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Guided by the moon
shamanism and the ritual use of ayahuasca in the Santo Daime religion in Brazil

Edward MacRae

(Original printed reference: MacRae, Edward Guiado pela lua- xamanismo e o uso ritual da ayahuasca no culto do Santo Daime , Sao Paulo, Brasiliense,1992)

In memoriam,

Padrinho Sebastiao Mota de Melo
Alan Godfrey Goncalves MacRae
Glauco Rodrigues Bueno
Severino do Ramo


The present work is the result of research, financed by the Brazilian funding organizations CNPq (Post-doctorate and visiting researcher grants) and FAPESP . During the initial field work, I relied on the excellent help of Maria Etelvina Reis de Toledo Barros, my dear Telva; Carlos Viccari Jr. and Cristina Flora de Oliveira - from the Institute of Social Medicine and Criminology of Sao Paulo - IMESC.
The elaboration of the first research report occurred during a difficult period that coincided with the illness and eventual death of my brother. During this painful moment, I was greatly comforted by the affection and strength of Dulce Baptista das Neves Goncalves MacRae, my mother. Also crucial was the collaboration and support of friends who accompanied me on the academic retreats away from my home town of Sao Paulo, at which time this book gradually took form : Julio Assis Simoes, Oswaldo Lobo Fernandez, Ulisses Ferraz de Oliveira, Pedro de Souza, Lorivaldo P. Rocha and Nestor Perlongher.
I would also like to thank Suzana Cabral and Eduardo Luna, Clodomir Monteiro da Silva, Carlos Eugenio Marcondes de Moura, Anthony Henman, Marion Aubree, Fernando de La Roque Couto, Andre Lazaro, Walter Dias Jr., Alberto Groisman, Vera Froes and Hirochita Nakamaki, who gave me access to research material and to their own work on the subject. Claudio Leme, leader of the music group at the "Flor das Aguas" church, not only constantly encouraged me but also enriched the Daime sessions with his beautiful flute and helped with his transcriptions of the Daime hymns.
Julio Dias Gaspar helped me transform my original academic prose into something more pleasing to the general reader. The original Portuguese version of this book was completed while I was already involved with the "Programa de Orientacao e Atendimento a Dependencia da Escola Paulista de Medicina" (Program of Orientation and Care for Drug Dependence of the Escola Paulista de Medicina), whose director, Dartiu Xavier da Silveira, and other members, I thank for their many stimulating discussions concerning issues of drug use. I would also like to thank Paulo Bettinelli and Joao Garcia Neto for their help with typing and for their ˇ°nativeˇ± comments on a few of my texts. Also invaluable were suggestions offered by my original Brazilian publisher, the late Caio Graco da Silva Prado, of the Editora Brasiliense.
In 1991 during the canoe journey to Ceu do Mapia, I suffered a rather alarming accident which cost me a few broken ribs, but at the time seemed as if it might have been more serious. On the seemingly endless journey back to Boca do Acre, I was accompanied by Fernando Orvath, who helped me keep my spirits up. I would also like to mention the friendship and solidarity shown by Ulisses Ferraz de Oliveira, who accompanied me back home once I was better.
Finally, I want to thank the followers of the Santo Daime religion, who shared with me their beliefs and their knowledge of the use of ayahuasca. They not only helped me to produce a piece of academic research, but also allowed me to develop greater self-knowledge and a better understanding of spiritual matters. Maria Cristina Cunha Bueno, "Madrinha Kiki" (Godmother Kiki) provided me with both a very meaningful interview and much support during this period. Padrinho (Godfather) Alex Polari de Alverga shared valuable insights with me with respect to the Santo Daime, as did Clara Iura. I cannot forget the welcome bestowed upon me by the other daimistas, especially those from the Flor das Aguas church in Sao Paulo and from the Ceu do Mapia in the rain forest. And to Padrinhos Sebastiao Mota de Melo, Manoel Corrente, Alfredo Gregorio de Melo and Wilson Carneiro I am indebted for the instruction and inspiration that went far beyond mere academic interest.
Finally, I would like, once again, to thank my mother for her insistence that I translate this work into English, the first draft of which she generously undertook. I also thank Michael Sommers for having helped with part of the final revision.

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