of my aunts was a member of the religious
group called Uniao do Vegetal.
My grandmother described what their
meetings were like. There were children
everywhere and everyone helped to chop
and boil the tough jungle vines and roots to
make ayahuasca tea.
The members of this group were largely
conservative, including members of the military.
They imbibe the tea in order to experience increased
concentration and spiritual communion. It is a group
experience that is had within the bosom of their
tight-knit families and communities.
It's a truly unusual scenario, in which modern,
Western people adhere to a Native American
approach to this sacrament. Members of Uniao do
Vegetal do not imbibe the tea for purposes of
intoxication but instead to achieve spiritual clarity
and mental focus.
This film is not about this particular group but
about the more traditional indigenous groups who
make ayahuasca in the Amazon rainforest.