A Barquinha


The Little Boat, 'Barquinha'. Spiritism. Ayahuasca. Santo Daime. Spiritist Center Daniel Pereira de Matos. Master Antonio Geraldo da Silva Filho. Rio Branco. Acre state.

A Barquinha


The Little Boat, 'Barquinha'. Spiritism. Ayahuasca. Santo Daime. Spiritist Center Daniel Pereira de Matos. Master Antonio Geraldo da Silva Filho. Rio Branco. Acre state.


The Barquinha


Oratories, the viola caipira, incense, sailor hats, images of Catholic saints, glasses filled with tea from the sacred plant: Daime. The cross represents the body of Jesus and the commitment to the Christian faith; and the drawings of olive branches, charity. Blue stands for that which is beyond the skies and the oceans. Hymns teach and advise, sung in the accents and words from a variety of Africas, Amerindians, Europes, Brazils.

“May I always aim to

Comfort others more than

I am comforted

Understand others more

than I am understood

Love others more than I am loved

Because it is by giving

That one also receives

It is by forgiving that one is forgiven

And it is by dying

that one reaches eternal life”

Prayer to Saint Francis of Assisi, sung during the works at the Barquinha

The works, rituals named as such due to their mandatory nature towards God, resemble a Christian mass or a family meeting: they all dress alike, sing together, read from the Gospel of Jesus Christ and instructions received through automatic writing by those through which the spirits operate. Every Saturday, they talk about their charity work. Works are also performed for curing, celebrating saints and festive dates: Saint Francis of Assisi is one of those who gets parties and affection from those at the Barquinha.

“A small boat floating around the world

and rescuing those who are lost”

The Barquinha religion, as defined by Master Antonio Geraldo da Silva Filho

For the followers - those who believe that one must work to keep life afloat - it is a journey within the journey that’s life itself. Beyond the colorful weave of elements from so many different faiths, The Barquinha is precisely what the word anticipates: a space-time big enough to accommodate all of those who are in search of themselves.

The founder of the doctrine, Friar Daniel, was born in the Maranhão state and moved to Rio Branco, capital of the northern Acre state, in search for a new life. In a city that now has three hundred thousand inhabitants on the frontier with Peru and Bolivia, Friar Daniel then found a settlement in the heart of the Amazon forest. That’s where he struck a friendship with Master Irineu and, being an Afro Brazilian man, he started to spend more time with indigenous people and their works with Santo Daime.

“The first thing the Daime will reveal to you is exactly who you are”

Master Antonio Geraldo da Silva Filho

Known as a bohemian man who sang lovesongs around Rio Branco and who fell ill due to excessive drinking, Daniel was aided and cured by Master Irineu’s hands. During one of the Daime sessions, he heard from the spirits that it was his mission to lay the basis for another branch of that practice. So, he proceeded to meet with his family at home to listen to entities and spirits’ teachings: first, they whisper the lyrics in someone’s ear that are later shared with everyone, then the Barquinha practitioners receive the melodies. These are the hymns they exhaustively rehearse for the group presentations. The musicians and priests don’t own the songs; they’re just vehicles for the expression of them.

“Those who join the Barquinha travel through the hymnal and are transformed”

Master Antonio Geraldo da Silva Filho

Friar Daniel’s practices and teachings were passed on to Master Antonio Geraldo, who transmitted them on to his son: today, it’s Master Antonio Geraldo Filho who leads the work at the Barquinha in Acre. The sacred plant, the Daime from vines and Ayahuasca leaves and fire and water and responsibility and earnestness… it’s a plea to God, an important, however non-fundamental, part of being at the Barquinha.

“Give me joy.

Give me peace.

Give me the chance to see our shortcomings”

Master Antonio Geraldo da Silva Filho

In this faith, it’s prepared with precision and that’s all – it’s not sold, but drunk on meeting days; it’s a way for God to help them in reaching understanding. Not all practitioners drink Daime, neither is the beverage included in every ritual.

“Daime is a privilege, a gift from God.

Daime isn’t everything. God is everything”

Mestre Antonio Geraldo da Silva Filho

In order to carry all the faith found along the way in their boat, the Barquinha people are guided by what’s both the simplest and hardest thing to achieve: the respect and love needed to carefully listen to the voices of the invisible.

“If every human had Daime

The way it’s supposed to be had,

With respect and love…

The world would certainly be more fraternal,

Significantly more loving”

Master Antonio Geraldo da Silva Filho

It’s less about each of the elements from each faith, and more about the harmony between them all: no troubled waters can tip a boat in which all row in synchronicity.


Philippe Bandeira de Mello



Philippe Bandeira de Mello



A Barquinha (song outtake)



A Barquinha (song outtake)


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