, and the color purple. Joseph touched his chest center and said, “Here we connect our spirit through all the directions to connect with who we are and with everything sacred.”

 Ayanvli explained, “Because blood is red, that of life, and horizontal, and blue is truth, that of the divine, and vertical, it becomes purple, and the purpose is to experience life. Stay in the center of that cross and be in the present, the here and now – what we call the beauty way.”

There was a solemn peace as we all considered this.  Suddenly, I realized that Joseph was standing next to me.
“Here,” he said. “Open your left hand.”
As I did, he placed a four-cornered red rock stone in it.
“What does that shape mean to you?” he asked.
My mind went blank.

“It’s a tetrahedron.”
“Ah, yes,” I said. I clasped my hand over the stone.
“That represents the connection of all sacred places.”
I nodded, prayed, switched it to my right hand, and blew on it as Joseph had taught. Then I threw it to the right.

“Ah, did you see that?”
I turned to look. A beautiful yellow butterfly was flying around just where I’d thrown it.
“It’s the little things,” Ayanvli said. “Watch and listen for the messages around you. Butterfly means…”

“Transformation,” Joseph smiled.

For more information, go to Joseph’s facebook or email:

Article Written by Mary McLean