Francisco Fernando Filho, "Padrinho Tetéu",
by Thiago Martins e Silva Hoff. [1]

 

 

Article from issue 9, June 2007, of the much missed virtual magazine Arca da União. [2]

Francisco Fernando Filho, "Padrinho Tetéu", Born on December 13, 1917, in São Luis do Ceará, Francisco Fernando Filho, better known as "Tetéu", son of Francisco Fernando Lima and Idalina Fernando dos Santos, came to Acre while still very young with his parents and then-wife Chicuta.

His parents left him in Acre and returned to Ceará. With his first wife, Tetéu had six children: Francisco, now deceased; Zeca; Quinca; Francisquinha; Maria; and Maria da Paz. When asked the reason for his coming to Acre state, Tetéu maintained that he was brought by a superior force, which Mestre would confirm in his teachings, saying that the Daime brings those who have a mission within the doctrine. First of all, it is worth remembering that he was one of the first followers of Mestre Raimundo Irineu Serra.

After the death of Mr. Leôncio Gomes da Silva, and already in charge of the works in Alto Santo, Tetéu separated from his first wife, Chicuta. Then he met and -- with what started as a jest -- ended up marrying Mrs. Francisca Silva Sousa, known as Mrs. Hélia. With Hélia, Tetéu lived three and a half years without having a single argument before passing over to the astral plane on June 21, 1985. With Mrs. Hélia he had his youngest daughter, Maria do Carmo Sousa, now 24 years old.

Tetéu made many friends in the new land, especially among the brothers and sisters of the doctrine. However, it is impossible to speak of Tetéu without talking about his friendship with Mr. Leôncio. To describe such friendship, just remember one of his songs, which says: "I have two in one body / The President and the Commander". At the time he received this hymn, Mr. Leôncio was the president and Tetéu was the commander of the salão at Alto Santo. The hymnbook received by Tetéu, "O Assessor" [The Adviser], is considered to belong to him and his friend Leôncio. The friendship between the two was very strong and recognized throughout the fraternity. Tetéu always worked in agriculture, and at that time he worked for Leôncio, taking care of the cattle and of the land when necessary.

Francisco Fernando came to live in the house of Mestre Irineu for about three years, but for a long period of his life his only companions in the material world were his great friends Maria and Chica Preta. When asked if he was alone, he would reply with much pride that he lived with Maria (a cat) and Chica Preta (a dog).

From a humble background and almost illiterate due to the lack of opportunity to attend school, Tetéu went through various difficulties in his life. He took a tumble when a sign was torn off by a stump in an accident, and this turned into a disease that greatly mistreated his body, but he was cured with enough faith and work with the Santo Daime. Tetéu ended up dying of cancer, in a painful process. Despite feeling strong pain, he did not reveal his suffering nor would he whine about it or stop being a joyful person. He suffered in silence. Few around him knew the severity of the disease and how Tetéu was suffering.

Terminally ill, the doctors accepted Tetéu's wish to go home. He left the hospital to pass away in the house of Mr. Dilmo and Mrs. Miriam, his father and mother in law. He spent eight days at home. Before passing over, he asked Madrinha Peregrina, seu Luiz Mendes, the brothers Raimundo Fernando, Pedro Fernando e Cícero to come and visit him to emphasize that he had not kept any bad feelings from their disagreements during his spiritual path. At his wake, in accordance with his will, his coffin was placed for a few minutes upon the grave of his great friend Leôncio, buried at the left side of Mestre Irineu.

Francisco Fernando had been teaching his hymnbook to his wife, Mrs. Hélia, so that she could be the caretaker of this very beautiful message, but due to the illness that plagued him and which no longer gave him respite due to the severe pain, there was not enough time for Mrs. Hélia to learn all the details of the hymns. Officially, the person responsible for overseeing the hymnbook of Francisco Fernando was Maria Zacharias, sister-in-law of Madrinha Peregrina Gomes Serra.

Of all his children, the only one who followed in their father's path in the Daime doctrine was Maria do Carmo, who was only two years old when her father died. Tetéu lamented the fact that his children did not drink Daime and could not be the caretakers of his hymnbook.

As soon as Mr. Leôncio became ill, he passed the command of Alto Santo to his advisor, Francisco Fernando. Sometime after the passing of Mr. Leôncio, Francisco Fernando led the foundation of a new church, registered as CICLU. Tetéu was followed by some members of the doctrine, such as the family of Mrs. Miriam; the family of Luiz Mendes do Nascimento; Zito and family; Dedé and family; Paulo Serra; Manoel, of Valsírio; Nica and a few others. The members who decided to leave along with Tetéu began holding the works in a room, then later in a headquarter with a beaten earth floor by the house of Tetéu, still within the neighborhood of Rio Branco which today is called Raimundo Irineu Serra (it is worth mentioning that today the region is an area of environmental preservation - APA Raimundo Irineu Serra). Today, the CICLU founded by Tetéu and some companions no longer exists, and many of those who followed Tetéu founded other centers and lead works within the original line of Mestre Irineu.

Even when all these members did the spiritual works together, the lead singers of Tetéu's hymnbook were Saturnino do Nascimento (now head of CEFLI, in Capixaba / Acre), and the brothers José and Antonio Silva Sousa (current leaders of CEFLIMMAV in Rio Branco / AC). Today, the caretaker of his hymnbook is the youngest daughter, Maria do Carmo, member of CEFLIMMAV, who states that her father still helps her at all times, especially during the hymnbook works.

Despite having grown up without the presence of her father, she has a very special affection for Tetéu and cultivates characteristics that all who knew Tetéu confirm were inherent in his personality, such as the way one treats people and playfulness, calm and with a smiley demeanor. Saturnino remembers with nostalgia how Tetéu was playful and loved to be among the youngest. While he was alive, Maria do Carmo was the darling of Tetéu.

Some facts about Francisco Fernando show how he was an important and special person within the doctrine of Juramidam. His wife Hélia remembers the day she started to pay special attention to him. She had recently become a member of the doctrine and Tetéu was the leader of a special work at the tomb of Mestre Irineu. Hélia had a hard time during the ceremony, since she had drunk a considerably larger amount of Daime than she was used to. In that affliction, she had to sit and be assisted by other members.

However, the affliction did not pass until Francisco Fernando came closer and they accidentally touched knees, and he asked her to collect herself and get up. Right then she was bathed in a sense of tranquility and had the strength to get up. Even though she did not drink any more Daime in that work, she realized that he had something special.
Padrinho Tetéu
The most common image of Francisco Fernando is of him wearing his felt hat, as pictured below with his last wife, Mrs. Hélia, and his brother in law, Raimundo Sousa. He disliked straw hats and only wore his own. Even during spiritual works he would put on his hat after leaving the cover of the church's roof. He explained that the hat protected his "crown" (in other words, Sahasrara, the most important of our seven chakras, the crown chakra where is made contact with the superior plane), which shows his strong connection with the divine.

Francisco Fernando liked cowpea beans, bacon and tiger fish cooked in a peculiar manner, in "three waters", as he had learnt in Ceará. When he sang a hymn sitting, he always marked the beat with his feet. Although he was illiterate, he would not allow any change or the omission of a single word from his hymnbook. A typical speech in his lectures was that "when the pang of conscience takes its toll, it is relentless". His manner was always tranquil, but he would "come down with the whip" on whom was deserving.

His affectionate nickname was born of jokes made by the brothers and sisters and friends of the doctrine due to the fact that Francisco Fernando only slept a few hours a day. The origin of the name Tetéu is onomatopoeic, since it mimics the sound of a bird of the same name. This bird is famous for not sleeping much and stays alert all the time. They say this bird sleeps with it's foot on it's neck so that when the foot moves, it wakes up quickly. And the friends of Francisco Fernando regarded him as very alert, always attentive to what was happening around him. Farther south in Brazil, the Tetéu bird is known as lapwing, tero-tero, teréu-teréu, téu-téu, terém -terém, black gull, espanta-boiada and chiqueira.

With 132 hymns, his hymnbook is beautiful and disciplinarian, giving energy to anyone who is in the doctrine of Juramidam, no matter if the person has had only a few works or is a veteran. It is virtually impossible to hear "I take Daime, I take Daime / I am not afraid to take" without having the participants of the work invigorated. Other hymns are also enshrined among those who partake of the doctrine of Juramidam, such as "It's one, it's two, it's three / It's four, it's five, it's six / Whoever is not understanding / Take Daime again". Or "The Daime shook me / The Daime held me", among others.

His memory for those who knew him was marked by his way of treating people, being quiet, very playful, straightforward, loyal and charitable and a good friend. For those who did not have the chance to know him in person, like myself, his hymnbook transpires his life of challenges and teachings, showing us that we should "be for Mestre what Mestre is for us", thus teaching sincere loyalty to the brothers and sisters and devotion to our Mestre and our doctrine. His hymnbook emphasizes the divine justice and security that Juramidam provides us, always bringing us beautiful lessons.

That all who share this holy drink can learn to be true brothers and sisters like the dear brothers Fernando Francisco Filho and his great friend Leôncio.

The Daime shook me
The Daime held me
The power that Mestre has
The very same Daime showed to me

I concentrated on the President
Soon he arrived
I was happy and satisfied
To know his worth

I was happy and satisfied
To know his worth
Those who are with him
Are with the Master Teacher

I asked comfort of my Mestre
And to the Virgin who took me
For me to arrive
In the place where I am

***

[1] Thiago Martins e Silva Hoff, from Brasília, 25 years of age, is a Forest Engineer from the University of Brasília and permacultor formed by the Instituto de Permacultura: Organização, Ecovilas e Meio Ambiente - IPOEMA. Postgraduate student of management, use and manipulation of medicinal plants from the Federal University of Lavras - UFLA, he currently works in the Forest Department of the State of Acre - SEF in Brasiléia -AC. Contact: thcaapi@gmail.com
[2] Arca da União was a virtual magazine that had its first issue released in June 2005 and the last, the tenth edition, in September 2007, bringing together articles of daimistas, academic researchers and supporters in general, debating issues of spirituality and of the ayahuasca universe.
Translation by Rodrigo Tavares and Moonvine; English review by Moonvine.