Document Type



Master of Arts (MA)


Religious Studies

First Advisor's Name

Ana Maria Bidegain

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Chair

Second Advisor's Name

Andrea Mantell-Seidel

Third Advisor's Name

Albert Kafui Wuaku


Santo Daime, Religion, NRM, Shamanism, Brazilian Ayahuasca Churches, Entheogens, Religious Rituals

Date of Defense



A syncretic religion born in the 1930s in the Amazonian jungle, Santo Daime today is an international flag-bearer in the evolving New Religion Movement (NRM) landscape. Shamanic power, nature veneration, universal love and the quest for a transcendental divine experience thanks to the psychoactive indigenous plant medicine ayahuasca define the Santo Daime allure for a new middle class disenchanted with capitalism. Church acculturation issues in Miami are linked to a rigid and grueling ritual, pervasive Catholic ethos and a lack of internal bureaucracy leading to declining membership threatening the very survival of the church in Miami. Research methods include ethnographic work, literature review, personal interviews and the exegesis of sacred hymns or hinarios. Relaxing the ritual military ethos and improved marketing on the New-Age religiosity marketplace among others would help Santo Daime acculturate better in Miami, an ideal incubator city for evaluating the melting-pot of migrant, Latin American and Caribbean religions into this region.





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