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Where to start?
From February 28 forward, our religion is illegal in our country.
For 23 years we have been in communication with “the law”; and, for 21 years, Santo Daime has been recognized as an authentic religion, and we were conducting our ceremonies under the protection of the national law. This was a situation that was very rare in the world, and we never took it for granted that there were judges with a clear mind in The Netherlands who have an understanding that Santo Daime is not a threat to public health, and maybe even who realize it might be a positive force in the domain of public health.
Now, from one day to another, we walk in a world that looks at our religion as “illegal,” believing it could be a threat to public health.
It criminalizes the transport, possession, and use of ayahuasca, and makes us punishable; punishable for honoring our sacrament as holy; punishable for consecrating a sacred plant teacher and learning from the indigenous peoples how to use it in a ceremonial way, connected with the Santo Daime brotherhood in Brazil, where the holy beverage is accessible without the risk of cultural appropriation. Learning to use it in a controlled setting, where there is guidance for the participants and assurance for the proper performance of the ceremony and proper use of the beverage, so that a safe, peaceful, sincere, caring atmosphere is created and maintained and participants can dive deep into the experience that Santo Daime is giving them, and so they will find brothers and sisters assisting them on their way back to daily consciousness.
We are a praying people. During our ceremonies, we sing, meditate, pray, and move in a mandala, entering a field of oneness with each other, with the soil that our feet touch, with the interconnectedness of life, and with the omnipresent Father/Mother Creator of the Cosmos.
We honor and give thanks to the presence of the most profound plant teacher from the Amazon Rainforest in our midst, coming to us through the lineage of Mestre Irineu and Padrinho Sebastião, that helps us remember who we are and where we come from; that gives us back our ancestral memory and a doctrine to live our lives in a Good way, an honorable way, a way of respecting and loving life. What can be wrong with that?
We read the verdict over and over again
We read the verdict over and over again, and for us, it is incomprehensible how the judges came to their conclusions; the reasoning is unsound! They argue with assumptions that are opinions, and constantly talk about ayahuasca as if it were DMT, and they do not mention Santo Daime at all. There is a verdict, and it is not about us, but they believe it to be about us, and therefore see our actions as punishable. It looks like reason, one of the most precious pearls of Western civilization, has been lost.
Yes, it is heavy to find the most sacred thing in our lives criminalized; but, although we realize that the verdict is based on false deductions, and on assumptions fed by paranoia, the verdict is still incomprehensible in a world where we are supposed to live with the freedom of belief. It is with emphasis that we say “belief,” because the whole process is based on religion, but the verdict is based on belief. Here is where the worldview of materialism and the worldview of holism clash, and the conversation partners speak two different languages. They are not communicating!
From one day to the other, the world seems a different place, while remaining the same Earth we inhabit: a place where we conduct illegal practices by attuning our personal lives to the Divine Law of our Father/Mother God with the help of our sacred ceremonies. We are just human beings on one of the trillions of planets the cosmos contains. Who are we to force our coming generations to believe that matter is all there is? Because that is the core question.
If it is true that matter is all there is, that consciousness is just a by-product of the brain, and that the world is constructed, then the judges have taken a correct decision. But it could be different; this is a matter of belief versus belief. Yet it could be that that the unseen world is as real as the material world; that the material world is floating in an existence that is much wider. As long as we cannot know, we believe it is not up to the one group of believers to criminalize the other group.
But we do stand up to the judgments that force us to live our lives according to the beliefs of others.
We are not here to prove our opponents, believers in materialism, wrong. But we do stand up to the judgments that force us to live our lives according to the beliefs of others. We demand respect for the freedom to believe what we believe, and to live according to that in our native country.
We do not understand, and will not accept, that the transport, possession and use of our sacrament within the controlled and safe structure of our religion is labeled as illegal and punishable. So of course we appeal. How can it be illegal to worship our divine source in a peaceful and harmonious way?
We are very touched by all the support we have received from concerned and vigilant people worldwide who vibrate on the level of healing the human condition from its misconception of the world we live in. We feel the tremendous love that connects, and helps us to stand shoulder to shoulder for the Good in times of clashing worldviews and a collapsing ruling paradigm. We are ready for the next steps, trusting in the divine guidance that gives us protection when human law fails.
Viva a Vida Sagrada!
Viva as Plantas Sagradas!
Viva a Nossa Doutrina!
The Iceflu churches from the Santo Daime brotherhood in The Netherlands.
To read the verdict in English, click here