4
| News |

Self-Help Business Booming in Sedona, Despite James Ray's Death Lodge Tragedy

^
Keep New Times Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Phoenix and help keep the future of New Times free.

The sale of snake oil seems to still be a hot commodity in Sedona, despite "spiritual warrior" James Ray's October sweat lodge ceremony that killed three people and left dozens injured.

Businesses in Sedona, as well as other self-help retreats, say the sweat lodge incident hasn't hurt business, and that it may have even helped.

"We're getting tons of questions about what's going on here," Dennis Andres, who leads guided tours of Sedona's red rocks tells ABC 15. "So even though this was a tragedy, in a way it's also an opportunity." 

Sure -- a classic case of "when life hands you lemons..."

Karen Koebnick, organizer of an upcoming "personal growth" conference in Sedona, says the Ray fiasco hasn't slowed her sales a bit and -- in fact -- she's seeing a rise in people looking for "personal growth" in Sedona. 

"It seems to have increased Sedona's popularity overall," she says. "We've had people register from Switzerland, Norway, and Canada. That's never happened before."

Apparently cooking three people to death in a makeshift sweat tent is a tourist-grab -- who knew?

Ray charged $10,000 for people to participate in the "spiritual warrior" retreat, but John Assaraf, a fellow "self-helper," says despite what happened, Ray held the event out of "love" and "caring."  

"We are ultimately responsible for what occurs in the environment we bring others into. Will[James Ray] take responsibility?  I hope he does.  I think he will." He followed up this statement with, "There are some snake and oil people out there, but most people, James included, have the intention of loving and caring."

It's probably not too hard to "love and care" when that snake oil is sold for $10,000 a pop. 

Keep Phoenix New Times Free... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Phoenix with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.

 

Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Phoenix.

 

Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Phoenix.