Storm Wisdom eNews: Mar. 25, 2013                               Follow Storm Wisdom on Facebook & Twitter


Transformation at Angel Valley

by Charles McAlpine


A few weeks ago I decided to give myself time and space for reflection. Time to think about who, what and how things have shifted and changed for me. A sort of "where am I now?" In many ways, this time has been soothing and relaxing... Yet I had been unsure how to go deeper.., especially since I wasn't even sure what I was digging for. Then as the Universe does... It put a book in my hand, which really got my attention. In fact I had a hard time putting it down. And, an even harder time getting it out of my mind.
The book is written by Amayra and Michael Hamilton, who are the guardians and stewards of "Angel Valley Sedona". This is the retreat center where James Ray hosted his "Spiritual Warrior" retreats, that in 2009 ended in the tragic deaths of threeretreat participants.


The name of the book is "Transformation at Angel Valley - A Journey of Integrating the Sedona Sweat Lodge Tragedy".

I want to start by saying, that what I am writing about here actually has nothing to do with the actual tragic event or even with Angel Valley itself. Instead it is about the raw and vulnerable written words that are part of the process of two people's healing journey. Like many others, I only know or remember a few details that were flashed across tv screens about the incident and like many, was stunned and saddened by the seemingly avoidable loss. I can't begin to speak to that.

However, as I was reading this book... There were so many light bulbs going off for me. Insights into my personal journey, such as - Where I am strong and where I refuse to claim my authority. How close arrogance is in any moment and what a distortion it is.., even in the context of ego. How intuition and instincts serve me... How much I trust them, and what happens when I don't! And so many other insights that my mind is overflowing to the point where, to write about them feels like its own novel.

One of the insights that I would like to mention, has been the repeating theme of worrying more about how others perceive me, than honoring what is true for me. The word that is used in this book that reminds me to let this old theme go, is Impeccability.

By following the authors through their perspectives of the events as they were unfolding; By connecting with their struggles, the resources, tools and practices that they used to cope and their shared learning along the way... this book provides an amazing opportunity for reflection of our own choices and preferences, attitudes and beliefs, which are a part of navigating our everyday life. And in someway, it is a reminder that we are never sure how close or far away from life-changing events we really are (both uplifting and tragic).

This is an important reminder for me too. I remember a time in my life when I was not sure of my spiritual strength and/or convictions. I was untested in many ways, mostly because there is nothing to test when you refuse to commit to something.., anything. And, as it is with all things, the more you invest or commit to a direction (or someone, something), the more we discover opportunities to affirm or deny our own knowing, to stand in our personal power or to give it away. I could completely relate to the situation of wanting to create a place for amazing, deep spiritual work to be done, while at the same time, wanting to be invisible. Maybe in my case the desire to control how I was perceived or seen by other people. Especially the folks who might think that what I choose to do is woo woo or contrived. Another reminder that I have years of experience "performing" for others.., and that performing for the sake of someone else doesn't actually work for me.

If you are reading this newsletter... There is a good chance that you will relate to this book on several levels. As someone who "holds space" for others to do their personal growth work, someone who teaches or leads, someone who participates in group learning experiences or someone who supports or is a caretaker for others. For me, it was a bit of a wake up call to be mindful and present and to absorb these lessons through osmosis, versus creating my own equivalent of a tragedy or loss. It is a potent and thought-provoking read!

P.S... We will have this book at Storm Wisdom by the second week in April. Judith has a couple of copies on hand at "A Peace of the Universe"...

And there is a website:, where books can be ordered online.




With Light, Love, and Laughter

Charles McAlpine

Storm Wisdom –
    A Center for Intentional Living

3375 E Shea Blvd, Suite A-1,

Phoenix, AZ 85028


In Transformation at Angel Valley Amayra & Michael Hamilton reveal the actual behind the scenes activities that led up to the tragic sweat lodge event in 2009 and what was learned in the subsequent days and months. Each in his and her own voice, Michael & Amarya also share their spiritual perspectives on listening to our intuition and choosing our teachers and mentors. Additionally they honor the seekers who lost their lives and those who were injured simply with the intention of becoming enlightened. The Hamiltons have turned tragedy into teaching opportunities that all readers will benefit from, and they did so in an inspiring and beautiful way.
Cynthia Richmond, author of The Dream Power Journal

Life appears to be a schoolroom containing many lessons.  Although some of our experiences can seem overwhelming and tragic, looked at from another perspective the experience can lead us to greater awareness and understanding.  Transformation at Angel Valleyrecalls the events that took place during a tragic accident, where lives were lost, yet through this experience a greater awareness was brought to many people.  Written from the heart, this book will have you turning the pages for more and will provide tools to help you face your challenges in the future.
Steven A. Ross, Ph.D., President World Research Foundation

Thank you, Amayra and Michael,for gifting me your powerful book. I am so grateful. As I am reading it, all I can say is ‘Wow!’ Never before have I felt as though I was there in the story, experiencing it as I read. This is the most visual book experience I have ever had. What touches me the most is how strongly I can feel your beautiful hearts through the words. This book is going to touch many lives, be the catalyst for deeper healing and the opening of more hearts.
Cara Marie Petrone, Angel Valley Team Member

Reading this book reminds me of a passage from A Course In Miracles, which reads "All Things work together for good. There are no exceptions except in the ego's judgment." The unfolding of the events leading up to and following the sweat lodge incident and the authors' interpretations of these events seem to confirm this. I highly recommend reading Transformation at Angel Valley if you are interested in knowing truth. The book is remarkable, inspiring, and nothing short of amazing.
Karen Taff, Minneapolis, MN

Transformation at Angel Valley is well written — clear and flows well making it easy and quick to read.  Fascinating information and discussion from many perspectives, offering much for the reader to stop and reflect about.  Congratulations!  I acknowledge the courage and transparent vulnerability that both authors hold within to have undertaken this controversial and deeply personal project.
Kristina Arysta, Gibson, BC, Canada

Transformation at Angel Valley opens the door on the sweat lodge tragedy. It offers perspectives for learning, growth and transformation on all levels of understanding. Michael's perceptions in viewing the incident from a "bigger picture" perspective would not have been as insightful without Amayra's outline of the course of events. Both singularly and together wove a picture from which to grasp a clearer meaning as to why such tragedy happens in our daily world. Acceptance of not knowing why transforms into growth and expansion. Their book is heartfelt, insightful and offers much to think about. The book is a must read for those seeking spiritual answers from gurus and teachers.
Lindy Thompson, Steilacoom, WA

My husband came home with Transformation at Angel Valley the night before last. The next morning I picked it up to read the front and back cover, opened the book and that was it. I could not put it down. I completed the reading that same evening. The way your book is structured and the writing style was so easy for me to move through, as if you were telling the story while sitting right next to me. My biggest surprise through the book was how much their experience of being authentic to themselves is exactly what I am presented with in my own life right now. I feel grateful for their inspiration!
Erin Estes, Cornville, AZ

Uplifting! A real life enthralling read! Poignantly, there came a point deep into this book where I read about one of their experiences with James Ray and saw how I could layer a troubling pattern of my own over their experience. This allowed me to see an aspect of myself, my tragedy, in a positive light for the first time... To understand why I needed my experience, and how my experience has come to serve mankind. I am further along on my journey toward understanding for having read this book.

Larry Moody, Shakopee, MN

I am not an avid reader, but I could not put this book aside until I had read it all. Very captive writing and there are so many lessons that I can apply in my life!

Rey Allen, New York City, NY

When I got this book in my hands I had not the least idea what to expect. I had no information about the Sweat Lodge Tragedy so I was totally astonished what I read. It is amazing to see how the two authors handle the problems they encountered in quite different ways. Amayra, with her motherly instinct, gives all her physical and spiritual energy to cool the fires and heal the wounds. Michael, as a man, goes more into finding what might have lead to the incident. But the best words, how could it be different, are in the messages of Archangel Michael. His words are so simple and easy to understand, so full of energy and consolation. Transformation of Angel Valley is not a book just for entertainment, it is a study-book to learn from. The authors deserve a 'summa cum laude' for it, mainly because they got several bruises themselves. My heartfelt thanks for it!

To Amayra and Michael. I understand that there ARE Angels in Angel Valley, not only in the name, and you are two of them. I am deeply thankful to have met you. I think I can feel your presence even here.
Nicolao Trudel, Sonogno, Switzerland

I'm reading Transformation at Angel Valley and find it quite riveting. Very different from the reports I read in the newspapers. Very good writing - the sentences flow from one to the next. Interesting to read the statement, "The Teacher must always remember that the student teaches Him". I go out of my way to always ask myself: What am I learning from the readings I'm giving to my clients; what is the Student teaching me here?

Richard-Michael Shypertt, Sedona, AZ

Reading their book, I feel the courage in both Michael and Amayra to turn over every stone and let this high-profile incident come to completion in their own lives. After all of the stories are told, what remains with me is the high vibration of their open hearts to fly forward into the next chapter of Angel Valley.

Kerri Lake, Author of An Organic Reality, Kauai, HI


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