Monday, August 01, 2005

Faith healing hi-jinks in Russia:

"Wizards like me, we're a bit like doctors, really," the sorcerer told me. "Except we're not treating the physical, but the spiritual. I make people's souls better - I make people happy."

Mr Longo is just one of thousands of witches, wizards and faith healers in Russia. Every day the newspapers here are full of their adverts offering all kinds of remedies.

But Moscow MP Ludmila Stebenkova does not believe in magic. She considers Longo and the like are a danger to society and she has proposed legislation to limit their activities.

"A faith healer who doesn't have proper medical education or who uses religious symbols in their treatment should be stopped from practising," the politician told me.[...]"

Article in full from BBC News

Jewish studies to woo with mysticism and practical magic:

Increasing the number of courses offered in Jewish mysticism, practical magic and the significance of Jewish existence are among the proposals to make Jewish studies more attractive to Israelis that will be debated at the 14th World Congress of Jewish Studies, which opens Sunday in Jerusalem.

[...]Of interest to the congress is how to teach about Jewish mysticism and practical magic, which includes exorcism and spells, in an academic framework. Professor Itamar Greenwald of the Philosophy Department of Tel Aviv University says, "The intention is not that the students will deal with exorcism, but it is certainly important for students to understand what is behind processes like this. We know that in a trance things can happen that don't happen in normal waking states and these things cannot be discounted as lies or hallucinations."



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