In the distant ex-mining town of Cavalcante in the state of Goais, 190 miles from Brasilia, resides the Arizan Temple of the Valley of the Dawn Doctrine which has been operating for the past seventeen years under the command of Mr. Jonas.
As with with all the followers of the doctrine, it is believed that the maximum function of the devotees, who call themselves Jaguars, is to put into practice their abilities as mediums and clean the Earth from suffering or obsessive spirits, which are energies that have not transmuted and are believed to still wander around in an earthly frequencies affecting people on a daily basis.
Neiva Zelaya founded the doctrine in 1969 in the town of Planaltina in the outskirts of the recently constructed capital of Brasil, Brasilia. At age 33, Aunt Neiva, as she is known, experienced visual and auditive hallucinations which where codified and theorized by her companion Mario Sassi for the creation of the Doctrine. Nowadays there are more than 600 temples of the Valley of the Dawn worldwide.
Englobing a pot-pourri of religious beliefs, comprising of a mixture of tradicional religions such as Christianity, Buddhism and the spiritual element of the Judaism, the Kaballah, alongside spiritualist elements such as Spiritism and tradicional animism from African tribes known as Umbanda, a pinch of New Age and the fundamental believe of Intergalactic communication, the Valley of the Dawn Doctrine has become a popular alternative for spiritual guidance and existencial understanding in several Brazilian towns and peripheral cities, as an alternative to the ever-growing Evangelical religious boom.
A gaze towards community-based spirtual rituals that involve an amalgam of tradicional practices, which does not have as its prime intention the function of evangelization or commercialization of faith, becomes an urgent practice at this moment. This is an approach to the doctrine thru some of the spacial and symbolic elements, details of certain rituals performed in specific dates and everyday routinary celebrations. Thru an intimistic zoom this series intends to showcase our human search and need of belonging to a community and the necessary representation and ritualization of those public encounters.
This is part of a long-term documentary project, which I am developing with the community of Cavalcante, observing the expansion of the agrobusiness into the Cerrado biome, and how it is affecting the region surrounding the Chapada dos Veadeiros Natural Reserve. It is also part of a greater body of work on rites and faith in Mexico and Brasil.