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Jazmin Wuyts – Santo Daime: Meaning and Appeal of an Ayahuasca Religion

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In 2007, as part of the MA Cultural Anthropology, I have done research amongst the members of the Santo Daime church in Florianópolis (Brazil) and in The Hague. In their ceremonies they use ayahuasca, sometimes combined with cannabis. Although I had never used psychedelics myself, I could strongly identify with the way of life and philosophy of these people. Therefore, I was very curious about them and wanted to find out how the ritual use of ayahuasca influenced them. After many in-depth interviews, I can conclude that the ceremonies can provide the way to awareness, self-knowledge and healing for those who are looking for it. I have also discovered that not enough is known about the healing properties of powerful plants, causing problems and lack of understanding to rise. To break with the prejudices regarding this theme and to restored the bridge between science and religion, more scientific research is needed. For that reason, among others, I have published my MA thesis as a book in-house.

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