This paper explores some of the philosophical and policy implications of contemporary ayahuasca use. It addresses the issue of the social construction of ayahuasca as a medicine, a sacrament and a “plant teacher.” Issues of harm reduction with respect to ayahuasca use are explored, but so too is the corollary notion of “benefit maximization.”
“We are considered the trash of Brazil, but this place accepts us,” said Darci Altair Santos da Silva, 43, a construction worker serving a 13-year sentence for sexual abuse of a child under 14. “I know what I did was very cruel. The tea helped me reflect on this fact, on the possibility that one day I can find redemption.”
I was asked about the Barquinha’s astrology. There isn’t any (I was told). Stars are a part of the creation. One can learn anything from anything. Some people can learn things by looking at stars. In the Barquinha they look at God. For a week I was preparing with prayers, candles, intensions… Daime work at the Barquinha of Dona Gabriel each day… Came the 27th, a Saturday before the Semana Santa and the entity Don Rafael was going to operate me. Finally I am going to heal the pain in my back which does not leave me alone ever since I had hernia of a disk two and a half years ago. It is normal that such treatments are done over 3 ceremonies (three 27th) but I had only one (two to come). I did not know I was supposed to bring something to lie on, and sitting was never as difficult as it was that night. I did not know what to expect… we were seven or eight people in a dark room, drinking …
Glauco Villas Boas (53), the founder of Céu de Maria Daime church in Sao Paulo, Brasil, and his son Raoni (25) were murdered in Sao Paulo on the morning of Friday, 12 of March 2010, a day before his 53rd birthday.
In order to help the English-speaking public understand some key elements of UDV cosmology, rituals and social organization, the authors have compiled a short glossary of native hermeneutic terms and Spiritualist idioms that commonly circulate within this particular religious universe.
Although the Daime works keep within the traditional shamanic parameters, one should take into consideration the remarks made by Couto, that, here, one is dealing with what he calls “collective shamanism”. The command of the works is held by more experienced shamans, but the shamanic activity is not, exclusively in the hands of a few initiates and all participants are considered apprentice shamans and even potential shamans. Taking part in the rituals is a way of learning the art, and it is thought that any of the participants of the ritual may display shamanic powers which are considered to be latent in human nature.
“The documentary “O Senhor da Floresta” directed by the journalist Mivan Gedeon, won the category “Best video from the State of Maranhao” awarded by the Technical Jury of the 30th Guarnicê Video and Cinema Festival in Sao Luis, Maranhao.
By Morgan Brent
In ayahuasca, dialogue is deepened to include all manner of elemental, plant, animal, ancestor, and deity. These then appear less as an “other,” and more as participants in the metabolisms of yet larger bodies, such as regional ecosystems, or the earth itself.
“All who drink this holy beverage must not only try to see beautiful things without correcting their faults, but give shape to perfection of their own personality to take their place in this battalion and follow this line. If they would act this way, they could say, I am a brother” – Mestre Irineu