Forest of Visions: Ayahuasca, Amazonian Spirituality, and the Santo Daime Tradition

Excerpts & Samples

By Alex Polari De Alverga

Publisher : Inner Traditions/Bear & Company

ABOUT Alex Polari De Alverga

Alex Polari de Alverga
Alex Polari de Alverga is currently a padrinho in Mapia. Forest of Visions is the first of his books to be translated into English.



The story of Santo Daime--a new religion that blends elements of  Christianity with older Amazonian indigenous spiritual practices--and the ecologically sound and spiritually centered utopian community it has inspired 

• A true story of a classical spiritual encounter, as well as an intimate account of the genesis of an important religious tradition that continues to grow worldwide 

• Edited and Introduced by Stephen Larsen, author of The Shaman's Doorway

Alex Polari de Alverga spent years as a political prisoner during the rule of the military junta in Brazil, enduring torture, brutality, and deprivation. On his release from captivity and in search of something to restore his spiritual connection to life, he had a transformative encounter with one of the two revered founders of Santo Daime, Padrinho Sebastiao Mota de Mela. Santo Daime--an Amazonian religion, born out of jungle entheogens, mediumship, and healing, that is a potent and unique synthesis of Christianity and indigenous practices--provided Alverga with an alternative to his disillusionment with modern society. His quest for spiritual initiation eventually led him deep into the heart of the rainforest to Mapia, one of the spiritual centers of Santo Daime, where he became a teacher and leader of the Daime community. 

Forest of Visions is a story of a classic spiritual encounter comparable to the Tibetan Saint Milarepa's search for his teacher Marpa. It is also an intimate account of the genesis of an important religious tradition that from modest beginnings in Brazil has now spread throughout the world and continues to grow. It provides an inside look at the spiritually centered village of Mapia, a model for communities in the 21st century. 

". . . moving and often poetic writing. The book is a saga and a memoir, with the added benefit of giving us insight into the spiritual path the Daime offers."

Charlie Tilt, Talking Leaves, Summer/Fall 1999

"Alex Polari de Alverga has provided a moving first hand account of an unusual and compelling contemporary spiritual phenomenon."

Eliezer Sobel, The Quest

"This tale is an insider's experience and personal transformation with the drug plant ayahuasca (Banisteriopis caapi)-said to produce harmony with nature and with others-and the religious philosophy surrounding it."

American Herb Association, Vol 16:4