Thursday, November 10, 2011

Day 1: Who found Sedona? What's a Vortex?

Mogollon Rim behind Schnebly Hill
The first nomadic tribes found Sedona about 12,000 years ago while in search of a better climate and improved food sources like elk, deer, mammoth, bison. They traveled down from the Grand Canyon. No mysticism played a part in these original inhabitants finding Sedona. They had excellent "trackers". Some believe they were part of the Clovis tribe, the original North Americans who traveled across the Bering Strait to North America, seeking new land to live during extreme earth changes. (Source: US Forest Service & US Dept of Interior)

The Mogollon Rim surrounds Sedona, protecting it from extreme heat, cold and adverse weather conditions. The Rim is the southernmost section of the Colorado Plateau, once part of the Grand Canyon. It provides a perfect, protected place to live whether you're human, plant or animal, even in 10,000 BC.
Petroglyph from V-Bar-V Ranch

Artifacts trace human existence in the Sedona area up to 8,000 BC, then nothing for almost 7,000 years. Mysteriously, not a trace of human activity in the Sedona area from 8,000 BC to 200 BC.  Much like the Hopi legend of the first true Sedona settlers, the Sinagua Indians: they vanished.

Archaeological data suggests the Sinagua, Hopi and Anasazi tribes are related. They share similar spiritual, agricultural and physical traits. It's unclear which tribe came first. The Hopi believe the Sinagua were first, other tribes believe the Anasazi were. Disagreements exist everywhere in society no matter what century, but when it comes to legends, most members of various tribes do agree with this one.

Boynton Canyon
Sinagua villages &
spiritual"sacred space"
Native legend says the Sinagua tribe ("without water") was drawn to Sedona by its natural, magnetic energy force, what we call Vortex Energy, around 1000-1100 AD. The Sinagua felt the gravitational and spiritual pull to Sedona before they'd ever seen it. Archaeologists claim the Sinagua lived here over 300 years (1100 - 1425 AD). Then suddenly, without a trace, they vanished into thin air.

Legend says they learned to use the energies in these Red Rocks and transformed out of their bodies. They still live here; we simply can't see them anymore. They're vibrating at a higher rate.

Another part of the legend believes several Sinagua Shaman hover and protect parts of Sedona, seen as ravens floating across the sky or skimming the edges of vortex sites, using Sedona's energies to help fulfill "anglos" wish-lists - wish lists of those who travel here for spiritual awakening, emotional release, physical healing or just to relax.

The Sinagua were the only tribe to successfully live in Sedona, where other tribes failed. Interestingly, you will not find many natives living in Sedona today. They live around the area, but not in it. Some say the energies are too intense and Anglos are crazy for living here - it will melt our brains! Maybe they're right?

Sedona Schnebly -
1st Schoolteacher
The Sinagua named this land "Palatki", meaning Red House. The name "Sedona" came from the Anglo settlers around 1900, named after "Palatki's" first schoolteacher, Sedona Schnebly, wife of the first postmaster.

Because Sedona's main water source, Oak Creek, was much higher and wider when the Sinagua lived here, they had plenty of water for crops, livestock and themselves. They created genius irrigation and pulley systems found at Palatki Ruins, Tuzigoot and Montezuma Castle.

The Sinagua tribe spread across the entire Verde Valley area: Sedona, Cottonwood, Clarkdale, Tuzigoot, Camp Verde, Beaver Creek, Montezuma Castle & near Montezuma Well. Spanning almost 180 square miles, larger than the current Yavapai-Apache Nation reservation in Verde Valley now.

For almost 400 years, they thrived - building sturdy cliff dwellings, farming the land, making pottery, trading with other tribes, carving & painting on rocks. They even survived several violent volcanic eruptions from Sunset Crater (near Flagstaff). Then suddenly around 1425 AD, they vanished. No trace, no footprints, no tracks leading out of town. Other tribes tried to "track" them - they came up dry. (Source: US National Parks System ( - Montezuma Castle)

Tuzigoot National Monument
Sinagua's Largest Community
If you visit Tuzigoot National Monument, you'll hear more about the mystery surrounding the Sinagua. Some scientists claim the Sinagua were massacred by other tribes, but no residue from an attack exists. Some feel the tribe suffered from an epidemic and perished, though no remains substantiate that claim either. Others feel the thousands of tribal members fell under drought and famine and remaining members were assumed into other tribes (e.g. Hopi & Anasazi).

If you ever visit Sedona, take a trip to the area's Cliff Dwellings, petroglyphs and pictographs. Maybe the spirits of the Sinagua Shaman will speak to you, revealing the truth behind their mystery. Best sites are Tuzigoot, Montezuma Castle and Palatki Ruins.

You'll find many conflicting stories and legends in Sedona. Wherever diverse cultures converge and merge (Native Indian, Scientists, Hollywood, NASA, New Agers, Ranchers, white collar & blue collar), conflicting views will exist. That's also part of Sedona's magic.

Namaste -
Robin Amanda - Sedona Spirit Psychic
Sedona Psychic-Medium (since 2009)
Reiki Master-Healer III
Former Sedona Vortex Guide (2009-2016)
Twitter: @sedonarobin
P.O. Box 20797, Sedona AZ 86341


  1. No matter what camp you fall into, skeptic or believer, perhaps we can all agree on one thing: Sedona’s greatest magic is the way this breathtaking red rock landscape can awaken us to the enduring majesty of our Earth home.

    ilchi lee best selling author

  2. Oops.... Some Facts are incorrect:
    Sedona Miller Schnebly arrived in 1901. She was NOT the first school teacher, Mrs. Van Deren was. No one knows WHO the Indians were that lived here 700 to 800 years ago. It was Jesse Walter Fewkes who was the first Archaeologist to call those Indians Sinagua in 1898, (without water). We do not know what they called themselves. It was also Jess Walter Fewkes who named the cliff dwelling, "Palatki" meaning Red House. It could NOT have been the Indians because they left NO WRITTEN Language, just Rock Art with images that NO ONE living today can definitively interpret their meanings. In addition…. Oak Creek Canyon was an excellent water source for anyone living along the banks… but the Palatki and Honanki Sinagua Cliff Dwelling are 8 miles away. However the climate was much different then and more source of water were more accessible including a small creek in in front of Loy Butte. Hope this information is helpful. For additional information, please visit The Sedona Heritage Museum.

  3. Anonymous - Thank you for your information. The legends & history listed above taken from USFS, Yavapai-Apache Nation articles, Sedona Monthly, Arizona Highways & other publications - dating back to 1970s.

  4. Grand Canyon National Parks Service newspaper articles also researched for this post. Sedona is a fascinating place - where legends, facts, rumors, historical information often get skewed or contradict one another.