Oprah Guru Faces Criminal Charges [Excerpts]
2 dead, 19 hospitalized in ‘spiritual cleansing’
A spiritual guru linked to a philosophy endorsed by Oprah Winfrey is facing possible criminal charges in the deaths of two and the hospitalization of 19 in a ritual “spiritual cleansing” at an Arizona resort.
The victims were participating in a sauna-like “sweatbox” treatment while attending a program run by James Arthur Ray, who appeared in a DVD version of “The Secret,” a New Age book authored by Rhonda Byrne that was heavily promoted by Winfrey.
The dead were attending Ray’s “Spiritual Warrior” program at the Angel Valley Resort near Sedona.
Angel Valley Resort advertises itself as “a place to relax and heal…where powerful earth energies are present and active.” It was founded in April 2002 by Michael and Amayra Hamilton, both of whom are teachers and counselors there.
The use of sweat lodges for spiritual and physical cleansing is a part of several Native American tribes’ cultures.
The self-help guru is known for his programs that claim to teach individuals to create wealth and prosperity through all aspects of their lives by simply thinking thoughts of perfection and happiness.