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Touring the Vortex Print E-mail
Dec 04, 2009 at 07:15 AM


[image: view from the Horseshoe Vortex, Lake Laura, Basye]

"There is no system or method - it does not matter whether it is Zen from Japan, or a system from India - to make the mind quiet."

-- Krishnamurti, Flight of the Eagle


Lake Laura's Vortex Path 

Lake Laura was created by means of a dam in 1971, flooding the waters of Big Stoney Creek which meandered in a verdant quarter mile wide valley. Part of the enjoyment is the overlook of the 44-acre expanse of water as viewed from the elevation of the dam. A wavering bridle path goes around the entire lake, tracing the top of the embankment of the dam at the north end, and wandering toward a mid-nineteenth century farmhouse and stables on the south. There are vortex spots along this path, especially on the west side of the lake. Visiting the lake's vortices (Horseshoe, Ashe and Red Serpent) in general is easy, though getting to the ones along the bridle path does involve a hike of 1.5 miles or more. There are some very moderate changes of elevation (still an easy hike) so you should have appropriate footwear.

The access to Lake Laura is by Arnold Rd. If you are coming from Mount Jackson on Rte 263, it's a left turn off 263 about 1/4 mile before you reach the intersection with Resort Dr. or Basye center. Arnold Rd. ends in the parking lot for the lake. After parking, we've heard the vortex energies start as soon as you begin to climb up a steep embankment with railroad ties set in to create a staircase of sorts, and then make your way to Lake Laura, a thousand feet straight ahead. You can go around the lake clockwise or counterclockwise. To go clockwise, you just keep straight ahead, and the path takes you past the small beach. If you choose to go counterclockwise, you would turn right at the lake and walk over the top of the dam, then bearing left to follow the bridle path in the woods, paralleling the shoreline. Laura's western shore has three pronounced indentations or folds, creating little inlets of the lake. These are quite visible on a terrain map (below).

View Larger Map (please also refer to our Lake Laura page)

The Ashe Vortex, so-called because it is bounded by Ashe Drive on the west, is a longish section of the path at the midpoint on your way to the far end of the lake. The vortex has three prongs, like a "W" laid on its side. The Red Serpent is part of Ashe, centered more or less on a sharp bend of the path where it crosses a tiny creek bed that is dry part of the year. It is not marked. The Horseshoe Vortex is on the opposite side of the lake, on your way back after you've passed the far end where the horse stables are. Maps will help. The path, especially on the west side of the lake, can be muddy and slippery after a rain and in the winter.

Since there are no markings or signs at the vortex locations, it would help to have a guide (someone who knows where they are) to find them exactly -- although you may just feel the energy. Part of the experience is to set out on this path with no preconceptions, to see if you can sense the vortex without being told. Once there, please do not mark the area or take any mementos -- no stones, etc. because you think an object contains a power. As our guide said to us, there is an order to everything, and when you merge with that order (i.e., become not just conscious of the vortex but with the vortex), you will know it. Instead of looking for the vortex, you may find the vortex looking for you (echoing Nietzsche's famous but misunderstood statement about the abyss*), which simply means you are becoming conscious with the vortex. No one understands the nature of this energy, truly, and in spite of our efforts we don't pretend to either (if you have not read the DISCLAIMER to this web site, please do so....). 

-- In any case, anything done that changes the site is likely to simply disfigure a place that is sacred to many people and probably was to the Indians; plus, any object taken from there is likely to drain like an exhausted battery once it is removed from the source. 

*["If you gaze for long at the abyss, the abyss will also gaze at you." Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil, Aphorism No. 146]


Orkney Springs

The Orkney vortices are even easier to reach -- you park your vehicle anywhere near the green of the 263 Loop and they are all (well - the ones we know of) within a quarter mile radius or so. In general, the vortex area stretches from the field behind the massive Virginia House, up to and around the "green," by which we mean the end of Rte 263. The same cautions apply, even more so, because there may be stones or other objects of interest that people might be tempted to take as mementos; but to date Orkney Springs has been lucky in that there are no graffiti, no carved or scratched initials; not even little makeshift stone altars, made by piling flat stones in little pyramids or stacks dedicated to the goddess. Among the main objectives of your visit should be to experience the Shrine, or Orkney Springs Cathedral Vortex. This is all off the Loop, on a hillside just a few hundred feet up, but hidden by a row of houses and trees if you are on the Loop itself. There is a silence and peace in Orkney Springs, and there is nothing to obstruct one's experience of the energy -- its role as a retreat center is justified. The ideal is to flow like Krishnamurti's famous eagle, "leaving no trace." (One of his books was named after this idea -- The Flight of the Eagle -- quoted above.) It is a manner and way of being attuned, we think, also to the vibrations of the ancient Indian spirits watching over these sites.


images/stories/spring4_225.jpgIt has been reported (though we cannot confirm it) that once you are attuned at the Orkney Springs Cathedral Vortex, the light is palpable, like plasma or kind of tangible transparent substance, and that you can see with extreme clarity. Even though that sounds like special effects from a Hollywood film involving aliens, we take those reports thoughtfully. It has also been said that the energy from the springs can sometimes be seen as a kind of pillar or funnel of energy emanating from the ground -- reminiscent of the pillar of cloud from the Old Testament, guiding the Jews on their journey to Mount Sinai and guarding the sacred = communion ("As Moses went into the tent, the pillar of cloud would come down and stay at the entrance, while the LORD spoke with Moses." Exodus 33:9).

The Orkney Spring, the main spring, is a simple crescent-shaped small pool [image], with reddish-yellowish sediment on the stones lining it. (The word "chalice" which is sometimes applied to it was probably a substitute for the spring's original difficult name, "chalybeate," which means "bearing iron salts," having an iron taste). It is at the neck of the Loop, by where Rte 263 turns back on itself. The Loop has the Tea Spring in the park inside it, capped by a working hand pump... it is one of the ancient springs that was so revered in the 18th and 19th centuries for the qualities of its water. The energy at the Tea Spring is not strong and it fluctuates, but it is most noticeable at the stone-lined rivulet that bisects the green. The Loop is also called the "Ankh Loop," reflecting the probable (or at least argued for -) derivation of the ankh, or "cross of Isis," as a devotional relic, from the sandal strap of the goddess -- the part that goes around the ankle being the loop at the top; the vertical part of the cross goes from the loop and fastens between the toes; and the horizontal straps hold to the sole on the sides like arms of the cross.

The Bear Wallow Spring is on the north side of Rte 263, back some distance from the road, almost across from the large building (the Virginia House). It also has a working pump. The other four springs are "lost," that is to say neither the local people nor we know their exact location. It is something we will be working on and if you as a visitor learn something more, you might let us know.  


images/stories/shrine2c.jpgNOTES: in general it would be helpful to have a guide, perhaps someone you know who has visited these sites before. We are working on maps and will make them available via this website as soon as they are ready. 

In the meantime, don't be surprised if you ask a local person for directions to a spring, that they will probably know, but if you ask for a vortex, you might get a blank look or an ambivalent response; this is an emerging phenomenon, not everyone locally is aware of these sites -- or wants to be. Some people will just dismiss this kind of speculation as total nonsense; and then, to the question of how Christianity gets along with these ancient spiritual powers, the answer is "just fine -- but not always." It is in general an interesting set of paradoxes that a retreat center operated by a church should find itself the steward of a location that is host to a pre-Christian historical site, and energies representing a most ancient wisdom. It is also a fact of our culture that some New Agers have not interpreted the expansion of their perspectives to the occult and even "pagan," as a need to leave the church; or some have left the church but do not see that as identical to rejecting Jesus. We read somewhere that the founder of the Shrine Mont open air cathedral, The Rev. Dr. Edmund Lee Woodward, who truly has our reverence and gratitude, was aware of the Virginia Indian heritage and selected the location purposefully; and that would not surprise us at all. 

If you are planning a visit and need more assistance and you don't know a "spiritual tourist" familiar with the area, you can always email us with specific questions, although we can be slow to respond. We can be reached at vortex |at| basyevortex dot com. (Please replace the "at" with the @ sign, and of course put the dot before the com, where it belongs.. we are not trying to be clever -- just trying to save our address from being harvested by the "spam bots" -- automatic junk email list builders that search the web and will recognize an email address ...). 






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