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Spirit possession in a new religious context: the Umbandization of Santo Daime

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article


Journal publication date05/2012
JournalNova Religio
Number of pages25
Original languageEnglish


With specific reference to the spread of non-traditional forms of spirit possession, this article explores the growing influence of the Afro-Brazilian religion of Umbanda upon the Brazilian new religion of Santo Daime. The following material opens by introducing Santo Daime and plotting the historical trajectory of spirit possession from the movement's beginnings in 1930s' Brazil, to its spread to various parts of the industrialized world. Subsequent to detailing the contemporary spirit possession repertoire of Santo Daime, the article offers a typology of the most prominent kinds of spirit possession practiced by Santo Daime. The article closes by relating the increasing popularity of Umbanda-inspired possession motifs to the growing influence of a white, urban-professional constituency imbued with typically late-modern concerns.