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DMT is a hallucinogen that is considered a dangerous narcotic in many countries ... Yet this religious community is family-orientated, peaceful and deeply spiritual. There is no drug or alcohol abuse. But Ayahuasca is allowed. Followers of Santo Daime don’t consider it a drug at all. To them it is a holy sacrament. Legal Drugs, 2015
The Church of Santo Daime was founded by Raimundo Irineu Serra in 1930. He was introduced to Ayahuasca by Amazonian shamans. He spent eight days in the jungle drinking Ayahuasca. He had a vision of the Virgin Mary who gave him instructions for a new religion. Today, Santo Daime – a mixture of Catholicism and Shamanism - has spread as far as the United States, Europe and beyond. ibid.
The ceremony is a mixture of Catholic tradition and Shamanic ritual. At its heart is the Amazonian hallucinogen Ayahuasca known to the congregation as Daime. They believe it is the blood of Christ. ibid.
In the United States the active ingredient Ayahuasca is classed as a Schedule 1 drug. But since March 2009 it can legally be taken in the US by Santo Daime followers because it is part of their religion. ibid.
UDV members participate in ritual consumption of ayahuasca at least twice monthly and often more frequently. The ritual ceremonies are less ‘active’ than those of the Santo Daime and are more like a Quaker meeting. Long periods of silence are included in the service, where members seek self-knowledge through mental concentration. The ‘vegetal’ (ayahuasca tea) facilitates this and is described as being the ‘key’ to the process. There is space for people to share the teaching they received from the Vegetal or to ask the ‘Mestre’ (who leads the ceremony) questions. The UDV emphasise the oral tradition in their doctrine and in the rituals the teachings of Mestre Gabriel are spoken, ‘chamadas’ (similar to mantras) are chanted and hymns are sung. They believe that this simplicity reflects the life of their founder and that one of their roles is to ‘worship and preserve his peasant roots, which translates the purity of his teachings; keeping alive the memory of the fact that one's degree of spiritual evolution is not dependent upon erudition nor academic titles’.
The teachings of the UDV are Christian-based but they also emphasise the role of nature, describing themselves as ‘a religion based on the superior Christian values of love and fraternity among men, in full communion with Nature through the tea Hoasca, a vehicle synchronising it with the Divinity ... ecology and spirituality are indivisible’. CSP online article
The UDV ... is a Christian church operating in many Brazilian cities. Its members drink the Ayahuasca tea every fortnight but in newly created rituals. Horizon: Psychedelic Science, BBC 1997
Made by the Indians of the Amazon from a combination of jungle vines and leaves it is brewed into a herbal tea and produces a psychedelic experience every bit as powerful as LDS. ibid.
The drugs that supposedly help users start their lives again comes from an Amazon vine: Ayahuasca ... Illegal in the United States, tribes in Peru have used it as a natural medicine for hundreds of years. Drugs Inc s2e4: Hallucinogens, National Geographic 2012
The liquid from the Ayahuasca vine sparks vivid hallucinations. ibid.
February 2006 Held: the courts below did not err in determining that the Government failed to demonstrate, at the preliminary injunction stage, a compelling interest in barring the UDV’s sacramental use of Hoasca. Supreme Court of the United States: Gonzales, Attorney General et al v O Centro Espirita Beneficente Uniao Do Vegetal et al