MUSIC, TRANCE, AND TRANSMISSION IN THE SANTO DAIME, A BRAZILIAN AYAHUASCA RELIGION.
Blocksom, Benjamin Nye
Witzleben, J. Lawrence
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This thesis illuminates the core values within Santo Daime communities and how these are transmitted and practiced during rituals. Santo Daime, a Brazilian Ayahuasca Religion originating in the western Amazon state of Acre, is practiced both inside and outside its urban Amazonian roots, including most Brazilian states and smaller communities in a handful of Western countries, such as the United States, Mexico, and the Netherlands. Adepts of the Santo Daime combine the sacramental use of Ayahuasca (a psychotropic tea with a long history of use in the Amazonian basin), collective shamanism, and music performance practices (singing, dancing, and playing instruments) to achieve a state of religious ecstasy. Using a multi-disciplinary approach with emphasis on ethnography, an expansion of Judith Becker's categorization of trance, and musical and phonological analysis I argue that the doctrine of the Santo Daime and the transmission of these teachings through music are inseparable elements of producing and navigating the altered states of consciousness collectively experienced in Santo Daime rituals.