WASHINGTON The Supreme Court sided Friday with a New
Mexico church that wants to use ayahuasca tea as part of its
services this Christmas.
Justices lifted a temporary stay the government had won last
The Bush administration contends that the hoasca tea is illegal
Nancy Hollander, attorney for the Brazil-based O Centro Espirita
Beneficiente Uniao do Vegetal, told justices in a filing that
hoasca is not only safe, but to members it is sacred
and their sacramental use of hoasca connects them to God.
The government and the church have been in a legal fight
since federal agents raided a church leader's office in Santa
Fe in 1999 and seized 30 gallons of hoasca tea. The tea contains
DMT, a controlled substance.
The case is Ashcroft v. O Centro Espirita Beneficiente Uniao
do Vegetal, A-469.
comments on the new legal victory obtained by UDV in the
I want to give you an update on the UDV case. A lot has
happened, and the rumor mill will begin flying. Here is
my understanding after consulting with Roy Haber, our attorney.
I hope you will find this perspective useful.
The 10th US Circuit Court of Appeals reviewed the the lower
court's decison to allow the UDV to practice their religion,
PENDING a full review of whether they will be allowed to
do so permanently. There has been no order issued to grant
them this permanent right. The road to that is still a long
one, with minimum of a year expected until the Supreme Court
The entire Circuit Court met in a configuration called en
banc, meaning all the 13 justices of the court met to review
the decision of a previous 3 judge Circuit Court panel,
which had agreed with the lower court, granting the UDV's
request to practice in the meantime. The en banc decision,
a decisive 8-5 ruling, upheld the previous two rulings,
granting the UDV the temporary right to practice.
The Justice Department asked Supreme Court Justice Breyer
to grant a stay, meaning to put on hold, the Circuit Court's
order to make the government enter into into good faith
discussions with the UDV as to how the practicalities of
importing their tea will be carried out. Because the order
was going to go into effect the next day, Justice Breyer
granted a temporary stay so that the full Supreme Court
could decide what to do about granting the hold or not.
The Supreme Court yesterday decided to let the Circuit Court
order stand until they decide on the case, which will most
likely be sometime in the next year.
It is notable and worthy of our gratitude and joy that the
light of the forest will be officially allowed to shine
in this country. It is a good thing for all of those who
follow the path of light, whatever the permutation of that
path is. We honor the steadfastness, faith and courage of
our brother Jeffrey Bronfman, the leader of the UDV in this
country, and the intelligence of the team of legal experts
he assembled. Jeffrey will continue to have the prayers
and gratitude of those of us on this sister path to the
UDV. We will be celebrating with him in our hearts when
he serves the first glass of sacred tea to his long waiting
people in Santa Fe.
We need to be clear in our gratitude and joy that the process
is by no means at an end. The issues that the Supreme Court
will take up go far beyond the little case of the UDV. The
sides are already lining up in a battle that will have far
reaching implications and will be most interesting to watch.
The Supreme Court could decide this case in many differernt
ways. It is significant and beyond most people's expectaions
that the UDV has won at every turn so far. Our prayers are
a part of the mix of light shining on this process, and
they will continue to be of use.
When the UDV secures its rights, that does not automatically
transfer those rights to the Daime. In these next months,
we will need to be preparing ourselves for the day of our
own presentation. And while the success of the UDV so far
makes our task possible, it does not guarantee us anything.
Both the UDV and the government have made it emminently
clear that they both consider the Daime to be a different
case than that of the UDV. While that opinion is not an
accurate representation of either spiritual or human law,
it nevertheless sets our task before us. It is neither wise
nor real for us in the Daime to think that we can avoid
the necessity to present ourselves to the government and
the public, riding on the coat tails of the UDV. Carefulness,
patience, and groundedness are necessary and useful. Their
perspectives are central to our effort. And fear has no
place at our table. It is through faith that we have been
guided so far and it is through faith that we will led home.
We do not have the double edged sword of the UDV's centralized
structure. Our sword has different edges. We will have a
wonderful opportunity to choose to find unity of purpose
and harmony of action, applying what we have all been studying
in these intervening years about trust and compassion to
each other. I trust that we are ready on the inner planes.
Those planes are where we meet in peace with our Master
and our Mother. The outer planes are up to us.
love and respect,
Ceu da Luz da Rainha