Friday, October 31, 2008


A new Santo Daime film by Michael Ende and edited by Luis Eduardo Pomar

Just Announced!

Four years in the making, the film "The Wine of the Souls, a Pilgrimage into the Heart of Santo Daime & the Amazon Forest", follows six foreigner visitors along their paths in search of healing, self-discovery and mystical experiences. They make a pilgrimage of transformation down Brazil's Rio Juruá to the ancestral home of Santo Daime leader Alfredo Gregório de Melo and the remote jungle community he has established.

Câmera Viva, 2008 - 57 minutes.
A film by Michael Ende, edited by Luis Eduardo Pomar and consultation by Bia Labate.


Caboclos are both the Amerindian-African genetic mix of Amazon peoples and the Indian spirits who inhabit the forest. I feel connected to both. Gratefully...

Thursday, October 30, 2008


As I watched this from Brazil, I could only think:


So lucky to have a broad middle-class with a lifestyle that is rare.

So lucky to have excesses of weight and material things and stuff.

So lucky to have freedoms and opportunities that most people in the world only dream of having.

So lucky that, despite having made terrible mistakes...

So lucky that, despite all the failures and break-downs and crises...

So lucky to be blessed with a Presidential candidate like Barack Obama.

My prayer is that Americans may somehow feel more blessed than fearful and that on election day, and beyond, they will be able to return to the hard work of doing the right thing, again and again. "A better day will come" is a vision that we must make together.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008


I'm always a bit skeptical about "venturist" Internet marketing strategies -- especially for building a "movement" -- but this really might be a good one. It certainly has an incredible declaration.

Check it out.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008


Since this is the first presidential election played out big-time on YouTube the folks over at The Daily Dish have selected ten of "best" amateur (and not-so-amateur) videos. They are running a little contest to pick the best one.

They are all great and it's not easy to choose. I finally settled on this one:

Here's where you can view them all.


Night Light

Just for fun.



Just for fun.


Heading into the forest we are all children.

Children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder are better able to focus after a twenty-minute walk in a natural setting, according to a study published in the Journal of Attention Disorders. The study compared walks in nature to those in urban or residential areas and found that the child’s ADHD improved most after walking in a green space.

"What this particular study tells us is that the physical environment matters," Kuo said. "We don't know what it is about the park, exactly – the greenness or lack of buildings – that seems to improve attention, but the study tells us that even though everything else was the same…we just changed the environment, we still saw a measurable difference in children's symptoms. And that's completely new. No one has done a study looking at a child in different environments, in a controlled comparison where everything else is the same."

Perhaps one of the most surprising finds in the study was that the nature-walk proved as effective as medication—sometimes even more so. “We calculated the size of the effect in our study and compared it to the size of effects in a recent medication study," said Faber Taylor, "and we were surprised to see that the dose of nature had effects the same size or even larger than the dose of medication." Read all about it.

Monday, October 27, 2008


Agnes Baker Pilgrim - Mapia - June 2005
Agness Baker Pilgrim at the 2005 Santo Daime celebration for the 80th birthday of Madrinha Rita in Amazônia (more photos here).

Taowhywee or Agness Baker Pilgrim or just "Grandma Aggie", as she is known to many in southern Oregon, is the oldest remaining ancestor of the first peoples of the region. Honored as a “Living Treasure” by her tribe, the Confederated Tribes of Siletz, and as a “Living Cultural Legend” by the Oregon Council of the Arts, she has dedicated her life to presenting the culture and wisdom of native ways. Truly, her good works and her eloquence have earned her the title of being "A Voice for the Voiceless".

[Update: There's a lot of great material about Grandma Aggie's Sacred Ceremonies at the website of storyteller Thomas Doty.]

In addition to her many local activities, Grandma Aggie is a founding member of the International Council of Thirteen Indigenous Grandmothers which includes elders from all over the world -- the Arctic Circle, North, South and Central America, Africa, and Asia. The Council was formed in 2004 and nowadays it convenes every six months as the Grandmothers travel the world to each other's homelands to cultivate their unified prayer for peace and care for Mother Earth. In 2006 the Grandmothers traveled to Dharamsala, India to meet with His Holiness the Dalai Lama and with other luminaries in the Tibetan religious government in exile.

Grandmothers' Council_Barcelona_2008
Grandmothers in Barcelona 2008. See all the photos here.

According to Robert Brothers and Julie Norman, who assist Grandma Aggie, "In July [2008] she traveled to Spain and Italy with the Thirteen Indigenous Grandmothers' Council. In Rome they visited the Vatican, to urge the Pope to rescind the dreadful 1493 Papal edict that was used to justify the confiscation of Native lands around the world." (see Letter to the Pope.)

"When the thirteen Grandmothers set up their altar in front of the Vatican and began to pray, guards told them to stop. Then a higher official arrived, who confirmed that the Grandmothers had permission and allowed the prayers to proceed. In the hubbub, Grandmother Aggie was interviewed by media people who had gathered around, and the story traveled fast and far."

Grandmothers at the Vatican 2008

Upon her return to Oregon Agnes was interviewed by INDIAN COUNTRY TODAY'S Rob Capriccioso:

ICT: Do you think the pope will ultimately rescind the negative papal bulls?

Baker Pilgrim:
We feel that there will be a time. We will get something from him. He will rescind those edicts and give us all equality around the world.

ICT: Why do you think the message of the grandmas is so powerful?

Baker Pilgrim:
Because we grandmothers are coming together. We know that just because you're gray-headed, you don't need to go to pasture. ... I have visions of seeing women all over the world empowering themselves and holding prestigious roles. Women are natural nurturers and they will step forward all over the world. And it's happening. Move over, men. It is time for the natural nurturers to get this world back in balance.

ICT: Is it ever hard when 13 strong women get together - do you ever have arguments after spending so much time together?

Baker Pilgrim:
[Laughs] Well, sometimes the darkness tries to creep up on the table. And I'm the prayer person, so I'll say, ''OK, let's stop - let's remind ourselves that we're spiritual grandmothers.'' And I pray to keep the darkness back.

ICT: Do you think about your own longevity - in terms of how long you can keep doing all this?

Baker Pilgrim:
Getting old isn't for wimps. You've got to be tough. When something hits your body, you have to bounce back up through the power of the mind. I've chosen. I want to live. And I've got a lot of things left to do yet.

(read full interview)

Agnes Baker Pilgrim celebrated her 84th birthday last month. We send good vibes of hugs and blessings and pray that the Creator will bless all of us with many more years of strength and good health for our dear Grandma Aggie.

[Note: Having devoted her life to good works, Agnes has no "safety net" other than the network of her supporters. If you would like to be one of her "helpers" just click on this DONATE button.]

Friday, October 24, 2008

PROFILES IN ________?


The archetypal tag-line for the Kennedy years was "Profiles in Courage". Now that Obama's election seems assured, one can wonder how a future historian might fill in the blank line to characterize his presidency.

My crystal ball gazing has never been very good but what seems clear right now is that Obama has been able to chart his course through all the projections from deepest fears to highest hopes with a calmness and a fundamental strategy of inclusion rather than separation.

With the world entering into a period of prolonged crisis, I really pray for him... and for us.

I like the above image because of all the possibilities that it suggests, including "all of the above". The photo, along with many other interesting tidbits come from Andrew Sullivan's blog, The Daily Dish.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008


Antônio Gomez: "Meu Divino Pai Eterno"

Last Sunday evening the Santo Daime community of Brasilia was graced by the visit of Madrinha Adália Gomes Grangeiro, together with her children and an entourage, to sing "A Love Divine", the hymnal of Antonio Gomes who was one of the spiritual companions of Mestre Irineu. Madrinha Adália is the daughter of Antônio Gomez and the caretaker this beautiful hymnal.

Antônio Gomez: "Este Rei Que Aqui Está"

I have previously written about the musical doctrine of the Santo Daime religion which is based on the singing of "received hymns" rather than a written text that is codified and frozen as a book. The singers and musicians of a family line are like a traveling school and they are most gratefully received wherever they go. About a month ago, as the Granjeiro family was first starting their tour of Brazil, they made another stop in Brasilia at Ser Divino to present the hymnal of Francisco Granjeiro Filho who is the grandson of Antônio Gomez.

Francisco Granjeiro Filho: "O Jagube Está Aí"

Following the spiritual session a few members of the family treated us to some traditional forró music which is from the Northeast of Brazil, the region of Mestre Irineu's birth. Listening to this it's easy to understand why the music of the Granjeiros is acclaimed throughout Brazil.

Interestingly, the traditional forró music and rhythm are easily combined with the hymns of the Santo Daime. Here is Guilherme Granjeiro bringing the magic of his accordion to the singing and dancing of some of Padrinho Sebastião's Nova Jerusalém hymns at the birthday of Padrinho Luiz Mendes in 2007.

It is through this marvelous musical mixing of culture, religion and the families of Santo Daime that a great tradition is spread across Brazil and into the world. We receive the gift of the Grangeiros with hearts full of gladness, joy and appreciation and we are grateful for all the churches and families of Juramidam.

Viva! to the Granjeiro family.

Viva! to ALTO SANTO.

Viva! to the Sebastião Mota de Melo family.

Viva! to CEFLURIS.

Viva! to the Luiz Mendes family.

Viva! to CEFLI.

Viva! to the entire family of Juramidam.


Jock Cooper fractal-4174
The above image is from Jock Cooper's Fractal Art

ENTHÉOGÈNE is an excellent new on-line bibliography on entheogens in English and French. They are collecting the more academic and scientific materials for easy access. It's a much welcomed and on-going work.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008


We send prayers and blessings to Senator Obama and his family as he travels to Hawaii to visit his ailing grandmother. May she live to see the triumph of her grandson.

Sunday, October 19, 2008


Colin Powell standing strong for Obama and against the fascist and racist forces that linger in America.

Read more here.

Here's still more of Colin Powell challenging the nonsense that's been unleashed by McCain and Palin.

Obama responded while campaigning in North Carolina,

"...this morning, a great soldier, a great statesman, and a great American has endorsed our campaign to change America. I have been honored to have the benefit of his wisdom and counsel from time to time over the last few years, but today, I am beyond honored and deeply humbled to have the support of General Colin Powell."

"This country and the dream it represents are being tested in a way that we haven't seen in nearly a century. And future generations will judge ours by how we respond to this test. Will they say that this was a time when America lost its way and its purpose? When we allowed the same divisions and fear tactics and our own petty differences plunge this country into a dark and painful recession?"

"Or will they say that this was another one of those moments when America overcame? When we battled back from adversity by recognizing that common stake that we have in each other's success?"

"This is one of those moments. I realize you're cynical and fed up with politics. I understand that you're disappointed and even angry with your leaders. You have every right to be. But despite all of this, I ask of you what's been asked of the American people in times of trial and turmoil throughout our history. I ask you to believe – to believe in yourselves, in each other, and in the future we can build together."

[UPDATE I: October 21, 2008. Check out what the Conservative Party Mayor of London says about Obama.]

[UPDATE II: October 22, 2008. Maureen Dowd has a great column about Powell's decision, called "Moved by a Crescent",
in today's NY Times.]

Friday, October 17, 2008

Monday, October 13, 2008


The slideshow above is a selection of kid photos from my recent years in Brazil where I've been immersed in a culture that values children as the truest of all treasures. One of my friends puts it simply, "Children are our hope. They are our future. They are what we believe in."

Brazil loves its holidays. Not only is there a Mothers Day and a Fathers Day but also a Kid's Day. It falls on October 12th which is also the day celebrating the Black Madonna and designated Queen of Brazil, Nossa Senhora da Conceição Aparecida . And this year it was also the celebration of Ian's first birthday.


And so the kid's were gathered at Ceu do Planalto in Brasilia for a special ceremony of learning to sing and dance the Oração. As you can see, in the Santo Daime tradition they start very young.

Here's some more video of the kids -- this time singing the Laranjeira (Orange Tree) of Mestre Irineu.

Viva Oração!

Viva as crianças!

Viva Ian!

Viva Mestre Irineu!


Viva Nossa Senhora da Conceição Aparecida!

minha rainha

Friday, October 10, 2008





The NY Times City Room Blog has a post today about Big Tobacco’s Spin on Women’s Liberation. It seems that 80 years ago the tobacco industry sought to change an earlier view that proper women should not smoke in public so they launched a campaign to link smoking with the new post-suffrage liberation of women and one thing led to the next. There's a fascinating discussion and great images of historical ads that sought to entice women to smoking.

The photo above is not a joke. It represents the opposite stop-smoking goal and targets the opposite gender. It says, "The Minister of Health Warns: SMOKING CAUSES SEXUAL IMPOTENCE". The ad is a result of contemporary public health laws in Brazil that place smoking infomercials on packs of commercial cigarettes. There are several other ads that focus on ill-effects for pregnancies, lung cancer, etc.

Thursday, October 09, 2008


Hey, it's not only the same cloned crocs that you can buy worldwide but now you can hear the same cloned speeches from leaders on opposite sides of the planet.

It seems that back on 20 March 2003, Stephen Harper -- leader of the Conservative Party and current Prime Minister of Canada -- delivered a speech in the Canadian Parliament that was identical to the one that Australian Prime Minister John Howard had delivered to his parliament two days earlier.

Here's the full story from the CBC.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008


First, a little slideshow of some favorite photos of Padrinho:

Today, 7 October, is the anniversary of the birth of Padrinho Sebastião Mota de Melo and on Saturday night and Sunday morning we sang the hymns of Mestre Irineu in his honor. It was a truly glorious session holding the energy of this great family line of Santo Daime and of Saint Francis, on whose day we began, while performing the musical Doctrine of the Master.

There's really no way to adequately describe a night of a full formal Santo Daime session, singing and dancing the hymns of Mestre Irineu. I'd like to keep it simple -- just a very few words and a bunch of videos that I shot randomly across the nine hour session in which 130 plus hymns were sung. So this is an experiment in presentation. Altogether there's probably 45 minutes of video. You can check them out as works best for you.

I'm very pleased to share this and grateful to my friends of Ceu do Planalto for being so open and loving to me and willing to appear in the "blogosphere".

(note: the hymn titles are links to English translation text at YouTube -- just click on "more info")

Papai Velho

Centro Livre

Estrela D'Água


A Rainha da Floresta

Eu Vou Cantar

São João

Sou Filho Desta Verdade & Todos Querem

Chamei Lá Nas Alturas

Flor Das Águas

Eu Pedi & Eu Cheguei Nesta Casa

Prayer of Saint Francis & Nature's Song

Many thanks to Padrinho Fernando, Madrinha Clarice, all the marvelous musicians and singers, and especially to little Ian.

Monday, October 06, 2008


[UPDATE: BARCELONA — An “extinction crisis” is under way, with one in four mammals in danger of disappearing because of habitat loss, hunting and climate change, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature warned on Monday.]

Sunday, October 05, 2008


The "Nobody-for-President" campaign is a classic. You know the drill, "Nobody has solved the problems of war, hunger and poverty. Vote for Nobody." It's been made famous by the great hippie clown Wavy Gravy. Here is the 2008 incarnation of Nobody for President.

But, hey, this gag goes all the way back to 1932. Check out this Betty Boop cartoon that lays out exactly what we have been viewing nearly 75 years later. Is this not the mold from which Sarah Palin was cast?

Note: I find quite a few of these marvelous tidbits over at The Daily Dish.

Saturday, October 04, 2008


Saint Francis - Matutu 2006
Statue of Saint Francis at Matutu, Minas Gerais

Somehow, I really can't think of my love for nature and the forest without thinking also of Saint Francis of Assisi who, way back in the 12th Century Italy, had insight to reject the consumer-driven culture of materialism that had compromised both the market-place and the church of his day. Like in our present times, it seemed as if society had become distracted by shopping.

He Told Us to Go Shopping. Now the Bill Is Due.
(Click the link to read about it.)

He Told Us to Go Shopping
graphic by the Washington Post

And, it's not just going on in the United States!

Sign on building in central São Paulo
sign on a building in central São Paulo

[UPDATE: If you want to see the contemporary archetype of the binge of conspicuous consumption check out what's going on in Dubai here and here.]

[UPDATE 2: Lula Urges Brazilian Consumer to Ignore Crisis, Spend. Seems like the credit crisis is making some Brazilians more cautious.]

Peter Menzel has given us an incredible photo essay on the state of materialism around the world.

Peter Menzel - Material World
Material World by Peter Menzel

The US has the most. It was the first in the line and it really filled its shopping cart. And much of the world now seems to want to experience similar bad habits. Our hope on this special day is that maybe we can change. Maybe we can find a better way. As we search for a path beyond war and suffering and the destruction of nature, I can think of no better set of guides than those laid down by Saint Francis of Assisi:

Singing the prayer of Saint Francis at Flor do Ceu

make me an instrument of Thy peace;
where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
and where there is sadness, joy.

O Divine Master,
grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console;
to be understood, as to understand;
to be loved, as to love;
for it is in giving that we receive,
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to Eternal Life.

May we all find a way out of living in a sense of a possessive separate ego that does not see that we are all -- both humanly and more-than-humanly -- connected now, always and eternally.

May we say, along with our Lakota Indian friends, Mituke Oyasin or All My Relations and know relatedness and reciprocity as the path of truth and happiness.

And may we learn to be as joyous and loving as Saint Francis

St Francis

Friday, October 03, 2008


37 pictures the world must see.

I thought you should see these photographs. They're both powerful and moving. They highlight the awful disease XDR-TB, a new and deadly form of tuberculosis that is threatening to become a global pandemic.

By viewing and passing on this link we can help to spread awareness, which is the first step to halting the disease.

There's more info at XDRTB.ORG

Breaking Through

Well, I got to thinking about how to express the transformation going on in the U.S. After listening to that incredible speech by Richard Trumka I was at a loss for words so I played in the computer to find a way to portray breaking through the color barrier.

And I thought of the story of how the tiny flap of a butterfly wing can build into a hurricane on the other side of the planet. So here's a black and white one bursting into a hurricane of color.

Butterfly Changing the World

As many are saying globally -- and not only in the context of the US election -- "now is the defining moment". It seems to be happening all around me. Perhaps it's that way for you too. What a privilege it is to participate in these incredible times.

Thursday, October 02, 2008


Speech by AFL-CIO's Richard Trumka

Sometimes I feel very proud to be part of an American democratic tradition that has inspired the world and continues to unfold today in many places under many banners. I know there's a lot of fear in the States these days and conflicts of culture and class and race are very real. (I grew up with them!) But there still are certain "inalienable rights" that run deeper and force us to to rise to new heights.

There is also something more that I didn't quite get until my Brazilian friend Daniel said, after watching the video, "what I love about the U.S. is that there are people like this who believe their words and are willing to publicly put forth the promises of politics... promises that are important for all of us."

I love it too!

Wednesday, October 01, 2008



More "just for fun" somewhere beyond words.