Ripples of the Universe
Spirituality in Sedona, Arizona
Ask a random American what springs to mind about Sedona, Arizona, and they will almost certainly mention New Age spirituality. Nestled among stunning sandstone formations, Sedona has built an identity completely intertwined with that of the permanent residents and throngs of visitors who insist it is home to powerful vortexes – sites of spiraling energy where meditation, clairvoyance, and channeling are enhanced. It is in this uniquely American town that Susannah Crockford took up residence for two years to make sense of spirituality, religion, race, and class. Many people move to Sedona because, they claim, they are called there by its special energy. But they are also often escaping job loss, family breakdown, or foreclosure. Spirituality, Crockford shows, offers a way for people to distance themselves from and critique current political and economic norms in America. Yet they still find themselves monetizing their spiritual practice as a way to both "raise their vibration" and meet their basic needs. Through an analysis of spirituality in Sedona, Crockford gives shape to the failures and frustrations of middle- and working-class people living in contemporary America, describing how spirituality infuses their everyday lives. Exploring millenarianism, conversion, nature, food, and conspiracy theories, Ripples of the Universe combines captivating vignettes with astute analysis to produce a unique take on the myriad ways class and spirituality are linked in contemporary America.
About the Author
Susannah Crockford is a postdoctoral researcher in anthropology at the University of Ghent, Belgium.