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Phillips, 43, of Toronto was the first witness that Yavapai County Attorney Sheila Polk called to the stand. Phillips said she first encountered Ray in the self-help movie "The Secret," then read some of his writings and signed up for several seminars.
The Spiritual Warrior event in Sedona was to be yet another step on her path to enlightenment.
Phillips' enthusiasm began to wane during the Samurai Game, which took place two days before the sweat lodge. After admitting she had inadvertently broken the code of silence Ray had imposed in the afternoon, Ray, playing the role of "God" in the game, pronounced her dead.
She then had to lie motionless on a hard floor for several hours, missing dinner, until volunteers had her get ready for the vision quest.
"I felt like I'd been hit in the head with a two-by-four and my hands and feet were numb," she said.
That experience served her in the sweat lodge. Not comfortable with heat, Phillips said she left after the third round.
"After my experience lying on the floor," she said, "I took an attitude of looking out for myself."
But she returned, unwilling to be a source of disappointment.
"I respected (Ray) highly," she said. "I didn't want to disappoint him, the dream team or myself."
Back in the sweat lodge, she recounted, chaos was erupting. She saw Kirby Brown and heard her labored breathing, and she heard a "blood-curdling scream" when Lou Caci fell into the pit of hot rocks and burned his arm. At one point, she was near Liz Neuman.
She said she called out five or six times that people needed help, only to be rebuked by some of those same people. Ray, she said, did not respond to her cries.
Outside, after the ceremony, Phillips said she was shaky but recovered after getting sprayed off and drinking some water. She said she saw Ray sitting in a chair, drinking water and looking for the volunteer nurse to help the stricken.
On October 8, 2009, at a New Age "Spiritual Warrior" retreat conceived and hosted by Ray at the Angel Valley Retreat Center in Yavapai County near Sedona, Arizona, two participants, James Shore and Kirby Brown, died as a result of being in a sweat lodge exercise. Eighteen others were hospitalized after suffering burns, dehydration, breathing problems, kidney failure or elevated body temperature. Liz Neuman, another attendee, died October 17 after being comatose for a week.
The attendees, who had paid up to $10,000 to participate in the retreat, had fasted for 36 hours during a vision quest exercise before the next day's sweat lodge. During this vision quest, participants were left alone in the Arizona desert with a sleeping bag, although Ray offered them Peruvian ponchos for an additional $250.