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Exploring the Sedona of the East

Vortex hunting is a tricky business.  I dashed around downtown Asheville, NC, Saturday afternoon asking directions to one of these ancient New Age phenoms. 

I didn't find one that day, though I did hear a wonderful account by the man behind the counter at Gaea Gifts about hiking to a vortex site near Boone, NC, sitting between the water and the wall beneath a waterfall and listening the sound of Om beneath the rush.    And I learned of a company that offers day tours of sacred sites with ceremonies.

So what is a vortex?  Mystics and metaphysicians — some of them — use this term, spiritual vortex, chosen by Page Bryant of nearby Waynesville, as a concentration of energy.  An amplifier of energy, thus an auspicious place to pray or meditate.   Sometimes seen as a "thin place" between our familiar world and other dimensions.

Well, who could resist?  I've long heard and read about such places at Sedona, Arizona, (where Bryant first used the term) and in the NC mountains.  I'm neither a believer or a debunker.  As with the fairy hunting recounted here last summer, I'm entirely open to the idea and hopeful.  And I love the exploring. 

So I tried online and in three New Age stores and one bookstore to get specific directions.  It was not to be. 

Then as I write this, I remember that the Indian city, Varanasi, where I spent three months researching my novel Sister India is believed to be a center of spiritual energy, the home of tirthas, a Sanskrit word literally meaning a shallow place in a body of water where crossing is possible.   

While I didn't feel the pull of any vortex in downtown Asheville, except for the notable fact that I kept asking, I sure have felt a pull to Varanasi: from 1978, when I first learned of it and planned to go, through 1991-1992 when I finally got there.  (Monsoon flooding diverted me once from my destination and I went to the south of the subcontinent instead.)

Once in Varanasi, I did find the city distinctly and peculiarly different from anywhere else I've ever been.  There are lots of possible reasons for that: the smell of funeral pyres on the Ganges (it's the holy place for a Hindu to die), or the sight of tightly wrapped corpses carried through the streets on bamboo stretchers, or the spectacular riverbank curve of the old maharajahs' palaces.  Or the maze of narrow lanes. Or maybe the fact that pilgrims have come here for thousands of years.  For whatever combination of reasons, the atmosphere feels charged with the possibility that anything could happen, which is both fascinating and unsettling. 

So if there's anything like this in the North Carolina mountains, eventually I'm going to have to find it. 


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  • November 6, 2011 at 8:14 pm Reply

    Peggy – keep looking! I'd love to find them too, so let me know!
    all I can say is that sedona is absolutely incredible. I had the local top-notch mystic take me out on the rocks for a personal adventure and that's exactly what it was. But I'd love to find that same energy closer to home.

    • November 7, 2011 at 12:10 pm Reply

      Gail, I’m dying to hear what happened there, what if felt like. Do tell….

  • November 7, 2011 at 5:05 am Reply

    Oh Peggy,  I am so with you, particularly in this bit:
    "I'm neither a believer or a debunker.  As with the fairy hunting recounted here last summer, I'm entirely open to the idea and hopeful.  And I love the exploring."
    Glad you're back to blogging.  Great to hear what you're up to!

    • November 7, 2011 at 12:14 pm Reply

      Thanks, Beth. I recall seeing you beside a sailboat on Facebook, I believe. I’m glad you’re having good adventures, too.

  • November 7, 2011 at 9:51 am Reply

    Two thots :  I think there are measurable & measured energies @ these Vortexes — what that actually means / what  sort of spiritual / symbolic energy is focused & experienced @ those places world wide seems primarily a function of the seeker's beliefs & expectations . Like everything else ? Anyway , better a powerful placebo for good things than a nocebo !
    Second , is that yr husband in the boat in the black shawl w/ back to camera ?  Aiki

    • November 7, 2011 at 12:13 pm Reply

      What kind of measurable energy, Aiki? And, no, not my husband; as I recall that was a German woman. Dressed in Western clothes, she called out to me in a crowded market area one morning, asking me where I’d gotten my salwar kameez. Next time I saw her, she looked like she was running her own ashram.

  • November 7, 2011 at 3:17 pm Reply

    Greetings Peggy Payne, I think you are just great to be so bold, strong, and have the courage to be "real & true" in your writings and in your thoughts–past, present, and future. Indeed, you are fearless. I have ordered REVELATION and am looking forward to reading your work for the first time.  
    Have you ever thought of going to the Middle East–Iran–for an adventure of sorts?
    Always listen to the Voices…

    • November 7, 2011 at 3:58 pm Reply

      Thanks, Eileen St. Lauren (marvelous name, BTW). Please say more about these Voices….

  • November 7, 2011 at 4:11 pm Reply

    And no, Eileen, I haven't given serious thought to Iran.  I did go to Israel years ago.  And there was a woman in the workshop I led last week who had come from Qatar, which certainly put that region in mind.  It's not high on my list, but neither was India before I went to a conference there and fell in love with it. 

  • November 7, 2011 at 7:50 pm Reply

    Greetings Peggy, I have always wanted to go to Iran (which my husband just told me that 2-3 countries are seemingly talking of going to war against right now–I didn't know THAT) but would like to go only if I had the right traveling people with me. Actually, as a writer with a BIG mouth, I've never had the guts but am open to it. It is my hope that one day when I get a first novel published I can go there and everywhere else. 
    I don't know why having a book in my hand would make a difference but in my mind it does. 

    I hear the Voices when I write. Always have. And if I listen to them it works. It's when I get out of that "creative realm of energy" that I make a mess of my work and my life too. It's like a vein of energy–can be dark or light–happy or sad–up or down and so on but if you've ever been there you know it. You know the difference too. No one can take that "knowing" away from you. It's like a Calling on your life to do something–you die called. And it's up to you if you answer that Call. I don't usually see the characters or peoples faces but I hear their Voices with my left ear and see their images up my right. NOT a dream either.
    I hardly ever remember my dreams but once in a while I dream about people who have passed on. Then whatever they are trying to tell me, I get a good sense of it and I know intuitively what it means. Some people believe it is because I've been solitary for most of my writing life and it's my "imagination" but when I wasn't writing and even on a city bus or in a store or anywhere I heard the Voices inside my head most of all my life at one time or the other. I will go out on a limb and say it's a "gift." And most always that I remember, that "gift" has served me well esp. to call and tell people, "good bye" when they are about to leave this world. That has happened so many times to me.
    One of my characters says, "Death doesn't scare me but life does. I don't know why I'm still here." 
    I agree.

    • November 8, 2011 at 10:58 am Reply

      The vein of energy sounds a bit like kundalini, Eileen, which is a lot of what I’m writing about now. Are you familiar with that concept. Interesting line from your character, BTW.

  • November 9, 2011 at 8:09 am Reply

    Greetings Peggy, As soon as my eyes calm down I will take a closer look at kundalini. Don't know if you know or not, I'm visually disadvantaged due to back-to-back retina detachments at an early age. From 2008 until just recently I had HUGE on-going eye issues. Only been able to see out my "windows of light" for couple of months now. Thank God, I'm better than I've ever been since 2008 however when I go for my check ups, my eye surgeon manipulates my eyes and it takes them time to calm back down–went yesterday for two hours. I'm one of his success stories–functional, able to drive, by seeing great out my two "windows of light," happy and WRITING, and "…not stuck in a chair with a remote control…"(his words not mine!) I had to go space by space, dot by dot, to even put my manuscript together for I'd lost it due to computer crash after my first retina detachment in 2008. It took me a long time to be able to put sentences, words, thoughts, back together, THINK, and walk, take steps even. My eyes make "zero" fluid so every few minutes I have to put drops, etc., in them to keep seeing. I use 6 meds. a day to be able to maintain great sight. Stress is my Enemy. Rest, peace, and dark glasses are currently my best friends. (!) Sorry to write so much info. I know of no other way to tell it though. I will try from now on, to be concise. In the near future, I will read about kundalini perhaps it will be a blessing to me. I strongly suspect if you have your hand to it, it will help others along their Way. Take care. 

    • November 9, 2011 at 8:14 am Reply

      I had no idea, Eileen. I’m so impressed that you’re doing the writing you are with all the struggle that’s involved. Thanks for letting me know.

  • Carmen
    January 8, 2021 at 10:51 pm Reply

    In Black Mountain go visit The Light Center, Cabin, Labyrinth, Vortex, Light Center, and walking trails at

    • Peggy Payne
      January 8, 2021 at 11:40 pm Reply

      Thanks, Carmen. I make note of these.

  • Danielle
    April 18, 2022 at 3:40 am Reply

    Did you ever find them? Im visiting soon and cant find any locations. Would live to do some hikes on my own.

    • Peggy Payne
      April 18, 2022 at 3:54 am Reply

      I didn’t, Danielle, though maybe would have it I’d found a guide, which I did in Sedona and visited some locations there. Please report back if you find them. Thanks.

  • Carmen
    April 18, 2022 at 4:24 am Reply

    Go visit the Light Center in Black Mountain. Hwy 9 from Asheville,NC. When you have reached the Eastern Continental Divide, go a few miles and it’s on the right…

    • Peggy Payne
      April 18, 2022 at 1:26 pm Reply

      Thanks for this, Carmen. Will check it out. And I love directions so geographic as to refer to the Continental Divide.

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