Saturday, April 28, 2007



That pretty much said all there is to say on that topic.

Thanks for showing up at my blog. This is an eclectic place where I follow whatever attracts my attention, usually through my camera and travels in Brazil, but also just stumbling through the world wide web. Mostly, the images that I post are my own. This one is not. It was sent to me by a friend. I thought that I just had to pass it on.

Friday, April 27, 2007



Being on the road and far away from home can be a draining experience, even under the best of circumstances. But rest and renewal come from being close to nature, which after all is our mother, our teacher and our healer. So it was a special bonus to spend some days at Boiçucanga which is a town on São Paulo state's northern coastline. The name comes from the Tupiniquin Indian language. Boi means snake. Açu means big and Canga means head.

However, for us, boiçucanga did not mean a big-headed snake but rather a beija-flor or humming bird.


Here on a mountain ridge in a forest and overlooking the ocean


a little church sits like the nest of a humming bird.


A likeness of Padrinho Sebastião stands at its entrance.


Padrinho (now deceased) predicted that he would become a humming bird in one of his late hymns.

Play the hymn.

Oh my God, oh my God
My God where am I?
Oh my God, oh my God
I am a humming-bird

Oh my God, oh my God
My God where are You?
Oh my God, oh my God
On the earth and the seaside

In this wonderful setting,
we prayed



and, of course, we played




with Sergio's family and friends



and felt the closeness of Madrinha Rita


Padrinho Sebastião


and Mestre Irineu.


Click for a slideshow of more photos.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

ON THE ROAD WITH LUIZ MENDES: Three more stops along the trail of happiness.

It's hard to describe in words exactly what it is like to be traveling with the Luiz Mendes comitiva. They carry the energy of Mestre Irineu always


and seem to bring the gift of happiness wherever they go. But the gift really is reciprocal, a relationship in which everyone contributes, somehow realizing that happiness is not something that we "get" but that it is something that we give. It seems to spread in all directions like a marvelous contagion.

The first spiritual work was offered at Reino do Sol


where we joined with Gê Marques and Rô



and lots of brothers and sisters to sing and dance all night


and share birthday celebrations.


Next stop was Céu da Fatima, the church that Alexandre and Adriana traveled the long distance to do works at for many years


and where Sidney told of his relationship with Seu Luiz and shared a memorable photograph.



I received a very special gift when someone offered to take my picture with Lusirene.

Me and Lusirene at Céu de Fatima

It was another great evening that stretched into the wee hours and ended with many smiles.


The last of the São Paulo area works was at Lua Cheia where Léo welcomed everyone.


Representatives of Ana Vitória, Porta do Sol spoke eloquently for the union of all ayahausca youth in the world and brought a gift of flowers.


Of course there was another birthday to celebrate,


and more smiles,


and more hugs.


Birthdays, smiles, hugs and healing. This was my sense of our travels through São Paulo.

Click for a slideshow of more Reino do Sol photos.

Click for a slideshow of more Céu da Fatima photos.

Click for a slideshow of more Lua Cheia photos.

ON THE ROAD WITH LUIZ MENDES: With lots of help from Alexandre and Adriana


Getting around a metropolitan area of 20 million people such as São Paulo (South America's largest city) can be a huge challenge. But with Alexandre and Adriana in charge we were in very good hands. Not only did they find a way to accomodate a comitiva of 14 people and make sure that we had transportation to 5 different churches spread across the region but they filled our days with a tremendous sense of family and fun where everyone played and pitched in to create a real "work party" full of music and art and good food.





And there was a wonderful Santo Daime ritual at their young church Céu da Capela, which ended in a grand celebration of Saturnino's birthday.




I'd like to note that the spiritual work had been a very strong cura (healing work) which is not easy but, as Saturnino likes to say, "thank you for coming together to share the joy of our healing." It's a beautiful concept and the real results show in the faces of the people.


Click for a slideshow of more photos.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007


I'm really glad that you asked because there's a great article about it called Plants with Soul by Michael Posner which was published last year in the outstanding Canadian magazine "The Walrus." This is the best written, solidly researched and objective piece that I've read on a topic which is usually presented either foolishly or fearfully. It also tells the very interesting story of how the US Supreme Court decided unanimously that the anti-drug people could not prevent its use as a religious sacrament.

Here are the plants:

The leaf Psychotria viridis


and the vine Banisteriopsis caapi


Many traditions -- about 72 have been identified -- honor the sacred tea made from these plants, each according to their own religious narratives and ritual practices. The unique intelligence of plants is that they are the ones who know how to turn light into life. Thus, ayahuasca is considered by many as a "light unto the world" -- a powerful plant teacher and a guide connecting the stars of the firmament to life on earth.

Currently, some of the best exposition of the phenomenology of the ayahuasca experience can be found in the research of the cognitive scientist Benny Shanon. And, there's a lot more emerging from this well of wisdom. Stayed tuned.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007


Pico do Papagaio - driving toward Matutu - 2006

The natural beauty of Matutu seems to inspire everyone toward art. Making beauty is a major vocation in the life of many people -- it appears everywhere. I came under the same artistic spell. Building the previous post inspired me to do another one, presenting some of my previously published (and unpublished) images. Here are a few favorites from Matutu.

First, where exactly is Matutu? It's near Aiuruoca, Minas Gerais in the center of the triangle described by Brazil's three largest cities -- Belo Horizonte, Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo.

Second,what makes it so special? Many things, but consider this simple statistic: within 30 miles of Aiuruoca there are 8 named mountain peaks and 28 major waterfalls. The town itself is over 300 years old going a back to the early days of the gold rush and today many think that it's the fusca (Brazilian VW Beetle) captital of the world. Here's my photo album about it.

OK. Here are the images. Click on them to get descriptions and larger sizes.

Rainbow and Cabeça de Leon - Matutu 2006

Cruzeiro in Matutu Daime Church - 2006

Buddha and Pad Sebastião

Saint Francis - Matutu 2006

Candeia Gate - Matutu - 2006

Bromelia - Matutu - 2006

Pico do Papagiao from Mandala das Águas - 2006

Lilies in Sunrise - Maqtutu - 2006

Dawn Horse - Matutu - 2006

Buddha at Center - Matutu - 2006

Pico do Papagaio at Sunrise - Matutu - 2006

Guilherme and Sunrise - Matutu - 2006

Night-Blooming Cactus #2 - Matutu - 2006

Daime Table at Dawn - Matutu - Dec 2005

Micael and Caio - Matutu - Dec 2005

Leon and Aton - Matutu - 2005

Stained Glass Window #2 by Gui

Dining Area - Matutu - 2005

House - Matutu - 2005

Veranda - Mututu - 2005

Matutu Valley - 2005

Pico do Papagaio

Rainbow and Dining Hall - Matutu 2006

If you'd like to visit Matutu and you're looking for a lovely pousada
(bed and breakfast) to stay at you might check out these places:

Mandala das Águas

Pedra Fina