Heather Kyle

Heather Kyle is a Socio-Cultural Anthropologist engaged in a 10 year study of Neo-Pagan/Pagan ethics. Her study does not concentrate on the particular dogma of a belief system. Instead, Heather'sy research centers around how a person's religious beliefs effect their actions in the world; How they vote; How they see various issues like environmentalism; How they see the issues surrounding life and death; How we choose our occupations; How we treat each other etc. Over the past 7 years of my study she has collected over 300 interviews with self described Neo-Pagans. Many of these interviews are with well-known authors, elders and "celebrities" within the movement. Heather has also collected over 100 hours of rituals, classes and other participant observations at Pagan festivals all over the United States including Starwood, as you know. At this point Heather has a larger and more comprehensive data set than any other researcher in the US today. This makes her uniquely qualified to present this preliminary data and to facilitate discussions on how we as a community practice our faith as it relates to our tangible actions in society.

Heather has been awarded several grants to continue my study, has presented her data at Anthropological symposiums across the country and has won various small film festivals with my documentary footage of the Pagan community.

Bio-Medical Ethics and Religion: Beginnings and Endings of Life

The beginnings and endings of life present us with difficult decisions, as patients, as caregivers and as a religious community. These decisions have a deep impact on us. In this workshop I will discuss the kinds of guidance we can find within our own religious traditions as we approach these critical moments of the human experience. I will also facilitate discussion on the ways that we are effected as individuals and as a community by the status quo and how we can prepare for and avoid problems when faced with these difficult decisions. I will challenge you to find out what your options are and how to insure that your wishes are honored regardless of what faith you practice when it comes to this very personal topic and provide resources to find out more. I will challenge the religious community to find ways of supporting individual decisions without imposing our own personal morality, ethics or agenda on our brothers and sisters within our own community and illicit suggestions on how to do this from our spiritual leaders.

Spirituality and Ecology, an Act of Faith

In this workshop I will present examples of how responsibility to the environment is as much an act of faith as it is of tangible benefit to the Earth. I will show clips from interviews I have conducted with Elders in our community and from average festival goers that highlight the ways that they practice their faith through acts of ecological preservation and protection. I will also facilitate further discussion of ways that we as individuals and as a religious community can preserve and protect the environment that we enjoy. How can we magically and physically influence those around us to act more responsibly? In what ways can we as a community and as individuals (even in a festival environment) do things that can actually make a difference in the care and preservation of our Mother Gaia. And, How do these things enhance our spiritual life? I will talk about the implications of "leaving no trace" and talk about the blatant disregard of the environment that even we as the stewards of the earth show at festivals and how we can check ourselves and do better in the future.

















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