An insider’s experience and personal transformation with ayahuasca and the religious philosophy surrounding it
• An intimate account of the genesis of the Santo Daime tradition
• Edited and introduced by Stephen Larsen, author of The Shaman’s Doorway
In search of something to restore his spiritual connection to life after his release from captivity as a political prisoner in Brazil, Alex Polari de Alverga had a transformative encounter with Padrinho Sebastiao Mota de Mela, one of the two revered founders of Santo Daime. A potent synthesis of Christianity and indigenous Amazonian practices of entheogen use, mediumship, and healing, the Santo Daime church provided Alverga with an alternative to his disillusionment with modern society. His quest for spiritual initiation eventually led him deep into the heart of the rain forest to Mapiá, one of the spiritual centers of Santo Daime, where he became a teacher and leader of the Daime community.
The Religion of Ayahuasca is a story of a classic spiritual encounter comparable to the Tibetan Saint Milarepa’s search for his teacher Marpa. It is also an intimate account of the genesis of an important religious tradition from its modest beginnings in Brazil to its growth throughout the world, offering an inside look at the spiritually centered village of Mapiá--a model for communities in the 21st century--and at the religious leader who helped create it. Providing insight into the spiritual path the Daime offers, Alverga’s tale reveals the new depths of Being made available through the sacred use of ayahuasca.
About the Author
Alex Polari de Alverga spent years as a political prisoner during the rule of the military junta in Brazil, enduring torture, brutality, and deprivation. On his release from captivity, he encountered the Santo Daime religion and is currently a padrinho (spiritual father) in the spiritual community of Mapiá.
“There are detailed, carefully written descriptions of the spiritual process and the precision with which Alverga has woven these threads through various perspectives and conceptual frameworks is fascinating.” — The Psychedelic Press, UK, January 2011
“Who better to tell the story of ayahuasca (Diplopterys cabrerana) than de Alverga? His intellectual and practical work bridges the worlds of scholars and Amazonian people. After years of being held as a political prisoner during the reign of Brazil’s military junta, he encountered the Santo Daime religion–a unique form of christianity blended with traditional Amazonian use of mediumship and ayahuasca for healing and spiritual growth. The book relates the personal experiences key figures and of the author’s as he evolves into a Santo Daime leader.” — American Herb Association, September 2012