The Ayahuasca Ceremony

The Ayahuasca CeremonyIn order to begin to write about this traditional native ceremony it is essential to know about the plant that is used for this ritual: ¨Ayahuasca.¨ Its meaning comes from two ethnic Quechua words ¨Aya¨ and ¨Huasca,¨ which mean rope and death, or the rope of death. The other meaning of the word Ayahuasca is ¨Vine of the Soul." The plant grows in the Peruvian Amazon. It is a climbing skinny plant that grows around the trees. That is why they call it rope.

Drug Tourism: Down the Amazon in Search of Ayahuasca

Drug Tourism: Down the Amazon in Search of AyahuascaThough his parents urged him to study medicine, Jimmy Weiskopf dropped out of college and moved to Colombia in the 1970s, where he eventually began to focus on a different kind of elixir. The New York City native became an early advocate for the hallucinogenic plant mixture known as ayahuasca. For centuries, Amazonian Indians have been drinking ayahuasca — a combination of the ayahuasca vine, tree bark and other plants, also known as yaje — to achieve a trance-like state that they believe cleanses bodies and minds, and enables communication with spirits. Weiskopf, who has published a 688-page tome about ayahuasca, was once among a tiny coterie of foreigners using the potion, but these days, he has lots of company.

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.