From the Inside Out – Cover Art by Rick Harlow for Spring 2009 Bulletin

Spring 2009 Vol. 19, No. 1 Special Edition: Psychedelics and Ecology

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Rick Harlow created the beautiful art on the cover of this Bulletin. -DJB

For the past 23 years I have been traveling to the Colombian Amazon. Much of this time I spent along the rivers Apaporis and Mitití Paraná, living with Macuna, Yucuna, and Tanimuca peoples. They taught me to feel at home and at ease in the forest, how to walk without falling down, how to hunt, fish and gather food. They taught me about the different plants, insects and ani- mals. They showed me which ones are useful, which are dangerous and which are sacred. They told me their stories of how their world was created, stories of how they came to live there, stories that explain their relationship to all living things and their place and purpose in the web of life. Stories that contain great lessons on how to live correctly, stories of the spirits that live in the rivers, in the forest, in the underworld and in the Milky Way. They invited me to participate in their rituals, dances and sacred ceremonies. They ini- tiated me into the tribe and gave me a new name. They introduced me to the teacher plant Yajé (Banisteriopsis caapi) or Ayahuasca as it is more commonly known. I was taught that this sacred plant is the umbilical cord that connects us to the cosmos.

These experiences have served as the main inspiration for my paintings. In creating these works, I do my best to paint not only what I have seen, but also what I have felt or sensed. Often, as is the case with “From the Inside Out,” I combine observed landscape imagery with visions revealed to me during Ayahuasca rituals.