In the jungles of Central America, Donut met ayahuasca (a tropical vine native to the Amazon region that when properly prepared is known to induce hallucinogenic visions). Which leads me to Mestre Irineu.
On December 15, 1892 Raimundo Irineu Serra was born to African parents, and began his life in Maranhão, Brazil’s poorest state. Mind you, slavery had only been abolished here for less than two years before he was born. As the grandson of enslaved Black people, he grew up in extreme poverty. As such, education never presented itself as opportunity for him.
Despite having many struggles and obstacles to face (and boy where there many), Raimundo Irineu Serra would eventually become the founder of Santo Daime, “a syncretic religion that incorporates elements of several religious or spiritual traditions including Folk Catholicism, Kardecist Spiritism, African animism and indigenous South American shamanism.” And like Donut, it would be the brutal and ooften violent realities of life that would lead a young Raimundo to seek the healing properties of ayahuasca.
In a paper on Mestre (which means master) Irineu, Glauber Loures de Assis writes, “Seeking a better life, Irineu left Maranhão and made the long journey to the Amazon, to the territory now known as Acre. He arrived there in 1912, motivated by the government’s promises that rubber tappers could earn a prosperous living in the forest.”
As I learned during a trip to Peru, the rubber trade would prove to be nothing more than a false promise to exploit the many poor who were flocking to the jungles to find a better life. What they got, including Mestre Irineu, was more slavery and more hopelessness.
But it was here, while working in the rubber tapping industry, the Mestre began his service as a spiritual apprentice with some of the native Peruvians whom he worked with. This was where he learned the full power of ayahuasca, or “medicine,” which had been used for thousands of years by Amazon shaman for healing and receiving prophetic visions.
“When he took the enigmatic potion, Irineu began to have spiritual revelations that transformed his life and his understanding of the brew. According to Daimista mythology, on a clear and beautiful night, Irineu took ayahuasca and, as he looked up at the moon, he saw a beautiful and wondrous lady. She asked him, “Who do you think I am?” Amazed, Irineu looked at her and replied: “My lady, you must be a Universal Goddess!” This female entity was later identified as the “Queen of the Forest,” and is also understood to be a manifestation of the Virgin of the Immaculate Conception.”
Not long after that, he began receiving divinatory guidance which he developed into a religious doctrine that he finished before his long life ended. According to the Santo Daime website, “Mestre Irineu received the instructions from Mary to retreat into the forest for eight days, with only Ayahuasca to drink and boiled manioc to eat. In the forest he received the instructions for a new faith in which the Ayahuasca was to be called ‘Daime.’”
Dai-me is a Portugues word that means “give me.” In many prayers and hymns sung in Santo Daime services, one often hears, “daime força, daime amor” which translates to mean “give me strength, give me love.”
It is believed that the Universal Gooddess “directed her disciple to go through a series of fasts and trials, after which she granted him the right to make a wish.” It was his wish to be a great healer that helped people. He then “requested that she put all her healing powers into his brew. She granted him this wish, and thus Irineu Serra became Mestre Irineu.”
And his followers would be knowns as the Juramidam. They were people from all walks of life, like Donut today, who were seeking healing and prophetic visions themselves. And most would receive it drinking Mestre Irineu’s special “brew” of “medicine, i.e. ayahuasca.
An ex-copywriter turned punk rock pastor and peacemaker who dedicates his life to making the world a better place for all humanity.
"that they all might be one" ~John 17:21
“Prius vita quam doctrina.”
~ St. Thomas Aquinas (1225–1274)
* “Life is more important than doctrine.”