When I was in High School in Brazil, one of my aunts was a member of the religious group called União do Vegetal. My grandmother described what their meetings were like. There were children everywhere and everyone there helped to chop and boil the tough jungle vines and roots to make ayahuasca tea.

The members of this group were largely conservative, including members of the military.

They would gather together with their families and other church members on a regular basis to mash up and boil down the tough jungle vines and roots to make ayahuasca tea.

They imbibe the tea in order to experience increased concentration and spiritual communion. It is a group experience that is had within the bosom of their tight-knit families and communities.

This is an unusual scenario, in which modern, Western people adhere to a Native American approach to this sacrament. Members of União do Vegetal do not imbibe the tea for purposes of intoxication but instead to achieve spiritual clarity and mental focus.

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Alexandra Bruce

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