Grandpa Kewl

Book Review – Forest of Visions, Alex Polari de Alverga

Recommended to me by my book seller friend in Santa Fe

This proved to be a rather difficult book to deal with as it relates in some detail how a group in the Amazon makes use of drugs in their spiritual practices. As a recovering drug and alcohol addict, it got a bit sticky at times and I failed to be sympathetic to the author and what he was saying. While the drug use is not central to the book, the discussion related to its preparation and use is problemmatic for this folk.

The book relates the experiences of the author as he makes a connection to the Santo Daime movement in the Amazon region. From the back cover:


Santo Daime-an Amazonian religion, both out of jungle entheogens, mediumship and healing that features a unique synthesis of Christianity and indigenous practices… (in the strictest sense, is a psychoactive substance used in a religious or shamanic context)

Having said that, there are some useful items to ponder:

“The real goal of spiritual practice is to prepare a place – to use truth and love to cleanse and chasten onself to receive more adaquately the Divine.”

“Salvation will not come from those countries and religions that have herded us to the cliff’s edge. It is coming from a return to mystery, a surrender to the Divine in and around us, and a new alliance with nature.”


I read these pages on my Mother’s birthday 2/7/2008.

“What does it matter in what form or class of being the Divine Avatars manifest to man and woman? Did Vishnu not come as a turtle, fish and bird? The Logos, the Divive Verb manifested, adopted in Christ a human form, so why not a plant?”

“My consciousness was a real junkyard, full of useless stuff, a junkyard with aspirations of becoming a sanctuary.”

“This Mestre Irineu called the correio da ma noticia (the bad news post office), an endless negative chain that goes around the world in all directions, a hurricane of words, false testimonies, and distorted opinions that carries in its belly destruction, misery, insanity, illness and death. This gossip, which always comes before good news and truth, is the worst form of pollution on the earth. These negative vibrations feed various entities and obsessive spirits that dwell in uninstructed minds and produce doubt and fear.”

“Whoever only partially surrenders to the spiritual life frequently believes that those who give themselves completely are foolish.”

quoting Dimitri Karamozov: “Because God does not exist, then everything is permitted.”

speaking of the evil that lies within all of us: “Padrinho Sabastiao said that ‘the wise man is one who can control his own great beast'”.

quoting another: “It is easy to know many other things, but to know oneself, it is necessary to have a lot of calmness and courage. It takes time.”

Regardless of the drug connection that made parts of the reading difficult, the tale of the author’s journey to find a spiritual home is moving and meaningful. One never knows when you may find wisdom or the source from which it might come….but it is essential to make the journey.


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