Article by Kelly E. Hayes April 29, 2020 (theconversation.com)
• Adherents to the religious organization known as the ‘Valley of the Dawn’, who are called the ‘Jaguars’, believe they are the reincarnated descendants of highly advanced extraterrestrials sent by God 32,000 years ago to jump-start human evolution. Valley of the Dawn members “manipulate” cosmic energies to heal themselves and others.
• Every May 1st before sunrise, several thousand Valley of the Dawn Jaguars come from around the world to gather in silence at a temple outside the Brazilian capital of Brasília to “synchronize their spiritual energies.” Attired in fairy-tale-like garments, the members perform a ritual chant that fills the air with a collective drone to invoke cosmic forces. This year, the ceremony was postponed due to the coronavirus – dismaying Valley of the Dawn members who believe their spiritual force-field could really help in this global crisis.
• Valley of the Dawn is a recognized religion in Brazil with over 700 affiliated temples worldwide and nearly 139,000 registered members. According to Valley of the Dawn doctrine, the Jaguars have inspired some of humanity’s greatest achievements, including the great pyramids of ancient Egypt and Mesoamerica. Their spiritual tribe was reunited in Brazil in 1964 by a woman called Aunt Neiva, who foresaw the world as we know ending within decades.
• To redeem their bad karma, Valley of the Dawn members offer spirit-healing to the public at the Mother Temple, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. In Brazil, such healing is widely accepted. Each month, thousands of Brazilians who have had unsuccessful experiences with Western medicine and other religions visit the Valley of the Dawn to remove negative spiritual influences and channel healing forces. Rejecting capitalist values, members refuse to work for money. Healings are offered freely as an expression of unconditional love.
• With the passing of its founder, Aunt Neiva, in 1985, The Valley of the Dawn has grown steadily, spreading from Brazil to Portugal, the United States and England. Some dismiss it as a cult. But to others, it offers a more progressive, egalitarian version of modernity. In Brazil, and across much of the West, the promise that modernity would bring higher living standards, greater personal freedoms and a more just society remains largely unfulfilled. Instead, the advancements of the modern age has only benefitted the rich and powerful. The majority are increasingly isolated and lonely. The Valley of the Dawn offers a collective life that members find gratifying. They are free to join or leave the Valley of the Dawn at any time, and the community provides food and housing for Jaguars who cannot afford training.
• The Valley of the Dawn has its own educational system premised on merit, not privilege. It offers free “courses” on personal development, moral conduct and mediumship taught by trained instructors. Educational advancement earns members a title, like “Master” or “Commander,” and the right to wear specific clothing, participate in new rituals and take on leadership duties.
• In the Valley of the Dawn, justice means reconciliation for past harms – not punishment and incarceration. According to Valley of the Dawn doctrine, much human suffering and wrongdoing is the work of spirits – usually a family member or friend who was harmed by a Jaguar in a past life and is now ‘collecting a debt’. When this spirit attaches itself to its living “debtor”, it results in depression or aggression. A Jaguar will spend a week gathering signatures from fellow Valley members who wish them positive energy to pay off their spiritual debt. The week-long ‘prison ritual’ culminates in a courtroom ‘trial’ where the channeled afflicted spirit explains the wrongdoing that caused the karmic debt. After the prisoner expresses regret, balance is restored and the Jaguar is released from the spiritual debt.
• By all indications, members find real meaning in the Valley of the Dawn’s egalitarian work, education and legal systems, all structured on the principles of equality and justice. Despite their mystical nature, the social practices of the Valley of the Dawn is a reaction to the very real deficiencies of modern secular society – with some flamboyant costuming on the side.
Every May 1, before sunrise, several thousand members of the religion known as the Valley of the Dawn gather in silence at a temple outside the Brazilian capital of Brasília. They come from around the world to “synchronize their spiritual energies.”
As the Sun’s first rays appear over the horizon, the members, in fairy-tale-like garments, chant their personal “emissions” – a ritual invocation of cosmic forces that fills the air with a collective drone.
Valley of the Dawn adherents “manipulate” cosmic energies to heal themselves and others. They describe themselves as members of a spiritual tribe called the Jaguars, who are the reincarnated descendants of highly advanced extraterrestrials sent by God some 32,000 years ago to jump-start human evolution.
Normally, the May 1 Day of the Indoctrinator ceremony attracts Jaguars from across the globe, as well as spectators and journalists.
This year, the ceremony has been postponed because of the coronavirus – dismaying Valley of the Dawn members, who believe their spiritual force field could really help in this global crisis.
The Valley of the Dawn’s beliefs are fantastical, but their practices may be less otherworldly than bemused journalists have often suggested. My scholarship on Brazilian religions and research at the Valley of the Dawn finds that some of the group’s rituals speak directly to the harsh realities of the modern world.
Jaguars past and present
Valley of the Dawn, called Vale do Amanhecer in Portuguese, is a recognized religion in Brazil. It has over 700 affiliated temples worldwide and nearly 139,000 registered members.
According to Valley of the Dawn doctrine, the Jaguars inspired some of humanity’s greatest achievements, including the great pyramids of ancient Egypt and Mesoamerica, before eventually straying from their mission.
Their spiritual tribe was reunited in Brazil in 1964 by a woman called Aunt Neiva, who foresaw the world as we know it ending within decades.
My research indicates that Valley of the Dawn members are mostly middle- and working-class Brazilians, of all races. Many live in the town that has grown up around the Mother Temple; others travel there for ceremonies.
To redeem the bad karma they believe they have accrued over the millennia, Valley of the Dawn members perform spirit-healing rituals called “trabalhos,” or works. These are offered to the public at the Mother Temple nearly 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
In Brazil, which has hundreds of spirit-based religions, such healing is widely accepted.
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