Church of the gnostic vine

Ayahuasca is the vine of the soul which allows communication with your inner spirit world

The Church of the gnostic vine encourages everyone to explore the full gnostic experience. The Goddess lives in us all....

Shamanic Understanding:

"What is fascinating to consider is how these early shamans figured out that a potent brew could best be made from these two ingredients being mixed together."

legalities: ayahuasca spirituality

Testing of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act

In 1990, Congress Enacted the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, allowing for the possibility for exemptions to the Controlled Substances Act for some religious groups. Once a person establishes that her religious beliefs are sincerely held, and that the government’s prohibition on a particular sacramental substance burdens the free exercise of that sincere religion, the federal (not the state) government bears the legal burden to establish that the prohibition is supported by a compelling government interest, and that the particular prohibition is the least restrictive means to serve that interest.

Sound pretty good, no?  The problem is that the government has been allowed to meet its burden in the past by spitting on a piece of paper, rubbing it around, and calling it evidence. The Congressional “finding” that a certain drug is dangerous is taken to be written in stone by the creator herself.

But in 2004, a small group of aristocratic followers of a psychedelic South American religion which uses ‘hoasca as a sacrament brought a lawsuit asking that they be allowed to continue to use this entheogenic beverage to achieve affordable conversations with the great spirit. In February of 2006 a very conservative United States Supreme Court ruled that the practicing ayahuasceros, members of the Uniao do Vegetal Church (UDV), may continue to violate the Controlled Substances Act by consuming their DMT-laden sacrament.

The ruling came in a case that originated in 1999, when US Customs agents raided the US headquarters of the Centro Espirita Beneficiente Uniao do Vegetal (UDV -- Union of the Vegetable) in Santa Fe and seized 30 gallons of ayahuasca, a tea brewed from two plants found only in the Amazon. The government argued that because the preparation contained naturally occurring traces of the powerful psychedelic DMT, ayahuasca is a drug regulated by the Controlled Substances Act.

Not a particularly big deal, since there are only 130 of them, funded by the heir to the Seagram fortune Jeffrey Bronfman, and they don’t proselytize. Most of us probably aren’t ready to take up a psychedelic sacrament. But wWhat is a big deal about it are a few interesting, even, an optimist might opine, promising aspects of this otherwise essentially procedural decision.

The majority's opinion in the Tenth Circuit's en banc opinion does have
some analysis and reasoning suggesting that small groups of religious
users of "esoteric" entheogens ("tightly circumscribed use of a drug not
in widespread use") might potentially have meritorious cases under the
Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

Legal documents

2009 Santo Daime Ruling

2009 Oregon Ruling Ayahuasca

2004 Ayahuasca Upheld

Religious Freedom Restoration Act


  1. IN GENERAL.--- Government shall not substantially burden a person's exercise of religion even if the burden results from a rule of general applicability, except as provided in subsection (b).
  2. EXCEPTION.---Government may substantially burden a person's exercise of religion only if it determines that application of the burden to the person---
    1. is in furtherance of a compelling governmental interest; and
    2. is the least restrictive means of furthering that compelling governmental interest.
    3. JUDICIAL RELIEF.---A person whose religious exercise has been burdened in violation of this section may assert that violation as a claim or defense in a judicial proceeding and obtain appropriate relief against a government. Standing to assert a claim or defense under this section should be governed by the general rules of standing under article III of the Constitution.

Religious Freedom Restoration Act

Under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, the government must show a compelling interest in interfering with a religious practice. In the case of substances used for religious purposes, the government must also show that the practice is risky to the health of participants and that it would lead to substantial leakage of the drug use into non-protected groups (i.e. just regular people).