Exploring the Sedona of the East
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.
Categories: enhancing creativity