Encyclopedia of Latin American Religions

2019 Edition
| Editors: Henri Gooren

Santo Daime

  • Isabel Santana de RoseEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-27078-4_541


Santo Daime was founded in the 1930s in the state of Acre, the Northwest of Brazil, by the Afro-Brazilian Raimundo Irineu Serra, known as Mestre Irineu. The group was formally established in 1945, gained government recognition in 1971, and by the end of the twenty-first century, had begun to spread all over the world. Santo Daime’s symbolism draws primarily upon Catholicism, African religiosity, European esotericism, and Amerindian shamanism. This religion became popular mostly due to being characterized by the ritual consumption of ayahuasca, a bitter psychedelic brew prepared from the Banisteriopsis sp. vine and known for its strong psychoactive properties.


Santo Daime is the best-known of the Brazilian ayahuasca religions – syncretic religious movements that have emerged from the social-economic relations of the declining rubber industry between the 1930 and 1960s in the states of Acre and Rondônia in the Brazilian Amazon. These religions originated among the


Brazilian ayahuasca religions Expansion and internationalization Drug policies Religious freedom 
This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.


  1. Assis GL, Labate BC (2014) Dos igarapés da Amazônia para o outro lado do Atlântico: a expansão e internacionalização do Santo Daime no contexto religioso global [From the igarapés of Amazonia to the other side of the Atlantic: the expansion and internationalization of Santo Daime]. Religião Soc 34(2):11–35CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Labate BC (2004) A reinvenção do uso da ayahuasca nos centros urbanos [The reinvention of the use of ayahuasca in urban centers]. Mercado de Letras, CampinasGoogle Scholar
  3. Labate BC, Araújo WS (eds) (2004) O uso ritual da ayahuasca [The ritual use of ayahuasca], 2nd edn. Mercado de Letras, CampinasGoogle Scholar
  4. Labate BC, Cavnar C (eds) (2018) The expanding world ayahuasca diaspora. Apropriation, integration and legislation. Routledge, London/New YorkGoogle Scholar
  5. Labate BC, Coutinho T (2014) O meu avô deu ayahuasca para o Mestre Irineu: reflexões sobre a entrada dos índios no circuito urbano de consumo de ayahuasca no Brasil [My grandfather gave ayahuasca to Mestre Irineu: reflections on indigenous participation in the urban circuits of ayahuasca consumption]. Rev Antropol USP 57(2):215–250Google Scholar
  6. Labate BC, Rose IS, Santos RG (2009) Ayahuasca religions: a comprehensive bibliography and critical essays. MAPS, Santa CruzGoogle Scholar
  7. Labate BC, Cavnar C, Gearin AK (eds) (2017) The world ayahuasca diaspora: reinventions and controversies. Routledge, London/New YorkGoogle Scholar
  8. MacRae E (1992) Guiado pela lua: Xamanismo e uso ritual da ayahuasca no culto do Santo Daime [Guided by the moon: Shamanism and the ritual use of ayahuasca in the Santo Daime religion in Brazil]. Brasiliense, São Paulo. Translation to English retrieved from: http://www.neip.info/downloads/edward/ebook.htmGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Federal University of Minas Gerais (UFMG)Belo HorizonteBrazil