Local Author Kris Neri Discovered Magical Gifts in Sedona that Drew Her Back

Award-winning author, Kris Neri tells the story of her own “Call to Sedona” and how for her, the magic never ends.

Kris Neri, Sedona author

Lynn Trombetta: Kris, you’ve done well with your writing. Please tell how, like Ilchi Lee, you experienced your own Call of Sedona, and how that has influenced your career as an award-winning fiction writer.

Kris Neri: I don’t think my story is that different from other people; the first time I came I was struck by the beauty, but mostly I was struck by the sense that this place was in some way magical. My husband Joe and I kept finding ourselves coming back again and again. When we had an opportunity to go elsewhere, we always wanted to go to Sedona. And increasingly when we returned home to Los Angeles, where we lived, we both felt, just “sadder,” and that we had lost something by leaving Sedona.

One of the times when I came, I had just an epiphany: the characters and a fantasy situation came to me, whole! I just knew who these characters were. I knew what their situation was. It just felt like a gift. And I never wrote fantasy before- I always wrote mystery! I went home and put them in a couple of stories, which were published.

The characters wouldn’t let go of me, and I eventually put them into two novels, one of which is set in Sedona. I’ve really regarded them as gifts from this special place. I can’t explain the way it happened. One novel has received a major award nomination and the other one won the 2012 New Mexico – Arizona Book Award for Fantasy.

And the awards, to me just validated that I was supposed to follow that path with them, and this was just the reward for doing it.

There are certainly other places that I have been touched by visiting, but there’s never been any place that I’ve felt gave me the same things that I find in Sedona.

LT: Tell us a bit more about the two novels, please.

KN: The two book titles are “High Crimes on the Magical Plane” and “Magical Alienation.” They feature a questionable psychic and a modern goddess. I draw on my Irish background and the Celtic tales that my mother told me as a child, and I use those things in both stories. “Magical Alienation” won the award for Fantasy.

LT: So, at what point did you decide to make Sedona your home?

KN: We moved here in 2005. That was really after a good twenty years of visiting, and a few years of coming several times a year. I think it’s true that Sedona just calls some people.

When we decided we wanted to move, we had to figure out a way to make a living here. We started the Well Red Coyote that same year. It is a general interest bookstore, which means we carry everything, and our idea was that we wanted it to be a real community gathering place. So by now we have featured thousands of authors appearing and doing various presentations. And loads of free musical concerts. And I think the community has responded and does view it the same way we do.

LT: Kris, what’s on the horizon for you?

KN: I just signed the contract to write an e-novella for a new company, Stark Raving, that’s based in Beverly Hills. I’ve just started writing and it will be called, “Trust No One.” It is kind of a thriller.

After nine years in Sedona, I still don’t feel that I’ve lost any of the magic. To me I still feel thrilled by the sight of the red rocks; I’m still struck by the size of the sky – the way the sky seems to go on forever. And just the richness of all the colors. I have never become even one little bit indifferent to it.

LT: Thank you, Kris!

By Lynn Trombetta

Canyon Fire – A Reminder of Impermanence

“Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts.”
Rachel Carson, American biologist and writer

Slide Fire

We citizens stand by, nearly helpless, as fire burns in the canyons and forests of Sedona, the land that Ilchi Lee so lovingly speaks of in The Call of Sedona. In fact, it is Oak Creek Canyon where he suggests a contemplative “Water-Sound Self-Healing Meditation” in his book.

So now these canyon lands will offer another kind of contemplation: one that inspires us to share healing energy with the earth, the water, the birds and animals, the humans, and the air that are all affected by the fire.

And perhaps, the fire will offer a contemplation of the impermanence of things as well: We can drive by a place a hundred times, believing it has always been there, and will always be there, just as it is. But impermanence is our constant companion as we travel through life, and any perceived loss can serve as a reminder to look with eyes that “see” and to feel gratitude for all that life on this beautiful planet offers.

In these contemplations, and during this time of dismay, may we each find the “reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts.”

By Lynn A. Trombetta

Bronze Sculptor, James N. Muir Shares His Call to Sedona and His Artistic Calling

Like Ilchi Lee, Bronze Sculptor, James N. Muir experienced the Call of Sedona from afar. In this revealing interview, learn how Muir followed his destiny and brought his dream into reality in the red rocks of Sedona. Muir’s call not only brought him across the country from Indiana to Sedona, but also led him to his true calling. On my visit to his working Studio/Gallery in Sedona, Muir takes time away from his live model and his largest commission ever, a 25 ft. sculpture depicting Texas A&M University’s 6 core values for Kyle Stadium’s 2015 dedication. Here we interview this thought-provoking artist on his journey and his discoveries along the way.

James Muir, bronze scultor, Sedona AZ

JNM: I took a circuitous route to get here! I had a keen interest in the west and that colorful history, the whole idea intrigued me. I began to feel a calling to go west, so one day I loaded up my horses, a mare and a colt, and I moved to Texas. I went to farrier (horse shoeing) school in Mineral Wells, TX. I then decided to go further west, through New Mexico, but no place felt right, so I kept going until I ended up in Phoenix. From there I decided to head north to Wickenburg, since I had always wanted to see the cowboy life. But when I arrived, all of the guest ranches were closed, with all the hands gone to Colorado. I traveled on, through Prescott, but again, it didn’t feel right.

A friend had told me of his love of the Flagstaff area, so I decided to go there. I traveled from Prescott, down through Jerome. I thought Jerome was cool, but still not quite “me.” By now it was dark so as I headed down the hill, I had no idea about the red rocks that surrounded me. This was spring of 1979, and when I arrived in Sedona I thought, “What a wonderful, sleepy, quiet town! I knew I wanted to be in mountains, then I saw the lighted cross on airport hill as I drove in. I am a great believer in “signs,” so when I saw the cross, I thought, “This is where I’ll land.” I got a motel in the dark of night, and it wasn’t until the next morning that I saw where I was—surrounded by red rocks and all this beauty. But in the darkness of the night before, I had already made my decision, by the feel of the place that I would move and live here.

LAT: As I understand, you were not doing art at that time. What did you do to earn a living in Sedona?

JNM: Back then, you really had to earn the right to live here; I did anything and everything I could to stay. I ended up working round up at couple of ranches—I got to “cowboy.”

And you’re correct; I hadn’t yet discovered my art. I began visiting Husberg’s Gallery and developed a nice friendship with Allen and Sheila Husberg. I was knowledgeable in history and horses, so it made for nice, sharing conversation. I became increasingly drawn back to study the sculptures in the gallery. Even though I’d never had any formal art training, I started thinking, “That’s not the way I’d do that: sometimes it was a question of horse anatomy or psychology, or other things I would notice. Then I began to know intuitively that I could sculpt. I decided to get some clay and I tried it. One night, I started at 9 p.m. and by 3 a.m. my first sculpture, “Parting Shot” was roughed in.

After it was finished, I checked with the local foundry and had it cast in bronze. When I took it to Husberg’s, they bought it immediately. A few days later when I visited the gallery, there it was on display in the gallery, alongside the work of the “professional” sculpture artists!

I started a second piece, “Rescue Under Fire,” and before I’d even finished, the gallery bought it and also took a customer order for another one. About that time I worked five months at a foundry owned by Jerry Eden, He was kind enough to give me a start. It was at this time that I received some sage advice from Allen Husberg. He said, “Sculpt what you know.”

LAT: Sculpting “what you know” has produced an incredible array of subjects including your amazing horses as well as the fact that your interest in historical events has led to pieces that depict military, cavalry, and Native American Indian wars. The historical detail included in your pieces is indeed impressive!

JNM: I depict history truthfully and accurately in every regard. I became known for historical details, not just in the “details,” but in the nature of the character and emotions of what I am depicting. Emotions such as love, and courage, and everything in between. My “sage” friend Lester Levenson (The Sedona Method) once pointed out that what I am actually depicting is “courageousness—the bridge between the level where most people approach life and a more uplifting focus based on acceptance, and ultimately peace.”

LAT: You have often referred to yourself as an Allegorical Sculptor, and your pieces have many levels of meaning, both the subtle and those more obvious.

JNM: By the end of the second year of sculpting, I had already become aware that what I was doing went way beyond being a mirror of reality, and as I later learned through a quote by Bertolt Brecht, art can be, should be at a higher level, “not [merely] a mirror to reflect reality, but rather a hammer to shape it.”

Early on, in fact, at the very outset of my career, I came to increasingly recognize that through this God-given talent, I was given an opportunity, through my art, to be a messenger, helping bring light into the darkness of men’s hearts, and leave the world a better place than when I found it, in some small way. I’m a believer that talent is God’s gift to a person, what we do with it is what we give back. The only way we truly serve God is in service to others, “service to ONE, through service to ALL.”

LAT: Recalling the Sedona you encountered so many years ago and the energy of Sedona today, how has this place influenced your art?

JNM: The red rocks of Sedona have always been an ever present reminder of what true power and greatness is. This helps to keep a more balanced perspective on our individual role being played in the overall divine plan. Still, people often look for a “savior” outside of themselves, or come to Sedona in search of “something.” And the true message that can be discovered here is that the “something” you seek is within you.

LT: Last year you released a beautiful work, called “Eden’s Gate” that was sculpted partially en plein aire in a small apple orchard in Sedona. It is in this work that I personally see how you have captured the essence, both of that “something” that we seek, as well as the energy of Sedona, both strong and tender.

JNM: Yes, People can find that “beautiful garden” here. It’s true though, that we each have that Garden of Eden within. Once you have found it, you can’t just stay and wallow in the beautiful place, you have to take it out into the world. Artists in all fields find it, but with the blessing, comes the responsibility of taking your gifts out into the world at large. Then, the “by-products” of your journey, your art, can be spread out and shared with the rest of the world.

LAT: Thank You!

Sedona Musician and Recording Artist, Rick Cyge Shares His “Call of Sedona” Story

By L. A. Trombetta

Rick Cyge, guitaristGuitarist Rick Cyge wound his way down Highway 89A from Flagstaff through Sedona on his way from Boston, MA to Phoenix in 1988 and was immediately smitten with the beauty of this tiny spot on the map. Ask him now and he tells the story of how a dream of returning here to live has come true.

LAT: As you relocated from Boston to Phoenix, your first visit to Sedona was an unexpected discovery.

RC: Absolutely! When we reached Flagstaff, we stayed for the night. After studying the map in the morning, I saw this winding little road that passed through a canyon and a town called Sedona (I had not heard of it before). I convinced my traveling partner that we should take the alternate route as we headed south to our ultimate destination.

As we drove into the canyon on 89A from Flag, I was stunned. Having no prior knowledge about this ‘well-kept secret,’ I had no idea what lay ahead as we approached Sedona. We only spent a few hours there and got back on the highway to Phoenix. That brief encounter with Sedona’s red rock formations and great beauty left me with an impression that would create a longing that stayed with me for years.

Not long after moving to “The Valley,” I was hired to create and manage a museum store for the Scottsdale Center for the Arts. It was there that I met and worked closely with Lynn, who was become my second and current wife. Although it was not our shared love of music that brought us together initially, it was discovering this mutual passion that compelled us to form our guitar and flute duo, Meadowlark, and leave our jobs to pursue the music together full-time, going on to compose, perform, and record our own original music inspired by nature.

We often traveled to Sedona to soak up the creative energy of the place and would perform in places like Sedona Creative Life Center and at the charming Bed and Breakfast, The Briar Patch Inn.

LAT: You say your compositions are “inspired by nature,” please, elaborate on this.

RC: A reviewer once described our original music and Meadowlark as “a priceless ticket to ride over the hills and dales of your imagination!” That’s what we’ve done—traveling to natural places and capturing the essence of the land, the air, and the waters in music that speaks of our experience there and shares that recharging energy with others. Because of our innate drive to be in nature, the more time we spent in Sedona, the stronger the pull was to be there and immerse ourselves in the creative and spiritual energy that fed our souls each time we returned.

After several years of trying to find a way to make the move, we finally crossed a threshold where we just knew we had to be there, regardless of what opportunity lie waiting for us. Being creative and entrepreneurial spirits, we were excited about the unknown and the challenge of having to create our own opportunities.

LAT: What year was this?

RC: We moved to Sedona in June of 2009, ironically, on my birthday. We’ve been here ever since.

LAT: What is the most interesting or unusual thing about your story that you would like to share?

Within a short time after finding a place to live and barely settling in, we met a very talented musician at a party who said something that really left an impression. He had been living and working as a musician in Sedona for something like 19 years. He told me that when people move to Sedona, one of two scenarios typically unfolds. “They either find their “niche” and thrive, or Sedona spits them back out as fast as they got here!” Whoa! That was a bold and profound observation, but somehow rang true to me.

I was sure then and am more so now, that we fit into that first group. I felt as if I came ‘home’ the day I arrived here and knew I was supposed to be here. Initially we lived for about a year in the Village of Oak Creek, and my projects and work brought me through the National Forest almost daily on 179 and into Sedona. It is a stunning and inspiring piece of highway with views of the red rocks that just don’t quit. The changing light and seasons keep the landscape ever fresh. I told myself that I was sure I would never take this beauty for granted and indeed, to this day, I am thankful every day that this is my daily reality.

LAT: Elaborate, please, on what your typical day is like, how Sedona might influence you.

Rick Cyge, guitarist, among the red rocksMy time in Sedona, currently is quite full of activities and projects that have all evolved from seeds that I have planted in my relatively short time here. I am quite blessed with ample opportunities to perform my music to new and appreciative audiences several times per week. This fills me with enthusiasm and creative energy for which I am ever grateful.

We live in a cottage perched on Oak Creek—the creek literally flows by our front door. We eat as many meals as weather and time permits in our front yard with the creek and lush vegetation surrounding us, and I try to get a walk in as many days a week as I can manage and feed my spirit with the visions of this magnificent place.

While Meadowlark still does concerts and special engagements, I currently perform weekly at three very different venues here in Sedona as a solo, fingerstyle guitarist. I truly enjoy all three settings. Each has a wonderful staff that makes me feel welcomed and appreciated. Sedona’s appeal to tourists means each venue draws a different mix of patrons, in all cases with a high percentage of out of town visitors providing fresh ears to play to each week.

I like the contact with these tourists who have come to enjoy the beauty here. They’re from all over the world, all walks of life and with each of my performances, I have the opportunity to meet new people and enjoy the stories of what called them to Sedona. The answers are as numbered as the visitors, but they all share a love of nature and awareness of that “special something” that Sedona is.

LAT: For you, what is the best thing that has come as a result of being in Sedona?

RC: The best thing has been the experience of being guided by intuition and spirit back to the core of my souls’ purpose. The passion that filled me once I discovered my life’s purpose and aligned with that purpose, or “calling,” fills me with a constant recognition that life is abundant and good.

Sedona feeds my soul. I love the seasons . . . just when your eye might start to take it for granted, it changes. I say “Thank you” everyday!

Look Deep into Nature

By L.A. Trombetta

“Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.” – Albert Einstein

Nature’s magnificence abounds in Sedona! Every direction you look, her great beauty seems to leap out to you. Yet, this is also true of even the most minuscule of scenes in nature, when we take the time to observe, to really “see.” For me, looking deep into nature has been a lifelong joy. From the tiniest detail to the grandest vistas, I have fallen in love with this amazing planet over and over again. It is there, inside the consciousness that allows me to experience every molecule of this beauty, that I discover myself, over and over again as well.
In his book, Findhorn Retreat: Stillness Amidst the World, Eckhart Tolle comments, “If your mind is still, you can sense the peace that emanates from the earth.”

For me, observing brings stillness. Stillness allows me to look even deeper.

Ilchi Lee - Inspiration in Nature

Take time in nature. Slowing down, letting the energy soak in through every sensory organ—vision, smell, sound, touch, even taste, allows us to ultimately understand that there is no separation between this beauty and ourselves—this is who we are. Looking deep, we understand.

Sedona’s First People

Native American History

Native American history, Sedona, petroglyph

Native American petroglyphs on Sedona’s red rock.

People have been gravitating to Sedona since 8,000 B.C. Some of the migrant tribes that crossed the Bering Straight from Asia eventually made their way to Sedona. These “Paleo Indian” tribes roamed in bands along the tributaries of Dry Creek, Beaver Creek, and Oak Creek, gathering wild plant foods and hunting bighorn sheep, deer, and elk.

Eventually some groups settled nearby in scattered villages of pit houses in the uplands and along the foothills of the Mogollon Rim. Evidence suggests that these “Anasazi Indians” came from the high deserts along the Little Colorado River. The name Anasazi was coined by the Navajos and means, “The ancient ones who weren’t us.” For mysterious reasons, the Anasazi left the area.

Next came the Hohokam from the south, during the period of 500 AD to 700 AD. The Hohokam introduced irrigation farming. The ancient canals they built still exist today and were used by white settlers when they arrived in the area.

The Sinagua

By around 650 A.D., the Sinagua were occupying Red Rock Country, the Verde Valley, and the Flagstaff region. They hunted rabbit, deer, and bighorn sheep, and gathered wild plants such as agave, pinyon nuts, sweet acorn, sunflower seeds, goldeneye, wild grasses and berries, yucca fruit, and fruits and seeds from mesquite and saguaro and prickly pear cacti. However, their attention was increasingly going to farming corn, squash, and beans, both in the lowlands and mesa tops. They used “dry farming,” meaning they farmed without irrigation, using only rainwater. Hence the name Sinagua, which means “without water” in Spanish, a name given by the founder of Flagstaff’s Museum of Northern Arizona, Dr. Harold S. Colton. The name was derived from the original name given by Spanish explorers to the San Francisco Peaks north of Sedona—Sierra Sin Agua.

Another important food was agave, which was available year-round and ripened in higher elevations. It provided mescal, a staple that could be relied on in times of need. Mescal took three to four months to prepare. People from different bands would congregate in one area for a time to gather the agave there and share in the laborious process.

Montezuma Castle

Montezuma’s Castle

Throughout most of their history, the Sinagua lived in pit houses, partly-subterranean dwellings with brush and pole sides. An entrance through the roof served as a smoke hole. The years between 800 and 1130 A.D. were unusually wet and warm, providing bountiful harvests that resulted in a population boom that led to people gathering into larger cooperative groups and building pueblos or villages. They began to build their pit houses out of stone between 1000 and 1125 A.D.

Between 1130 and 1300, the uplands were largely abandoned in favor of river valley occupation and forty large pueblos and cliff houses were built, mostly near rivers and streams. Some of these structures, such the ones at Honanki and Palatki, can still be seen today. After 1300, hilltop communities such as Tuzigoot were constructed and had their heyday.

The people of the area were able to gather copper from where Jerome is now, salt from deposits in Verde Lake, and brittle claystone argillite, which they used in jewelry. They grew cotton to trade for parrot feathers, sea shells, and pottery.

After several hundred years of prosperity, the Sinaguans seem to have left the area in the 1400s. About that time, the Yavapai and Apache came to hunt and gather. It is unknown whether all of the Sinagua left, and for what reason, or whether they integrated into the Yavapai, Apache, and/or Navajo.

The Yavapai and Apache

In May 1593, Antonio de Espejo was the first non-Indian in the area. He entered the Verde Valley led by Hopi guides through an Indian trail that descends Wet Beaver Creek. He was ostensibly looking for two friars, but was probably more interested in prospecting for gold. All he discovered were the copper mines, however. He also found what he described as people wearing “crowns of painted sticks on their heads and jicaras [small bowls] of mescal and pinyon nuts and bread made from it.” In 1598, the Spaniard Marcos Farfan de los Godos encountered people wearing small wooden crosses on their heads and labeled them Cruzados (Yavapai).

Yavapai-Apache Nation - Native American history

Cultural dance of the modern Yavapai-Apache Nation.

The culture of the Yavapai and Apache had many similarities, which led to confusion by Anglo settlers and some government officials, who called these people everything from Yavapai/Apache to Apache/Mohave. One subgroup of the Yavapai is the Wipukpaya (Wipukupa, Wipukyipai), whose descendents live on the Camp Verde, Middle Verde, and Clarkdale Reservations.

The greater Sedona area is thought to have been a peaceful meeting place for Native American people from all across the Southwest. There is evidence of elaborate cookouts and ceremonies from times when the first peoples came to the Sedona area for hunting, fishing, and practicing their religion. All of the groups and tribes regarded this red rock country as sacred and special; certain spots in the area such as Montezuma’s Well and Boynton Canyon are the settings to the stories of how their people came to be here, such as those of the Wipukpaya.

When Red and White Mixed

Although Spanish explorers were the first Europeans to come through Sedona, their trips were infrequent and they did not stay in numbers. Their European diseases, however, devastated the population. The Yavapai’s hunting and gathering lifestyle continued without major disruption until the 1850s when more Americans began to settle in northern Arizona. A conflict of cultures developed over incompatible lifestyles, subsistence patterns, and concepts of land ownership. For example, raiding was a way of survival for the Yavapai, while the whites viewed the raids as hostile aggression. American hunters using rifles drastically reduced game populations, and cattle grazing diminished the seed-producing plants.

Native American history - 1875 Yavapai Apachi exodus

Bronze statue of an old man carrying his wife to San Carlos in 1875.

In the 1860s, gold was discovered near Prescott, bringing more white settlers to the state. As a result, there was more contact and conflict with Native American locals. In 1865, the frontier reached the Verde Valley when the first farmers arrived. The incoming Americans found the Yavapais directly on the lands they wanted. Consequently, the Yavapai and Apache tribes were constantly moved around by the cavalry. In 1872, General Crook moved all Apache to the newly created Rio Verde Reservation in Middle Verde Valley. In the process they wiped out large numbers of Native Americans. The Yavapai were moved to the reservation the next year. The raids, murders, and battles culminated in 1875, when 1,500 Yavapai and Apache were forcibly marched on foot from their Camp Verde reservation to another reservation in San Carlos 180 miles away.

However, in the 1880s and 1890s, some Indian Agents there encouraged the Yavapai and Apache to return to their lands near Sedona. Approximately two hundred Yavapai and Apache people gradually made their way back to the Verde Valley. At first, they did not get their land back, but were able to make a living at different jobs, such as mining, or by farming small sections of rented land.

Then in 1914 and 1916, 448 acres with water rights were set up for the Yavapai eight miles west of Camp Verde at Middle Verde. Again in 1969, sixty acres of land near the former mining community of Clarkdale were established as a reservation once most mines had been closed. A Department of Housing and Urban Development program helped to build new homes. The 1960s in general saw a resurgence of Native American tribes, and today the Yavapai-Apache nation encompasses 665 acres around Camp Verde, Clarkdale, and Rimrock.

Native Americans in Sedona Today

Festival of Native American CultureThe rich cultural impact of the first peoples is still felt in many facets of Sedona life from their stewardship and respect for the land to their powerful ceremonies and artistic contributions. Native American culture is alive and well in present-day Sedona. Visitors will inevitably share their long-established reverence for the land. Just as they hold many places around Sedona to be sacred, travelers will doubtlessly find their reverence to be well placed. There are many fine examples of Native American artistry in Sedona’s galleries and shops. Native American pottery and jewelry are some of the most popular items for visitors. Their music and dance are often showcased at various venues and visitors can book one of Sedona’s Native American tours to visit the sites and learn more about the historic people of this region.

Mother Earth Speaks About Sedona’s Amazing Geology

Though the landscape of Sedona’s magnificent red rock sculptures were formed “only” within the last ten million years, there are, literally and figuratively, underlying layers to this area’s geologic tale that provide a fascinating foundation for understanding the dynamic history of our living planet.

You might have heard rumors that Sedona will be the new west coast of America, but did you know that 1.82 billion years ago, Arizona was close to the edge of what is now the North American continent?
But why don’t we let the earth speak for herself? Let’s imagine that she is telling the story of one of her most beautiful creations—Sedona. Are you ready, Mother Earth?

“Thank you, I’d love to tell this story, because it’s about what is definitely one of my favorite creations. As always, it took a while, but remember, I am very long-lived and can take my time. Besides, I’m very creative and love variety. Since creativity requires change, it’s no surprise that I am ever-changing. So are you. That’s life, after all, and we are all One.

Now where do I start? Maybe back to around 500 million years ago when Sedona was, guess what, on the western coast of ancient North America. It was very hot—a desert, in fact. I rather enjoyed that. Then, 300 million years ago, give or take 50 million (sometimes it’s a blur), I felt so parched I decided to move it, and Sedona, somewhat west of the ancient North American continent to the bottom of one of my tropical seas. Since it was really close to my equator, it felt warm and soothing and teemed with tiny sea creatures such as the beautiful nautilus and coral. Their little bodies now decorate what your scientists, who love to categorize everything, call the Redwall Limestone deposit. It has lots of aquifers, too, which have, over time, dissolved the underlying limestone and created a sinkhole. That’s how one of them, Devil’s Kitchen at Soldiers Pass, came to be.

After million of years, it was time for change, so I decided to mix it up and have the sea retreat and rise many times to create some more beautiful layers. When it wasn’t a sea, your area transformed into a coastal floodplain. That was a stroke of genius, because perfect conditions existed for the floodplain deposits containing iron minerals to absorb some oxygen. Yes, that’s where the rocks got their rusty color—and they’re still rusting. My plan was to create varied stone formations of soft and harder stone for erosion into fantastic shapes, but this was the icing on the cake. The varied reddish hues would contrast beautifully with the other minerals’ lighter colors.

To spice it up even more, I formed and released the power of rivers from the north to add carvings in the limestone and more layers of sediment. For about 30 million years, my creative juices flowed as my riverbeds and rivers, overflowing seas, and storms created layer after layer of mineral deposits—with some random erosion thrown in for interest. What I got was what you call the Supai Group that included red sandstone, mudstone, conglomerate, and some gray limestone. It was exciting—my vision for Sedona was coming together.

Now there were two more major layers to create—your Hermit and Schnebly formations.
Of course, I was busy creating changes in other parts of my self that also affected Sedona. (The old adage of All is One is forever true.) Thus, I forgot to mention that the Ancestral Rockies (no relation to present day except in location) were formed when I collided North and South America to become part of that ancient continent, Pangaea, oh, let’s see, about 270 million years ago. What is important, though, is that the Ancestral Rockies river systems drained to create floodplains that were the source of the Hermit Formation.

Sedona geological layersNow we have to fast forward to about 167 million years ago when, yes, I missed the textures of sand. I wanted some more variety, so I blew it in from the north. It was slow at first, with patches here and there, until sand dunes were finally formed across the Hermit formation. The shallow basin of the ancient Pedragosa Sea reworked these layers through time and mixed it up quite nicely. When that finally receded, I brought in more enormous sand dunes to cover the area. Eventually (of course), all of this became the 700-foot thick Schnebly Hill Formation.

There are other intermittent layers of sediment forming rock with slightly different colors and textures, but these three, as I said, are the major ones. I don’t need to go into more specifics because I’m sure you get the general idea of how I create.

And, as so well put it in the beginning, the past 10 million years of erosion by wind and water (though mostly wind) are what has created my delightful brand of Fantasyland—the original one! My agent, who you call Mother Nature, helped out with the perfect placement of these various minerals, and their unique capacities for erosion, to form the fanciful, magnificent shapes within the spires, mesas, and buttes.

Take good care of them. I spent millions of years creating this beauty. And while I’m on the subject, I would love it if you would walk on me gently and love me as I love you. Think of me as the body of your mother. In a manner of speaking, but in the ‘rock bottom’ truth, that is what and who I truly am.”