Germano Guilherme, the “Little Brother”
A Família Juramidam, originally published March 15th of 2010
As promised, what follows is a continuation of the research on Mestre’s Companions, this time being about the history of Germano Guilherme. But before we begin, I would like to give thanks for the providential help of all of those who participated in this process by sending material. I would also like to thank those who have done previous research on Germano and who are cited below.
So, it is with pleasure that I present this text that reveals a little more of the life of the first follower to take Ayahuasca with Mestre, that still in 1928 when both served in the Territorial Guard of Acre state and years before the first work of the Santo Daime doctrine in 1930.
With Germano, what really draws ones attention in his history is perhaps the friendship that was cultivated with Mestre Irineu. And indeed, it was through the meeting of these two migrants from the Northeast, and Germano coming to know the “drink of the vine” from the hands of Mestre, that later on the community witnessed one of the most beautiful friendships of the doctrine, mentioned by every follower and which would last until Germano’s death in 1964.
Note: Previously it was written that the episode in which Mestre was shot in the hand had been with Germano Guilherme, but that was before 1920, before Mestre met Germano, in the Police Force.
According to the book “Eu Venho de Longe”, by Paulo Moreira and Edward MacRae, Germano and Mestre met in the Police Force, which Mestre Irineu joined three days after he arrived in Rio Branco, coming from Brasiléia.
The ingress of Irineu into the Police Force also marks an important role reversal in his life: from chased by the police, he became a member of that institution. It is said that Irineu on his days-off quietly continued to make use of Ayahuasca (account of Cecília Gomes) because the vine and leaves abounded in the region of Rio Branco. Although at that time he was not part of an Ayahuasca group anymore, he continued, even by himself, his studies with the drink.
Immediately upon joining the Police Force, Irineu became friends with Germano Guilherme, the musician João Pereira and João Leão, who would become his first disciples. The story goes that Germano, wary of the occasional disappearance of Irineu, asked if he could accompany him on his days-off, thus eventually becoming initiated into the Daime (P. Moreira, E. MacRae, 2011 – p.113).
Regarding the hymnbook of Germano Guilherme, one might even be able to say it’s a faithful narration of the incredible universe of Irineu Serra, his beloved Mestre, and in this way he being the one who first presented his verbal imagery in the physical plane.
Divino Pai Eterno
O seu mundo veio e formou
O seu mundo veio e formou
Com toda criação
Com toda criação
Com vosso amor
Deixou e levou
E tão distante ficou
E tão distante ficou
Olhando a sua criação
Olhando a sua criação
Com o vosso brilho do amor
Com o vosso brilho
Com o vosso brilho do amor
About his origins and his life, the first comprehensive research done on Germano Guilherme comes from the site www.hinarios.blogspot.com, which says:
Germano Guilherme dos Santos was born in Piauí* on May 28th 1902. He moved with his family to Rio Branco, Acre, where he lived working in the colonies. While serving in the Territorial Guard, Germano met Raimundo Irineu Serra, as well as the Daime through this friend. Besides being one of Irineu’s first followers, accompanying him since 1928, he was the first to sing a hymn in the doctrine, even though the first hymn was received by Mestre two decades before in the Peruvian jungle (1912). Therefore, it is a tradition in Alto Santo to sing his hymnbook before “O Cruzeiro”.
Germano Guilherme was a man of black skin and pristine teeth, having great fondness for Mestre. They called each other “little brother”. In his asking the Daime, for a cure for a wound in his leg, he saw that in a previous incarnation he had been a cruel slave owner, hence there being no cure for this wound because it was a “sentence”. Because of this he could not eat certain foods, but when Germano was in the house of his “little brother” he could eat everything and feel nothing.
In 1943 he married a daughter of Antônio Gomes and Mrs. Maria de Nazaré, Mrs. Cecilia, twenty-six years younger than him and whose teenage son (who she had had with José das Neves) had been adopted by Mestre and his wife, Mrs. Raimunda. To this child was given the name of the uncle that Mestre had left in Maranhão, Paulo d’Assunção Serra. Germano Guilherme died in 1964, leaving behind his hymnbook “Sois Baliza” as one of the foundations of the doctrine that he had helped to build together with his beloved Mestre.
*According to the book “Eu Venho de Longe”, by Paulo Moreira and Edward MacRae, Germano Guilherme was born in Pernambuco, which is a known fact in the community of Alto Santo. I personally talked by phone with seu Paulo Serra, adopted son of Mestre, who confirmed the birth place, like Paulo Moreira, who heard several times from Vó Preta, widow of Germano, that he was born in Pernambuco.
Still speaking of his marriage with Mrs. Cecilia, she tells us in her account:
“This way was godfather Irineu. For me he was everything. He was my father, my master, my godfather. He raised me and I lived many years in his home (…). Then I married Germano through Mestre’s guidance. I was sixteen and Germano forty-two. But godfather Irineu saw that the marriage would be good for us. So we got married (…), always following his guidance. “[The Religions of Ayahuasca – Sandra Lucia Goulart]
Of all the accounts collected, the image one has of Germano Guilherme is of a zealous person, a good companion and very firm in his work. He was known for his assertiveness and firmness in his attitudes and words. And Teófilo Maia complements:
Moreover, a story that is told of Germano tells of a day when he was at home and a boy came and asked for two oranges from a fully loaded orange tree, which he promptly consented. Only that the boy took several oranges and put them in a bag. When he walked away, saying thanks, Germano called him back and said: “You asked me for two, so pour the bag out and take the two that you asked for.” In this way it was done, and the boy was leaving, a little ashamed, when Germano called again. The youth, already afraid at this point, stood still. And Germano said: “Now you gather the rest and take them because I am giving them to you. And learn how to ask in order to be able to receive.” Because of this story and others, he was given the nickname “buraco” [hole – which means fearless]. This story was told and witnessed by Mr. Paulo Serra, who lived with Germano and his mother, Mrs. Cecília.
In an interview for the website The Juramidam Family, Daniel Arcelino Serra, Mestre’s nephew, recounts:
“Germano Guilherme was one of the first people who helped my uncle in the doctrine. He was the second person to receive hymns. I worked a lot with him, including in his house. He lived well and was a very capricious person, married to Mrs. Cecilia Gomes, aunt of Mrs. Peregrina [Mestre’s widow]. He had a very strong personality and was highly respected by the fraternity, for he liked everything to be neat.
He was very strict with the people who worked with him, as it had to be done the way he wanted. Even to sing his hymnbook it was necessary to have respect, and he did not like it when people sang it out of the works.”
About Germano and the salão, he was renowned as an excellent singer and a maestro with the maracá, making a point of personally checking the tempo and the conduction of his hymnbook. And Teófilo Maia finishes by saying that to sing his hymnbook was a big happening in the community.
No coração trago a firmeza
E no Divino nas alturas
Esta é a casa da verdade
É um primor é um primor
É um primor de formosura
An interesting case about Germano is that Mestre had said to Mrs. Percília — general manager of the hymnbooks and who wrote all the hymns received in a notebook — that she could review everyone’s hymns, but to not change even a comma in the hymns of Germano. The fact is that Mestre often looked to Mrs. Percília to review his hymns, which she never did and always refused to do. He himself would take Daime and correct what had to be corrected with the Queen. Another interesting case, told in the book “Eu Venho de Longe”, by Edward MacRae and Paulo Moreira, is that when Daniel Pereira de Matos (countryman and friend of Mestre, founder of the ayahuasca religion Barquinha) was sick, Mestre simply asked of him to transcribe the hymnbook of Germano Guilherme. When he finished this task, the healing was achieved. Daniel Arcelino Serra completes,
“His hymnbook was sung on the day of Our Lady of Conception because he was Her devotee. After his hymnbook we would sing the New Hymns (Cruzeirinho of Mestre). It was Mestre who placed his hymnbook in the order of that day.
Physically speaking he was an average person, 5.5 tall (1.65m), not too strong or too thin. He lived in a wheelchair [at the end of his life], and even his hymnbook he sang seated due to an illness in his leg, which he said was a sentence from previous incarnations. He said that he suffered from regeneration, as he was paying a debt from another life. His relationship with Mestre was very good and they were always together, and he was highly regarded by Mestre.”
In a long correspondence with Teófilo Maia, who was researching in Alto Santo the life of the four Companions, he tells us that:
Germano was the first one to sing a hymn in the Doctrine. He had had a first companion but she didn’t follow him, and in Rio Branco he married Dona Cecilia, also known as “Vó Preta”. He didn’t have children with either women, but Mr. Paulo Serra, son of José das Neves the baker, moved in with his mother when she married Germano.
Germano suffered from eczema on his leg which he claimed to be a sentence, thus suffering from it resignedly. But he did not live in a wheelchair because at that time they did not exist. He had his little tabouret (stool) that accompanied him to the field, in his house and in the doctrine’s works.
Thus he could not make much effort, but still he tended his coffee plantation with a machete while sitting on his tabouret. He also had his plantation and a small garden, all cultivated together with Vó Preta who was the one to go to the fair and solve all domestic matters, such as purchases and sales, as Germano would only leave his home to go to the center [church]. But while working in the fields, he was very systematic and everyone had to do as he pleased.
Of the so called “Companions of Mestre”, he was the least favored in the material sense, although respected by the fraternity for his serious way of dealing with things and complying with his commitments. After all, he was the “fearless” one. Also, he didn’t live in Alto Santo as he always lived in his colony with Vó Preta and Paulo Serra.
This information was obtained from visits to Mr. José Gomes, son of Antônio Gomes and brother of Vó Preta, who was very close to both Germano and Maria Damião because it was he who tamed the wild bulls for the oxcarts, also working for Germano, Maria Damião and other farmers in the region.
Note – the beginning of the previously published personal account, which talks about the Piauí state, was suppressed due to the fact that now it is known that Germano was born in Pernambuco.
Also according to the book “Eu Venho de Longe”, reports are that Germano Guilherme had a daughter named Francisca das Chagas, which is told that she didn’t like to drink Daime. Germano became a widower and his daughter went to live with her husband in Porto Velho. With him she acquired the disease of alcoholism and died some time later, soon being followed by her husband. The two made the passing before Germano.
Germano Guilherme was the last of the four Companions to pass away, aged 62, in 1964. That year, several of the last followers who met Mestre had already arrived in the mission, for example Loredo Ferreira, João Pedro, Francisco Grangeiro, the Carioca family, Daniel Serra, Wilson Carneiro, Tetéo, Luiz Mendes and many others. His wake was held at his home, near the Vila Ivonete, and afterwards he was honored in Alto Santo where his burial took place and where his body now rests along with other pioneers of the doctrine and at the banks of the forest that he visited so many times with his beloved Master.
Therefore, here is made this tribute to Germano Guilherme dos Santos, the “Little Brother”, faithful companion and friend of Mestre and who today is remembered by us when we sing his hymnbook, “Vós Sois Baliza”, one of five that were officialized by Irineu Serra as the doctrinal basis of the Santo Daime.
Eu recebi eu recebi
Eu recebi com alegria
De quem eu recebi
Foi da sempre virgem Maria
Tu não deve dar conselho
A quem não quer escutar
Dou-te esta instrução
Deixa ficar como está
Treme a terra treme a terra
Treme a terra e geme o mar
Tudo que existe nela
Tem tudo que balançar
This article was originally written by Rodrigo Borges Conti Tavares in Porutuguese, and translated into English by Moonvine.