Tuesday, July 08, 2008

A Festival of Saints and Santo Daime

Ceu do Planalto
Brasilia, Brazil
12 June to 6 July 2008

I've been in Brasilia having a wonderful reunion with my friends at Ceu do Planalto which is the Santo Daime community where I first landed in Brazil.


My first connection came several years ago through an Oregon friend who delivered me into the friendship and home of José Murilo. Here I also found the gate to the world of Santo Daime in Brazil -- an opening which has led me to an ever-expanding treasure trove of friends and homes in many places, and to creating this blog to tell the stories.

It has been a special treat to spend this year's Festival among dear friends in Brasilia, far from the original forest setting of the Santo Daime, where a great study is taking place in which modern professional people are learning to incorporate the spiritual life learned from the Queen of the Forest while being centered in the bustling modernist capital of South America's largest country.

Festivals Of June, as they are popularly known, are performed in many cultural iterations throughout Brazil.

Painting by Gervásio

They center around the feast days for Saint Anthony (guarding home and family), Saint John the Baptist (opening the door of transformation), Saint Peter (building the spiritual community) and, in the Santo Daime, there is an additional memorial day in July for Saint Irineu (the founder of the mission).

A great bonfire is central to all of the main festival nights.


There is an interesting legend behind the bonfire. Even though no one knows if it is true, the story is told that during Mary's pregnancy with Jesus, she learned that a prophecy had been received by Isabel, who was expecting the birth of John the Bapist. Mary traveled up into the hills above Nazareth to visit her and the two women exchanged talk of their experiences and intuitions. Isabel, who was expecting the first birth, told of a prophecy that a time of great transformation on earth would begin with the birth of John and be continued as both he and Jesus opened a light into the world.


Isabel said that she would let Mary know of John's birth through a great bonfire which would be lit as a signal that the transformation had begun. Nowadays there are many traditional festivals in Brazil which include a bonfire to celebrate the never-ending opportunity for human transformation, especially during the festas of June.

This year the festival began with the night of Santo Antonio and the wedding of Ken and Shobam.


Next, the community was delighted to receive Padrinho Alfredo and the comitiva of singers and musicians who had been traveling abroad and were now en route to their forest home center of Mapia in Amazonas.



Singing the Oração (prayer) of Padrinho Sebastiao with the family line is always a special treat.

A few nights later we celebrated the Night of St John but I was so preoccupied with my own process of transformation (whew!) that I never lifted my camera. Sorry, no photos from that night, just a note of gratitude for having been able to clear away so much old stuff as a result of the ritual.

Next came the 83rd birthday of Madrinha Rita (the widow of Padrinho Sebastião and matriarch of the family line)

Md Rita (6-19-05)
Photo from June 2005

And then the night of Saint Peter during which the young and beautiful Irene received her star beginning her personal journey along the path of Santo Daime.



It was good to see Ana in the joy of expecting the birth of her first child.


The guys dressed for a cold winter night (in June!).

In the morning there were birthday celebrations for Clarice, Ricardo and Irene.




The hymns of Padrinho Alfredo were sung, ending with "My God, My Saint John."

The kids are getting bigger year-by-year

Helena and Isabel

Tiago and Cintia

The formal end of the Festivals of June occurs in early July with a ceremony commemorating the gift of Mestre Irineu with the singing of the hinario of Tetéo, which ends by saying that the power of the Santo Daime is no "small force."

Small force does not reach me
Small force does not confuse me
Because I have God with me
I am with the highest force

I have God with me
And I should pity no one
My Master is who determines me
I am with the highest force

This force is divine
It is the higher power
I'm with Her hand-in-hand
I am with the highest force

I am with the highest force
It is the higher power
I am with my Queen
And my Master teacher

Of course, there's really no adequate way to put all of this into words. I guess, for me, some pictures of the happy faces can better tell the story...

It was Lidia's birthday

Jesus is the happy face serving the Daime

Val and Neia

Ken and Fernando Luis

Marina and Marcelo

Ricardo spreading news from Save the Urubu, which is the neighborhood network for the conservation of the local watershed.

Manuel and Caetano


Morning light at the Festival's end. Bom Dia e Parabéns

There are more Festival Photos here.


Jose Murilo said...

Hey Man!
What a great report!
Thanks a lot!
Many hugs.

Lou Gold said...

Hey Murilo,
Thanks to you for welcoming me into your home and family and opening the doors to A Familia Juramidam Brasileiro.
Hugs to the whole family.

Lou Gold said...

...and, last but not least, thanks Murilo for pushing me into becoming a blogger.

Poema said...

Dearest Lou,

the festival was full of harmony and joy. Really memorable. Many thanks for registerinmg this unique moment of my family's life. many hugs