1971 – The Santo Daime Splits with the Passing of its Founder, Mestre Irineu
In 1971, Mestre Irineu, leader of the Santo Daime religious ayahuasca movement, died, and a split in the movement developed. The traditionalists, known as Alto Santo, wanted to keep strictly to the practice of Mestre Irineu, while the innovators, led by Sebastião Mota de Melo, known as Padrinho Sebastião, wanted to incorporate mediumship and the use of cannabis in the works.
Padrinho Sebastião left with a group of followers and settled in the community of Colonia 5000. They founded the line of Santo Daime called CEFLURIS, later renamed ICEFLU (Igreja do Culto Eclético da Fluente Luz Universal, or Church of the Eclectic Religion of the Universal Flowing Light).
In 1982, Padrinho Sebastião’s son-in-law founded the first urban Daime church, in Rio de Janeiro. In 1983 Padrinho Sebastião led his people to a more remote area of the rainforest and founded a community called Céu do Mapiá. In spite of its remoteness, Mapiá attracted many urban hippies from around Brazil and elsewhere.
When Padrinho Sebastião met Baixinha, a practitioner of the African-inspired religion of Umbanda, she helped introduce African-style practices of physical mediumship and veneration of the orixás (Yoruba deities) into the Daime. In the 1990s, the line of Padrinho Sebastião spread to the US, and has since expanded around the world. Alto Santo has made no effort to expand and remains only in Acre.
In the early 1990s, two major books about Santo Daime were published. They are written by “insiders” of the movement and those with anthropological training.
Macrae, Edward (1992). Guided by the Moon: Shamanism and the Ritual Use of Ayahuasca in the Santo Daime Religion in Brazil. Neip Website
Borges Conti Tavares, Rodrigo (n.d.). “Sebastião Mota de Melo.”
Marquez, Antonio Alves Jr.(2009). “The incorporation of Umbanda by Santo Daime.”