Santo Daime rituals are known as Works. Centres traditionally have a rectangular or star-shaped central altar, on which stand the Cross of Caravaca, with its double horizontal beam, four candles representing the Sun, the Moon, the Stars and all Divine Beings, photographs of Mestre Irineu and other respected elders of the tradition, and fresh flowers. Each session begins and ends with prayers, mainly adapted Christian prayers. Santo Daime rituals include Concentrations (seated meditation Works), White Works (official, dancing Works), Curas (healing Works) and the Mass. Participants drink Daime in all types of ritual; but the format and focus can differ; concentrations include the singing of hymns with silent, seated meditations, while hymnals involve dancing and singing hymns accompanied by maracas and other instruments. Some Santo Daime Works can last up to 12 hours, and the effects of the Daime combined with dancing, singing and concentration require and develop stamina or ‘firmeza’ – firmness.
Participants in the ritual learn to surrender themselves to the process of the Santo Daime through which they may learn things about themselves, the nature of life and of the Universe. This may include various wonders – the sacrament is known for the visions it generates, and the sense of communion with nature and spiritual reality. The Santo Daime offers an opportunity to align with the Divine. The sacrament facilitates the opening of all levels of being – physical, emotional, mental and spiritual – allowing access to and communion with spiritual energies, guides, healers, and teachers.
The Daime expands consciousness, giving one the opportunity to experience love and truth at depths previously unimagined. Within this space it is possible to sense and feel many things. Some will be very beautiful and some may be painful. The Daime is capable to reveal aspects of both the higher and lower self, sometimes resulting in difficult ‘passages’ involving the integration of dissociated psychological content. The purpose is to use the higher self in order to transform the lower self, for to a certain extent, each is not complete without the other.
One learns to trust that whatever happens is for the highest good, for we cannot transform and heal what we don’t recognize as part of ourselves. It is important to know that, whatever one experiences, one is not alone. There are ‘guardians’ (specially trained church members) available during the Works to assist, and whether or not one is aware of them, spiritual guides and healers present during the ritual.