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Charity and Spirits in the Amazonian Navy: The Barquinha Mission of the Brazilian Amazon

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Title: Charity and Spirits in the Amazonian Navy: The Barquinha Mission of the Brazilian Amazon
Authors: Frenopoulo, Christian
Keywords: Barquinha religion
Rio Branco
show 3 moreAyahuasca
Santo Daime

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LC Subject Headings: Ethnology
Issue Date: Jun 2005
Citation: Frenopoulo, Christian. 2005. "Charity and Spirits in the Amazonian Navy": The Barquinha Mission of the Brazilian Amazon. M.A. thesis, Department of Anthropology, University of Regina.
Abstract: This thesis examines the implementation of the mission of moral transformation in the Barquinha religion of the Brazilian Amazon. The Barquinha religion has a defined mission of alleviating the suffering of the innocent, and of educating and evangelizing the unenlightened. This mission is implemented in a variety of ways, including the sacramental use of the Western Amazonian entheogen Ayahuasca (called “Santo Daime” in this context) and spirit-possession. The thesis is the result of four months of participant-observation fieldwork in the setting. The Barquinha churches are located in Rio Branco, the capital of Acre, in the south-western Brazilian Amazon. The region was urbanized largely due to migrations induced by the rubber industry around the turn of the twentieth century. The immigrants were poor people from the drought-stricken Northeastern states of Brazil, many of them descended from slaves. These are the people who founded, shaped and consolidated the Barquinha religion, simultaneous to the decline of the rubber industry. The thesis contemplates the understanding that the Barquinha qualifies as a ‘religion of the self,’ in the sense that the focus of evangelical transformation and salvation is the individual. This process includes the promotion of a penitential lifestyle and a generalized development of a healer vocation among committed adherents, which is typically expressed in the voluntary development of mediumship for hosting healer-spirits. Three important categories of spirits are presented: Brazilian black slaves, who offer healing, counter-sorcery performances and individualized counseling; Catholic bishops and missionaries who offer sacraments, such as baptisms; and prominent deceased members of the religion that also play a part as missionaries, offering teachings and instructions. The Barquinha religion is the least studied of the major Brazilian Ayahuasca Religions. While the others are somewhat self-contained in regards to the scope of their span of social influence, the Barquinha has a developed mission of social outreach.
Description: Thesis (M.A.)--University of Regina, 2005.
Sponsor: Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research, University of Regina
Faculty of Arts, University of Regina
Dept. of Anthropology, University of Regina
Pages/Duration: 151 pages
Appears in Collections:Mana'o - Papers on Anthropology

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