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Alternative Faiths

As faiths shift underfoot, a TED-like gathering aims at rebalancing

By Kyle Desrosiers    — February 15, 2023
(RNS) — Two friends from seminary in Texas launched a new festival to foster conversations about our changing religious communities that they felt were missing in civic life.

Psychedelic churches in US pushing boundaries of religion

By Michael Casey — February 6, 2023
HILDALE, Utah (AP) — “In every major city in the United States, every weekend, there’s multiple ayahuasca ceremonies,” said a lawyer who specializes in psychedelic law.

‘Rosary beads? Yes. But crystals, no.’: Catholic school counselor loses her job

By Heather Greene — January 26, 2023
(RNS) — An employee who invited three Wiccan high priestesses to speak to marketing students did not believe that the crystals they handed out nor their religion would cause a stir.

For Gen Z, crystals embed spirituality in the planet

By Kevin Singer — January 23, 2023
(RNS) — They often seem to occupy a place once held by traditional religious beliefs.

As smudging goes mainstream, concerns rise over appropriation, overharvesting

By Emily McFarlan Miller — January 12, 2023
(RNS) — Along with the popularity of white sage comes concern about cultural appropriation, as well as overharvesting.

Making sweat feel spiritual didn’t start with SoulCycle – a religion scholar explains

By Cody Musselman — January 9, 2023
(The Conversation) — Fitness and religion make a potent combination, one people have explored for centuries.

Stability is not in the cards for 2023: Divinations reveal a year of transitions

By Heather Greene — January 6, 2023
(RNS) — Using tarot, astrology, runes and countless other divinatory methods, practitioners offer a reading on the pulse of the year to come.

Witchcraft isn’t scary on stereotype-busting ‘Comfy Cozy Witch Podcast’

By Emily McFarlan Miller — January 4, 2023
(RNS) — Jennie Blonde says her message of comfort and coziness appears to be resonating not just with other witches, but with all people ‘who want to find a little bit more magick in their everyday.’

Witches and wise men and ‘old magic’: A look at the spookier origins of Christmas lore

By Emily McFarlan Miller — December 20, 2022
(RNS) — Pagans and Christians alike can rediscover the ‘reason for the season’ in the old stories and deepen their own beliefs.

Who were the 3 wise men who visited Jesus?

By Eric Vanden Eykel — December 14, 2022
(The Conversation) — As Christmas approaches, Nativity scenes showing three wise men visiting the newborn Jesus are put up around the world. A scholar of Christian literature offers an explanation on their identity.

New Japan law aims at Unification Church fundraising abuses

By Mari Yamaguchi — December 13, 2022
TOKYO (AP) — The new law allows believers, other donors and their families to seek the return of their money and prohibits religious groups and other organizations from soliciting funds by coercion or linking donations to spiritual salvation.

Native Hawaiians believe volcanoes are alive and should be treated like people, with distinct rights and responsibilities

By Richard W Stoffle — December 9, 2022
(The Conversation) — The eruption of Mauna Loa is a profound spiritual experience for many Native Hawaiians. An anthropologist explains Native American beliefs on the living Earth and volcanic lava.

As their World Cup team advances, Argentines call on folk saints for help

By Eduardo Campos Lima — December 9, 2022
SÃO PAULO, Brazil (RNS) — One expert said that while official Catholic saints tend to be invoked in church, ‘folk saints tend to be more visible in public spaces, including soccer fields.’

Why magical thinking is so widespread – a look at the psychological roots of common superstitions

By Dimitris Xygalatas — December 7, 2022
(The Conversation) — An anthropologist explains why we all have some irrational beliefs and the reason they give us comfort.

Starz’s hit series ‘P-Valley’ finds sacred community in a strip club

By Amethyst Holmes — December 2, 2022
(RNS) — The drama series by Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Katori Hall shows how profane places can be sacred — and how formal sacred places can be made profane.
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