Medicine Men, Machetes and Centuries of Healing
Mark Plotkin is president of the Amazon Conservation Team, which works with local indigenous peoples to protect the rainforest. This article is adapted from an article for the Skoll World Forum. Skoll contributed this article to Live Science's Expert Voices: Op-Ed & Insights.
"What's wrong with your foot?" asked the medicine man as I ducked into his grass hut to escape the tropical downpour. He could see that I walked with a slight limp.
After decades in the shadows, South Africa's traditional “sangoma” healers are modernising and becoming big business, raising questions about the need for strict regulation.
“Granny” Mahlasela Matcheke runs her practice from a squeaky clean white floor-tiled home in Johannesburg's up-and-coming Soweto township.
Her consultation room is ringed by orderly shelves of transparent jars containing a kaleidoscopic collection of coloured powders and roots.
Solving the mystery of the missing Malaysian plane is proving to be as easy as cracking a homicide without a body.
Or a witness.
Or a motive.
All while billions of people are waiting for the kind of quick and clear resolution that we've come to expect in the information age — and speculating in sometimes wild ways when that resolution doesn't come.
his week on Real Housewives of Atlanta, Kenya Moore took the next logical step in her journey toward becoming a mother: She attended a Shaman blessing to be healed and ensure her future fertility.
"The Shamans have been known to bless many women with children after their spiritual cleansing," Kenya explained.
Shamans, those exotic high priests of the isolated wilderness who command trance-level consciousness, have become increasingly popular in New Age spiritual quests. In the US, ancient shamanism is also receiving more and more scholarly attention at the same time that contemporary shamans are finding their own followings.