James Arthur Ray || the anti-self
James Arthur Ray and Sedona Arizona
Warning. Reality may be further away than it seems in Sedona Arizona.
Sedona is the world capital for pretenders, imitators and self-worshiping. I have a long history and knowledge of Sedona Arizona and its endless parade of thieves like James Arthur Ray. In recent years it has become such a spoiled and lost blackhole in the desert southwest that I would never return there. Everybody in Sedona is (they believe) a sacred person, a sweat lodge leader and a pipe keeper. Why not? User beware.
Anyone who has three first names, and uses them to speak about himself, should always be viewed with suspicion. Tribal elders would rarely even look in the direction of a person holding and using such a name. This is the first warning sign. Yes, in this case I am using names. I am responsible for my words. This man's behavior is so offensive, it begs to be called by name.
James Arthur Ray is the ideal poster boy for everything that is immoral, incorrect and abusive of the teachings and sacred property of American Indian cultures by modern people, by the so-called new age.
1. Cost. the tribal elders prohibit profiteering from tribal ceremonies. There are no exceptions to this rule. It is acceptable to gather money for expenses and keeping the bills paid. This is a capitalist society after all. However, such extreme fees, even for the rich, are vulgar. They are a corruption of the intentions and implicit beliefs of the tribal elders.
2. James Arthur Ray does not have the permission or support of any American Indian, living or dead, to hold American Indian ceremonies.
3. No qualified sweat lodge leader would ever put so many people inside a ceremony. It is not a ceremony for large groups.
4. Presently, tribes do not have the authority to arrest or seek litigation from people who are stealing and corrupting American Indian sacred teachings. The elders rely upon a common sense form of reasoning. Doing the right thing. This man is a thief. Everyone like him is a thief. It is tragic that a loss of life has come from his behavior. He does not care about this. What price will he pay? What price does a thief pay when he sits before the mirror of the soul?
5. Bad information. Why would 64 people arrive at a ceremony by James Arthur Ray? Does the victim, by refusing to be informed at all, even in common sense, have some responsibility for their suffering?
6. Why are the media, citizens, publishers and governments so reluctant, even unwilling, to talk directly to tribal leadership? And by tribal leadership I do not mean gangsters and media whores, but keepers of sacred bundles, ceremonial elders, medicine society and tribal clan society leaders? Those sacred people are standing on their own two legs right on the same earth as these thieves and liars are standing.
7. Mistaken Identity. James Arthur Ray is not important. Personalities are not the point in an American Indian sweat lodge ceremony. This sacred teaching is personality independent. ANY American Indian teaching that is marketed as the work of a "special" person is a lie. A sweat lodge is a sacred experience for the soul of human beings. Over my 30 plus years of conducting sweat lodge ceremonies, I rarely even ask the names of the participants. It is not a teaching about personalities. Only modern religions have a (fatal) fascination for "personalities".
If you ever have a sweat lodge with a seventy year old nameless American Indian in some unnamed wilderness, you will understand the difference. All the money in the world, and all the "special gifts" of a typical ego-maniac and his cult of followers cannot find that sacred man or know that sacred place. If, instead, they act out and pretend and imitate, they have nothing. I think this is clear enough. It is up to you to understand the difference.
Tribes, I must admit, should carry some responsibility for this problem. The US Government has not yet allowed American Indians to sue or seek injunctions against people like James Arthur Ray. Freedom Of Religion seems to be the root cause. As I write this, I understand that tribes have been reluctant to test this hypothesis. Perhaps injunctions could be granted, but the tribal leadership has never tried. Until tribes at least try and help solve this problem, they also have some responsibility for their suffering on this matter. On the other hand, other religions do not have people running around pretending to be a Rabbi, Priest or Imam.