Spiritual Searing: Two Die and Nineteen Injured in New Age “Sweatbox” Ceremony

jamesray-0608There is an interesting potential torts case out of Arizona where two people died and 19 people were injured as part of a “sweatbox” ceremony reportedly led by James Arthur Ray, author of the best-selling book “Harmonic Wealth: The Secret of Attracting the Life You Want.”

home_overview2The sweatbox is a dome structure covered in tarps and blankets in the Arizona desert. The participants had spent two hours in the sweatbox when authorities were called.

The dead participants were described as “a middle-aged man and woman.” Such ceremonies present an obvious risk to people who may not be able to deal with the physical stress of the high temperatures in a sweat hut. The dome is located in Angel Valley Resort which bills itself as “a place to relax and heal … where powerful earth energies are present and active.” The resort claims to have “twenty marked vortexes and angel sites to experience connection with Earth and spirit, deep relaxation, and balancing,” including “two labyrinths and an Angel Wheel for going inward, finding answers and getting insights.”

Ray boasts that he appears regularly on CNN’s “Larry King Live” and the “Oprah Winfrey Show” in spreading his message of spiritual healing. He tells followers that “[y]our gut instincts tell you life is not really meant to be a struggle, yet you’ve been brainwashed to think that only sweat and hard work will get you where you want to be. Here’s a better way…” That way appears to be in a sweat hut for some.

Notably, the resort itself holds tax-exemption as a religious organization with the IRS, but that will not protect it from lawsuit. Presumably, this new age religion has some old-age waiver forms. However, there remains some serious questions of how so many people could fall ill in only two hours in a sweat lodge without gross negligence. The resort promises that its activities “can assist in making profound changes in your life.” For at least two people, that was undeniably true and I expect many will find that their own “path” leads to the door of a personal injury lawyer.

For the full story, click here.

10 thoughts on “Spiritual Searing: Two Die and Nineteen Injured in New Age “Sweatbox” Ceremony”

  1. Jill,
    That was the funniest parody here this year! Delicious acid.

    I learned doing psychotherapy that in our society we are trained to believe that all we have to do is pay some money and our deepest problems willed be healed by someone else. Many people came to me not willing to expend the effort that they would need to expend to change their lives. They thought by paying me I would somehow magically transform them. My own psychotherapy succeeded with me (though some would argue differently)because I worked hard at changing.

    Charlatans, like these people and EST in the past played up to the belief that you pay your money, listen to the rap and you to will be healed and whole. Many religious crooks also use the same longing of people for change, without having to do their own work to change, as the come-on for what are really scams.

    Also too, anyone who has ever used a sauna, or steam room is aware there are warning signs next to the doors the limit you to a maximum of 15 minutes.

  2. Byron:

    “the question, to me, is why are there so many people that follow this kind of thing?”


    I think because when you suspend reason in the first place all manner of delusion will then be acceptable to you. Doesn’t that logically follow — even for the irrational among us. Note the connection between religion (quasi-religion) and suicide or near suicide situations:

    Jim Jones and the People’s Temple, David Koresh and the Branch Davidians, Heaven’s Gate, Solar Temple, and the list goes on. There must be some reason there is no shortage of suicide bombers in Gaza, and a dearth in Sweden.

  3. the question, to me, is why are there so many people that follow this kind of thing? Whether it be EST or Tony Robbins or whatever. It seems to me that people ought to have more brains than thinking a sweat hut is going to bring them wealth.

    The only type of sweat that brings wealth is the kind found on your brow. Some people want the easy way out, in relations, in work, in every single human endeavor some joker wants to evade reality and “discover” an easier way. And there is always a con man to show them the “way”.

    I am offering for the princely sum of $68.99 a booklet on enduring happiness, attract a mate, learn the secret of wealth creation, learn how to abstain from brushing your teeth and taking a shower and still smell like a rose, learn my 8.5 secrets to good health and general well being, have migraines, foot odor, belly fat, no worries my booklet takes care of all of that and more.

    People call me the Guru Dejur (because I don’t know how to spell in french)

  4. “twenty marked vortexes and angel sites to experience connection with Earth and spirit, deep relaxation,…”

    Perhaps the “deep relaxation” claim could be legally construed as death by asphyxiation…(R’zony aint two fur behint’ Texas in legalistic misinterpretations)

    Vortexes? I would *never* trust anyone who used the word “vortexes” instead of vortices. Folks, this is why you must read the fine print in your Spa contracts.

  5. These two dead people came to the sweat lodge with bad karma and a negative attitude. They were deliberately trying to bring down a good man whose only focus in life is money. We don’t have enough people like him who will tell people bull shit so that they can effortlessly draw wealth to themselves. Anyone who sues him will upset the natural law of the universe. The truth is, they caused their own death just like people with cancer do. Everything happens for a reason. Now some people might think that reason would be a greedy bastard who only cares about money and didn’t care enough to take precautions, but that’s rather cynical, so I’m certain I would never think that!

    P.S. I came very close to decking the “Bew” Age person who actually told someone with cancer, they had caused it. ARRGGGG!

  6. This makes me think of the Native American Sweat Lodges where divine inspiration is learned. In all activities risk must be taken.

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