Adventures with the Gnome of Red Canyon

By Sulana Stone

“Each of us is put here in this time and this place to personally decide the future of humankind.
Did you think you were put here for something less?” 

– Chief Arvol Looking Horse

While hiking several years ago in a remote canyon outside of Sedona, Arizona, my companion and I unsuspectingly stumbled upon a site of Native American petroglyphs. Etched into the rock, primitive pictures of deer, coyote and snake are haunting reminders of another time. It’s a time when people lived as brothers and sisters to, as the Native Americans say, “the animal, plant and rock people.” An era when Nature revealed her healing secrets to those who ask with an open heart.

The primal artwork also triggered memories of another life. I flashed on living several lives as a Native American in centuries long past. Now my friend and I are searching for the site we found so easily before. We intend to show the rock art to others so they might remember other lives. Lifetimes when people knew how to tap into well-being and guidance through the power of Nature. A power that can be used to create health, happiness and prosperity—now!

Where are the Pictures Hiding?

My playmate and I are on our third expedition into this canyon in as many weeks to relocate these ancient stone etchings. Frustrated on reaching another dead end, we ask ourselves, “Where are the pictures hiding?” Perhaps the rock canvas has tumbled into the canyon. Due to rain, floods and erosion, huge sections of granite slabs have indeed released their grip on the canyon sides and fallen into the dry creek bed since our visit long ago.

Our window of opportunity to find the illusive petroglyphs is growing short. In ten days, my partner and I will be guiding a group of people interested in the transforming power of Native American traditions such as the Medicine Wheel, animal totems, Native music—and rock art! We hoped to offer them the gift and power of this pristine, unique, off-the-beaten-track site.

Getting Guidance from a “Rock Person”

As my friend and I head out towards another promising area, a small rock lying on the ground grabs my attention. When I pick up the smooth cream-colored stone, my intuition suggests that I ask the rock to guide us to the petroglyphs. Carrying the “rock person” along in my hand, I make a request from my heart: “Please reveal the rock art to us if it’s for the highest good of everyone: us, our upcoming group and Nature.”

All day my buddy and I have been searching for this lost site. We haven’t run into a single soul. Starting from a high plateau, we snake our way down a winding narrow gorge. Our destination is the dry creek bed below. I’m continually radiating appreciation to the “rock person” cradled in my hand for any assistance that can be provided. My companion is 100 feet ahead of me when I hear him talking to someone. “Who could he be talking to?” Rounding the final corner I saunter onto the rock-strewn creek bed. There I see what appears to be a pudgy middle-aged, grey-haired man. Immediately I sense an uncommon energy when I join my buddy standing beside the surprise visitor. My spine tingles.

The Magical Guest

This new “person” feels very different from anyone I’ve ever encountered. He feels empty. Refreshingly open. Disarmingly innocent. There’s a sweetness about him that’s irresistible.

This new “person” also converses in a way unlike other people I’ve met. After every statement or question we have, there is an unusually long pause before he replies. From 30 seconds to a minute or two! And I notice that during each silence our visitor scrunches his face appearing to be deeply considering what he’s about to say. Saying his behavior is odd is an understatement.

As the conversation about our quest to find the rock art slowly unfolds, I begin to suspect that our visitor is not what he appears. There’s something about him that feels not quiet human. As if he’s not quite there. Like he could disappear at any moment. And, in fact, I later realize, that he did appear just for us … to provide guidance.

The “not quite human” listens intently as we tell him of the illusive stone carvings and ask if he’s ever seen them. After a pregnant pause, he tells us he has. Then in very precise detail, he tells us where to locate the ancient stone murals.

Passing the “Test”

After getting thorough directions on how to find the Native American drawings, our new guide asks us where we’re from. “Phoenix,” we respond timidly. I say “timidly” because after decades of hiking in the wilderness, we’ve discovered that “country folk” often don’t cotton much to “city folk.” After a long silence, he announces in no uncertain terms, “You don’t feel like you’re from Phoenix.” My buddy and I breathe a sigh of relief. A high compliment from “country folk!”

An Unexpected Gift

An extraordinary long stillness ensues. I clearly see that our exceptional guest is considering something very intensely. Finally he breaks the silence whispering a question that makes my heart leap, “Would you like to know about another really magical place?” In sharp contrast to our guest’s hushed voice, my partner and I excitedly blurt out “Yes, we’d love it!”

One of the greatest passions of my friend and I is discovering “pristine” energy places where the veils between the worlds are thin and permeable. Places where people can more easily experience their wholeness and connection with Mother Earth and the animal, plant and rock people. Energy spaces where people can get in touch with fairies, elves and gnomes. And other lifetimes.

After getting directions to our guest’s “secret spot,” we shake hands and part company. The new canyon is located an hour from where we currently are, so my buddy and I decide to check it out another day.

Recognizing a Gnome

On our way to the petroglyphs, we begin to share our experience of this “unusual” hiker. Suddenly my playmate blurts out, “He’s a gnome!” Ding! That’s when everything falls into place for me. How the man didn’t feel human. His astounding sweetness and innocence. The uncanny feeling that this fellow was “empty” or “hollow” and could disappear any moment. I could tell he was “feeling us out” the entire time the three of us were talking. The long stillness … he was deciding whether or not to reveal the location of a very power and magical energy vortex to us “outsiders/city folk/Phoenicians.” His whispered announcement of his “secret spot.” I was talking to a gnome—a keeper and guardian of the canyon! A protector of the sacred rock art in Red Canyon. With the guidance of “the guardian gnome,” my companion and I easily find the amazing Native American pictographs.

Message from Mother Earth

The “rock person” rocks! I feel quite grateful to the “rock person” I’ve been carrying throughout this adventure. This supportive being led my playmate and me to the canyon gnome! “Thank you ‘rock person,’” I murmur silently upon returning this life form to the ground. Immediately my friend and I experience a blessing from Mother Nature and the Native American spirits. We both receive a clear message from these powerful energy beings: “We invite and welcome people into these sacred canyons. It is time for many people to experience and ‘remember’ the ancient teachings so that humanity can learn how to live in harmony with the earth and each other—again.”

“Speak to the earth, and it shall teach thee.”   – Job 12:8

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