Saturday, May 03, 2008
Ayahuasca tea, culture
My old friend down in Natal, Horacio Betcel, sent me an interesting Globo article on Gilberto Gil's promotion to make the use of ayahuasca tea official cultural patrimony. Most people in the world know Gilbert Gil as a famous Brazilian musician and singer, but he's also Minister of Culture under the the current PT Government. His introduction of the proposal to IPHAN, the Institute of National Historical and Artistic Patrimony, will certainly favor the non-indigenous groups now using ayahuasca tea in their religious ceremonies. Uniao do Vegetal is one such group, as I reported on in some previous posts on this blog. The attached image is one of the plants used in the making of the tea. It's the Bannister vine (Bannister caapi), which I filmed at the UDV Center on the road going out to Alter do Chao. The other ingredient is chacrona (Psicotria viridis), the leaves of which are boiled together with the woody substance of the Bannister vine. We have both plants at Bosque Santa Lucia, right next to the reception center. Friends at UDV invite me to participate in the tea ceremonies, but my main interest is botanical.