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Get outta town: The psychedelic caves of Ra Paulette

Ar 170829826
Associated Press file

Artist Ra Paulette, creator of a sandstone shrine near Ojo Caliente, New Mexico, sits inside his creation in 1996.
Ar 170829826
Associated Press file

Artist Ra Paulette, creator of a sandstone shrine near Ojo Caliente, New Mexico, sits inside his creation in 1996.

Ra Paulette is a sculptor who carves intricate designs into New Mexico sandstone caves. Paulette is a self-taught artist who works only with a shovel, pick axes, and scrapers and yet turns caves into cathedrals with intoxicatingly ornate designs meant to put the viewer in a prayerful, meditative state.

Paulette’s designs dot northern New Mexico. Occasionally, he has been commissioned, but he prefers to create thoughtful, gorilla works of art on unauthorized land for travelers to stumble on.

Unfortunately, most of Paulette’s caves are on private property where owners do prosecute trespassers. The only cave you can visit legally is “Windows of the Earth,” Paulette’s first commission. Origin, a resort in Ojo Caliente, New Mexico, takes tour reservations for its cave sanctuary, has accommodations, sound healing sessions, and meditation instruction. Details are found at http://originnewmexico.com.

For more information on Ra Paulette, check out the documentary “Cavedigger.”

Associated Press file

Artist Ra Paulette, creator of a sandstone shrine near Ojo Caliente, New Mexico, sits inside his creation in 1996.