Sedona, Arizona: Getting Pulled Into the Vortex

The massive, rust-colored rocks towered over me, making me feel closed in on the sides but open to the cloudless, cerulean sky above. This constricted feeling lifted as my mother and I hiked up the mountain, trying to reach Kachina Woman, a rock formation and symbol in Native American history.

The trail leading up to Kachina Woman

The trail leading up to Kachina Woman.

As I do not remember going to Sedona when I was young, my mother wanted me to experience the energy that moves between the red rocks in my home state. This past spring break’s trip proved to be worth the 24-hour delay for our flight, and it provided a much needed mental rest and boost.

The Hopi Indians live in northeastern Arizona, with their reservation sprawling over 1.2 million acres. The group believes in a strong link between cosmology and agriculture. Kachinas lie at the center of the Hopi Indians’ religion, representing spirits. These figures connect with a prosperous growing season of plentiful rain and healthy crops.


View of Boynton Canyon at the top of the mountain.

The story of Kachina Woman goes back thousands of years. According to Hopi mythology, humans lived together peacefully and collectively, but as our comprehension grew, the need for expansion did as well. People began killing fellow humans, and Great Mystery, the creator of us and our world, was upset by this. With this disappointment in mind, Great Mystery moved humans down to Middle Earth while he fixed the damage that we caused. While in Middle Earth, Kachina Woman watched over and protected the humans. After observing the improvement of interactions between beings, Kachina asked Great Mystery if they could all return to the new, rebuilt land. Great Mystery approved, but only if Kachina continued to look after everyone. If humans returned to their troubling ways, Kachina would fall apart to signal Great Mystery’s dismay. The Hopi Indians believe that if Kachina Woman ever falls, the people of our planet will return to a dark world and will never be allowed to see Earth’s beauty again. 

The view from the top of the mountain

The view from the top of the mountain.

The great protector resides in Boynton Canyon, one of the many vortices in and around the city of Sedona, Arizona. Vortices are areas of centralized energy, and this energy is spiritually charged. Sedona Vortex Tours states that vortices form when two or more energy meridians cross on Earth’s grid. Sedona is a hot spot for this energy, as fifteen vortex areas sit within a ten-mile radius of the city. Located in Sedona, Boynton Canyon has gained recognition as a location filled with spirituality, attracting many visitors to experience the vitality flowing through the air. Even without this aspect, Boynton Canyon is filled with stunning, natural beauty. Greenery lines the trail up to Kachina Woman, and trees fill the spaces in between the various peaks. The area even has bears, as a “Bear Country” sign warned before entering the trail.

Looking out to the left from the top of the mountain

Looking out to the left from the peak.

Kachina Woman stands on the left, overlooking the canyon

Kachina Woman stands on the left, overlooking the canyon.

Upon reaching Kachina Woman, I was overwhelmed by the clarity of my view. Other summits reside in the near and far, and Kachina looks out over a sea of jade. The combination of the fierce colors is almost indescribable; the green trees, red rocks, and blue sky all bounce off of each other in an alluring combination. The sky, unobstructed by any clouds, highlighted these distinct hues and truly gives off an intangible spirit. The dry air and complex Native American history gives the area its own energy, as the vortex concept promises. The red dirt from Sedona still coats the bottom of my sneakers, and I hope to return soon to see Kachina Woman still standing tall.

All photos by Tana Mardian.

About the author

Tana Mardian is a senior at Collegiate and has a fear of cotton balls.