Photos: The Worshippers of the Valley of the Dawn

Every year on May 1, members of the Vale do Amanhecer spiritual community in Brazil gather for their biggest ceremony of the year, the Day of the Spiritual Indoctrinator. The religion known as Vale do Amanhecer (or Valley of the Dawn, or, officially, Social Works of the Christian Spiritualist Order) was founded in 1959 by a charismatic woman known as Tia Neiva. Neiva had been working as a truck driver in Brasilia when she began to experience visions of spirits and extraterrestrial beings that she said imparted lessons to her. The spiritual group she began with her partner, Mario Sassi, grew into a community of thousands of mediums who claim to communicate with spirits, and it combines doctrines and symbolism from Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism, and Incan and Afro-Brazilian religions; ancient-Egyptian concepts; and a belief in extraterrestrial life, intergalactic travel, and reincarnation. Members of the movement claim to have hundreds of thousands of adherents worldwide who attend temples located in Brazil, Portugal, Germany, Japan, and the United States.

Read more
Hints: View this page full screen. Skip to the next and previous photo by typing j/k or ←/→.

Most Recent

  • Nhac Nguyen / AFP / Getty

    Buddha Day Celebrations in Photos

    Observations of Vesak Day, or Buddha Day, from several countries across Asia.

  • Kevin Lamarque / Reuters

    Photos of the Week: Snowy Ladybug, Shattered Lance, Mexican Smog

    Engineering fashion in Beijing, a luxury houseboat for rising seas, flooding in Paraguay, the Giro d’Italia cycling race in Italy, Buddha’s-birthday observations in Taiwan, skateboarding in Los Angeles, and much more

  • adoc-photos / Corbis via Getty

    100 Years Ago in Photos: A Look Back at 1919

    Please take a moment to look back at some of the events and sights from around the world a century ago.

  • Kevin Frayer / Getty

    Photos of Huawei’s European-Themed Campus in China

    The Ox Horn research and development campus is being developed as 12 separate “towns,” with research buildings being modeled after famous castles, palaces, and more.