Boy 'healer' popular alternative -HEALTH: Hope better than modern system

Boy Ponari was just like any other kid in Indonesia until he was struck by lightning. When he awoke, the story goes, he found a grey stone on his head with magical healing" powers.

Soon tens of thousands of people were lining up under the blazing sun for hours, sometimes days. They carried cups, plastic bags or buckets of water, waiting for the nine-year-old shaman to dip in his rock to transform the water into a cure-all potion.

I've tried going to hospitals, but it's always horrible," said Mohammad Anas, a 65-year-old with high blood pressure. It was expensive, I was sent from one department to the next, waiting in long lines, filling out papers, and in the end, I still was sick . . . I'd much rather take my chances here."

Court Win for Ayahuasca Shamanism

Court Win for Ayahuasca ShamanismThe Santo Daime movement has won a court decision allowing them to continue importing the shamanic brew ayahuasca into the United States, on the basis of the preservation of freedom of religion. The decision was also guided by an earlier Supreme Court decision in which the UDV prevailed:

On March 18, 2009, a U.S. District Court judge, Owen Panner, found that the U.S. Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) protects the Santo Daime's use of DMT-containing ayahuasca as part of their sincere religious practices.

Paganism returns to the Holy Land

Paganism returns to the Holy LandLike many other soldiers who took part in the Gaza operation, Omer, 20, occasionally took a few moments to pray, but he did not pray to the Lord of Israel. Omer considers himself pagan, and has sworn allegiance to three ancient gods. During combat, he says they appeared before him, giving him strength during the most arduous moments.

Omer is still in the army, and therefore refused to be interviewed for this story. Yet he did say he belongs to a religion whose goal is to revive worship of ancient gods.

Pope condemns sorcery, urges Angolans to convert

Pope condemns sorcery, urges Angolans to convertLUANDA, Angola Pope Benedict XVI appealed to the Catholics of Angola on Saturday to reach out to and convert believers in witchcraft who feel threatened by "spirits" and "evil powers" of sorcery.

On his first pilgrimage to Africa, the pope drew on the more than 500 years of Roman Catholicism in Angola, saying that Christianity was a bridge between the local peoples and the Portuguese settlers.

"In today's Angola," the pope said in a homily at Mass, "Catholics should offer the message of Christ to the many who live in the fear of spirits, of evil powers by whom they feel threatened, disoriented, even reaching the point of condemning street children and even the most elderly because they say they are sorcerers."

Coalition formed to save Shaman Drum

Coalition formed to save Shaman DrumA new coalition has been formed to save Ann Arbor literary institution Shaman Drum Bookshop, according to a letter distributed Friday by University of Michigan professor Julie Ellison.

The group envisions turning the store into a nonprofit "humanities commons," possibly linked in some way to U-M through a campus/community alliance.