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.
For 55 years, the UDV has come growing in a continuous and sustained way. In addition to the General Headquarters, the União do Vegetal currently has 212 Nucleos and Distributions, located in all of the Brazilian states and in seven countries: the United States, Spain, Switzerland, Holland, Australia, Italy, and Peru. There are over 19,000 associates and close to 6,000 children of associates, comprising over 24,000 people, including 6 Mestres of the Origin, who lived and spent time with Mestre Gabriel, the founder of the UDV, and who 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.”