Posted by: Donna Cunningham | March 1, 2011

James Arthur Ray’s Trial Begins

 Today James Ray’s trial began. Let’s hope that it brings closure to the sweat lodge incident that took place at Angel Valley, AZ on October 8, 2009. It is scheduled to last several months. Live Coverage of Sweat Lodge Trial to be Allowed.  In today’s edition at James Ray Trial Starts Today, The Prescott, Arizona News notes:

Opening arguments will take place about 1:30 today in the James Ray trial. Officially, this is day 7 of James Ray’s manslaughter trial. But, today is the day that the real trial begins.  The previous days were spent in jury selection and pretrial motions and arguments. But, at 1:30, the jury will be introduced and sworn in, and the opening arguments will commence.”

Fox notes:

“Starting Tuesday, they’ll try to convince a jury that Ray is to blame for the deaths of Kirby Brown, of Westtown, N.Y.; James Shore, of Milwaukee; and Liz Neuman, of Prior Lake, Minn.  Ray has pleaded not guilty to three counts of manslaughter. His attorneys have said the deaths were simply a tragic accident that Ray could not have predicted. Opening arguments played out in a Camp Verde courtroom, about 30 miles south of Sedona where Ray conducted the ceremony in October 2009. Four months have been set aside for the trial.”

 sweatlodge5p030111.DPP_tmb0002_JPGClick to Watch Video of the opening statements, which includes audio tapes of Ray telling his followers that the ceremony is like death and that  in leading it, he is God.

There has been controversy about his birthdate, since he refuses to divulge it, but WikiPedia (a sometimes iffy source) gives November 22, 1957 here:  James Arthur Ray – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  This page cites several illness and injuries to workshop participants from 2005 onward, including another death.

One reader pointed out that both the charts of James Arthur Ray and Charlie Sheen have Mars at 9 Scorpio conjunct Neptune.  (The Astro-Databank chart of Charlie Sheen born on 3 September 1965 – is here: .)


  1. There are issues here the courts will never see.
    Like the fact that the Native Am. Indian male Ego has been dealt a severe blow that only the exceptional in any culture can rise above and not become its play thing.
    Some become walking automatons, waiting for the day of purification of Turtle Island ,when they will awaken as if from a bad dream.
    By this I mean the Indian male was the guardian of the culture and our culture was decimated by a foreign invader who had no problem with mass murder and the stealing of that which was NOT theirs. The invaders were uncouth enough to never see that the Indian was prepared to share but innocently, expected to be respected as well.

    Yes, for some survivors, there is a smoldering resentment over busted up families, no jobs and concentration like camps for Indian children who were forcibly taken from their families. They were then brain washed into foreign values that were perfectly diametrically opposite in every way.
    Think what it would be like trying to teach a Wolf that it was a chicken that pumped out eggs for big business and you will have a small hint of what its like being a round ball forced into an air tight square box that’s much too small.
    Yet a cursory look at the James Ray chart for noon, indicates such a tragedy. Its surprising an event such as this never happened before this. Specially with the Sweat Lodge ceremony.

    One red flag is that this ceremony is NEVER charged for yet we are told those foolish people paid 9000.00 each???? Indian Spiritual practices are NOT 4 SALE and neither was their land. These are unheard of concepts in real Indian culture.

    Think what it was like in the aftermath of 60’s when Indians finally won the right to practice their own spirituality. Before that we had ” freedom of Religion” as long as it was christian.The Pipe, Sun Dance and Sweat lodge to name a few had all been outlawed…indeed anything Indian such as Maple Tree sugar gathering to Indian clothing or social dancing were all outlawed.
    Traditional Indians were and are still treated as pariahs…who wants to be reminded how this USA came to be?
    Think of the dominant cultures young people seeking a deeper meaning to Spirituality in the 70’s. Many other forms of spirituality became in vogue. India s Yoga, Buddhism, Sufism, Islam. Judaism, Voodoo , Wicca…all these got new converts. Even Indian Spiritual disciplines were sought after by non Indians.
    One moment you are being kicked and spit on , and the next worshiped like a guru. The injured male ego in some cases would move from a shy self effacing sweetness to a stomping ego maniac dictator. I saw this with my own eyes happen to a lot of heretofore nice Indian men. A little power has a definite negative reaction on some personalities.
    Who then should stand guilty in this case? A lone perpetrator or the mechanizations of a super imposed government or the foolish devotees that shirked personal responsibilities for their own spiritual search?
    The greatest fault here( besides causing the death of others) is that He has Pluto square the Sun at 29 Scorpio…the warrior needing an endurance verification as well as evidencing harsh unsympathetic attitudes and charging money for a cleansing ceremony.The area or the early Sagittarius and late Scorpio planets was the subject of an astrological report where in,that this area of Scorpio/ Sag is replete with Fixed Stars that cause untold crimes of a heinous nature. Mars conjunct the North Node also give macho type heroism and aggressive healing techniques.
    This is squared a Chiron/ Uranus opposition, indicative of nervous energy which its once under control gives the native a calming effect on others with nervous energy problems. The square from Uranus to Mars indicates danger from explosives or the HEAT of the sweat lodge. He would not have seen it coming but was reckless enough not to .

    • Thank you, Barehand. There was considerable discussion of these perspectives at the time of the event, and it is good to be reminded of them.

      At that time, some Native groups also instituted a lawsuit against him and the owners of the retreat. ( .) Did you ever hear if the lawsuit was settled?

      He seems unwilling or even perhaps mentally unable to admit any of his criminal negligence or to own any responsibility. The video of the opening statement, with the tape recording of him during the sweat lodge is quite chilling. Donna

      • The injured deflated egos inverse, is bloated to such an extent that such a person would be unable to see his part in the crime clearly.
        Gaddafi in Libya is a similar example of this inability and as long as there are others around him to stroke his bloated ego he never will see it. Its the energy of personal Will, run a muck.
        I never heard much about the James Ray case or read anything until you mentioned it here.
        Back in 1978 I ran into a similar thing in Taos NM. I had been with a group of people down from Boulder ( where I studied Tibetan Art) to attend a Mayan ceremony in Taos . Afterword a member of our group got us invited to a huge ranch. It was such a huge place you could easily get lost. I found a room but on investigation saw an extremely old man laying in a bed. He was half blind and begged me to help him escape. He said he was being held prisoner there. I saw his toe nails had grown to curl over his toes and so got a pan of warm water to soften them and trim them. Meanwhile he told me of his captivity. He was Grandfather David of the Hopi, 140 years old and he went on speaking tours frequently to speak on behalf of the Earth and his people. It was after such a talk that he was kidnapped, 3 month previous.
        I got my friends and confronted the so called spiritual Leader of the group at the ranch, that next morning . I said we were taking him back to his Mesa.
        The man who was the leader there was an errant Ojibwe that claimed to be THE SEVENTH FIRE…his non Indian white followers were slavish devotees and believed everything he said as if they were hypnotized, He had the psychic power to make them hear drums in their heads every time he made a pronouncement; which was a sign to them that he had spoken truth!( ?)
        Our group was ready to take him on, so they made no move when we took Grandfather David back to his home. He was a wise elder and I learned much from him and stood as his guard at several of his talks after that.
        The devotees obviously cant see truth or why they have a need to follow such ego maniacs? Their misguided propensities do a great disservice to those they choose to worship. Its hard to know who is worse in such cases…the one being worshiped or the worshipers?

      • What a terrible story, Barehand.
        I always say that you begin to get in trouble with Neptune the minute the ego steps in, that it perverts the spiritual side of Neptune more and more, and becomes grandiosity. Donna

  2. ah Donna, thought of you when I heard about this on the radio yesterday.

  3. oh yeah, spooky all right. Be prepared to die. URGH

  4. Is there any astrological data on James Ray that might hint at the outcome of the trial?

    • See the link above in the article to his Wikipedia page, which gives a possible birth date. Donna

  5. Think of the spiritual enlightenment those poor deceased individuals would have received had they donated that $9.000.00 and their time and energy to a worthy charity or cause instead of giving it to a spiritual huckster like Ray. Not to mention they would probably still be amongst the living.
    In my opinion, greed and power-lust disguised as spiritual leadership is one of the most grievous of sins.

    • “greed and power-lust disguised as spiritual leadership is one of the most grievous of sins.’

      I’m with you there, Meloh. It’s Pluto disguised as Neptune, perverted to the highest degree. Donna

      • Donna I agree with you. He has Neptune sextile to Pluto and semi sextile to Saturn in tight orb but Mars is past a conjunction to Neptune by 6 degrees. A looser aspect but still with effect to throw a monkey wrench into other wise good aspects.
        About greed/ power lust ; that is promoted in a capitalist society which promotes views of the ” Rich and Famous” as qualities to emulate or fantasize over. The USA chart, representing the people and their leadership has Neptune square Mars and the Sun in ” other peoples resources”. The power greed grab has gone on all over the world with a dark debauchery and mass murder of Iraq for their oil. Spent fuel, ( yellowcake) uranium, plutonium bombs from our Nuclear reactors will cripple and sicken people for generations to come in Iraq. Very bad karma.
        Corporations have been allowed to do all this in the American citizens name.Hardly anyone squawked either.
        This is one of those polar opposite values that smacks in the face of Traditional Indian values.
        Before the invasion of Turtle Island Greed was shunned. Peace Chiefs were the common leaders of Tribes and villages. The Peace Chief emulated all of the virtues more than the ordinary person. He might have had the biggest Tipi, but that was because he was expected to house and care for travelers. He was born for the people and they always came first in his life. If a traveler had no coat and he had two ; one automatically belonged to the traveler. He was NOT thought to be ” giving” it; it was automatically due the traveler.This value is why the Indians did all they could to help, feed and heal the first Pilgrims.
        If for example the Leader displayed any deviation from the highest virtues it was the responsibility of the ordinary person to rebuke him and get him back on the path.
        In opposition to this value we see the Gurus of India placed on thrones above the people and worshipers kiss their feet. This would have been considered in Traditional Indian cultures as a Great disservice to the spiritual well being of the leader. I am speaking here of the North American Indian Tribes and NOT those of South America that fell into corruption regarding these values.This is why Grandfather David of the Hopi told me his people left South America and settled where they are now. They have the oldest continually inhabited stone villages on this continent.

        To take more than one needed to live was considered the same as robbing from the mouths of future generations. Children were the number one crowning achievement of culture and women were honored as a tad more sacred than men.
        In to-days culture Child molestation, woman abuse is rampant. Mothers and Child welfare is last on the list and the first to be cut from support. Prisoners in Penitentiary are allotted 50 thousand a year per head indefinitely,( if not more and its become private business); while a single mother with child is allotted 5 thousand per year but only for the first 5 years. Again a polar opposite value.
        Its similar but more complex , than expecting a free Wolf to perform as an indoor lap dog. Its a painful experience for the majority to be Native Indian in todays dominant society and extremely rare that one goes berserk to the extent of James Ray, even if he were a mixed blood .( Which we do not know) What I am saying is the values of power and greed founded the USA and this faulty prevailing value should be examined and NOT let off the hook; anymore than James Ray is let off, or Televangelists have been let off.
        I am not trying to be nasty but if anyones future generations are to go toward a healthy future, all the past , which influences the present , must be aired out in the light of day. It iis NOT in anyones spiritual long term interest to live in illusions of grandeur or sweep truth under the carpet.

      • Donna, I have Pluto/Sun Cazimi in 11 (sextile Neptune in 1, trine Chrionb in 3) and would have seen through this joker and exposed him for what he is, had I been there. I am sure I would have been treated as a pariah by his ‘followers’ but it would have been worth it. Pluto/Sun in 11 does not suffer group foolishness or false gurus lightly!

    • Barehand, I don’t feel Ray is true representative of true native religion or culture any more than I feel most of today’s televangelists truly represent the teachings of Jesus.
      There are peace loving people who love the earth and its inhabitants amongst all peoples just as there are war mongers and haters amongst all peoples.
      I, for example, am a Caucasian American who was very much against the Iraqi invasion and was an activist during the Vietnam area.
      Lots of Americans have been brainwashed into being consumeristic drones and are so stoked with fear that they see the boogie-man over ‘there’ and don’t see the nightmare in their own backyards. With the astrological configurations now, Mother Nature is having her own backlash against the humans who have trashed her. Pluto in Capricorn will eventually be the downfall of the rabid capitalists who exploit her and the human race for nothing more than their own greed and power.
      I would like to see peace, prosperity, abundance and love spread amongst all the earth.

      • I’m with you. Lets be the Love we want in the New World coming.

  6. He certainly perpetuated a fraud on these people. The participants have been described as “educated professionals” so I was surprised to see photos of the little dome encased in what appeared to be blue vinyl roofing tarps…any middle school kid should know that set-up is not a “sweat lodge”—it’s a carbon monoxide factory. Caveat Emptor…and ALWAYS question “authority”.

    • Berta, The term ‘educated fools’ comes to mind. Just because you have higher education and a strong professional life does not mean you have common sense and are incapable of being hoodwinked.

      • Right you are, Mel, -there’s “one born every minute” …and I should have known better than to write “perpetuated” when I meant “perpetrated”! (Though I’m sure HE meant to continue in perpetuity,- collecting $$).
        Also: if there was no burning fuel source (bringing in pre-heated stones) then it would have been their own bodily carbon DIOXIDE that killed them.
        What a shame…especially when the media coverage tends to discourage others from seeking any form of “alternative healing”.
        As BAREHAND stated it–the co-opting, corruption and exploitation of indigenous cultures may be the REAL crime here.

  7. “What a terrible story, Barehand.
    I always say that you begin to get in trouble with Neptune the minute the ego steps in, that it perverts the spiritual side of Neptune more and more, and becomes grandiosity. Donna”

    So is Sun-Neptune automatically an issue (as in spiritual test)?

    • Is Sun-Neptune a spiritual test? Yep, pretty much. Even for those who ace life’s little quizzes as they go along, if ego slips in when life ups the ante, they can flunk the final. Donna

  8. Is there any substance to the rumor I heard that Angel Valley paid a very large sum of money in order to bribe the investigators to elevate the investigation from an accidental death to a homicide so that the attention would be shifted off of the sweat lodge and onto James Arthur Ray? The investigators deliberately left exhibit A at the crime scene knowing full well that Angel Valley would completely destroy the evidence. One of the people who was paid off supposedly got guilty drunk one night and confessed to some friends who in turn spoke to others. They made certain Mr Ray could not get an independent autopsy performed on the three bodies. They actually died from a strange combination of toxins from the melting vinyl tarps of the sweat lodge and the scrap construction wood used to heat the Grandfather Stones. It’s some weird combination of chemicals that apparently made especially sensitive participants feel they were fine when they were actually dying. Supposedly, Angel Valley made Mr Ray the ‘fall guy’ and threw him to the wolves in order to save themselves. I think it was one of the coroners who got drunk and spilled the beans. Have any of you heard this rumor?

    • No, I haven’t heard anything about that. Donna

  9. “You have to understand the situation before you blindly judge it. If YOU went to that workshop, with any one of the three people who eventually died, and lasted till half-way though the last round of the sweat lodge you would have said something like, ‘That’s it for me, I’ve got to get out. Are you doing okay?’ And they would have said, ‘Yes”. Then you would have asked, ‘Are you sure you’re okay and want to stay?’ and they would have said, ‘Yes!’” Everyone around them was convinced they were okay. (((EVERYONE))). If ANYONE for one moment was certain these people were actually dying they would have started screaming (((SHE’S DYING!!!))) No one ever did. That’s why James Arthur Ray wasn’t concerned. He trusted that the people were responsible enough to get out when they had had enough. There is no crime in this! IT WAS AN ACCIDENT, as he said all along, and the coroners agree with him. All three deaths were officially categorized as “accidents”. Look it up if you don’t believe me!

    All those who initially were certain the deaths were not accidental were DEAD WRONG!!!!

    • Richard , you bring up points we can all learn from.
      The mix of toxic fumes.
      I have always made sure any blankets used on the sweat lodge were of natural materials and not synthetic for that very reason.

      Our environment is full of toxic chemicals and along with synthetic drugs, are behind many of the peoples ills, not to mention the microscopic bits of plastic found in any part of the ocean waters.
      The fresh water supplies are loaded with new chemicals…that people who use them pee into their toilets. These are never purified in treatment plants because new ones are proliferated onto the market every day.
      Some of the biggest sufferers will be women who carry children in the water sack; their bodies will be put under extreme strain trying to purify micrscopic bits of plastics and other foreign chemicals out, in an effort to protect unborn fetuses. The blood will glutenize these to other organs in their bodies and their menstral cycles will be horrific.
      The people really need to stop plastic ( a by product of oil) use, and put the breaks on the Chemical Lobby in DC.

      We can look at the deaths of the three innocent searchers as a warning to the larger public, and take something positive away from this tragedy. Their deaths do not have to be in vain.

      • Barehand, I have enjoyed reading your insightful and wise posts. I have been interested in James Ray since learning about his Harmonic Wealth series, his role in The Secret and knowing of his explosive sales position with AT&T. He is a remarkable person and noteworthy for his efforts, but I did recognize his ego and therefore became aware of something within his character. Not that would ever meet him in person, but I friended with him on Facebook and it was amazing to see how he networked with so many social media sites. He has a very large following. Observing such big names such as Oprah, and her ability to launch such persons careers like Dr. Oz or Eckart Toilbert [sp] – it is a knowable gamble on how we as an audience take what she spills out for us as social ‘gospel’. Its really scary, to know that we are all so gullible and blind.
        I personally do not think that James Arthur Ray meant to do any harm to anyone, as you pointed out in his astrological map – it was him just being himself, however, how did he know that they would actually die? Surely he would have considered the ‘melting of the vinyl tarps’ but would he have known about the wood? In the Warrior ceremonies that you have expressed is such knowledge handed down or is it through tragic experiences that this knowledge is learned?
        I fear for James that the media will want to ‘bring down’ a successful man instead of hearing of his innocence in a tragedy.

  10. In addition to their toxic and environmental pollutant effects, plastics also put a strain on us all economically and politically, as they are made from petro chemicals, which now mostly come from the uber volatile Middle East.
    Our spiralling gasoline and heating/cooling costs are also driven upward by our over use of plastics.
    The very least we can do if we must use plastics is to reuse and recycle as many
    as we can.

  11. As of today it has been revealed that the prosecution violated a very big law by hiding information that would implicate Angel Valley! Yes, it seems there is more going on with Angel Valley than the prosecution wants the world to know. I mean, building a sweat lodge then covering it with rubber and sealing it until it is almost airtight. That is just plain crazy!

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