Santo Daime

Santo Daime #

Among many other effects, sensitivity to posture and gesture are greatly enhanced by 5-HT2A receptor agonists such as daime.1 I have made some study of static poses that align with the current of reverence. 🔬 Before detailing my findings, I want to emphasize that I have not made an exhaustive search. There may be other postures and gestures worth exploring. Furthermore, I have not studied dynamic poses (e.g., mimicking the flapping and soaring of eagle wings with your arms 🪽). The postures listed here are intended as static poses to be held steadily for a few minutes at a time. The reason that the title of this article is Santo Daime and not Postures and Gestures is because these poses have much greater significance when implemented by a whole group of people simultaneously in careful coordination. Posing solo is a bit self-indulgent.

Doubts? #

Maybe you read through this page and you’re skeptical. Drink more daime. 🍵

The Current of Reverence #

The analogy that I am trying to invoke is with electrical current or water flowing through a pipe. 🌊 Here, the substance that is flowing is reverence, and with enough daime, it feels almost tangible. Just as with electricity or water, there is a direction of flow. You receive reverence, it flows through you, and then you can direct it away from you. An arbitrary careless posture does not necessarily obstruct the current of reverence, but specific intentional postures can increase the conductance and encourage the flow. 🚰

Key #

yes correct, energetically enlivening

no incorrect, dull

Component-wise #

Before I list ensemble poses, I present the optimal positions of each relevant joint.

Receiving #

  1. Spine extension

    action sitting standing evaluation
    neutral spine sitting neutral spine standing neutral no
    extension spine sitting extension spine standing extension yes

    When sitting, there isn’t much difference in outward appearance, but I feel like I am arching my back. I cannot avoid lifting my chin, but the important part is to arch the back.

  2. Rotate the wrist away from neutral

    action before after evaluation
    (palm down)
    pronation pronation yes
    neutral neutral neutral no
    (palm up)
    supination supination yes
  3. Pinky extension

    before after evaluation
    pinky pinky yes

    The nearby fingers are hard to isolate from the pinky extension, but the pinky is what I’m thinking about.

Sending #

  1. Wrist extension
    action illustration evaluation
    extension wrist extension yes
    neutral wrist neutral no
    flexion wrist flexion no
  2. Palm direction
    Energy is emitted perpendicular to the palm surface. Your palm can be aimed at the center of the salão, perpendicular to the center of the salão (e.g. ceiling, floor, or along the circumference), or back toward yourself. In general, the most delicate direction is toward the center of the salão because it can look as if you are aiming across the salão at other people. If you are aiming across the salão then you must have consent; it should be an orchestrated collective action. If you are aiming elsewhere then consent is less important.

Pose Ensembles #

None of these pose ensembles incorporate all of the components mentioned above, but all of them incorporate some of the components. I also point out similar poses that miss opportunities to improve the conductivity of reverence.

Pose: Umbrella #

sitting evaluation
umbrella yes
  • Wrist and pinky extension
  • Wrist pronation
  • Palm facing ceiling


  • Both arms (“double umbrella”?)
  • Different angle (shoulder joint can rotate about 90 degrees so play with that)

Of course, it is challenging to keep an arm (or arms) elevated for a long duration, but five minutes is feasible.

Pose: Feather ruffle #

sitting evaluation
hug yes
  • Wrist and pinky extension
  • Wrist supination
  • Palm facing self

The wrist extension prevents my hands from touching my arms or the shirt.

Pose: Classical worship #

sitting standing evaluation
pose1 pose1 yes
  • Spine extension
  • Wrist supination & extension
  • Pinky extension
  • Palm facing the center of the salão

While I feel the inner effect of the pose, my external appearance looks a little bit odd (to me, at least :-). Compare with some artistic renditions:

sitting(-ish) standing
Lance Brown Woman

The man (left) is a speed painting by Lance Brown. The woman (right) is a photo of artwork from the Ashland OR Santo Daime salão. She lacks spine extension, her wrist extension is faint, and her pinky extension is washed out by the flow of energy, but otherwise it is almost a great example.

standing evaluation
pose1 no
  • Wrist neutral/flexion instead of extension
  • Pinky neutral instead of extension
  • No spine extension

The following pose is a minor variation (different hand position) but otherwise the same:

standing evaluation
pose1 yes
  • Spine extension
  • Wrist and pinky extension
  • Palm facing ceiling

With hands raised, this pose is too taxing to hold for more than a brief time.

Pose: Holding a Flower #

concept actual evaluation
flower flower yes
  • Wrist and pinky extension
  • Palm facing perpendicular to the center of the salão

In the concept image, there is a flower superimposed over my arm/hand. Moving the fingers is like wiggling the petals.

Standing-only Pose Ensembles #

Pose: Shark fin #

Pose Evaluation
back yes
back dull no
  • Wrist and pinky extension
  • Palm facing perpendicular to the center of the salão

Pose: Hands with opposite twist #

Closed Open evaluation
twist closed twist open yes
  • One wrist supinated, the other pronated
  • Wrist and pinky extension (at least one hand)
  • Palm facing palm or perpendicular to the center of the salão (ceiling and floor)

The open and closed variations just indicate whether the palms are facing or not.

Parody? #

Notes #

  1. In contrast, in an ordinary state of mind, pose seems to have little psychological effect. See Garrison, K. E., Tang, D., & Schmeichel, B. J. (2016). Embodying power: A preregistered replication and extension of the power pose effect. Social Psychological and Personality Science, 7(7), 623-630. ↩︎