Indigenous Cultures and the Santo Daime Religion

Indigenous tribes in the Amazon Basin have used the Ayahuasca vine for thousands of years. From the Napo Runa tribe in Ecuador’s Napo River Basin, the knowledge and use of the sacred vine spread to other Amazonian tribes, which revere the Ayahuasca vine as the grandmother of all plants, trees & flowers and as a master plant teacher.

Somehow, from the thousands of plant species in the Amazon rainforest, tribes combined the Ayahuasca vine with plants containing high concentrations of DMT. The odds of this happening by chance are ridiculously small, especially since the Ayahuasca vine and these DMT-containing plants don’t grow next to each other in the jungle. When asked about this miracle, elders from different tribes often share the same basic explanation: the spiritual force showed them what plant to look for and told them to add it to their tea.

Tribal cultures have long viewed the Ayahuasca vine as the original source of the visions and other spiritual communications experienced in ceremonies. But over time, people lost part of their spiritual connection and could no longer see spiritual visions from the Ayahuasca vine alone. At that point in time the Indigenous people started to add other admixture plants into the Ayahuasca brew. The most common admixture plant is called Rainha da Floresta in the Santo Daime religion; Queen of the Forest. The most common name of this plant is Chacruna (Psychotria Viridris).

For millennia, these indigenous tribes have honored, conserved, and preserved the sacred Ayahuasca tea to come forth in our time, a time of a big shift, to help us remember who we are, to remember where we came from. Tribal elders say that the plant teachers showed them a time when the world would be in darkness and on the edge of destruction—a time when Ayahuasca would travel out of the forest and into other lands to help the Earth’s children to help us to take the next step in our collective evolution as a species and to remember how to live in harmony with each other and the planet. That time is now.

One path out of the jungle opened up through an Afro-Brazilian man named Raimundo Irineu Serra. In the early 1900s, Irineu was working as an itinerant rubber tapper and border guard in the remote Amazon region of northern Brazil when he met an indigenous tribe who started to teach him about Ayahuasca. One day “Mestre Irineu,” as he later came to be called, was deep in the jungle participating in a dieta. A period of time that he spent in solitude in the jungle, only drinking Ayahuasca and not eating or drinking anything else. On the last day of his 8 day quest, he was very weak, and fell on his knees looking at the full moon. In his vision the moon came down, and Clara, the lady of the moon, in the shape of the Queen of the Forest, stood in front of him. There and then she instructed him to start a new religion using Ayahuasca as its sacrament. Later this religion received the name Santo Daime. “Daime,” a Portuguese word meaning “give me,” as in the prayer “give me light, give me strength, give me wisdom.”

The religion founded by Mestre Irineu was continued by Padrinho Sebastião. He spread the Santo Daime all over Brazil. The next and current spiritual leader of the Santo Daime is Padrinho Alfredo. It is, and has been one of the missions of Padrinho Alfredo to spread the Santo Daime around the world. As a congregation of the world’s largest Santo Daime church, ICEFLU, Céu do Novo Mundo recognizes the Santo Daime tea as its only sacrament and honors the teachings that come from this sacred gift.

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