The Santo Daime doctrine made its initial appearance and began
to develop at a time when the decadence of the rubber based Amazonian
economy forced many of the old rubber tappers to migrate to the
urban areas. The basic aspects of the doctrine reflect the Northeastern
Brazilian peasant customs and the South-American-Indian traditions
which formed the basis of their original culture .In this context,
experiences with Daime, were unusual states of conscience and
perception, which led to the social construction of a reality
of its own, pertaining to a transition between two different forms
Monteiro da Silva considers that the individual or collective
trances and shamanic flights, should not be taken as simply a
liberation of tensions or a sublimation of libidinous pulsation,
as suggested by some more superficial analysts of the subject.
He considers it more appropriate to think of these psychic phenomena
in the context of the migration from forest to town, considering
the Santo Daime religion to be a collective rite of passage. It
would be a way of attempting to account for the ambiguities of
the new project of order. The capitalist expansion disorganizes
the old way of life, but on having to live with this new disorder,
it reencounters the dionisiac nature lost by the positivism and
utilitarianism of Western civilization (1).
The Santo Daime religion is a result of a syncretic process involving
elements of both peasant and urban social formations. Thus, one
can detect traces of South American Indian culture alongside concentration
techniques taken from Western popular religiosity. There is also
a close relation between the rituals and the day-to-day activities
of the followers of this doctrine. The syncretic process by which
the religion developed is a reflection of the needs and pressures
present in the context in which it occurred. The consumption of
ayahuasca during the rituals, cannot, therefore, be described
as a simple manifestation of a pathological individual or collective
Following this reasoning, Monteiro da Silva considers that the
rituals are of great importance for the permanent creation and
legitimatization of the doctrinal discourse of this religious
group. He ends by considering that there is a correlation between
the central idea of cleanliness /search for order and harmony,
that runs through all the rituals of the group taking on the shape
of a great ritual of transcendence and cleansing; and the "plausibility
structures" of the religion - understood as "expedients
through which human groups try to render empirical reality acceptable."
Similar conclusions are possible when one uses the concept developed
by Victor Turner, the anthropologist who believed there was a
permanent tension in society between the tendencies to structure
or order those that pushed towards anti-structure or "communitas".
Turner considered that there was a human necessity to participate
in both and people who are starved of one of them in their daily
activities, search for it in liminal rituals. So, while individuals
holding inferior positions in the social structures aspire for
a symbolic superiority, those in superior positions might aspire
for the symbolic universal fraternity of the "communitas",
and even submit themselves to penance's in order to attain it.
From this point of view, one might consider the Santo Daime rituals
to be actions that tend to move social life and, consequently,
society, towards structure and order.
This is Couto's argument and he considers that the Santo Daime
ceremonies are different from inversion rituals (carnival, for
instance) or from the Southeast African rituals of rebellion ,
studied by Turner, where the balance is shifted in the direction
of the "communitas" pole. This is because Daimista rituals
push the system towards structure, reinforcing the cosmological
order which is lived intensely , being brought out of its customary
latent , unconscious status and made to manifest itself during
the rituals. The internal order is constantly reaffirmed by the
individual effort of each participant, during his ritual "performance",
when he submits himself to the demands of the Juramidam Empire.
It is through this praxis that the faithful feel they receive
the "teachings", and, especially, the symbolical order,
believed to be efficacious. In this symbolical reordering, the
invisible channels, that connect the new members to the cosmic
order, are perceived as being cleared , leading the whole system
to an ascesis or to a structure (3).
This reinforcement of order was perceived by the Federal Narcotics
Council work groups who were convinced that the daimistas were
even more orderly than the rest of the population. They also noted
that they often claimed that their compliance to the Santo Daime
doctrines had led to a positive reorganization of their lives
and given them added tranquillity and happiness (4).
One should also remember Dobkin de Rios' ideas on the importance
of the interaction of variables, preceding or following the ingestion
of psychoactive substances in determining the perceived effects.
(see "Introduction"). Of special relevance here is the
shared symbolic system and the expectations of the visionary content
which are part of the "cultural" variables. Alongside
the biological and social aspects, they are important in leading
a great number of daimistas to have similarly perceived experiences
with the entheogens. As they base their interpretations of these
experiences on a common symbolic repertoire presented by the hymns,
the daimistas perceive their doctrinal values as being reinforced
and confirmed. The main types of daimista rituals or "works"
are the "hymnaries", the "concentrations",
the "masses", the "healing works" and the
"making of the Daime".
The Santo Daime Rituals As Performed By The Followers of Padrinho
As happens in many spiritualist centers and among the vegetalistas,
the daimista rituals are called "works" and often presuppose
an intense and tiring psychic activity , even though those taking
part may be in an apparently relaxed and restful position such
as happens during the sessions of concentration.
It is believed that taking ayahuasca leads to a perception of
the "spiritual" or "astral" world and to the
possibility of carrying out a series of activities in this realm..
Accordingly there are different types of rituals for different
purposes, and their form is invariably attributed to Mestre Irineu
who is supposed to have learned about them from the Queen of the
Forest, or the Virgin of the Conception, source of all daimista
Thus, great emphas is given to the need to follow closely the
ritual forms inherited from Mestre Irineu. As has frequently been
observed by the Federal Narcotics Council work-group and other
researchers, there is great uniformity in most of the rituals
performed by the CEFLURIS nuclei, which is all the more remarkable,
when one takes into account their geographic diversity. Yet the
constant insistence on the observation of apparently unimportant
details often causes a certain irritation among newcomers to the
doctrine who frequently suggest altering the ritual. But the importance
attributed to the conservation of the ritual form has lead to
a series of official measures such as the elaboration of statutes
and the setting up of a body of guardians to ensure the correct
performance of the rituals. As specified in item 24 of the statutes:
"We consider, as part of our body of rituals, all those inherited
directly from Mestre Irineu, and the additions made by Padrinho
Sebastiao and by Padrinho Alfredo Gregorio de Melo. They are the
only ones empowered by this statute to legislate and regulate
on doctrinal matters pertaining to ritual.
Any other type of suggestion or proposal for changes in the ritual
must be appreciated by the Commission on Ritual and Healing of
the Supreme Church Council), the main steering and executive collegiate
organism of the bodies affiliated to the CEFLURIS.
Hymnaries are considered commemorative festivities for certain
religious holidays, birthdays of the leaders or simply the celebration
of communion and fraternity. There is a calendar of "official
hymnaries", which is supposed to be observed by all the Santo
Daime churches. On such occasions, those taking part wear special
clothes, called "farda branca" (white uniform), predominantly
white in color and of sober cut, decorated with many colored ribbons.
On their heads the women wear tinsel crowns. On other occasions,
simpler "hymnaries" may be held and the plainer "farad
azalea" (blue uniform) is worn, consisting of white shirts
or blouses and navy blue trousers or skirts.
There are different hymnaries which are sung according to the
occasion. There are the, so called, "official hymnaries"
which are those "received" by some of the main "padrinhos"
such as Mestre Irineu, Padrinho Sebastiao or Padrinho Alfredo
or some of Mestre Irineu's closest followers and which are sung
on some of the most important holidays. But there are also hymns
"received" by other followers of the doctrine and which
may be sung on other, less formal occasions. During the "hymnary"
the participants stand around a central table usually in the form
of a six pointed star, on which there is a double armed "Cross
of Caravacca", a rosary and other symbols of the doctrine.
The men and women line up according to height on opposite sides
of the room. According to the shape of the table, and the number
of participants, they may be form four or six groups: men, young
men, boys, women, young women and girls (see figures 2 and 3).
Many play "maracas" or rattles, accompanying the singing
and marking the rhythm of the dancing. The steps are simple and
vary according to the rhythm of the hymn. The singing is often
accompanied by musicians playing seated around the table. This
orchestra is normally composed of guitars, flutes and percussion
instruments, but any other instrument may be added. The ritual
begins at a predetermined time, generally at sunset. To mark its
beginning, the catholic rosary may be said or, on less formal
occasions, simply three Lord's Prayers and three Hail Mary's.
At the end of the ceremony these prayers are repeated alongside
other Catholic, Esoteric or specifically daimista ones.
After the opening prayers the Daime is then served; a small cup
is handed to the adults, and a smaller amount to the children.
This happens several times during the work, at approximately two-hourly
Depending on the occasion and on the hymnary being sung, the ritual
may last between six or twelve hours. During this period, the
participants must keep to their place in the line, refraining
from talking or from any other kind of behavior that might hinder
other people in their efforts to concentrate.
Halfway through the ritual there is usually an intermission lasting
for about one hour, the only time allowed for conversation. Sometimes,
still under the influence of the beverage, people may opt to remain
silent and in a state of introspection.
During the intermission the participants are given permission
to leave the room and may eat something light or drink a little
water. Smoking is also permitted, but at a distance, so that the
tobacco smoke does not reach the place where the ceremony is being
At the end of the ritual, a few catholic prayers are recited again
and the leader pronounces a last invocation to God the Father,
The Virgin Queen Mother, Our Lord Jesus Christ, the Patriarch
Saint Joseph and to all the spiritual beings of the celestial
court. At the end of the session, and every time they take the
brew, those taking part in the session cross themselves, thus
emphasizing their commitment to Christian principles during their
Alex Polari explains the meaning of this ritual:
"The hymns are a mirror of the life and of the human relations
within the community. It's the great opportunity for cleansing
and transformation, where all, in brotherhood, standing shoulder
to shoulder in the current of energy, spend up to twelve hours
singing and voyaging internally under the guidance of the hymns
and the Daime experience. During this period one sings and dances
to the hymns evoking the remembrance of the origin of everything.
We worship God, rendering Him all homage and during that night
as it becomes day, we make new commitments to Love, Truth and
Charity. We feel part of the Whole, ready to understand our faults
and to reconcile ourselves with our brethren. We are stimulated
to change and improve ourselves, with more Faith, so as not to
deny our way and with more firmness to keep to it. At the end,
happiness, the Sun rising, an embrace, the blessing, the hand
shake, many questions answered.
During the ritual, some of the participants, moved by their visions
or going through difficulties in their process of introspection,
may show signs of unrest, and, maybe, even loss of control over
their movements. Others go through physiological reactions to
their the ingestion of ayahuasca, feeling nausea and occasionally
vomiting or suffering from diarrhea.
To deal with such cases, to maintain order in the room and enforce
the ritual norms, some of the more experienced daimistas are nominated
"guardians". It is their duty to determine where the
participants must place themselves in the lines and to make sure
everyone keeps to his place. They must also oversee the flow of
the dancing, resolving any kind of disruption, helping those going
through difficulties, controlling the entrance and the exit, etc.
The danced hymnaries are supposed to be occasions of happiness
and brotherly feelings. They are therefore open to all who wish
to take part, regardless of whether they wear the uniform or not,
the only requirement being the compliance to the rules demanding
an abstinence of sex and alcohol during the three preceding days
and during the following three. Any other restriction should be
simply due to practical questions such as the need to avoid over
crowding or a disproportional number of newcomers in comparison
to the number of more experienced daimistas in uniform.
Other rituals are usually closed to those who do not wear the
uniform. Such is the case of the "concentration works",
performed by uniformed daimistas on the 15th and 30th of every
month. Lasting for between two to four hours, this ritual which
aims to promote spiritual development is largely performed in
silence , while those taking part remain seated keeping their
backs straight. Initially, they must try to focus their minds
in one direction leading to a gradual quieting of the stream of
thought. Once this has been accomplished, they enter into a state
of meditation and identification with the "Internal and Higher
Self", and with the "Divine Power", transcending
all ideas, names and forms. This ceremony, which may also include
reading from the Gospels and from the sacred scriptures of other
great religions or instructions and sermons by the commander of
the works, usually ends with all those present standing and singing
Mestre Irineu's last eleven hymns which are considered to be a
summary of his doctrine.
Latecomers are not usually allowed in during these sessions and
the Daime is only served at given moments. The point of these
rules is to avoid any disturbance of the atmosphere of tranquillity
and complete silence, essential for meditation
The most solemn Daime ritual is the mass for the dead. During
such an occasion, ten hymns are sung which deal with the subject
of death .The work begins with the saying of the Catholic rosary
and between each hymn there are three repetitions of the Lord's
Prayer and the Hail Mary. Marking the solemnity of the proceedings,
there is no dancing and the singing is not accompanied by instruments.
As discussed above, ayahuasca is frequently used by shamans and
vegetalistas to fight physical and spiritual illness. It is through
healing episodes attributed to their shamanic abilities that ayahuasquero
masters become respected and influential in their communities.
So healing is probably the field in which variations in ritual
occur most often, since the gift of healing is considered and
individual attribute. Therefore, those who distinguish themselves
as healers, tend to develop their own way of doing things, adopting
the practices that best fit their specific powers and personal
idiosyncrasies. In the case of the Peruvian "mestizo"
vegetalistas, for example, in spite of their common ideas about
the nature of illnesses and about the principles of healing, each
shaman has his own songs, allied spirits and specific methods
of healing .
Among the daimistas Mestre Irineu was known, above all, as a powerful
healer, as was Padrinho Sebastiao and a few other of their followers.
The daimista healers' repertoire of religious conceptions is much
more restricted than that of the "mestizo" healers,
familiar with elements of many Indian, European and African cultures,
borrowing and adapting them in the way they find most suitable.
But, even feeling a need to remain faithful to their doctrine,
the followers of Padrinho Sebastiao , consider their center to
be free and eclectic, allowing for other influences in their work
and this also gives them a certain degree of flexibility in their
So, alongside the traditional ceremonies taught by Mestre Irineu,
the followers of his doctrine resort to a wide range of other
Although all the rituals involving the taking of the brew are
considered to be potentially healing(8), traditionally two of
them have been considered to be specially effective. The basic
principle is the search for salvation of all those taking part
through the indoctrination of spirits and the offering of charity
to suffering souls.
a. The opening of the table, prayer work , table work or work
with crosses. Monteiro da Silva(1985) considers this to be a ritual
which aims to diagnose the causes of disturbances and provide
spiritual first aid. Froes, Couto and the official
CEFLURIS book of ritual norms, on the other hand consider that
they aim to deliver the patient from "obsession" and
"from negative fluids". This ceremony may be held in
the patient's presence, but may also be held in his absence when
the simple invocation of his name will be sufficient.
In order to hold this ceremony there must be an odd number of
participants, which may range from three to nine. Each one must
hold a cross in his left hand and a candle in his right one (regardless
of the number of people taking part, there must be nine crosses,
and if there are not as many people present, those that are left
without someone to hold them may be placed on the central table).
This is a relatively short ceremony, and should be repeated on
three consecutive days. All those taking part must be in observance
of the Daime interdictions of sec and alcoholic drinks, and must
strive for a state of harmony and interior cleanliness. Only a
small amount of Daime is served on these occasions and not necessarily
to all those present. Apart from a concentration, there is a recitation
of the Roman Catholic prayer Hail Queen and of another against
evil and dark spirits. A few predetermined hymns are sung, which
seem to be taking the place of the "healing calls",
that used to be made during the early days when the doctrine was
still being developed, in order to invoke certain healing spirits
like Tupequapa, a forest spirit who detains great knowledge on
b.Concentration works with healing hymns. These ceremonies are
considered to be a kind of intensive therapy, and demand cleanliness
of body and mind. To attain this larger amounts of the brew are
served, frequently leading to strong bouts of vomiting and diarrhea,
which certain scholars have considered to be cathartic and ab-reactive(10).
The ceremony consists in the recitation of the Lord's Prayer,
the Hail Mary, the Hail Queen and a consecration of the room.
After an hour long concentration, a specific selection of hymns
In their basic form, these two "works" keep very closely
to Mestre Irineu's original instructions, although in the CEFLURIS
groups they also sing a few hymns received by Padrinho Sebastiao
and some of his followers. In the centers following his guidance
these ceremonies are commonly called "star works", owing
to the shape of the table around which they are held. It is usually
placed in the middle of a hexagonal room built specially for this
purpose and known as the "Star House".
But there is also another type of work, which was developed more
recently and which shows strong umbandista influence. They are
known as "banca"(bench) or "Saint Michael in the
woods" works, and aim at the "indoctrination of suffering
spirits", "deobssessions" and other activities
of "spiritual charity". During these ceremonies there
are frequent episodes of spiritual communications or incorporations.
These works consist of prayers, concentrations, hymns and drinking
Daime. Many of those taking part may be "acted upon"(possessed)
by spiritual beings, and the development of the session becomes
less predictable. But even in these cases the person in charge
of the session is in control and the mediums under possession
must have his permission to make itself manifest, and it is also
he who controls the singing of hymns and the making of calls.
This kind of work with possession episodes has recently become
more frequent and accepted, after a special area was specially
set aside, in Ceu do Mapia, for umbanda ceremonies, a few other
centers followed suit. For a time there was even an attempt on
the part of a leader from Sao Paulo to hold joint Daime and Candomble
sessions. But, although umbanda is acceptable to many daimistas,
due to its Catholic syncretism which is very reminiscent of the
Santo Daime doctrine, Candomble, with its greater esteem for purity
of its pagan African roots, is harder to assimilate, and many
are loath to mix it with Daime. Nevertheless there seems to be
a marked tendency to diminish the distance that Mestre Irineu
is said to have tried to keep between his doctrine and the Afro-Brazilian
Some writers make a distinction between different methods used
by daimista healers, calling one type "direct therapeutic
techniques" ( making use of medicinal plants, poultices,
massages etc.) and the "indirect" ones (using dreams,
visions, "astral work" etc.). But, the basic instrument
is the Daime and its main allies: the spirits of the water, of
the forest and of the astral plane; certain collections of hymns,
the feeling of brotherhood (in the dancing, in the help offered
during healing works, etc.); other allies are the medicinal plants
and different types of diets - " by the mouth", "
in the bed" and "from the surroundings" (12).
The techniques employed by healers, during the works may be classified
as follows: (13)
"Miracoes"(Visions): when the healer receives detailed
information, from divine beings, to be transmitted to the patients.
Autoscopy: journeying inside the patient's body with the help
of a spiritual guide, who diagnoses its physical and mental condition.
Co-autoscopy: when more than one participant journey inside someone's
body, a room or an open place . They feel they are having visions
Ecstatic Flight: A journey through different places in the world
with a specific mission.
Possession: Identical phenomenon to the mediumnic incorporation
in Afro-Brazilian cults.
Alongside these techniques, the daimista healers may resort to
others, drawn from different spiritual traditions or from their
own inspiration. So, it is common for them to resort to prayer-sayers,
either in Ceu do Mapia or in Colonia 5.000 and Padrinho Sebastiao,
himself, at the end of his life, did not hesitate in consulting
with shamans from other traditions, in his search for relief from
illness. It is said that one of them, in the Boca do Acre area,
extracted objects and insects from his body. Later this material
was put in a jar an shown to whoever might have been interested.
Padrinho Sebastiao died shortly after a work, that took place
in the daimista center, Rainha do Mar (Sea Queen) in Pedra de
Guaratiba, Rio de Janeiro, during which he underwent treatment
by an Umbandista healer.
Another story is told of a young man said to be "suffering
from mental and emotional disorder and whose personality who was
taken in chains to Padrinho Sebastiao, in Ceu do Mapia. He was
asked to look after the boy "whose personality had been shattered
and who was visibly under great mental and emotional distress".
Padrinho Sebastiao held a sequence of three sessions of St. Michael's
works, on consecutive days. On the third day, in place of the
traditional work, he ordered the young boy to help slaughter and
quarter an ox, using a large, dangerous looking knife and getting
himself heavily splattered with blood. On the following day the
traditional work cycle was resumed and in the end the young man
showed signs of marked improvement and became capable once more
of maintaining normal conversation. He then reported having received
a threat of death from a friend and this was them considered to
be the cause of his ailment (14).
Among the most recent techniques, incorporated to the daimista
healing repertoire , is the use of crystals to reestablish the
" balance of energy" of those undergoing difficulties
during the works. In Sao Paulo, for instance, the godmother of
Flor das Aguas church had already developed a healing technique
using different types of crystals, even before affiliating herself
to the doctrine. Under her guidance, this practice acquired considerable
importance, among daimistas in Sao Paulo.
"Feitio" or Preparation of the Daime
The making of the brew involves a complex ritual procedure which
is frequently considered to be the most important of the daimista
ceremonies since all the other rituals depend on the brew produced
on these occasions. The manufacture of the beverage follows detailed
ritual prescriptions and must be correctly executed, in order
to assure the efficacy of the sacrament. Since the brew is considered
to be a divine being, akin to the consecrated host in the Roman
Catholic Church, the "feitio" is, an act of magic and
consecration, demanding from that those taking part undergo a
rigorous physical and spiritual preparation.
The process is extremely laborious and physically demanding. Those
who go into the forest, in search of the ingredients commonly
undergo all kinds of privations and discomforts and those who
are directly involved in the manufacture must carry out tasks
involving great physical effort such as hammering the vine to
reduce it to fiber chopping wood and cleaning the oven. But this
ritual is also considered to be a moment allowing great spiritual
purification and interior development, demanding silence and great
concentration. It is, also, the only ritual during which the Daime
supply is free available for all to take as much as they wish.
During this ritual, the exhaustion and the effect of the brew
bring the participants face to face with their weakness and personal
difficulties and more than ever those taking part are led to understand
the importance of the basic spiritual qualities emphasized by
the doctrine: firmness, purity of heart, humility, discipline,
harmony, love, justice and truth. The work is carried out in a
"feitio" house, specially built for the purpose, where
a Caravaca cross and an image of the Virgin are always present.
Other daimista symbols are also to be seen such as the sun, the
moon and stars .
In the same way as in other rites, the "feitio" has
a commander directing the works, generally the local "padrinho".
In certain cases, he might be another highly experienced specialist,
called in from other churches.
As in other rituals, men and women are kept separate, and engaged
in activities considered appropriate to their gender. The usual
recommendations of abstinence from sex and alcoholic beverages
apply and no food may be consumed in the "feitio house".
Men are given the heavy work, like collecting, transporting, cleaning
and hammering the liana, besides preparing the brew, which involves
handling big cauldrons with boiling liquid and keeping the fire.
When the church has its own plantation, the women gather the Psychotria
viridis leaves and clean them one by one. Otherwise they are gathered
by the men in the forest, and brought to the village to be cleaned
by the women.
The search and harvesting of the liana and the leaves is probably
the most difficult part of the "feitio", requiring great
experience and knowledge of the forest. Nowadays this stage tends
to be reserved for specialized groups of "mateiros",
or woodsmen, who have a great knowledge of the forest. Some churches
now have their own plantations, which makes the work much easier
and all can join in and help. Maybe, because daimistas tend to
prepare large quantities of the brew at a time(somewhere between
one hundred and five hundred litres ) Their harvesting methods
are much simpler than those used by the vegetalistas studied by
Luna and Dobkin de Rios. In place of the ceremonious procedures
of the Peruvians, daimistas simply pull the liana from the trees,
cutting it into pieces 20 cms. long on the spot and then, packing
them into bags that may come to weigh up to fifty kilos.
The next stage happens in the "feitio" house, where
men clean the pieces of liana, peeling off the skin and removing
dirt and imperfect bits. During this work participants must remain
in concentration and strive for their own inner cleansing. Next
comes the "beating ", the ceremonial pounding of the
liana, usually set to begin at 2:00 am and carried out by groups
of twelve, who alternate in two hours shifts. The liana or "jagube"
pieces are placed on tree stumps fixed to the ground and beaten
with hard wooden hammers. Hymns are sung to help keep the rhythm
of the pounding.
The next step involves the cooking of the brew. This is generally
done using three sixty litre cauldrons placed over a big furnace
with three openings, one for each pan and using wood for fuel.
In the cauldrons the liana fibers and the leaves are placed in
alternating layers , up to the brim. It is estimated that for
every bag of "jagube" half a bag of leaves must be used.
The important balance between the "power" and "light"
of the brew depends on the right dosing of the ingredients.
The cauldrons are then filled with crystalline water and left
on the fire for several hours until the liquid has been boiled
down to a third of its original volume. This is the most delicate
stage of the procedure and as Froes says: "One must avoid
talking to the person in charge, because he must concentrate on
the boiling brew and be aware of the moment when a Santo Daime
being, present in the astral plane, manifests itself to indicate
the exact moment when the boiling is done and the cauldron must
be removed from the fire".
Once this point is reached the cauldrons are taken off the fire
and the liquid, now called "cozimento" is strained and
set aside. The cauldrons are once again filled with liana and
leaves, and the "cozimento" is then poured back in.
Once again, the sixty litres are boiled down to twenty, and the,
so called, "First Degree Daime" is obtained. Boiling
the same liana and leaves with fresh "cozimento", one
gets the "Second Degree Daime" and, repeating the procedure,
"Third Degree Daime".
Once ready, the brew is cooled and aired by continuous transferring
from the cauldron to bowls and jars and then back again to the
cauldron. The Daime is then poured into big bottles which have
been previously carefully cleaned and dried and which are filled
to the brim so as to ensure that no air remains , to avoid fermentation
.They are then closed with wooden or cork stoppers and the quality
of the brew is insured for many years,
Since this is a magic procedure to produce a sacred drink certain
taboos must be observed. Just as care must be taken over the observation
of dietary and sexual rules, so must there be care that none of
the women taking part in the procedures be having their period.
The handling the drink also requires special attention; no water
may be added to the "cozimento", and Daime must not
be lost or spilt on the floor. Certain times are considered to
be more appropriate for the preparation of Daime, such as during
the new moon . There are also times which, for a mixture of practical
and doctrinal reasons, are considered to be ideal to begin certain
tasks, generally in the early morning.
Depending on these various factors, on the quantity and quality
of the ingredients, and on the degree of harmony and spiritual
perfection among the participants, each batch of the brew, will
have its specific characteristics.
Therefore each bottle must be labeled with the date of the manufacture,
the phase of the moon and the "degree" of the brew.
Although there are many different ways of preparing ayahuasca
and many possible variations of the basic ingredients, the followers
of the Santo Daime doctrine try to keep to the strict indications
left by Mestre Irineu on the subject. The process must be always
the same and, besides the liana, the "chacrona" leaf
and the water, no other ingredient may be added. The vegetalistas
and the rubber tappers who were Mestre Irineu's original followers,
lived in close contact with the forest, from which they extracted
almost everything they needed for their daily life, including
"jagube" and the "chacrona" leaf. Today, even
those who still know the forest and its secrets, have great difficulty
in finding "reinados", areas where the liana abounds.
Owing to generalized deforestation and to an overharvesting of
the liana, experienced woodsmen must now spend weeks in the woods,
in order to get enough for one "feitio"
Besides, this religious movement has now spread to various parts
of Brazil, where the necessary ingredients for preparing Daime
do not exist, and where the new daimistas, usually middle-class,
have neither the strength nor the necessary know-how to carry
out a "feitio". So, these groups must rely supplies
prepared by specialists working full time, in Colonia 5.000 and
in Ceu do Mapia.
Due to the importance of this ritual, in the spiritual development
of daimistas, "feitios" are occasionally held in churches
of the Southeast. The process then becomes even more laborious,
requiring shipments of the liana "in natura" being sent
from the Amazon as well as the presence of Amazonian specialists
to act as supervisors. This makes it difficult to envisage the
setting up of a genuinely autonomous production in these regions
in the near future, which would be able to produce enough of the
brew to attend fully to the needs of the extra-Amazonian churches.
Of course, this also means that, at the doctrinal level, these
groups will also continue to be governed by the Amazonians, who
will keep their power to punish deviations from orthodox practices
by cutting the supplies of the sacred beverage.
Monteiro da Silva, 1988:37.
2. Monteiro da Silva, 1985:1 and 2
3. Couto, 1989:132 and 133
4. Items IV and IX state:
IV - Moral and ethical standards of behavior, in every way, resembling
those existing and recommended in our society are observed in
the various communities, sometimes even in a rather rigid manner.
Obedience to the law always seems to have been specially stressed.
IX - After the ceremonies, everyone goes home in an apparently
normal and orderly way.
The followers of the religion seem to be tranquil and happy people.
Many consider the religion and the brew to be responsible for
a reorganization of their families, for a renewal in their interest
in work, and for their encounter with themselves and with God.
(Final report on the activities carried out by the work-group
assigned by The Federal Narcotics Council to examine the question
of production and consumption of vegetable species, pg. 7).
5. Although all branches of the Santo Daime Doctrine maintain
great uniformity in their rituals, we are dealing here with the
followers of the branch led by Padrinho Sebastiao, the only one
active at a nationwide level, and counting with numerous affiliated
churches outside the Amazon region.
6. Two examples are the "Prayer to Caritas", borrowed
from the spiritist repertoire and the prayer which invokes harmony,
love, truth and justice, taken from the group known as "
The Esoteric Circle of the Communion of Thought".
Prayer of Caritas
God, Our Father, who art all Power and Kindness, Give strength
to those suffering probation. Give light to those who search for
the truth. Put in the heart of man compassion and charity.
God, give to the traveler his leading star, to the afflicted consolation,
to the sick rest.
Father, give to the guilty repentance, to the spirit Truth. to
the child a guide, to the orphan a father.
Lord, that Thy kindness be spread over all that you created.
Lord, bring pity on those who do not know You, hope for those
Let Thy kindness allow the consoling spirits to pour Peace, Hope
and Faith everywhere.
God, a ray, a spark of Thy love can set the world aflame. Allow
it to drink from the source of this, Fecund and Infinite kindness
and all tears will be dry and all pain Will be assuaged.
As one heart, on the mountain, we await Thee with open arms.
O! Power! O! Kindness! O! Beauty! O Perfection! and we desire
to deserve Thy Mercy somehow.
God! Give us Strength to help us progress and reach up to Thee.
Give us pure Charity. Give us Faith and Reason.
Give us simplicity that will make our souls the mirror wherein
Thy Image should be reflected. Amen.
I thank Thee, O God! because this place is full of Thy Presence.
I thank Thee, because I live in Thy life, Truth, Health, Prosperity,
Peace, Wisdom, Happiness and Love.
I thank Thee, because all who enter here shall feel Thy Presence.
I thank Thee because I am in Harmony, Love, Truth and Justice
with all beings.
Polari de Alverga,undated:6.
8. Couto 1989:158.
9. Couto 1989:154.
10. See note 2, chapter 2.
11. Walter Dias Junior 1990.
12. Monteiro da Silva 1985.
13. Monteiro da Silva 1985.
14. Walter Dias Jr. 1990.
15. Froes 1986:69.