In October 2009 reports of mutliple deaths at an Arizona sweat lodge retreat led by New Age guru James Arthur Ray (one of the “teachers” in the hit movie and book The Secret) rocked the self help world. Now that he’s on trial, details of his bizarre practices are emerging. Mark Duncan reports for the Daily Courier:
Echoes of a lost life hung thickly over Judge Warren Darrow’s courtroom Tuesday after a jury heard the recorded voice of Kirby Brown, one of three people who died after a sweat lodge ceremony near Sedona in 2009.
The deaths led to charges of manslaughter against noted motivational speaker and author James Arthur Ray, who has pleaded not guilty.
“When we started the (Samurai) game, I was like you,” Brown said on the recording, which was made just before she and the other attendees entered the sweat lodge. It is a segment from recordings made during four days of Ray’s October 2009 Spiritual Warrior Retreat. “I was gonna be the hero, and I died right there before it even began.”
Brown, 38, went on to recount the efforts she made to try to save her teammates in the game from sharing her fate, saying that she swallowed her own vomit in an attempt to lie perfectly still. Had she moved, Ray, playing the role of God, would have sentenced another of her team to death.
“As I laid there dying and everyone was working, I kept sending my energy to them,” she said.
“I realized that the dead are with us, that the loved ones of the past are with us.”
Brown also told of an encounter she had with her late great uncle during her vision quest the day before.
“A powerful figure came to me,” she said. “He was the person I would always go to to ask for advice. I’ve missed him.
“He came to me and I just said thanks for coming here and do you have any advice. He said, ‘I have three words for you – keep things simple.’
“That’s the same thing he said to me before he died.”
Brown’s recorded musings were the object of fierce debate among the attorneys. Prosecutor Bill Hughes argued that Brown’s statements should have alerted Ray to her state of mind, echoing the state’s contention that Ray’s persuasive prodding left Brown and other attendees willing to exceed sensible personal limits of endurance in order to please their spiritual leader…
[continues in the Daily Courier]