Fieldwork in Religion, Vol 2, No 3 (2006)

The Rituals of Santo Daime: 'Systems of Symbolic Constructions', translated by Robin Wright, revised by Matthew Meyer

Arneide Cemin
Issued Date: 27 Nov 2008


This article deals with the Santo Daime rituals developed by Mestre Irineu, and adopts an approach
based on Marcel Mauss´s concept of body techniques which are seen to produce the symbolic life
of the spirit through physical, psychological, and sociological assemblages. Based on the underlying
patterns of shamanism, Mestre Irineu built his own system, taking into account the existing
sociocultural context, enabling it to exert control over the reality perceived under altered states of
consciousness, thus directing the control of emotions and unconsciousness. The article also deals
with certain elements of the sacred system such as the table/altar, the uniforms, the rattles and
the hymns. The author also studies the details of the rituals for healing, manufacturing ayahuasca,
dancing, concentrations and funeral services. Other uses of the brew are also discussed such as in
the treatment of burns, wounds and other ailments, and as an adjunct to childbirth. There is also a
discussion of the use of ayahuasca as an amulet.

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DOI: 10.1558/firn.v2i3.256

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