Shaman's Cave

Shaman's Cave

So now day 2 in Sedona, or perhaps day 1 if you wanna call it that. πŸ™‚ It’s Thursday the 10th of November. We decide to go check out various different vortexes in the area, feel them out, and decide which one we’d want to be at for 11:11 on 11-11-11. πŸ™‚

For our first stop, we decide to take a little hike out to a place Julie had heard about called Shaman’s Cave.

Julie had this vision even before we left to Arizona that we would meet some guide on a mountaintop who would guide us to exactly where we needed to go. One of those cliche stories you hear about, and yet that’s what what she envisioned. πŸ™‚

So coming back to the topic of Shaman’s Cave, it’s not exactly a tourist hotspot… It’s one of those places where you have to know someone who’s been there and can tell you about it and give you directions. It’s just outside of town down some dirt roads. The directions we got were good, though a little unclear, and we wound up going down some rougher roads than anticipated. πŸ™‚

Driving towards(ish) Shaman's Cave

Driving towards(ish) Shaman's Cave

Driving down gravely roads, we missed out first turn and went further than we needed to. Stopping near a hiking area with some ancient artifacts and whatever the word is for those cave drawings on the wall, we checked out a map of the area to get a better feel for the roads. While here we took a few minutes to explore and snap some pics. πŸ™‚

Snapping some pics of the red rocks when we stopped to get oriented

Snapping some pics of the red rocks when we stopped to get oriented

The photographer in me got to have a little fun here…

Water! Reflections! Turns out muddy reflections don't work as well as clear water =)

Water! Reflections! Turns out muddy reflections don't work as well as clear water =)

Once we got oriented and figured out exactly where we needed to go, we backtracked a bit to find the next road we needed to take. Matt was intuitively having conversations with the Spirits of the Land in the backseat. (For those of you who don’t know, he grew up having conversations with angels, spirit guides, and ascended masters, and he’s incredibly intuitive, perhaps one of the most intuitive people I’ve ever met. His and Julie’s website is here.) While driving towards Shaman’s Cave, Matt shared with us that the Spirits of the Land told us that to find the cave, we’d have to be vigilant and persistent. Vigilant and persistent. (Oh how right they’d turn out to be…)

Finding this place required knowing exactly what to look for and spotting tiny signs that mark roads. We really had to keep an eye out to find the next road and the next and the next.

There was about a mile of rocky off-roading action that we could either drive or hike to get closer to the trailhead. We started driving up this road when it struck me… “Wait, is this that road you mentioned we needed a high clearance vehicle for?” Bottoming my rental car out a bit on a boulder confirmed to me that yes, this is it. πŸ™‚

Backing up back down the rocky hill/road, I was able to find a place to turn around and drive forwards down to a parking area where we could grab our packs and hike up the road instead. With snacks and water and cameras and GPS gear in my pack, we started hiking up towards Shaman’s Cave!

A little over 1.1 miles in, there’s a parking area and an unmarked trail on your right that leads towards the cave.

Anna hiking down the unmarked trail towards Shaman's cave

Anna hiking down the unmarked trail towards Shaman's cave

As you may expect in a desert, there’s cacti everywhere!

Cactuses cactuses everywhere

Cactuses cactuses everywhere-se-ses

They’re not the tall saguaro cacti that were down in Phoenix, the ones you see in roadrunner cartoons, but shorter, almost pancake-like, cacti.

Matt and Julie enjoying the hike

Matt and Julie enjoying the hike

This was Matt’s first hike ever and he was doing such a great job! It definitely wasn’t an easy hike, but he was rockin’ it.

Anna was thoroughly lovin’ it too. πŸ™‚



I really loved the feeling of this area. The view pictured below somehow felt familiar, like I’d been there in a past life or something…

I love the variety of green plants that live on this slope up towards the ridge... cacti, trees, brush, grass, bushes...

I love the variety of green plants that live on this slope up towards the ridge... cacti, trees, brush, grass, bushes...

As we continued towards the back side of the big red rock where the cave should be, we knew from the directions we got beforehand that there would be some walking on walls we’d have to do to get to the cave. Every path we tried to take was WAYYY too dangerous and on a slope to make across safely. So we tried hiking away from the rock a bit to see if we could see where the cave was, exactly.

We hiked downhill into the cacti, which turned out to offer us a really nice view!

Hiking off to the side of the rocks, we found this nice cactus-filled area with a view

Hiking off to the side of the rocks, we found this nice cactus-filled area with a view

From this area, a bit away from the red rock, we tried to find the cave. If you’re facing the direction of the above picture and turn to your right, here’s the view you’d see towards the red rocks that somewhere housed a cave:

Checking out the backside of the rock, looking for the cave

Checking out the backside of the rock, looking for the cave

Do you see a cave? We didn’t…

See that fallen rock down at the bottom? Those are huge massive boulders. Look uphill and see that white-ish area? Those look like shear lines where the rock had fallen from. That was the closest thing we could find to a cave.
Since we couldn’t eye the cave, we decided to take a quick break and enjoy the view. It was a perfect location for a group picture! πŸ™‚

Group photo somewhere near Shaman's cave

Group photo somewhere near Shaman's cave

I spent some time being the happy photographer while my friends also enjoyed the landscape.

Anna and Matt loving the area

Anna and Matt loving the area

Julie sat down and meditated and chanted.

Julie chanting

Julie chanting

At one point she stopped chanting and listened more carefully. “Do you guys hear the music?” She asked? I couldn’t really hear anything but she was convinced she could hear something…

More on that later… πŸ˜‰

After making it this far, we didn’t want to turn back. So we decided that it would be a good idea to go down there to scout and take a look, hopefully finding the cave somehow. We agreed that I should go out to scout so I dropped my pack and camera gear and went out to go see if I could find this thing…

On the way down I accidentally kneed some cacti a couple times. I elbowed one at one point too. Now let me tell you about the cactus needles here… There’s actually two types of cactus needles you can run into, no pun intended…

These cacti had two kinds of spikes, the single long ones and the tiny shorter ones

These cacti had two kinds of spikes, the single long ones and the tiny shorter ones

The longer spikes aren’t really a big deal, oddly enough. It’s the little yellow ones that really get to you. In this photo, they’re in splotches. On other cacti, they’re long and fill the entire edge.

Cacti and red rocks

Cacti and red rocks

You can kind of see it in this photo (taken elsewhere in Sedona). The cacti farther away, they’re covered with yellow needles on top. If you elbow one of those, they break off and stick in you. I elbowed a long, wide patch of these and it left this yellow mustache of needles sticking out of my left elbow. Now these little suckers are nasty… they don’t come out easily. They must have tiny barbs on the end because once they go in, they don’t come out easily. What happens is that even if you try to pull them out from the outside of your clothing or the inside, they wind up sprinkling down inside your clothing and spreading out throughout your whole body. So what was just a dense collection of needles in your arm winds up pricking you all over your body… your arm, side, chest, back… everywhere. Yeah, these things kept poking me for the next day or two, but fortunately gradually diminished over time.

So to make a long story short, don’t mess with cactus needles. πŸ™‚

Anyways, back to the search for the cave… I ran up and down the side of the mountain, trying to find the thing but to no avail.

We got close to turning back here, but Anna pressed on and started marching forward to the alternate trail, the one that goes up to the top of the mountain and was supposed to give us a nice view. Go Anna! πŸ™‚

When we got up to the top, much to everyone’s surprise, Julie actually spotted the cave! Woohoo!

However, there was a little problem… we were up above it and not sure how to safely get down to it, or how to get back up…

We could slide down the face of the cliff a good distance and hopefully make a safe landing down below, but there was no good way to come back up, and the drop looked pretty hairy, both in distance down and the landing site.

Remember how I mentioned earlier that Julie had this vision of finding a guide on a mountaintop? Well at the top of the mountain we found a guide! He was this really friendly flute-playing guy named Jesse.

It turns out he had heard Julie chanting down below and she had heard his flute playing from above! πŸ™‚

At the top of the mountain, while leading us down the safe route to the cave, he pointed towards the sun and pointed out the sun dogs on either side of the sun’s fireball:

Sundogs and a circular rainbow

Sundogs and a circular rainbow

Too cool! It’s the first time I’ve ever seen this in real life. πŸ™‚

Leading us to the cave since we asked him if he could help, he took us around the bend to a back route that lowered safely and then wrapped back towards the cave.

Jesse showing us the path to the cave

Jesse showing us the path to the cave

Not exactly a typical trail, eh? πŸ˜‰

Rounding the corner, there’s the cave!!!

There's the cave!

There's the cave!

I don’t think this trail is one that you would find at first glance…

Yeah... this is the trail to the cave...

Yeah... this is the trail to the cave...

Once you figure out the “path,” it does get a bit easier.

Uphill, downhill

Uphill, downhill

This is one of those places in which you can really appreciate being…

Julie admiring the view

Julie admiring the view

As we got closer, we heard Jesse back behind us playing his flute, helping create an experience for us. πŸ™‚

Our guide Jesse playing the flute

Our guide Jesse playing the flute

Being inside the cave was SUCH a cool place… It was a really wide view that I couldn’t take in all in one shot, so I set up my camera and shot a pano.

Shaman's Cave pano
Shaman’s Cave pano

(You can click on the panorama to see it bigger. Same with any image on this blog.)

The bigger opening isΒ the mainΒ opening. The window on the right is a natural window. πŸ™‚

(Panoramas are funky in that they make the scene look much smaller than in real life, and they it look like everything is straightforward. In actuality, standing from the very back of the cave, the left side of the panorama is looking off to the left side of the cave. Rotating your head, the middle of the image is looking straight forward. And the right side of the image is what you’d see with your head turned to the right.)

This is one of those places that needs to be shot on video to get a better feel for it, so here’s a video tour:

Some people say the cave is an energy center or something. I dunno. I didn’t really feel anything there. Definitely felt sacred and special, but not necessarily energetic. No one seemed to feel a vortex here, per se.

After a little time spent exploring, we were ready to head back out.

Hiking out of the cave, aka hiking on a wall

Hiking out of the cave, aka hiking on a wall

Finding this place took a while and we had to really keep an eye out for little clues for the next step, and we had to be really persistent to keep going on, even through the several times we felt like turning back. Vigilant and persistent. The Spirits of the Land that Matt spoke with earlier were definitely right! πŸ™‚ Thanks guys!!

Speaking of Matt, this was his first actual hike to Massive props to him!!

Matt happily hiking back

Matt happily hiking back

We made it back to the car in perfect timing. It was starting to get darker at this point so we had just enough time, as the sun was setting, to make it out before it got too dark and harder to see the roads.

Driving away from the cave with the sun rapidly setting off to one side, the moon seemed to rise incredibly quickly off to the other side. Stunned at how quickly the moon seemed to be moving, we pulled over to shoot some photos.

The moon quickly rising behind these rocks as we're heading out from Shaman's cave

The moon quickly rising behind these rocks as we're heading out from Shaman's cave

In Seattle, being at higher latitudes, our days are much longer in summer than what I’m used to, having grown up in Georgia, and the nights are much longer in the wintertime. One other side-effect of that is that sunrises and sunsets are slower. One thing I really love about that is that the beautiful light seems to last longer at higher latitudes, which is awesome for photography. πŸ™‚

Coming back down to Arizona, the sunrises and sunsets happened much more quickly than we were all used to.

Whoa, Intuition

After departing from this area, I would have one of my strongest intuitive experiences ever thus far…

After we all took pictures of the moon rising above the red rocks (pictured above), we all headed out to dinner for a nice, satisfying, and well-earned meal.

After parking our car in town, we grabbed our stuff and started walking down the street, looking for a good restaurant. Once we spotted a possible restaurant, we crossed the street to head into it. While crossing the street, I heard something fall behind me. It was a water bottle so I turned around and picked it up.

We kept going and suddenly everything else spilled out of Julie’s backpack, all over the sidewalk.

“My camera!”

We all helped her get everything we could find that had fallen out of her pack. Unfortunately, we couldn’t find her camera that she’d just bought and had taken pictures with throughout the whole trip, including the whole hike we’d just done. She’d put it in a soft pouch that would protect it from falls, but unfortunately it also muffled any impact sounds so we didn’t hear when it fell out. It must have been at the very top of her pack since she had set it there after taking pictures of the moon so it must have fallen out before the water bottle when crossing the street.

We backtracked our whole path to see if we could find it, looking on the sidewalk, between cars we’d passed through, underneath cars, inside our rental car… everywhere we could think of, but we couldn’t find it…

While Julie continued to search back and forth, up and down the street, in and out of our car, the rest of us went to go check out the restaurant, grab a table, and check out the menu.

After feeling things out, Matt didn’t particularly like the menu and suggested we walk back and go help Julie and find another restaurant along the way. While walking back, we spotted a better restaurant, checked out their menu and decided to go there instead.

We got Julie, who was unable to find her camera anywhere, and she came in to join us. Sad about losing her awesome new camera and all the valuable pictures she’d just taken, she started surrendering and letting it go. It stunk, but she’s definitely good at letting things go…

She said a little prayer while sitting at the dinner table hoping the universe would help us find the camera when suddenly it hit me out of nowhere…


This massive feeling poured into my body and overwhelmingly surged throughout my whole body.


The feeling I could only identify as ME. More me than who I thought I was. A pure knowing, intensely powerful, infinitely large and yet sizeless ME.

“What? I have no idea where your camera is,” thought the ‘me’ in my head.

“I don’t want to go walk to the right,” my mind continued to protest. “That’s towards the front door and out of the restaurant. It’d cold out there. I don’t want to go out in the cold.”


Knowing that I could use my mind to will myself into resisting this energy and feel “powerful” and “in control” that way, I decided instead to go with it and see what happens. Why not? This is Sedona afterall…

Standing right up, and practically knocking the chair out from behind me in the process, I started walking to the right.

Walking towards the front of the restaurant, on the podium where the hostess waits to greet people when they enter the restaurant was Julie’s camera. In its pouch, it was quietly sitting right there on top of the podium.

Somehow I wasn’t surprised in the least. (If anything, I was surprised that I wasn’t surprised…)

Grabbing the camera and returning to our table, I casually set the camera down on the table, said “Here ya go,” and sat back down.

Everyone’s jaw dropped…

I had no idea what happened either…

It was one of those moments of both celebration and cheering that the camera was back, and at the same time a “WTF was that!?”

Still pretty blown away about what had happened, I asked Matt, “What is it on the other side that knows? What is that gives us the answers through our intuition?”

He looked at me and responded, “The totality.”

“Oh,” I replied, “That makes total sense…”

After we finished our meal, we went up to the front of the restaurant and asked why the camera was sitting on that podium.

EvidentlyΒ someone had found it on the ground in front of the restaurant and turned it in. They must have turned it in as practically as soon as it had fallen out because we didn’t find it when backtracking past the restaurant.

Then in struck us… if Matt hadn’t suggested that we skip out on the first restaurant and check out another one, we never would have found her camera.

If we didn’t decide on this particular restaurant, we never would have found her camera.

So many things had to go just right in order for us to have this experience…

So many pieces of the puzzle had to work out in that exact way…

It was a beautiful orchestration that included events that could have been labeled as “unfortunate” and yet things played out beautifully…

Wow… πŸ™‚


  1. Piotr
    on December 2nd, 2011

    Ariel, I hesitate to ask this but does your intuition say anything about the whole idea of “feeling good” in attracting positive circumstances or ideas into one’s life? It would be so nice to have something I could trust…and I guess I kind of trust your judgement!

  2. Ariel
    on December 4th, 2011

    You don’t need my intuition for that, Piotr. πŸ™‚ Isn’t that what countless teachers have talked about? What does your own life experience say?

  3. Piotr
    on December 5th, 2011

    Well, fortunately from the way you’re typing I can infer what your response would be :P.

    My life experience sort of confirms it, but I can’t be certain. It could be that my thoughts are the result of unlucky circumstances.

    I just have a lot of doubts so the more people can agree on one thing the more comfortable I am doing it…as for teachers I don’t know who to trust really, some of them could just be jumping on the LOA bandwagon to make money – meanwhile I can trust you just based on all the stuff you’ve done online, plus this post!
    Anyways that’s all, I guess I’ll think about this and which LOA idea to use.

  4. sonya
    on December 11th, 2011

    Thank you for the pictures and story. I’m about to take my second trip to Sedona. I so badly want to experience a vortex. I never felt anything on my first trip. Did you experience the vortex anywhere?

  5. Ariel
    on December 11th, 2011

    Yeah, I could feel something, some vortexes more than others. What we did, just to make sure we weren’t making something up and thinking this was vortex energy, was to close our eyes and stand where the vortex was supposed to be. Independently, we’d experience what we felt and then share afterwards and compare notes. Some vortexes did feel stronger than others. The Chapel, for example, felt really strong. But I’ve felt strong energy at other sacred sites where people pray a lot, so I don’t know if it’s vortex energy or just the energy from people praying and all… πŸ™‚

    Have fun on your second trip! I’d love to hear about it! πŸ™‚

  6. john
    on November 30th, 2012

    Great to read your story! Thanks for sharing. Would love to visit Shaman’s cave. Here is some interesting info on it and the other vortex places in Sedona.

    Kind Regards

  7. Jeannie
    on April 5th, 2013

    Hi Ariel,

    thanks for sharing your Sedona stories. I’ve lived here since Feb, 1990 and still find the energy amazing. There is such diversity in what people experience so I understand when people say “I don’t know what I’m supposed to feel”. I’ve seen everything from uncontrollable giggling to irritation and anger. I sometimes host guided meditation on the land and I encourage people to trust whatever they feel or sense and not try to make meaning out of it immediately, and instead take some time to contemplate and journal about it. In retrospect things always make sense. BTW today I went to Shamans Cave with 2 friends. On the way home we were talking about someone in town who offers a service we were interested in. I asked what the fee would be, but my friend did not know. After dropping me off at home he checked his voice mail and had received a call, the message said exactly the information that I had asked about during the drive home. That isn’t really intuition – that would be synchronicity, all the same, this place truly is magical ;~)

  8. Sandy
    on April 8th, 2013

    Thanks for every other fantastic post. Where else could anybody get that kind of info in such an ideal way of writing?
    I’ve a presentation subsequent week, and I am at the search for such info.

Leave a Reply