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The Santo Daime religion

            This paper will discuss the Santo Daime, a syncretic religion founded in Brazil that incorporates Christian, Native South American, African and shamanic elements. I will first discuss the origin of the religion, and then specifically examine the religion's use of the Ayahuasca drink as a holy sacrament and its chemical composition. Finally, I will discuss how the beverage serves to heal individual psychological problems, and I will mention some important aspects of the Santo Daime today. It is important to note that this review is indeed an overview; given the space limitation, I did not explore each aspect of the religion in all its possible specific detail. .
             I have decided to write this paper about the Santo Daime religion because of the interesting way that this faith demands the incorporation of its teachings into daily life after monthly rituals using the Ayahuasca beverage, which induces a profoundly spiritual altered state of mind. I am also particularly interested by the self-sustaining nature of Santo Daime communities that are nestled in the heart of the Amazon rainforest in Brazil and are presently undergoing great expansion. .
             The origin of the Santo Daime religion.
             The Santo Daime religion emerged in the Amazonian basin in the early 1920s when Raimundo Irineu Serra, a rubber tapper from the Amazon, was walking in the forest and was visited by a feminine spirit claiming to be a representation of the Virgin Mary and an embodiment of Mother Earth. She told him that he should remain in the forest, refrain from eating and then drink a hallucinogenic brew called Ayahuasca, which he had already experimented with among the indigenous peoples of the jungle. When he followed these instructions, he had a vision of establishing a new religion called the Santo Daime (Daime means "give me,"" in Portuguese), and that this new faith would help bring back the matriarchal figures that had been forgotten in the modern Christian religion of his day.

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