Bacurau, one of the pioneers of União do Vegetal
Salomão Taumaturgo Marques*
| May 17th, 2017
Raimundo Ribeiro das Chagas, known as Bacurau, was born in the State of Amazonas on May 1st, 1943 and at a young age went to work on the rubber tree plantations in Bolivia to gather latex. Between 1959 and 1960 he had the opportunity to meet José Gabriel da Costa, Mestre Gabriel, a person with whom he maintained a close and good relationship and also with his family.
Bacurau helped Mestre Gabriel in his mission in the rubber tree plantations and was present on important festive dates currently celebrated in União do Vegetal, such as the day of its creation on July 22nd, 1961 in Seringal Sunta, which is located on the border of Brazil with Bolivia. During this period, Bacurau heard valuable teachings from Mestre Gabriel, including the story he calls “History of the Denarius”, a special occasion that brought great learning to his path. It was in the rubber tree plantations that Bacurau received from Mestre Gabriel the title of Mestre in the UDV.
In the beginning of 1965, Mestre Gabriel moved to Porto Velho (RO) and Bacurau stayed in the rubber tree plantations of Bolivia distributing Vegetal in the UDV on a small land located in the upper part of the Abunã River, a body of water in between the border of Brazil with Bolivia. It was there that Bacurau received from Mestre Pernambuco (Manoel Severino Felix) a letter, written by Mestre Gabriel with three pages containing four chamadas: “Caminho do Mestre”, “Abalo da Consciência”, “Exame e Correição do Mestre Equilibrando” and “Sou Mariri, Sou Chacrona”.
In the preamble of the first page of the letter, Mestre Gabriel writes: “Step 1. Porto Velho, March 28th, 1967. Dear friend Raimundo Ribeiro, Mestre Bacurau, I hope that the brother is following on my path.” Demonstrating to Bacurau that despite the physical distance, the Mestre does not forget his disciples, for he is watching for and guiding them.
Messages of Mariri and Chacrona
After he left the rubber tree plantations in 1969, Bacurau went to find UDV in Porto Velho (RO) and later went to live in Jaru (RO). Jaru was a town where there was a large amount of native Mariri. From there Jaru, Bacurau sent messages (shipments) of Mariri and Chacrona to help the Mestre complete his mission in Porto Velho, the city in which he was structuring União do Vegetal.
After returning from Fortaleza (CE) in 1971, Mestre Gabriel, accompanied by some of his disciples, directed a session in Jaru. During this session, Bacurau asked Mestre Gabriel if he was going to give him an embroidered cloth star to put on his uniform and the Mestre replied that he, Bacurau, did not need a cloth star, and kept saying, “Bacurau, I am your star, it’s a star that never goes out and never ceases to shine.” With these words, Mestre Gabriel demonstrated gratitude and recognition to one of his first disciples who had helped him so much in the mission of re-creating UDV.
Bacurau is currently 74 years old and belongs to the Body of Council of the União do Vegetal. He is associated in the Nucleo Estrela Guia (Ji-Paraná-RO) and the author of some chamadas approved by Mestre Gabriel. They are: “Passarinhos”, “Quando o Mariri Florou”, “Canário”, “Um Belo Jardim”, “Graças a Deus” and “A Estrela Vem Brilhando”.
In this month in which he completes another year of life, we express our appreciation and gratitude to Counselor Bacurau for the work done in the origins of this religion and in benefit for Mestre Gabriel.
*Salomão Taumaturgo Marques is a member of the Instructive Body of the General Headquarters (Brasília-DF) and is the Chairman of the Fiscal Council of the General Directorate of the Beneficent União do Vegetal Spiritist Center (2015-2018).
Translation Coordinator: Isabel Cavalcante, member of the Body of Counsel of Núcleo Jardim Florescendo (Gainesville, FL – USA) | Translated by: Patrick Medina, member of the Instructive Body of the Núcleo Claridade Divina, Seattle, WA – USA) | Revised by: Martin Brendecke, member of the Instructive Body of the Núcleo Claridade Divina, Seattle, WA – USA).