Sedona Slang

Sedona Slang

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If you are planning a trip to Sedona, learn a few Sedona slang terms and phrases. Otherwise, you might find yourself lost in the sometimes mysterious New Age-laced local lingo.

"Sedona" itself is a peculiar name with an interesting story. The story goes that Theodore Schnebly, one of the founders of the town, submitted his wife's name for approval as the city's name, after two other names were deemed too long to comply with postal standards. Succinct and post office-worthy, the name "Sedona" was approved in 1902.

"The Y"

In Sedona slang, the Y is not a location or youth organization; it's local lingo for the intersection of highways 89A and 179, shaped like the letter Y. With this reference point in mind, you can go just about anywhere: uptown Sedona, or the upper right fork of the Y, is home to the Snoopy rock formation and the tourist-friendly shopping district; west Sedona, or the leftmost prong of 89A, showcases such landmarks as the Coffeepot and Chimney Rocks, as well as the Airport Mesa (discussed below). The lower part of the Y or the 179 portion is where you will find the Cathedral and Bell Rock formations and the village of Oak Creek.


That's right, it's "vortexes," not "vortices," if you want to say it in Sedona local language. Also called "power points," these are what people flock to Sedona to see; whether you believe in them or not, they are geological upcroppings or low-lying areas of intensified energy that supposedly enhance healing, meditation and self-discovery.

A trip to Sedona would not be complete without a trip to several of the 15-20 vortexes within a five or ten mile radius in this region. Few places in the world have such a concentration of vortexes in one location. There are several types of vortexes in Sedona: masculine (also called "upflow" or "electric," the latter technically a misnomer as the description does not refer to a scientific property), feminine (or "inflow" or "magnetic") and combination (or "electromagnetic"). Each type assists with particular types of spiritual problems. If you have specific goals, such as feeling more unified with the universe, or discovering your life's purpose, be sure to visit the vortexes that address these issues.

The four major vortex sites in Sedona are: Airport Mesa, Boynton Canyon, Cathedral Rock and Bell Rock.

Airport Mesa

Located in central Sedona, this vortex and plateau is considered a feminine energy and though it does indeed host a small airport it serves as an observation point for viewing many of the other sights to the south and northeast. While no rock formations occupy this vortex, the hiking trail here is one of the easier ones and majestic sunsets make it a popular destination. Best of all, it's free.

Kachina Woman

Located in west Sedona in the vortex site of Boynton Canyon, known for both its masculine and feminine energies, the Sedona slang term "Kachina Woman" refers to a columnar rock formation purported to be close to where the energy in this vortex is strongest. In the Pueblo, Hopi and Zuni tribes, the Kachina is a spirit physically embodied by masked dancers. There is an access fee for this landmark.

Cathedral Rock

A feminine vortex site, this is a much-photographed butte thought to be soothing and helpful for stress. Considered one of the strongest vortexes in Sedona, Cathedral Rock, located just south of Sedona, boasts pillars and spires of red sandstone and a challenging hike with several saddle points where you can take in vistas on three sides. A pass is required to access the hiking trail; there are additional fees for entrance to Crescent Moon Ranch and the picnic area.

Coffeepot Rock

You will notice in Sedona that rock structures aren't just beautiful; they actually look like easily recognizable everyday items. The "Coffeepot Rock" in west Sedona is a perfect example where a mundane object need not be ordinary if writ large in red sandstone - and in the local lingo its name reflects this. Although not considered a vortex, it is the highest point in the area at 5,600 feet, and to some, a place of energy release unto itself.


No, not the one that you surf from your armchair, this "channel" is a Sedona staple, not to be confused with a "medium." Unlike a "medium," who often conveys personal messages from departed ones on the other side to our world, in Sedona local lingo "channels" act as conduits to messages from spiritual teachers.

Channels at the Sedona New Age Center like to distinguish themselves further by saying they are "conscious channels," whereas other psychics are "trance channels." The difference between these two slang terms is that "conscious channels" do not have to be in a deeply relaxed state and can receive messages in a normal waking state.


In Sedona local language, "smudging" refers to a technique widely used in cultures as diverse as Chinese, Roman and Egyptian. It basically means using a smudge wand to cleanse the air and revive spirits. Much like incense, herbs like sage are burned on a stick and waved to ward off negative energies. This practice is frowned on by the U.S. Forest Service, as it is considered to be a hazard to natural lands if performed in the open.

Medicine Wheel

Several guided tours in Sedona teach the Native American practice of constructing prayer circles that acted as open chapels. Stones placed on the ground represent the four compass points, the healing benefit deriving from walking along the wheel where you will be magnetically led to the direction that offers spiritual "medicine."

While not used by tribes in Arizona, medicine wheels are not foreign to Sedona. They were considered sacred by tribes whose ceremonies might incorporate singing and dancing around the wheel and placing objects within the circle.

Red Rock Fever

You don't need to be a New Age devotee to feel the special energy surrounding this city. In Sedona slang, it's called "red rock fever." Whether you are looking for a change of pace or a healing experience, once Sedona's magical landscape gets into your blood, you, too, will be stricken with "red rock fever."

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