Valley of the Dawn: A Spiritual Fortress Beyond Brasília

Just outside Brazil’s vibrant capital city of Brasília, a peculiar fortress stands tall, housing a religious group known as the Valley of the Dawn. The followers, referred to as Jaguars, believe in the presence of a spaceship from the planet Capela hovering above Earth. Acting as a cosmic vortex, it absorbs negative energy banished by the group’s healers, making this area the proclaimed spiritual capital of civilization.

Jaguars and their Cosmic Energies

Female devotees of Vale do Amanhecer pray during their annual ceremony near Brasilia on May 1, 2019. Source: Carl De Souza / AFP / Getty

The healers, self-identified as Jaguars, harness their “cosmic energies” in spirit-healing rituals. Believed to be the reincarnated descendants of extraterrestrials sent by God, Jaguars offer their healing abilities to anyone seeking help, regardless of membership. With 600 temples globally and around 800,000 members, this newer religion unites people of various races and places, particularly the middle-working class Brazilians at its main compound.

The Cult Label and Unusual Beliefs

Founded in the late 1950s and early ’60s by Tia Neiva, a widowed truck driver turned medium, the Valley of the Dawn has faced accusations of being a cult. However, members can leave freely, and the religion’s unusual beliefs, including God sending extraterrestrials 32,000 years ago, parallel aspects of mainstream religions.

Tia Neiva and the Birth of the Valley

On April 21, 2019, a rainbow graces the temple complex of the Vale do Amanhecer religious community in Brazil. Source: Carl De Souza / AFP / Getty

Tia Neiva, formerly Neiva Chaves Zelaya, the founder of Valley of the Dawn, claimed to have received visions and a blueprint for the compound from an extraterrestrial spirit. Her journey began as a truck driver in 1957, hauling construction materials in Brasília. After two years of premonitions, she collaborated with medium Maria de Oliveira, establishing the Spiritist Union White Arrow, later evolving into the Valley of the Dawn.

The Mother Temple and Colorful Complex

The permanent settlement, located in the rural area of Planaltina, resembles a vibrant theme park upon arrival. The complex includes a lakeside prayer area with a pyramid, a spaceship-like temple, and ellipse-shaped art sculptures. Despite its seemingly haphazard appearance, the design carefully reflects the intricate belief system of the religion.

Beliefs and Rituals: Unveiling the Valley’s Doctrine

In Vale do Amanhecer, an Egyptian-style pyramid stands in the temple complex as of December 31, 2018. Source: Carl De Souza / AFP / Getty

The Valley of the Dawn’s doctrine states that Jaguars played a role in historical human achievements, such as the Egyptian pyramids, before being reunited by Tia Neiva. The “Day of the Indoctrinator” ceremony, held every May 1 at sunrise, and the thrice-daily “Ceremony of the Shooting Star” symbolize the synchronization of spiritual energies, emphasizing healing powers.

A Refuge for Lost Souls

While Jesus is represented in the doctrine, the focal point remains the healing aspect. The Valley of the Dawn attracts individuals from around the world seeking relief from worldly problems. Members, rejecting capitalist values, work for the offering of unconditional love and focus on saving the world from its excesses.

Good Will Amidst Extraterrestrial Beliefs

Despite the outlandish fanfare and extraterrestrial beliefs, the Valley of the Dawn thrives as Brazil’s largest alternative religion. According to Kelly Hayes, an Associate Professor of Religious Studies at Indiana University-Indianapolis, the religion’s strength lies in re-narrating one’s life, providing a sense of control and belief in justice and equality through work.

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