José Gabriel da Costa
, later known as Mestre Gabriel
, (1922-1971), is the founder of the União do Vegetal
, a Christian religious sect that utilizes the entheogenic
as its main sacrament
. The tea is made of the union of the products of two plants, Mariri (Banisteriopsis caapi
) and Chacrona (Psychotria viridis
), which are both found in the Amazon rain forest.
Gabriel was born on February 10th in Coração de Maria, in the state of Bahia
. He received minimal education and moved to Acre, Brazil
, later becoming a rubber tapper
in the Amazon region. It was through his work as a rubber tapper that Gabriel first encountered Hoasca; receiving what he believed to be revelations, he formed the UDV on July 22nd, 1961, organizing a coherent belief system and gathering followers. By the time of his passing away, the religion had spread through the Brazilian Amazon
and urban areas of Brazil, and continues to grow today, in countries such as the USA, Spain and others.