Sunday, February 11, 2007

VI Encounter for the New Horizon
A Video Report

Community of Fortaleza
Capixaba, Acre, Brazil
Dec 30, 2006 to Jan 9, 2007

My time at the Fortaleza festival and with the Luiz Mendes family in Acre was very special. Brazilians have a great saying that they use when they discover a deep connection -- the say, "I found my beach." Yes, that's how it was for me -- I found my beach, for sure!


The night of January 3 - 4 was a long and difficult one for me. It was my fourth intense spiritual work in as many days. The occasion was joyous -- celebrating the 67th birthday of Master-Counselor Luiz Mendes. But, truthfully, I was struggling to hold my place. The sacrament was very strong, as were the humidity, the heat, the bugs and my skin allergies. The spiritual work was long, an all-night affair of singing and dancing hymns of the doctrine. For me, this "yoga of love" is hard work and in the morning I was exhausted. I sort of dragged myself back to the campground hoping to get a few hours sleep before it got too hot to stay in the tent.

As I was about to get into the tent, my friend Beatriz came running and calling,

"Hurry Lou.
Come to the commons.
Bring your camera.
This is the best party,


When I got there, the forró had already started.

I looked at the scene with disbelief. The spiritual work had begun with prayers early the previous evening. It was now 15 hours later. No one had gotten any sleep. And yet, the energy here was incredible and I suddenly felt all of my own tiredness vanish. I thought, "How confusing, how can this be?" And then the music moved on to singing and dancing some hymns from Padrinho Sebastião's New Jerusalem.

The first hymn is

#24 - I AM HERE

I'm here because my Father sent me
I'm here because I'm the Savior
I am bottled, I always live embottled
And the people are very excited
Seeking their worth.

I'm here because my Father sent me
I'm here because I'm the Savior
The Master says, the Master sings,
the Master speaks
And the people get confused
In the line of love

... and I thought,

"Oh I get it. This is what it is like to live inside the Doctrine of Mestre Irineu. This is what it is like to be one with God. This is the New Jerusalem. When we are in union with each other in the present, we become the One who we have been waiting for."

It was as if we had worked all night to clean, to polish, to perfect, to achieve a union and now we were receiving the harvest, the sweet fruits of these efforts. The love came pouring forth and flowed in all directions.

Young Sebastião Gabrish gave a special present of song to Padrinho Luiz and sang, in duet with Saturnino, the well known and much loved Brazilian classic,

"As my Love For You is Great."

Then came the birthday songs for Vovô Luiz Mendes and Junaída and Janaína. All Brazilian songs of congratulations say, Parabéns, Parabéns, Parabéns.

There are many special moments in the tradition of the Santo Daime. One time that has great personal significance and emotion is when individuals decide to make a commitment to the path, becoming a member of the crew rather simply being a passenger in the boat. The initiation, which was both solemn and sweet, took place during the interval in the ceremony celebrating the Day of the Holy Kings.

The festivities included an incredibly spirited and joyful singing of the Entertainments of Master Irineu.


After the Fortaleza festival we continued along the trail of love and joy to the family center in Bujari, near Rio Branco, to celebrate the festival of Saint Sebastian.

I'm back in Brasilia right now using the fast Internet connection of Murilo's house to prepare these posts but I'll soon be on the road again, meeting up with the comitiva for more Daime celebrations during Carnaval time at Santa Luzia, Matutu and São Paulo. I feel incredibly grateful -- as my North American Indian friends might say -- to be walking on the path of beauty.


There is now some talk going on about bringing the Luiz Mendes comitiva to the United States, perhaps next September or October. The comitiva travels regularly to many spiritual centers in Brazil and has visited Europe and Canada to present ceremonies but they have never been to the US. I know that they would like to.

Saturnino says, "it will happen if and when the Master wants." But I confess to a childish impatience. I can't help imagining walking among the Redwoods and hiking to Bald Mountain with him.

Wouldn't it be wonderful!

You can keep up with the latest news at this blog and at the Luiz Mendes Web Site.

No comments: