Uniao do Vegetal online - CSP online - Horizon TV -
The União do Vegetal (UDV) is a Christian spiritist religion that originated in Brazil and is now practiced by over 21,000 people in 11 countries. The UDV has received numerous civic awards for its community and environmental service and is recognized as a church under the laws of the United States.
União do Vegetal literally means ‘the union of the plants’. Adherents drink a tea within their religious services that is made from two plants indigenous to the Brazilian Amazon. The tea, known as Hoasca, is revered as sacred by UDV members. It is a sacrament serving to heighten spiritual understanding and perception, and bring the practitioners closer to God. Uniao do Vegetal
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