Item Details

Healing in the Barquinha Religion

Issue: Vol 2 No. 3 (2006)

Journal: Fieldwork in Religion

Subject Areas: Religious Studies Linguistics

DOI: 10.1558/firn.v2i3.363


The article focuses on the healing service offered by Barquinha churches. The Barquinha religion is
an Amazonian form of Christianity, with syncretic elements. The article surveys three recurrent
methodological and theoretical approaches found in anthropological works on healing in the
Barquinha religion, to which the author contributes with his own ethnographic research and
analysis. On the one hand, analytical emphases are often located on the participants’ subjective
and symbolic processes, in association with the ayahuasca experience. Ayahuasca—called Santo
Daime by adherents—is the central sacrament of the religion, frequently implied in accounts of
healing. Another common focus is on ritual settings and changing bodily dispositions. Thirdly,
anthropologists have considered aspects of the social relations involved in the therapeutic
process. This paper furthers reflections on social interactions during healing encounters. Such
encounters typically involve healer-spirits incorporated in Barquinha spirit-mediums. The author
suggests that the healing service may echo symbolic motifs associated with the historical
experience of migration and rapidly changing living circumstances shared by many participants.

Author: Christian Frenopoulo

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