II World Ayahuasca Conference: Traditionalist centers give a warning upon closing
The three traditionalist centers who use Hoasca Tea (also known as Vegetal or Ayahuasca) released a letter that was read at the closing of the II World Ayahuasca Conference, held between October 17th and 22nd of 2016 in the city of Rio Branco (Acre). The document has as signatories the Beneficent Spiritist Center União do Vegetal (Centro Espírita Beneficente União do Vegetal); the Center of Christian Universal Light Illumination – Alto Santo (Centro de Iluminação Cristã Luz Universal – Alto Santo) and Spiritist Center and Prayer Meeting House of Jesus Fountain of Light (Centro Espírita e Culto de Oração Casa de Jesus Fonte de Luz), also known as Saint Francis’ Chapel (Capela de São Francisco).
The letter thanks the organizers for the invitation to participate in the Conference, the representatives of the indigenous people who drink Ayahuasca and all other religious denominations and all the people and organizations who have Ayahuasca as an important reference.
The document also makes a warning regarding the risks and problems that are subject to occur when the care that the traditionalist centers consider as necessary in the use and distribution of Ayahuasca is not followed.
The Letter reminds that this care is recognized and recommended by the Brazilian State in the texts and acts from diverse official bodies, as has already been delineated for 25 years in the Letter of Principles by the religious organizations that use Ayahuasca.
See below the entire letter read at the closing of the Conference:
LETTER OF THE TRADITIONALIST CENTERS TO THE II WORLD AYAHUASCA CONFERENCE
First, we thank the organizers of this Conference for the honorable invitation for us to participate in the event, which was made to us by way of the Thematic Chamber of Ayahuasca Cultures from the municipality of Rio Branco. For us, this invitation is recognition of the work and of the teachings of our founding Mestres, for which we seek to care so that they remain a respectable reference for the religious use of Ayahuasca. We also thank the autonomy we’ve had to relate our experiences and to present our principles and criterion; as well as the cordiality and respect that the excellent and organized direction of the event provided us.
We thank the representatives of the originating indigenous people, their spiritual leaders and their communities, who make up the true forest guardians and heirs of the culture and tradition that they have developed since the time of their ancestors.
We thank all the other religious denominations and all the persons and organizations who have Ayahuasca as an important reference in their lives and works, for the fraternal debate and respectful familiarity, even in moments of expressing differences or divergences.
We thank the scientists, researchers and students of Ayahuasca for sharing with us and with all participants of the Conference the results of your studies.
In our participation in this Conference, we sought to present – with total clarity and simplicity – who we are and what we do. We understand that the affirming of our identity and the maintenance of our principles does not offend the rights of any people, organization or community. We do not consider ourselves superior, nor do we cultivate enmity with anyone. If, at any moment, we showed difference or divergence, our intention was always and continues to be to maintain an honest and transparent relationship, without keeping ourselves from the defense of our principles and values. Our Mestres taught us to preserve coherence between words and practice, so that we remain on the path of Truth.
This is why we reaffirm – on this occasion, as in others – the principles that rule us. And we feel it a duty to warn regarding the care that we consider necessary in the use and distribution of Ayahuasca. This care, that today is recognized and recommended by the Brazilian State in the texts and acts of diverse official bodies, has already been delineated, 25 years ago, in 1991, in the Letter of Principles of the religious organizations who use Ayahuasca, and serves as the fundamental ethical guides. Among others, we want to highlight three points:
a) That the public identity of the center or church that uses ayahuasca, with autonomy and self determination to think, act and freely self-organize, is without oversight or restriction. This right corresponds with the duty to assume responsibility for one’s acts before society, public authorities and the laws of the nation.
b) The exclusive use of ayahuasca – made of the vine (Banisteriopsis caapi), leaf (Psychotria viridis), and water -, without addition of any other substance in its preparation and ingestion.
c) No form of commercialization. The associates of each center or church bear the expense of maintenance of their institutions, including the making and transport of ayahuasca, without passing on the costs to non-associates.
Experience teaches that the observance of these ethical and moral principles reduces the risk of problems, and brings benefits. The health of our communities is proof of this. With these principles, we want dialogue with all, especially with the indigenous people, whose traditions affirm, since their origins, similar principles of care and respect for Ayahuasca and for the forest where she is born.
After decades of predatory exploitation of the two plant species that make up Ayahuasca, the impact on the Amazon Forest is evident. It shows a need for us to unite around protective actions, mapping of the impacts already caused, and around recuperation, in the short term.
We call all ayahuasqueros, especially those who live outside of the Amazon, to become aware of the need and importance for ethical, environmental, and social responsibility in the production and distribution of Ayahuasca, in the face of international expansion and economic pressures involved in the process.
We believe that the winning of freedom for the religious use of Ayahuasca was and still is possible through the existence of the people and communities – among whom we include ourselves – who demonstrate equilibrium and responsibility, credibility, and social legitimacy. Other communities of other nations can achieve all this and even more, as we already have news of victories.
Our contribution is to show our experience and the excellence of the teachings of Mestre Irineu, Mestre Daniel, and Mestre Gabriel to whom we pray for to give us the light of wisdom and that they bless everyone.
We are grateful for the respect and for the attention.
Rio Branco-AC, October 22nd, 2016.
The above letter was signed by the three traditionalist centers who make use of Hoasca Tea (Vegetal or Ayahuasca) in their religious rites – known as: Center of Christian Universal Light Illumination – Alto Santo (Centro de Iluminação Cristã Luz Universal -Alto Santo), Spiritist Center and Prayer Meeting House of Jesus Fountain of Light (Centro Espírita e Culto de Oração Casa de Jesus Fonte de Luz) and Beneficent Spiritist Center União do Vegetal (Centro Espírita Beneficente União do Vegetal).