Set and Setting in the Santo Daime

This observational review (2021) describes ayahuasca use within the set and setting in the Santo Daime church and outlines complex layers of intentions, expectations, visual, auditory, and symbolic environments, social and cultural systems that form a rich tapestry of contextual factors that foster unique experiences. While also describing how the Santo Daime setting can also go wrong, it highlights the role of contextual factors to mitigate harms and facilitate social and personal benefits.


Introduction: Set and setting is a fundamental concept in the field of psychedelic drug research, which points to the profound dependence of psychedelic effects on psychological, social, and cultural factors. Santo Daime is a Brazilian religion that makes elaborate use of ordering principles, techniques, and symbology to shape and direct the effects of the hallucinogenic brew ayahuasca.

Methods/Results: This paper systematically explores the tapestry of, inter alia, symbolic, social, cultural, psychological, aesthetic and musical elements that participate in the shaping of the psychedelic experience in the context of the Santo Daime ayahuasca religion.

Discussion: The methodically rich under the hood description of the mechanics of entheogenic initiation within the Santo Daime tradition provides a template for future studies of the role of context in psychedelic experimentation.”

Author: Ido Hartogsohn

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Set and Setting in the Santo Daime

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Published in
Frontiers in Pharmacology
May 4, 2021
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Authors associated with this publication with profiles on Blossom

Ido Hartogsohn
Ido Hartogsohn is a writer and assistant professor at the program for Science, Technology and Society at Bar Ilan University. In his work he focuses on the set and setting (context) of a psychedelic experience.

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