MY LITTLE PIECE OF HEAVEN
One hour away from downtown Porto Alegre, in a neighborhood called Lami (extreme South of the capital of Rio Grande do Sul - Brazil), I found “my little piece of heaven”, called Universal Temple of Peace Father Francisco de Luanda - Tala. Founded in 1950, the complex consists of more than 20 houses of worship, in which the exposed material illustrates its matching cult or entity - hence the character of universality that gives the name to the place, promoting the religious syncretism so characteristic in Brazil, due to its cultural diversity coming from different nations that immigrated to the country in the past centuries.
The Temple has its religious roots in the White Umbanda, but also zoom in spiritualism, esotericism, shamanism, Tibetan Buddhism, Hinduism, Egyptian spiritual practices and the Eastern spiritual practices. In the spaces created specifically for each service, there are healing sessions and astral surgeries, in addition to spiritual imposition of hands, magnetic healing through colors and stones, spiritual retreats, training for spiritual mediums, and the practice of charity in general.
Inside each temple, an altar was built - whose followers claim to be a point of strength, a way through which the Divine Rays reach all those standing before it. Its main function is to create magnetism, a connection between "Heaven and Earth", and it is through this altar that the radiations of Spiritual Entities "descend", occupying all the space devoted to religious practices. Therefore it is one of the main drivers for the magical, psychic and astral forces to stay tuned at all times.
The statues of spiritual entities found in these altars are meant to impose respect to the believers, inducing an obedient, silent and reverent posture from each and every one looking for something related with moral/spiritual order or human issues themselves. Visitors usually arrive in the Temple by two pathways: love and/or pain, craving for the satisfaction of their moral needs, which should happen immediately in order to find comfort, solace and a meaning for life.
In my case, I got there almost by “coincidence”, a “spiritual call” maybe - the intuition of a good friend that thought such visitation could bring me an interesting change of perspective after some disappointments I had with a religious group from the past. Well, it worked: I got the miraculous authorization of the priestess Tala to photograph the Universal Temple of Peace Father Francisco de Luanda for the first time, and we ended up becoming good friends. Consequently I came back to Europe with a new and marvelous material to show, along with her invitation to continue this promising work during my next trip to Brazil.
The pictures you will see are just a small representation of this incredible place I got to know months ago in my hometown and I wish to share it with the rest of the world: the beginning of a magical exchange between a visual artist and a universalistic priestess from Southern Brazil.