The Rituals of Santo Daime
'Systems of Symbolic Constructions', translated by Robin Wright, revised by Matthew Meyer
Keywords:Alto Santo, ayahuasca, body techniques, gift exchange, Santo Daime, shamanism, social imaginary, talisman product
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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