Visiting sacred places can have a profoundly positive impact on people’s lives. Our amazing planet is dotted with power centers where people have experienced visions, healings, prophecies, inspiration or insight into the meaning of their lives.

Stonehenge, England

Stonehenge in England, Machu Picchu in Peru, the Pyramids in Egypt, Sedona in Arizona and Mount Shasta in California are among the world’s best known power sites, but there are over 1,000 stone circles, holy wells, sacred forests, healing springs, oracle caves and pagan temples across the planet that have been attracting visitors since ancient times.

Machu Picchu

The Pyramids

The healing power of sacred places
Only 30 miles from Santa Fe, New Mexico is El Santuario de Chimayo where 300,000 visitors each year come to scoop sand from a hole in the floor of the “Room of Miracles.” Its walls are lined with letters and photographs from hundreds of thankful pilgrims who say they were healed here.

El Santuario de Chimayo

My home of Cornwall, in the southwest of England has more than a dozen holy wells where, like Lourdes in France, miraculous cures have been reported for hundreds of years. Here is a recent photo I took of a holy well…

Holy Well, Cornwall

The energy of sacred places is very subtle. The healing capacity of a place can aid the healing process similar to the way that prayer can. When someone goes on a pilgrimage believing they may be healed there, they can set powerful forces into motion.

Vision quests lead to self-understanding
Going on vision quests is a North American native tradition that has become a popular New Age practice. It involves spending time alone in an isolated, often wilderness setting, in hope of receiving a message to guide one’s life. An increasingly popular spiritual place attracting visitors looking for spiritual healing and enlightenment is Sedona in Arizona.

Sedona vortexes stimulate creativity
A friend once told me of a magical place called Sedona in Arizona. This stunning place is home to one of the most power energy centers in the USA. Once a secret known to few outsiders save for Hollywood crews who filmed countless western movies in its picturesque canyons, Sedona became an artists’ colony in the 1950s when surrealist painter and sculptor Max Ernst and author Kahlil Gibran moved in.

Sedona, Arizona

After the 1987 Harmonic Convergence was held in Sedona, it became the New Age center of the country. A 1995 study by the Chamber of Commerce found that 64% of Sedona’s 4 million visitors per year come to find “some kind of spiritual experience.” The focal points of Sedona’s power are four energy vortexes, identified in 1980 by trance medium Paige Bryant.

Sedona, Arizona

It is a rare visitor who does not feel invigorated by the Sedona Vortex and it’s energy. Many people who retire to Sedona because of its mild climate and beautiful scenery suddenly develop an interest in painting, sculpture or crafts work, even though they had no previous artistic interests. It is not uncommon for visitors to fall in love with Sedona, buy homes there, and then a few months later have to move out because they are unable to withstand the constant force of so much energy.

Sedona, Arizona in winter

Sedona retreats are becoming very popular with specialist companies offering spiritual vacations. Sedona is also the headquarters for dozens of astrologers, psychics, spiritual counselors, massage therapists and other energy workers. A local psychic association member joked that “Sedona is the only city in the world with 1,500 channels and no TV station.”

Sedona, Arizona on the map

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How to get the most from sacred sites
People hoping for a transformational travel experience can enhance their chances of a non-ordinary event by preparing in advance of their visit. Before a native youth went on a vision quest, he or she would train with a shaman to learn about the spirit world. They might take part in extensive prayers, fasting, drumming, chanting, dancing and even psyotropoic herbs or mushrooms.

You can’t expect to have a similar quality experience if you simply show up at a place like Stonehenge or The Pyramids, buy a ticket, follow a tour guide around and take a few pictures. You need to approach a pilgrimage site with an attitude of openness. Since you are going there to be affected by the place, you have to allow yourself to be affected. At the very least, you should approach a sacred place with a humble attitude and ask permission from the spirits before you enter.

Recommended Sacred Places Books

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