The Beneficent Spiritist Center União do Vegetal is a religion with Christian and reincarnacionist foundations that uses the Hoasca Tea (also known as ayahuasca) in its rituals, prepared with two Amazonian plants, the Mariri vine (Banisteriopsis caapi) and the leaves of the Chacrona bush (Psicotria viridis). In the União do Vegetal (UDV), the Hoasca Tea is also known as, “Vegetal” and the disciples drink it during sessions for the effect of mental concentration.
The UDV has the objective to contribute to the spiritual development of the human being, for the improvement of his/her intellectual qualities and moral virtues, without distinction of race, sex, creed, social class or nationality.
THE FOREST AS A CRADLE
On July 22, 1961, deep in the Amazon Forest, José Gabriel da Costa (Mestre Gabriel) created the União do Vegetal with the objective of “bringing peace to the world,” as he himself said to his disciples. In that moment, Mestre Gabriel was in the company of his wife, Raimunda Ferreira da Costa (Mestre Pequenina), their children and a few rubber tappers.
In January of 1965, Mestre Gabriel and his family moved to Porto Velho, Brazil, where the organization of the UDV began, first as Beneficent Association União do Vegetal and later, in 1970, as Beneficent Spiritist Center União do Vegetal, CEBUDV.
The UDV developed in Porto Velho; where Mestre Gabriel instituted the Cadre of Mestre and the Body of Counsel of the União do Vegetal. After his passing in 1971, these Mestres of the Origin, founders of the CEBUDV, continued the work, expanding the UDV with the creation of Núcleos in many cities in Brazil and other countries.
With the passing of time, Núcleos of the UDV were founded throughout Brazil. In 1982, the UDV’s General Headquarters (Sede Geral) was transferred to Brasília, and the expansion continued in Brazil and to other countries.
The UDV has had continuous and sustained growth for 54 years. Besides Sede Geral, the União do Vegetal currently has 212 Núcleos and Distributions of Vegetal, located in all the states of Brazil and in eight countries: the United States, Portugal, Spain, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Australia, Italy and Peru. There are more than 18,000 members and roughly 6,000 children of members, totaling more than 24,000 people; among them, Mestre Pequenina and seven mestres who lived with the founder of the UDV and today compose the Council of the Recordation of the Teachings of Mestre Gabriel.
“Note: In the English translation it was decided to preserve some words that are part of the UDV dialect in its original language, Portuguese.”