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We seek to investigate here the influence of specific cultural sub-traditions from Maranho in the formation of Santo Daime, illuminating certain aspects of Daime rituals and cosmology and thus enriching our understanding of this religion.
In order to fill in the notable lacunae on this topic, the authors reviewed historical and bibliographical sources, compared their own research on Daime religion and Maranho's popular culture, and made a short fieldwork visit to So Vicente Ferrer.
The word serra in Portuguese means 'saw', and thus several people joked with us, "There are enough Serras ('saws') here to open a sawmill!
" But the town is small, and we were not the first who had come there searching for the famous Santo Daime founder, and so we were quickly able to locate people to help us.
Yet very little attention has been paid to Santo Daime's specific roots, indeed to Mestre Irineu's very biographical origin, within the cultural and religious universe of Maranho at the turn of the 20th century.
Even among daimistas, Maranho remains a rather distant image.
The Brazilian ayahuasca religion known as "Santo Daime" emerged from a melting pot of diverse cultural and religious elements present in rubber-tapping encampments of the Amazon interior during the early 20th century.
He did not return to Maranho until 1957, when he visited his homeland for two months and, taking with him three relatives, then returned to Acre, where he remained until his death in 1971.
This group was founded by Sebastio Mota de Melo or "Padrinho Sebastio" ('Godfather Sebastian'), a disciple of Mestre Irineu's who founded his own practice in 1974 after the Master's death.
All claim to follow the teachings of Raimundo Irineu Serra.
Various contemporary religious groups define themselves, or are known popularly as "Santo Daime".
After a five-hour bus ride from So Luis through the Baixada Marinhense, we arrived in Mestre Irineu's hometown with nothing more than his name as the starting point for our studies.
In our first contacts with the "Vincentinos" — as natives of the city are known — we learned that the Serra family is numerous and widespread throughout the municipality.