Friday, April 20, 2007

SPIRITUAL RETREAT AT FLOR DO CÉU

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In February I attended a week long retreat at the spiritual center Flor do Céu located in Santa Luzia, Minas Gerais, Brazil.

The nearest big city (the third largest in Brazil) is Belo Horizonte

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Santa Luzia is about 45 minutes drive from "Belo" and has a lovely Historical District. Here is the big church and cultural center.

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Flor do Céu is nestled among the farms and woods of the nearby countryside like a bouquet of flowers and a queen.

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The church

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is surrounded by lush gardens of "Rainha"

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or "Queen" -- the shrub Psychotria viridis that provides the leaf which is one of the two components of the sacramental tea. It is the female part, the light-bearer, whereas the other component Jagube (the vine Banisteriopsis caapi ) is the male part providing the force and the strength. When the two combine in spiritual union the resulting sacrament is called Daime.

At Flor do Céu the gardens are set within a wooded area, below towering palms and among many flowers making manifest its name -- Flower of Heaven.

Here's a picture of the morning light flooding into the gardens.

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Click for a slideshow of more garden photos.

Across the days of the retreat many Rainha leaves were picked.

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They were mixed with mashed Jagube vines

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then cooked

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into a fresh batch of sparkling Santo Daime

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carrying the light and the vision of the forest.

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Click for a slideshow of more gathering and cooking photos.








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